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Help with overweight horses

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  • Help with overweight horses

    I started at a local barn back in January and have been slowly working with the horses there and donkey. Biggest problem that I saw in all but the donkey was they're freaking fat. The mares range from 3 to 28 (I think).

    I slowly started weaning back on the amount of grain they were getting. When I started each was getting about 3qts of grain a day or more, 2-3 flakes of hay and are turned out from about 7am to 7pm. Over a month and a half I weaned them down to about 1qt a day. The 3yr old is getting half is alfalfa pellets and sweet feed per trainer when she returned after 6 months.

    So far everyone has lost visible weight from changing the grain except one mare. I've worked her in the round pen some before it started getting too hot. The vet is coming out this week to do yearly shots and worming per owners request. Any questions I should ask the vet about this one mare? I know I need to up the amount of round pen work but this is hard to do with the heat in the south and the round pen being on a slight slope. I'm worried about her foundering with the amount of weight she has.

    Here's a few pictures of her:



  • #2
    Are they on pasture at all? If so muzzle them for turnout. And ditch the grain--switch to a ration balancer.
    Originally posted by EquineImagined
    My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.

    Comment


    • #3
      NO grain for fat horses. NONE. Not even a ration balancer--lots of calories in those, too. Give them a vitamin/mineral/amino acid supplement and modest amounts of hay, for starters. Soaking the hay can remove even more calories. Can the fatso mare be ridden? Ponied off another horse?
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        The pasture they're on is a mix of burmuda and clover. I've thought about the muzzle as there's one in the tack room...covered in dust. The owner insists on them getting grain and knows their overweight but has nothing to do with feeding them. I'm there during the week and someone else does weekends, though I know she feeds them about 2xs as much as I do. What kind of ration balancer would be good for them?


        None have been ridden in probably 4 years aside from the 3yr old and she's still green broke.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I found the labels for the grain they're getting and I see why the 3 that get senior feed have gotten nice shiny coats the past month and a half. I picked up feed from a different store than what I thought the owner went to and ended up getting the Purina Sr and Alfalfa pellets. Comparing the Sr to where she usually gets then combined with the sweet feed it's no wonder it's made a difference.

          Mixed together
          http://www.ourcoop.com/productcatalo....aspx?el=58419
          http://www.ourcoop.com/productcatalo....aspx?el=71637

          Senior
          http://www.ourcoop.com/productcatalo....aspx?el=58312

          Comment


          • #6
            The owner insists on them getting grain and knows their overweight but has nothing to do with feeding them.
            What the owner doesn't know is going to kill her horse, so if she wants them to have grain. . . fine. Give them precisely one ounce of grain.

            A shiny coat is no defense against laminitis.
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              The two mares that get the Senior feed have lost weight since I changed the amount given but still could loose a bit more.

              I did weigh out how much grain they get when I feed them at 11oz a day, I have no clue how much the other person does but I can't even get her to remember to feed the 3yr old alfalfa on weekends. Owners reason for the grain is for the mineral content from the grain. I'm thinking of finding something that will cover that without the need for sweet feed.

              Lady I volunteered with suggested beet pulp and the article on Fix it with feed suggested it minus the molasses. Would a mix of beet pulp and a mineral supplement be good. I've been meaning to find a hoof supplement to add in too.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have two hard to manage boys at home. You really need to stop the grain completely and put a muzzle on. My vet suggested platinum performance, but smartpak has a version that costs less called daily omegas plus. It's flax based which has been shown to help regulate blood sugar (she's probably IR). It also contains the vit/min, amino acids, and if you go with something like this you won't need anything for her feet.

                I would also talk to the vet about putting her on Thyro-L to help get some of the weight off, but it's a waste of everyone's time and money if you don't make the other management changes...she'll just blow up again.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Flax is a grain and since you feed it in ounces not lbs the perfect grain for a fatty on too good of pasture. Ditch all feed and give fatty a couple ounces of grain and if it pleases the owner a fortified supplement for vits/ mineral. Then you are looking at 200-300 calories vs in the neighborhood of 1200cal for a lb of horse feed. Then you are meeting the owners desire but reducing calories by 1000cal a day.

                  When the vet comes the obvious question you should ask is "Is this mare metabolic?" And "Can you help explain to the owner why this body score is EXTREMELY UNHEALTHY ?"

                  Way too much clover on that pasture. The land owner needs to knock it back with a pesticide to reasonable poplution. Then you need to muzzle the horse for grazing or limit her grazing time....or this horse going to founder.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Would talking the owner into switching to beet pulp and adding vits/mineral and a hoof supplement be a good idea? This would be for all of them and only one horse would probably require the grain and it's cause he's a hard keeper. I'll bring up using the muzzle on the one mare.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Whatever reduces the caloric intake is a good idea. There are vitamin/mineral/amino acid supplements that can be fed at the rate of 4-6 ounces a day, virtually NO calories added, to meet their needs that way. If you chuck that in a cup of wet beet pulp the horse gets a "meal" and everyone's happy.

                      I can't think of a sweet feed product that would be meeting a horse's vit/min needs fed at the rate of 11 ounces a day.
                      Click here before you buy.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        So beet pulp all around added vit/mineral, hoof supplement (for those that need it) and tubby gets a muzzle. Guess I'll have to endure the heat/humidity and put her in the round pen for 10mins twice a week. I'll talk with the vet about diet for all and see what they say. I've never met the one coming out, the usual vet I did some work for back in college so I know she's good.

                        Guess I'll need to call the co-op and check pricing comparing what she buys now compared to the other.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by onna View Post
                          Would talking the owner into switching to beet pulp and adding vits/mineral and a hoof supplement be a good idea? This would be for all of them and only one horse would probably require the grain and it's cause he's a hard keeper. I'll bring up using the muzzle on the one mare.
                          Beet pulp is a fairly high energy forage subst. So if you are feeding it to fatties then feed it in ounces NOT lbs and as a carrier for the vit/mineral supp or the hoof supplement.

                          So any combo that reduces calories is wise. Anything you can do the restrict grazing time/rate of consumption is wise.

                          The hard keeper could benefit from beet pulp in a grander amount. Especially if this horse has teeth issues. I use beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, grain based feed and oil on my hard keeper.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            10mins twice a week
                            Why not 30 minutes, every day?
                            Click here before you buy.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              That's what I was thinking, just enough to hold all of the supplements together and no extra.

                              Lack of babysitter on Monday is one problem I run into. The other is I overheat easy and stuck wearing jeans or I get ate up by every bug possible in the area. The round pen is also on a small hill that has enough slope to it I've had the horses slip several times on different occasions even trotting. Last thing I want to happen is have one injured. I thought it was better to start off at a short time for several weeks then slowly add more as the horse adjusted to it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by onna View Post
                                That's what I was thinking, just enough to hold all of the supplements together and no extra.
                                Good plan...now to get the owner on board. Good Luck. And you are seriously doing the horse a big favor by trying to help.

                                Maybe you can tell the owner that you know of someone (me)that has a rotund gelding that will never be anything but a fatty. But in all his days he has never been that fat! Maybe if you find a polite way to to share my comment she'll get the picture.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by D Taylor View Post
                                  Good plan...now to get the owner on board. Good Luck. And you are seriously doing the horse a big favor by try to help.

                                  Maybe you can tell the owner that you know of someone (me)that has a rotund gelding that will never be anything but a fatty. But in all his days he has never been that fat! Maybe if you find a polite way to to share my comment she'll get the picture.
                                  I think the motivation to the change would be the owner riding again. I know it needs to be a slow process to loose the weight, so summer heat is a good time to adjust feed and we have all fall and winter to get the rest done. My biggest thing is getting them into shape. I know they could be ridden now, but what's the point if you hurt them in the process and lay them up for several more months?

                                  She did tell me if its anything needed for the horses to get it or let her know and she'll buy it. So maybe me telling her about this will help and having the vet confirm with change a of diets.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Think I found things that would work. I want to make sure I have a list of what she needs to buy for switching these guys over before hand. I'm glad I've been on the right track, helps having someone else that backs up what I've been thinking.

                                    Trying to stay local as its easier to get her to run out to the co-op and I can always run to the other that's a bit farther away.

                                    Beet pellets
                                    http://www.ourcoop.com/productcatalo....aspx?el=64498

                                    Vitamin/mineral supplement
                                    http://www.tractorsupply.com/dumor-r...20-lb--1025911

                                    Hoof supplement
                                    http://www.tractorsupply.com/dumor-r...22-lb--1000757

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Whew...those were some serious storms but we are grantful for the rain. Anyhow...


                                      Those are quality products. You are def on the right path.

                                      I used the Dumor Hoof on Mr Rotund. He stays on a double dose as his hooves are brittle and shelly and he is a 16hd horse (big guy)....and being a fatty only complicates that. I have tried others and have found Dumor Hoof works the best. I am very happy with the product's results and cost/benefit.

                                      Good luck....and take care in the heat. I am not enjoying the summer much either.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        No grain whatsoever would be an excellent idea for any horse or any person whose ribs are not protruding.

                                        Comment

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