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Horse not putting on weight?

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  • Horse not putting on weight?

    Looking for some suggestions to help me develop a new feeding plan for my 4 y/o Holsteiner mare. I brought her home in March from a farm where she had lived her whole life WITH another mare from that farm to make her feel more comfortable. In the following months she seemed really anxious and was pacing the fences of her field (she lives in a field with a run-in) and lost some weight. At this point she was eating a basic pelleted feed from Purina. I increased the amount of grain she was eating, but it didn't seem to do anything. (She did settle in and quit pacing eventually.) I now have her eating about 3 qts of Triple Crown Complete and about 1 qt of Southern States Pelleted Feed 2x a day plus about 10 lbs of hay each day. She still seems skinny...I can see her ribs (slightly, but still) from some angles and looks like she needs more fat on her rump (can see her hip bone). She isn't terriblely skinny, but I do feel she needs some more weight on her. Could this be from eating processed feeds, like they are harder for the horse's body to absorb? Could you reccomend any alternative natural feed options that aren't processed if so? I wouldn't have a problem mixing her own feed if need be...just need to know what I'm doing first, lol. When I ride she can be exciteable so I would like something that wouldn't add to her "hotness". ALSO, my farrier has mentioned that her feet aren't growing as fast as they should be..not sure if she is wearing them down (she no longer paces) or if this has to do with her not geting the nutrients she needs from her feed? OK, I think that basically covers it...Let me know, please. Thanks.

  • #2
    More good quality hay .
    Patience pays.


    • #3
      Yes, lots more hay. You could easily double the amount you're giving.
      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


      • #4
        Way more hay. Why two different kinds of grain?
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          far more hay
          fecal exam when was she last checked or dewormed
          dental exam

          Personally I would cut out the concentrates and maximize the hay

          consider ulcers
          -- * > hoopoe
          Procrastinate NOW
          Introverted Since 1957


          • Original Poster

            Thank you, thank you, thank you! Two different grains because my other horse eats the pelleted and it's just easier to carry out in 2 scoops than have to run back in and get more of the other stuff... I dunno- doesn't make much sence now that I think about it lol.. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to feeding She gets wormed regularly.


            • #7
              Thirty pounds of hay a day, maybe more if it's very cold. Don't use grain for weight gain!


              • Original Poster

                Ok, def. thinking it could be ulcers... She has the symptoms for it. Thanks for bringing that to my attention, I seriously wouldn't have thought about it. Going to try reducing her grain, more hay, and getting her on some kind of supplement for ulcers/gut.


                • #9
                  My sister fed her skinny Standardbred "Healthy Coat" supplement; it's a liquid with Omegas, etc. It looks expensive compared with corn or vegetable oil but you only feed about an ounce with each meal so it works out; you can buy a bottle cap with a pump that squirts out an ounce so that makes it easy. Horse gained weight, didn't get hot and really did get a nice dappled coat. Just a thought if you don't see enough improvement from the hay alone.
                  It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


                  • #10
                    Double or triple her hay. 10 lb is what I would feed to a super easy keeper in the spring.

                    Take her off the Southern States, feed just the TC. I like Senior over Complete but both are good.

                    Check for ulcers, do an FEC, check teeth. Then give it a month or two, see if she puts on weight.

                    4 quarts of grain 2 x a day is approximately 8 lb of grain a day, which is a lot. I think that once you add more hay you will be able to significantly decrease grain.
                    come what may

                    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                    • #11
                      I would decrease current grain, increase to free choice hay and add oil (up to 2 cups per day gradually introduced) and beetpulp.

                      Also check worming protocol/fecal.


                      • #12
                        Ditto EVERYTHING. More hay, scratch the pellets (they probably aren't that quality, anyway). I don't think you need to reduce the grain. 4 qts/lbs twice a day is fine for a growing girl IF she needs it (you may find she doesn't need it once you massively up her hay. But I wouldn't cut the grain until you see an improvement in her weight.

                        All that being said, remember she is a growing girl and is likely to go through stages of looking good, looking weedy, then suddenly growing an inch. People sometimes forget that with young horses...it can be hard to keep up with them at times!


                        • #13
                          instead of feeding a high sugar diet..you may look into a rice bran/alfalfa pellet mixture with a vit/min supplement. you are going to be wanting to look for a low starch/sugar diet. another good alternative is triple crown senior. you are not going to want to feed more than 3-4 lbs per feeding.

                          get a dentist or a vet dentist out to check out her teeth. run a fecal...if your vet doesn't do that smartpak can do it for you.


                          • #14
                            On the hay and eating only 10lbs. Is that cuz it is all she will eat or is that cuz it is all you are feeding?

                            I am all for feeding hay 24X7 on a horse that needs weight, but it does no good if she is not eating it. If she is not eating it consider adding alfalfa pellets to her ration. Alfalfa is naturally high in buffers and would help neutralize acid thus aid an "ulcery" horse. If she is eating hay well then add about 10lbs of alfalfa hay. And yes hay infront of her 24X7....that can be grass hay.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by D Taylor View Post
                              On the hay and eating only 10lbs. Is that cuz it is all she will eat or is that cuz it is all you are feeding?

                              I am all for feeding hay 24X7 on a horse that needs weight, but it does no good if she is not eating it. If she is not eating it consider adding alfalfa pellets to her ration. Alfalfa is naturally high in buffers and would help neutralize acid thus aid an "ulcery" horse. If she is eating hay well then add about 10lbs of alfalfa hay. And yes hay infront of her 24X7....that can be grass hay.
                              Yes. Agreed. If she won't eat much more than that, there are definitely alternatives. Pellets, cubes, or (my horse's preference) dengi. My horse often will lose interest in hay during the competition season when he's fit, but will eat buckets and buckets of dengi. It helps keep his weight up without up his concentrates more.


                              • #16
                                Having the same issues with my 3 yo holsteiner, excepting she needs a lot of weight on. Feeding these large youngsters is a pricy venture. Good luck, lots of good advice here.


                                • #17
                                  We've had good luck with adding Lucerne Farms Dengie, a few lbs of complete feed (Purina Omolene 400), lots of good hay, and some Equine Senior. We have a picky eater who starts turning down his grain if we don't add a little of this and a little of that so he doesn't get tired of the same old food.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by r.j.246 View Post
                                    Having the same issues with my 3 yo holsteiner, excepting she needs a lot of weight on. Feeding these large youngsters is a pricy venture. Good luck, lots of good advice here.
                                    Only thing worse than a young growing horse eating you out of house and home is a young growing horse and a teen-aged son eating you out of house and home at the same time!


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with losing the pellets and at least doubling the hay. If you can get TC forages (and I believe Southern States carries them), I found that adding Safe Starch forage to his rations helped considerably with weight gain. It can be fed as a complete feed, but I didn't go that route (too expensive for the amount needed!). I gave a large bucketful morning and night with his regular grain and hay. It contains ride bran, among other things, but is low-sugar and shouldn't make a horse hot. As an added bonus, I've never met a horse who doesn't love the stuff.