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Help my horse look better

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  • Help my horse look better

    I just bought a 5yr old tbred whose been off the track for 2 years but has just been turned out and played with. Shes just at 16h and very "little". She looks like shes 3 very immature! Any hope for her to grow? She has a little scrawny neck and id love for it to fill out and be nice! She also needs to gain weight!

    Any tips? Feed ect?
    He knows when you're happy, He knows when you're comfortable, He knows when you're confident, And he ALWAYS knows when you have carrots

  • #2
    I got my OTTB as a 4yo, and while he has not "grown", the amount of weight and muscle that he has put on certainly make him look like a MUCH bigger horse!

    I started my guy on Omegafields Horseshine when I first got him and had good results, the Omega 3's were great for his skin, his coat, and his digestion. He's now on SmartOmega3 by Smartpak, it was a bit cheaper and also had great reviews, so far, so good.

    Putting him on pasture board where he could just spend all day munching grass put weight on him faster than anything, but I know that's not always possible. If she really needs to gain, I would be absolutely adamant about her having hay in front of her at all times. Before being on pasture board, he was also on Ultium.

    Good luck with her and have fun!


    • #3
      Beetpulp is a great option if looking to increase weight. I add water, so it expands and it can be fed in larger quantities without creating a hyper horse!

      Also, Vitamin B is a great choice too.


      • #4
        Give her some down time. If possible turn her out for a few months to be a horse.

        Free feed her hay.

        Beet pulp is great for putting on weight. It is supposed to be a bulk food but some people swear by it for weight gain.

        Rice bran. It will make her shiny and help add calories.

        When my ottb got skinny, free feeding hay, alfalfa pellets, rice bran, and beet pulp made her look the best. No hay belly and she filled out with muscle, not just fat.


        • #5
          Put her to work! Start working her towards her intended discipline. She'll start to muscle up and fill out.

          I don't feed anything fancy, just free choice grass hay and a 12% calf feed and shell corn. For supplements, I like Diamond V yeast- it seems to increase feed efficiency. I'll sometimes add oil, flax seed, or calf-manna to add more bloom on a youngster or show horse.


          • #6
            I think someone suggested Beet Pulp and I agree. While I don't use Beet Pulp straight, I feed Triple Crown Complete to my horse and it has a beet pulp base in it, along with some other goodies I had the hardest time having him gain weight and TC complete put it right on him!

            If you would rather not feed TC because of price issues or you are unable to find it, I have heard good things about a supplement called Amplify that helped my friends off the track TB gain weight very nicely


            • #7
              Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
              12% calf feed and shell corn.
              Calf feed and shelled corn? Are you crazy? I can't believe anyone would recommend feeding a horse shelled corn anymore...especially a Thoroughbred

              A diet low in NCS's and high in fat will put weight on your new mare without turning her into a nut ball. Tons of turnout (24/7 if possible) with good quality free choice hay and pasture is ideal.

              I love Triple Crown Senior (yes even for a youngster)! It's low in NSC's at only 11%, 14% protein, 10% fat and 17% fiber. The Complete formula mentioned above is also a very nice feed. I'm also a huge fan of Omega Horseshine. It's done wonders for my hard keeping OTTB gelding.


              Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
              Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
              "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


              • #8
                If she's been turned out for 2 years, it doesn't sound like she needs more turn out lol!

                Work will bring more muscle tone and get rid of that pencil neck for you (proper work). Lots of trotting and letting her stretch forward and down and "seek the bit" will help a lot to build her topline and neck muscles as well as make her a pleasure to ride.

                I'm not a beet pulp fan at all, so would recommend Fat Cat to add weight, or EquiJewel. Free choice, good quality hay (timothy or timothy alfalfa mix are my personal favorites, although here in FL we use straight alfalfa or orchard alfalfa since good timothy is expensive and hard to get consistantly).

                As for growing, she could still grow a bit, but at 5 that is probably her height. 16h is not bad. She will LOOK bigger and may even stick at 16.1h if she gains some muscle.

                It really sounds like she needs to be on a consistant conditioning program, and it will take time to see the results, but she should look like a different horse once she puts some correct muscle on.

                Good luck!


                • #9
                  I swear by Triple Crown Senior and good hay. Timothy or timothy/orchard grass mix. But, if she's been let down for 2 years, it sounds like she needs to be put into work and a conditioning program. Come up with a training plan, if you need help, post on COTH, lots of experts available to help.

                  Make sure she's been properly wormed...get her teeth floated.
                  Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                  • #10
                    Really, really need to know what she's eating now, before ever hoping to make comments on what might be a good change
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BoyleHeightsKid View Post
                      Calf feed and shelled corn? Are you crazy? I can't believe anyone would recommend feeding a horse shelled corn anymore...especially a Thoroughbred
                      I said that's what I feed. I've fed expensive brand-name feed, and honestly didn't see any difference. It works for me- my critters are sound, in good weight and (knock wood) rarely if ever get sick. Yeah my horses are "hot", but not any more so than they're bred to be. What's so horrible about corn?

                      I still think the best thing for the OP's horse is work. I've seen plenty of horses "grow" an inch or two, fill out, and look more mature when they start to put muscle on.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                        What's so horrible about corn?
                        I wouldn't feed it to ANY horse... Sure it's good for quick energy...but that's about it! There are much better and healthier ways to put weight on a Thoroughbred without having a scatter brain on your hands.

                        OP... we really need to know her routine and what her diet is now
                        Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                        Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
                        "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                        • #13
                          Ahhh...OTTBS. Although I miss him, I don't miss my feed bill when I had one LOL!

                          While I have only owned one (and not ALL thoroughbreds are hard keepers) I have learned a lot from Perform on another bulletin board.

                          First of all, your horse was fed LOTS of grain and hay at the racetrack. While I understand your horse won't be working as near as hard, more likely than not, they will need lots of food.

                          Don't be afraid of grain with thoroughbreds. They are used to it- and it helps to keep the fat on them.

                          Also, don't be afraid of giving them alfalfa. It also keeps the weight on them very well.

                          You could throw them on a cheap grain and cheap coastal hay, but you'll be giving so much of it to try to get weight on, that in the long run, it'd be cheaper to get the horse on a high fat grain, along with alfalfa.

                          If you have a true racing-bred thoroughbred, don't bother with other things to try to keep weight on. Beet pulp never worked well for my OTTB. Neither did round rolls of coastal all day, weight gain supplements, etc. I have found a good amount of grain and lots of alfalfa is the best (and really cheapest if you think about it) way to make them look superb.

                          What was explained to me was that racing-bred thoroughbreds have very high metabolisms. They can stand under a shade tree and burn off just as much calories as a moderate working QH.

                          Needless to say, I want the metabolism of a TB!

                          Good luck with your horse.


                          • #14
                            Adding Platinum performance really helped my horse.

                            In my life off the board I've seen lots of people complaining about lack of body/muscle but in in my opinion weren't feeding enough to begin with, so make sure she gets enough hay/forage.

                            As for work, lotsLOTSlots of walking up and down hill with her neck stretched/low. I just hold the buckle for my horse and she power walks with her pole at about wither height. Doing some arena work on the buckle also helped her, but in my case I wasn't far enough along in my riding to hold a proper contact to her liking, and throwing the reins away for a little bit helped both of us relax and now we're both happy with whats at the end of the reins. Do a double whammy and work on your two point at the walk, just promise you won't hate me.

                            I don't trot for muscle, I use that for if I feel I need more balance for my flat work and increased fitness. I don't canter/gallop for muscle either, I use that for fitness.

                            However-as helpful as throwing the reins at her can be in some cases, just riding on a long contact won't help her make her neck longer in the dressage sense. To make her neck longer she needs a consistent contact and needs to push into the bit.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                              Put her to work! Start working her towards her intended discipline. She'll start to muscle up and fill out.

                              I don't feed anything fancy, just free choice grass hay and a 12% calf feed and shell corn. For supplements, I like Diamond V yeast- it seems to increase feed efficiency. I'll sometimes add oil, flax seed, or calf-manna to add more bloom on a youngster or show horse.
                              See- this is too much. Keep it simple.

                              High fat grain (horse quality) and lots of alfalfa. That way, you don't need a bunch of other supplements.


                              • #16
                                Being in work did wonders for my mare.

                                She was started this spring as a five year old. She's a pony-sized Arab cross, and everyone who saw her then swore she was two. She did look fairly immature.

                                Once she gained some muscle, she started looking much more mature. I think she also grew a little and her chest widened out some after she was started, which helped.

                                She's primarily on hay/beet pulp/ration balancer, but she was in good weight before she started under saddle. It was the muscle building that made a difference to her.
                                She Gets Lost


                                • #17
                                  beet pulp and dynamite...Ive been converted to dynamite for weight gain, fantastically amazing looking coats, and quiets my OTTB too. Cant say enough amazing things about it.

                                  If I ever bring my guy home, I will be switching him to dynamites pelleted grain rationer, but for now I board and my trainer has the final say. So its beet pulp and a high quality locally milled pellet.
                                  "to each his own..."


                                  • #18
                                    For my ottb, lots and lots of hay, don't be afraid of alfalfa too, and low-starch grain with a topping of Ultium-type performance grain did wonders. A LOT of riding on top of that and he was rippling with muscles and good fat. Being in work I think was very important, that and he always had as much hay as he could possibly stand lol
                                    Team Ginger