In with hay, or out on green grass. Which will help my hard keeper more.
I have been bringing my hard keeper OTTB in during the day and she has a large hole haynet in her stall which is always stuffed. It's probably 30lbs and takes her about 3 days to finish.
We have been very fortunate to have a relatively wet summer, and our grass is still spring green. Our temperatures have been very mild as well.
So- since the grass is green, and she's not emptying her hay net, would I have an easier time keeping weight on her if she was out 24/7 (within reason - I don't want her outside sweating/ stomping all day). Or will limiting her 'walking' keep her more rotund. Thoughts?
She will still come in to eat, so she can eat her full ration in peace.
No simple answer. You need to monitor her for about a week to get an idea.
She will stroll about in the pasture as she grazes which is better and more natural than stall walking and/or fretting because she wants outside.
Changing to a senior feed may help. I have watched several horses blossom when changed to a senior feed.
If possible add another feeding for her.
You may want to put a smaller hay net up. Too much food/hay at one time can be off-putting for some horses. Nirvana for others.
My TB mare goes off her hay when the grass is good. Like you we are bless with really lush grass, normally it is drying up this time of year. So mare ignores the hay and waits for pasture time.
Check with your vet, BM or trusted source to make certain the amount of feed and feed content is best for your mare.
Of course we always suggest teeth floating and worm check. I saw a TB blossom after being going through a Power-Pak worming. This mare had already been wormed per vet instruction for about a year so you would have thought she was ok. But the power-Pak made a difference.
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Well, you also have to factor in that being on the grass for 17 hours a day means that some of the weight you are seeing on her is added water weight that she doesn't have on her in the non-grass months. With my guys that usually means an additional 50 or more pounds on the weigh tape. So hydration may be part of the problem once you go into the cooler months and the water comes out of the grass. So you can attack the hard keeper issue along those fronts as well--warm water in everything and warm water in the buckets during the cool months. If you live where it doesn't freeze hard, I would even add it to the hay.
My hard keeper is in about the same amount each day. During the summer he gains weight once out to grass, and has about 10 pounds of hay in his stall. He also eats two feedings of 3-4 pounds per feeding of TC Senior feed/haystretcher mix (small draftie). The haystretcher does a great job of keeping weight on. I use Blue Seal. the mix I make is 50:50.
In the winter, it is a whole different story. We are looking at about 20 pounds of hay in the stall, and another 25 pounds outside or more overnight, as he goes through one 45 pound bale of hay per day (more in severe cold and bad weather), plus 11-12 pounds of the feed mix daily, with warm water mixed into it and in the buckets. He also gets Uckele AbsorbAll, which helps them digest better whatever you are feeding them, and keeps the weight on. I used it on a horse with 70 percent of his small intestine removed, and he looked just as fat and happy as the rest of the horses on the farm. You would have never klnown he was that severely compromised. A cautionary on this, though: do not use it if there are ulcers present (which could also account for the weight problem). I also add Canola Oil in the winter. I used to use Cocosoya, but he likes this as well, and it is easier on my wallet. Good luck with your horse!
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Originally Posted by kasjordan
Toss some nice soft alfalfa in there and watch her clean up her hay ;-) and get fat ;-)
Bingo. Either add alfalfa or switch to an grass/alfalfa blend. If you increase calories/protein per pound, you will improve weight and the ability to develop muscle (protein). You will probably also make her much more interested in eating the contents of the hay bag.
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