The thing that worked miracles for my OTTB was a high fat low starch food. I tried Ultium with almost zero results and he was then put on Nutrena Black (AKA high fat performance pellet) and put on quite a bit of weight meaning he no longer looked like a cow - he was really skinny, poor guy. The Black is tough to find in my area (he was in PA while I was out of the country) so I switched him to Seminole Wellness Show and Sport when he came back to SC. He get's 2.5 qts of this AM/PM. He's put on even more weight and looks almost chubby IMHO. In addition to the Seminole, he's gets 2.5 qts 10% protein pellets, a smidge of beet pulp, alfalfa/grass mix hay when he's in during the day (it's hot down here!), and lots of grass when he goes out at night. Oh and I should mention he's pretty big - 17.1hh plus a little.
He is a mild cribber totally controlled with a collar and lives out 24/7 except during the summer heat. I've never had him scoped but am treating him for ulcers as I write this because he was exhibiting some signs that indicated his tummy might be hurting. In the winter when the grass goes away, he typically gets 1.5 qts beet pulp, 3 qts Show and Sport, 3 qts pellets, and as much hay as he can eat. He actually gained weight this winter on this regime.
You really have to meet Danny. His favorite activities are (1) sorting through piles of junk and (2) looking at himself in the mirror. He likes other horses just fine but he's doesn't care at all if he's alone. He really does his own thing, on his own time.
I too thought this about my mare. She seems outwardly fine just being by herself (like when I take my gelding away to ride, and she is alone...she doesn't even whinny). However, last winter we treated her Grade 4 ulcers, rescoped, and they were healed. A few months later, when she had been back to normal for a while (eating all her meals, not grouchy, etc) I started riding my gelding and leaving her alone. The very first time I took him, that evening she didnt' finish her dinner. Next morning...didn't finish her breakfast. I gave her a packet of the Abprazole granules two days in a row...bam...back finishing all of her meals.
She internalizes. It's harder to tell when they're stressed. Almost impossible. She doesn't even poop when you load her on the trailer...don't ALL horses poop when you load them on the trailer?!
So, just because he appears calm, cool, and collected...don't let that fool you.
Now that I know my mare gets upset being left alone, I give her 2 Abprazole packets in her meal if I am planning to take my gelding away. If he is gone multiple days, she gets the Abprazole every one of those days.
She gets Abprazole before trailering.
She is on unlimited grass pasture in the summer.
In the winter she gets as much hay as I can keep in front of her; she also gets alfalfa cubes as her "grain" in the winter.
I feed her alfalfa cubes before EVERY ride to make sure she has something in her tummy. Acid splish-splashes around in an empty stomach and the upper portion of the stomach doesn't have any protective tissue = prone to damage from the acid.
I don't feed grain (last winter when she lost weight because of hte ulcers, once we started her GastroGard treatment, I put her on TC Senior and alfalfa cubes to help with her weight. Once she got back where she belonged....no grain. TC Senior is low in starch and high in fat...a great choice for horses that need weight and may be prone to ulcers)
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
I suggest that you not rule out colon ulcers. I have 2 cases in the barn right now, and neither presented with the classic symptoms, but the final dignosis was the successful treatment with sucralfate. Dr Jennifer Miller of Cave Creek, AZ tipped us off onlooking in that direction, and surely saved my horses life.
On top of all the ulcer meds mentioned, I have found a couple of things to be quite beneficial:
1) 1/4 scoop alfalfa pellets and a handful of tums right before bridling. As you probably know, acid slashes up in the stomach in the non mucosal surfaces which can irritate pre-existing ulcers or form new ones. I have found giving this to my guy helps immensely. Rides used to make him quite uncomfortable even when he didnt have ulcers.
2) small hole hay net- free choice is great, but that doesn't happen at my barn. I love my freedom feeder and my horse loves it too. It goes in the trailer with him too and it always goes to horse shows. It keeps him busy and actually calms his nerves. He is an internalizer.