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Feeding question

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  • Feeding question

    Recently acquired a handsome, HUGE Saddlebred gelding. 6yo. Been sitting in a pasture for most of the past couple of years so has no muscle. He's also just a SMIDGEN thinner than I'd like- you don't look at him and think "skinny horse". He's not far off where he should be, he just doesn't have quite the fat cover that I'd like on his ribs. the main thing mostly is that more so than fat, he needs muscle tone so looks pretty angular.

    He's recently moved to a new barn and is receiving the same feed he had been prior to my ownership.

    He's in full time work now. He's very enthusiastic and likes to work so I'm not having to push him at all, rather the goal is to ease him back to work without overdoing. He gets a bit sweaty 5 or 6 days a week, plus turnout several hours a day

    So... young, healthy horse. Needs a pinch of weight and adequate nutrition to build muscle, and recently went from pasture puff to full time but light (increasing with fitness) work. Would you bump his feed level up preemptively, or kind of just wait and keep an eye on him

  • #2
    He's in work now? And only recently so? And needs muscle? I'd up his feed now. Actually, I'd put him on triamino, which will aid in muscle development, and add oil to his current ration. If he needs more after that, I would pursue one of the low sugar seniors, like Triple Crown.

    You cannot put muscle on a horse without adequate calories, and I've found triamino invaluable in that process, too.


    • Original Poster

      Yeah. He's a big horse at 17-2 but supposed to not be a really hard keeper despite his size. Been out of work except the occasional ride for probably 2 years. He was well started but then he was too big and a little too green to use for lessons and owner/trainer is a busy farrier and hasn't had time for horses he personally owned so he came to me.
      Wasn't on anything special at the last barn- just a 12% pellet , which is pretty similar to what the new barn is feeding (a pellet and oat custom mix. I don't think it's very high fat, but higher than some) I usually ride/longe/long line a horse 5 to 6 days a week unless it's too cold.


      • #4
        17.2 SB? I would start upping his feed now. Cuz if you wait until he is in work....well that is a big horse to feed. Plus the weather is turning a bit colder now.

        Gratefully every SB I have had is a very good eater and tho they needed a lot of feed when in work it did not have to be a high fat ration. In the end it is about the bottom line and calories.


        • #5
          Don't you mean it's about the top line? Fat and calories alone won't build muscle. Do some research about nutrition and find a feed/supplement available in your area that addresses your issues. A well educated feed dealer can be a great resource, so don't limit your education to on line resources (some of which may be questionable). Great line of thinking, kudos to you for such an intelligent approach to your horse care.


          • #6
            If he's already a little on the lean side, and his calorie expenditure is increasing, then yes, I'd revamp his diet now rather than play catch up later.

            But revamp doesn't have to mean more food. I would absolutely make his diet lower in sugars than it currently appears. A generic 12% pellet and oat mix is probably pretty high in sugars, and that can be counterproductive to weight gain.

            What are your feeding options? I would really rather not see more sugars added by way of adding more of what he's currently eating. I'd much rather see a lower sugar diet replacing this, and it may be the same amount fed, but you'd get higher quality calories and a net gain of usable calories.
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #7
              Originally posted by joyful View Post
              Don't you mean it's about the top line? Fat and calories alone won't build muscle. Do some research about nutrition and find a feed/supplement available in your area that addresses your issues. A well educated feed dealer can be a great resource, so don't limit your education to on line resources (some of which may be questionable). Great line of thinking, kudos to you for such an intelligent approach to your horse care.
              No, if you are referring to my statement. I used the words I meant. The bottomline is the number crunching of the total ration. The accounting of nutrients and the final tally. Not this supp, or that supp and so on. And since she specifically wants gain then extra calories.


              • #8
                I would hold off on the oil. Switch to a high quality, high fat low sugar like TC complete. I've heard good things about tri amino so that can't hurt temporarily although it will be your call if you really need it, I might give it a month on the TC.


                • #9
                  Definitely - oil is not a first resort. Get a good base diet first. If you are using a quality feed at recommended amounts, and the hay is at least not crappy, then even something as good as Tri-Amino won't be necessary.
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • Original Poster

                    My feed options are pretty limited. They only stock the one mix. You can provide something different but they charge the same if you use their feed vs using your own which kind of makes me *sigh* just a little.... The hay is kind of mid-grade first cutting. clean, better than I've seen at some barns in the area after this challenging hay year... He's used to round bales so it's probably better than he was getting but I think its more fiber than nutritious food. I have a bag and a half of alfalfa pellets left from my previous gelding. Might that be a good place to start supplementing?
                    Last edited by blairasb; Jan. 2, 2013, 10:03 PM. Reason: Weird sentence.... lol


                    • #11
                      If you are limited on feed types, look into a rice bran supplement (fat/calories). I use omega cool from my dealer but prior to that it was omega max or something. Both were 40% fat supplements, and I have sometimes hard to transition tbs that are at the farm suddenly due to injury or just needing a rest.
                      I had some tough ones a few months ago and revamped a few things and since then haven't had a problem. I also added a ration balancer (pellet).

                      But, up his calories NOW before he loses because once they lose they are so hard to get back.
                      Last edited by doublete; Jan. 2, 2013, 10:59 PM. Reason: Forgot something
                      Race training and retraining Thoroughbreds.