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Weight gain for horse with no t/o?

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  • Weight gain for horse with no t/o?

    Sorry for the novel!

    I bought Bobby in December of last year, but I've known him since he was a weanling. He's never been one of those horses that's been plump looking--he's got a monstrous rib cage that makes his look "big", but he's always been pretty trim. He went from all day turnout and stalled at night to 24/7 turnout when I bought him. He switched over fine, and had no problem holding his weight. I was feeding him 8lbs/day of Safe Choice, which is what he was on before I got him. I had three horses out in a five acre pasture, and fed out about six bales of hay a day for them. All 3 horses got along fine, and none of them had any trouble eating as much hay as they wanted.

    I moved to a boarding barn in January, where he was switched over to the barn's grain (a mill feed with oats and corn) over a period of about two weeks. Unfortunately, BO is pretty clueless when it comes to horses, and he wasn't feeding the proper amount of grain. I started coming out every single afternoon to give him a noon time feeding so he was getting the right amount. I also gave him hay, since BO does not give noon hay.

    About a month and half later, Bobby started looking ribby. I treated him for one week with Gastro Guard, and that seemed to flatten out the weight loss for another month, but he didn't put any back on. I also started him on U-Gard, which I've used with great success on other ribby TBs. Finally, after way more weight loss, at the beginning of April/late March, I switched him over to Purina Omolene 200 with Amplify. At one point he was getting about 12lb/day of this. After looking like he lost even MORE weight, I slowly brought him back down to 5lb/day, thinking too much grain was making him get ulcer-y again. He's been on 5lb for two weeks, and SmartGain 4 for one week. He still looks like crap.

    The main problem I think is, there is zero turnout at this barn. There are two paddocks that are literally padlocked closed because BO doesn't like having horses turned out because, and I quote!!, it A)tears up the grass when the horses run around, B) the horses bite each other, and C) some of the kids only turn their horses out TO run them around. I try to get out as much as I can to give him a ton of hay at noon, but the barn is 40 miles away and it's getting really hard for me to afford gas to go out there every day. I've asked a couple of people who get there more often to hay him whenever they're there, but I've finally gotten to the point where I leave the barn crying almost every day. I feel so completely defeated.

    Is there anything I can do to supplement turnout?? Alfalfa pellets, different grain, supplement?? A couple people have recommended TC Senoir, and I think I'm going to switch over to that. I am NOT working with alot of money, so six weeks of Gastro Guard is not an option for me right now. This is supposed to be a sale horse, but there's no way I can show him to people looking the way he is.

    Here he is in January when I first moved him.
    And here he is two weeks ago.
    R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.

  • #2
    No really ideas, but is moving him an option? Zero turnout is a HUGE deal for me. Both my boys are on 24/7 turnout now and at minimum I'll so a 12/12 situation... but never no turnout.

    Hopefully some of the big nutrition peeps will chime in with their suggestions. I loved TC Senior but wasn't able to feed it the way I liked, so I had to change feeds. But my boy loved it. Alfalfa pellets are great, and I think the cubes can actually be fed pound for pound... but with the cubes I'd worry about choke. My fatty is on just 1/3 cup of alfalfa pellets a day just to get his supps in, while the other boy (who is IR/Cushings and has skinny issues) is on about 1 3/4lb of Purina WellSolve L/S daily plus unlimited hay. He's actually maintaining almost too good, so I keep having to cut back the grain.

    Another good supplement that worked for Gus (the IR guy) in the past was Cool Calories 100. It's a fat supplement and really helped put the weight on Gus. Know we know why he lost the weight (IR) and can maintain him without adding fat (which I guess is a no-no with IR/Cushings horses). But I think he needs more feed stuff - not supplements.

    Anyways, I have no really ideas for you but just to see if you can find a better boarding situation for him. He looks to be a beautiful boy - but that lack of muscle/fat is a bit alarming.
    Proud owner of Gus & Gringo.
    See G2's blog


    • #3
      No way would I keep my horse at a place with no turnout.


      • #4
        I snipped it all.

        turnout on dirt would not help him
        he's starved for sheer calories
        I think the hay he is getting is either fairly low in quality
        or not enough or both.
        omolene 200 is really just oats and some oils so he would eat about 12 lbs at least of that to stay "up" where he needs to
        given all your options I would certainly hit the alfalfa pellets.they are hay in a bag in the best way.(hate to admit that as a hay seller but they are) and be prepared he may go thru 5 pounds plus a day until he gets back to where he was
        good luck he seems a sweet eyed guy
        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks, Tamara. I've been trying to put in my research hours on grain, but I guess I'm still struggling. Because he's getting no turnout, I thought as much grain as he was originally on was causing more harm than good. I guess I'll switch to something with a little more umph than the 200.

          I've been trying to find a new barn for a couple of months, but I'm having a really hard time finding a place I can afford two horses at. I'm currently paying $200/horse, and the next step up is $400/horse--not something I can do right now. Trust me, I'm still looking like crazy, but right now I'm trying to work with what I have.
          R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


          • #6
            we all work with what we got...you won't hear me screaming at you :>
            alfalfa pellets will be a safer way to go than 12lb of a super power grain...but remember that while oat based forages are a lot less nutrient dense than more processed feeds...and yes there comes a balancing act here somewhere :>

            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


            • #7
              You may want to move your TB horse to somewhere $400 a month then...

              No turnout + grain + weight loss sounds like a recipe for disaster. Emergency vet calls aren't cheap and by the time you add up the cost of all the feed you are supplementing with and your gas out there to feed it...you may easily be at that $200 extra a month anyways.

              Just food for thought.

              With respect to getting some weight on him, you could also try adding cocosoya oil (work up to 1 cup per day) and perhaps some rice bran. Fat won't make him hot if he's not going outside.

              Also, what's his worming schedule like?

              Aloe vera juice is dirt cheap and great for ulcers.
              Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


              • #8
                My old OTTB was losing weight over the winter, so I switched him to TC senior and vegetable oil. He also gets beet pulp. He has gained weight on this and is starting to look much better. Good luck; I have 3 horses on a limited budget and know how hard it is to find a decent place!


                • #9
                  Can you get some good quality leafy alfalfa hay?? I would add this to his other hay or at mid day. I always prefer to add calories with hay instead of adding more grain, especially if ulcers are in his past. It would also take longer than alfalfa pellets to eat. Why did you switch him from safe choice when he was doing well? I would go back to what was working for him in the past.


                  • #10
                    How about adding some corn oil? Buy big jugs at Sams or Costco, get a dose pump from the feed store to screw into the top of the jug, then pump out the oil onto the feed- easy.


                    • #11
                      Are you sure that your horse is actually getting the extra feed you buy? If you are, definitely switch to something like TC Senior, Complete, or Purina Ultium.

                      I would suggest that you add a beet pulp/alfalfa pellet meal with his noon hay, but, as Spud&Saf said, an 80 mile round trip every day is going to cost you more than $200 a month before you even factor in the cost of the extra feed. How often do you get out to ride him? If it's often enough to make a difference, you could feed him that then. Let it soak while you ride and feed it after you cool him out - it's all forage, so you could do that.
                      "Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense!"


                      • Original Poster

                        Spud: I could afford the $200 extra a month for one horse, but I have two. I can't afford the $400 extra a month unfortunately. I know this barn is far from ideal, but having moved to the area not long ago, I didn't realize how far apart board is for a decent barn. This horse is going up for sale as soon as weight is on him, and my other guy is getting out of there the day Bobby leaves. If I can find a place for even $300 a month/horse, I might be able to work with it. I will definitely look into the supplements you suggested. Any links to where I can get the aloe vera juice? He just got a fecal count done. Nothing crazy--vet said worm with Ivermectin and send in another test in 2 weeks.

                        Candyappy: I switched him to something I thought had a little more fat in it, and my vet recommened trying a feed with the Amplify in it to put on the pounds quicker. The 200 has done really well putting the weight back on my other guy who didn't drop nearly as many pounds.

                        Scaramouch: I bag both horses' grain in individual baggies with their supplements in it for AM and PM just for that reason. All BO has to do is dump it in there. I try to get out at least four times a week whether I'm riding or not.

                        Thanks for the input from everyone!!
                        R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


                        • #13
                          You can get the Aloe Vera juice at Walmart in the pharmacy area.

                          I think it's like $8 for the jug??

                          Be forewarned, some take a few days to get used to the flavour so add slowly to make sure he doesn't go off his feed.
                          Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                          • #14
                            I am fostering/leasing an 18 year old quarter horse paint mare. She was pretty ribby when I started with her and had hollows above her shoulders big enough to hide a glove in, just about! I started her on 8 cups Life Design Senior and 4 cups beet pulp (divided into 2 feedings). Plus 6-8 slices of hay per day, spread out over a 10 hour period. She gained about 75 lbs on just those two feeds, but then hit a plateau. She still needs, in my opinion, about another 100 lbs., so I upped her from 8 cups of Life Design to 10 a day and added two generous handsful of alfalfa cubes 2x a day. She's also getting some limited turnout (about an hour or two a day) and seems to be doing better. I'm waiting to see how much weight she puts on. I also added a couple of tablespoons of corn oil to her feed 2x a day. Hope this helps in deciding what kind of feed to use.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scaramouch View Post
                              Are you sure that your horse is actually getting the extra feed you buy? If you are, definitely switch to something like TC Senior, Complete, or Purina Ultium.

                              I would suggest that you add a beet pulp/alfalfa pellet meal with his noon hay, but, as Spud&Saf said, an 80 mile round trip every day is going to cost you more than $200 a month before you even factor in the cost of the extra feed. How often do you get out to ride him? If it's often enough to make a difference, you could feed him that then. Let it soak while you ride and feed it after you cool him out - it's all forage, so you could do that.
                              All of THIS!! Hope you get things straightened out soon. I LIKE him. He could use my pasture any time.

                              Seriously figure up what you're spending on gas and see if you might not come out even or even ahead..Sure would ease your mind, too, to have your boy nearer to you.
                              You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by pj View Post
                                All of THIS!! Hope you get things straightened out soon. I LIKE him. He could use my pasture any time.
                                Well he is on the sale list.... He is a good pony, which makes me feel even worse for not holding up my end of the bargain.

                                I found the Aloe Vera Juice at Walmart and snagged the last jug. The woman at the checkout kept giving it weird looks as I was fishing out my money. She finally asked what I did with it. "Oh, it it's for my horse." Silence. I searched the forum and read 60cc dosage for it? I told BO 10cc with each feeding a day to start him out for the first couple of days. I also bought a big bag of the alfalfa cubes. Since he's not getting alot of hay from BO, I told him to go wild with them. I put a small pail in the bag and told him to give him a pail with each haying. It'll probably be about 5lbs/day. I forgot my trusty hanging scale to do exact amount, but I'll check tomorrow.
                                R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


                                • #17
                                  He may be stressing his calories off with the lack of turnout. The very last place I boarded stressed my draft cross so bad with their lack of turnout in the spring (horses were put in tiny outdoor stalls, sectioned off with very hot electric tape), he lost a significant amount of weight and would not regain despite our best efforts. We increased his grain until he was getting 3x the usual amount, added rice bran and all the hay he'd eat. Still no improvement until we moved him. Then, he was back to his typical plump self on almost no grain. Dirt lot or not, simply being able to move around is better than no turnout at all.
                                  JB-Infinity Farm


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I just wanted to post an update to show you guys how much your suggestions have helped! Yesterday Bobby had his 2 week anniversary on the SmartGain, and one week anniversary with the Aloe Vera Juice (which he LOVES) and alfalfa cubes. He's also been back on Safe Choice for a few days now, but not quite long enough to credit it for any improvement.

                                    Hubby saw him for the first time in well over a week and commented without me saying anything how much healthier he looks. He coat shedded out beautifully and it's now shiny and soft instead of coarse, and he's really starting to fill out over his ribs. He's still definitely thin and he's got a ways to go, but we're moving in the right direction!

                                    No t/o still, but BO has been giving him more hay with AM/PM feedings, and I've been taking him out to graze and letting him wander around the small area between the barn and arena while I'm there. There's a little bit of grass to munch on, but more importantly he's OUTSIDE.

                                    Grazing after a bath
                                    Skinny, but better than before
                                    R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


                                    • #19
                                      Don't know what kind of hay he's getting but a rough figure to work with would be 1.5 to 2% of ideal body wt per day (broken into however many feedings you want) in good quality (around here that means 14% protein or better) hay. Right now in my area hay is getting really hard to find and there is no pasture (high desert, scrub, sage etc with bits of bunch and cheat grass for about 4-6 weeks is all that is edible out there) so I'm feeding almost entirely alfalfa cubes. The local processing mill told me that they use about 3 lbs of good alfalfa hay to make 2 lbs of cubes so I could feed a little less wt of cubes to equal their hay wt. Been feeding about 10-14 lbs of cubes /day for horses that weigh 800-1000 lbs (hay needs would normally be 12-16 lbs for smaller ones and 15-20 lbs for bigger ones.....if mill is right they are getting this in the cubes with amounts equalling 15 to 21 lbs of hay). Increasing calories with hay cubes is easy. As is adding fats....they contain 2.5x the number of calories per wt unit as carbs and proteins so a little can add a lot of calories quickly. You can use vegie/corn oil (Sams club, WalMart) or specialty feeds such as KoolKalories and stabelized rice bran, black oil sunflower seeds, flax seeds etc. Another nice thing, not terribly expensive, is Calf Manna....adds wt and wonderful coat quickly and most horses absolutely love it....add the oil to that and wt goes on nicely.
                                      Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                                      Northern NV


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Originally posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
                                        The local processing mill told me that they use about 3 lbs of good alfalfa hay to make 2 lbs of cubes so I could feed a little less wt of cubes to equal their hay wt.
                                        Did not know that! I'm currently giving him 10lbs/day of the alfalfa cubes. He was getting around 20lbs of regular hay/day, but BO has gotten back to the late 1st cutting which is a little stemmier so he has agreed to throw him some more with each feeding.

                                        I'm pretty happy with the progress so far. I really like the SmartGain.
                                        R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.