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Trouble keeping weight on older horse - suggestions?

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  • #21
    What is the recommended daily feeding amount of the Tri-County for your horse's target weight? If it's a complete feed, I'm guessing it's far more than 4.6 pounds. You need to feed within the recommended parameters to make sure she's getting sufficient vitamins/minerals.

    You're feeding about 7 lbs of "stuff" per day, dry weight. That's not enough to put weight on a really hard keeper.

    As another poster said, nix the half-pound of this and that and double the actual feed! You may need to even throw in a third "lunch" feeding. You can likely feed a bit less when her weight is where you want it, of course.
    "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!"


    • #22
      I agree completely with Scaramouch....she may need 3 or 4 feedings per day of hay. Keeping her in a night is also a great idea. You can at least make sure she has 2 feedings inside before turnout. It will help you monitor if she is really consuming the hay you think she is.


      • #23
        I think horses are happier when they can eat all day long. Slow feeders are great for this. My OTTB who has been thin in the past does well on 24/7 access to hay. Due to a tendency to tie up, she is only supposed to eat grass hay. I also give her a standard feed scoop of equine senior, 1 cup of platinum performance, 1 cup of omega horse shine. If she looks thin, I add in a scoop of soaked beat pulp. At present no beat pulp as she looks fine how she is. Good luck. We had a skinny hard keeper OTTB at our place and putting him in a paddock by himself and feeding him lots and lots of hay has made a HUGE difference!


        • #24
          Forget the corn oil. Order some CoCoSoya from Uckele Labs. It is very palatable and doesn't make the grain look like it is swimming in oil. 4 ounces a day helps keep weight on my older mares.


          • #25
            Definitely get teeth looked at again, hand floats don't always get the back teeth well enough.

            I agree, that is not enough food. I have a 27 year old ASB that is getting 3 pounds of ADM Patriot Performance 12/10 and 1.5 pounds Purina Senior twice daily and then 1.5 pounds of alfalfa pellets at lunch. He also gets about 10 pounds of Perennial Peanut hay daily and is out at pasture. He still needs to gain some but is not as bad as he was a couple of months ago.

            We had CBC and fecals run on him also. That would definitely be a good choice for your horse also, you want to make sure you are not feeding worms and also to make sure that his organs are properly functioning to utilize the nutrients he is getting.

            Don't bother with a test for anemia, horses store red blood cells in their spleen and the spleen releases it when the horse exercises. It is exceedingly rare for a horse to be anemic and over supplementation with iron can cause other problems.

            I would also be careful about over supplementation with rice bran. Brans are high in phosphorous and you need to make sure you balance it out with enough calcium or else your horse's bones could be effected.
            Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
            Bernard M. Baruch


            • #26
              I'm no expert by any means but when you're talking in cups and fractions of cups I have to think it's just not enough calories, for starters.

              I worked at a very reputable clinic once that fed the hard keepers one coffee can of purina senior and two coffee cans of rolled steam corn, twice a day. It kept many many old horses looking fat and sassy for years. I couldn't believe it when I saw the corn but sure enough... we were feeding 40 year old horses that and they were doing great!
              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


              • #27
                I have a 19 yo TB mare(also a redhead). She gets 1 and 1/2 lbs of an 11% protein textured feed twice per day. She lives out 24/7 on grass pasture(pretty skimpy right now), and gets 3-4 large flakes of hay am and pm. Most of the time I feed her a bucket of alfalfa forage while I am tacking up(several pounds worth). In the winter she also gets beet pulp every day. She gets way more than 2 cups. If I had to guesstimate in cups(dry), I would say close to 9 cups. I also just added a supplement called Radiance( from Horse Tech) for weight gain because she looked like she was losing a little weight. Last week I also had them bump her grain from 1 and a 1/4 lbs per feed to 1 and 1/2 lbs. I have never found the alfalfa to make her hotter.


                • Original Poster

                  I have literally 2 minutes before my laptop dies, the charger is not working tonight for some reason. This is the grain she is on:

                  Tri-county HiFybe Plus 11% protein, 10% fat, 17% fiber


                  I don't see anywhere online where it says recommended daily feeding amounts. The other horses at the barn are all air ferns (sigh) who get substantially less than my horse does. I don't recall seeing anything on the bag about feeding amounts, it just has a little tag with the percentages and such. I've sent the company an email asking them what they recommend.

                  I'll report back tomorrow night once I have seen the vet and have access to a working computer charger. I truly appreciate all of your comments!


                  • #29
                    My 25 year old gets a small (2 gallon) bucket full of Purina Equine Senior with a little ground flax mixed in, each evening, as well as 3lbs of Senior in the am and free choice, high quality grass hay at all times. He would wither away on the small amount that you are feeding.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by TBPONY View Post
                      I have literally 2 minutes before my laptop dies, the charger is not working tonight for some reason. This is the grain she is on:

                      Tri-county HiFybe Plus 11% protein, 10% fat, 17% fiber


                      I don't see anywhere online where it says recommended daily feeding amounts. The other horses at the barn are all air ferns (sigh) who get substantially less than my horse does. I don't recall seeing anything on the bag about feeding amounts, it just has a little tag with the percentages and such. I've sent the company an email asking them what they recommend.

                      All feeds have a "feeding rate" listed on the bag. It will be on the yellow tag or maybe on the side of the bag. You could ask Bill or maybe Ronnie there about it. Or call McCauley's--they formulated the feed for tri county. Forget adding more beet pulp. I think that is one of the main ingredients in that feed anyway. Find away to feed more fat.

                      Also, have her checked for Lyme and EPM since they are so rampant around here. Lyme will cause them to loose weight sometimes. The Panacure Power pack is also a good idea.

                      You might try talking to Kathleen Crandell. She is a nutritionist. I think she is still at the MARE center. She may have some ideas. Or just talk to someone at Tri-County. They may have a feed better suited to your mare.

                      I'll report back tomorrow night once I have seen the vet and have access to a working computer charger. I truly appreciate all of your comments!
                      Good Luck!


                      • #31
                        I think what we all agree on is she needs more feed. It reminds me of the WWF wrestler whose slogan is "Feed me more!!!" (I don't watch it, but someone else in the house does)

                        Also, Uklele cocosoy is a great product and also rice bran is typically sold as "stabilized" which means the balance is not off set and calcium is added, another good product. Let us know what the vet says.
                        RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                        "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


                        • #32
                          Here's an FYI Not sure this is helpful, but I just looked at the USeventing TV interviews with 5 top grooms talking about nutrition. Max Corcoran starts it off, but the other woman talking about percentages of protein is important. She compares 4 glasses of water and explains that when you read a grain label the company has a pound for pound measurement of protein. For example if the company states that there is 20% protein they mean for a minimum of 5 pounds, so if you feed less than that you must supplement with something else. She takes away one of the glasses and explains that when you take away part of the recommended feeding, you have diminished the daily requirement. Protein is just one example.

                          If you're interested it's on Eventing TV and it's the third or fourth discussion.
                          RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                          "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


                          • #33
                            I agree with everyone else who's advocating for "more food" (both in terms of grain and hay) and I'll add a couple of minor tweaks that might be worth trying, based on what I did with my old guy.
                            I'd drop the rice bran and corn oil, and use something like Buckeye's Ultimate Finish to add fat as you need to. http://www.buckeyenutrition.com/supp...finish-25.aspx
                            (It ended up costing less than corn oil and isn't as messy, either.)
                            Just in case, check her manure for sand. It may not be as bad in your area as mine, but it costs nothing to check and if it is an issue, it's a really easy fix!
                            I also had good luck with adding a third feeding of soaked alfalfa pellets only for my guy. (You may not need to soak them, my guy had terrible teeth.)

                            Good luck with her!


                            • #34
                              I'm keeping weight on a 32 year old toothless draftx with TC Senior. He lives out 24/7 and can still eat grass, so in the summer he eats ~4lbs of TC Senior in addition to free-choice grazing. In the winter we ramp up to ~12lbs of TC Senior since he can't chew hay, and he gets all the chopped forage he wants any time he comes into the barn. Logistically we're trying to avoid a third feeding, so we will add oil next if he needs more weight. He gets all meals soaked.

                              I'm headed in the same direction with a 28 year old Welsh/Arab pony. His teeth are in decent shape and he strongly prefers hay to chopped forage. Right now he gets free-choice orchardgrass hay and 6lbs of TC Senior per day. He's a bit thinner than I would like, so I'll be upping the Senior after I get his bloodwork back. (He's IR/Cushings and ancient, so we routinely keep tabs on his lab values.)

                              Feed all the forage he'll eat, then find a good senior feed and don't be afraid to feed as directed. Simplicity -- it's a good thing!


                              • #35
                                I bet she isn't getting near the hay she should. If you aren't there to watch what she is eating and she is low on the totem pole , you know the others probably chase her away from her hay. Just because they can.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Happy update:

                                  The dentist was able to swing by unexpectedly and we sedated her for a thorough floating. Her back teeth had some waves and hooks on them. Not horrific, but for a horse as sensitive as she is I'm sure she will feel better now that those are gone. Whew. One possible problem crossed off the list.

                                  I spoke with tri-county about grain amounts this morning and they said feed between 4-9# per day for an average 1000 lb horse. Since she's only getting 5lbs per day and is older with a history of weight problems, they said it would be wise to bump up her feed over the next several weeks to between 7-8# and see how she does.

                                  I didn't mention this to the vet as I wanted to see what she had to say first without other opinions jumping in and she said she wanted the grain upped as well. 6lbs of grain a day, to be re-evaluated by my vet when she returns in 4-6 weeks for spring shots/coggins. If there is not enough improvement by then we will up the grain to 7lbs. She was impressed that we use actual measuring cups for the supplements and know exact weights on everything vs. just a sprinkle here and there. There is an enormous scoop used to get grain and although my BM is not comfortable feeding large quantities of grain twice daily, she is willing to provide a 3rd feeding if we need to up 7# after the follow-up visit next month. I don't want to do too much at the same time or else we won't know what helped or anything like that.

                                  Vet recommended we decrease the corn oil from 1/3 C 2x/d to 1/4 C 1x/d as new research has shown that in some horses, corn oil can actually act as an irritant in the digestive tract and it can cause mild inflammation as well as block food from actually being digested properly. Also, we're going to double her current alfalfa amount as well as add a 3rd meal/snack of soaked alfalfa cubes in the afternoon. Horse is thrilled with this decision as she licked the bucket clean for about 10 minutes, then poked her head out into the aisle begging for more.

                                  Vet said I need to start her on a Panacur Powerpack immediately and do that for 5 days. Then start a product called Succeed, which I haven't done a lot of research on yet but I know of people who've used it, and my vet has two clients with ancient horses who swear by it. It has something to do with the digestive system. Extensive bloodwork was drawn as well as a fecal so we'll have the results for those to discuss early next week.

                                  Dentist recommended keeping Horsey in a smaller paddock for part of the day so she doesn't run around so much (she has one speed - GO!) and then we can monitor her hay intake a bit more precisely. The way the hay piles are spread out normally, I know for sure she eats at least 4 flakes each meal. I spend entire afternoons at the barn just watching the horses interact and as long as there is another pile for her to move to then things are fine. BM teaches lessons and is at the barn all day every day so she keeps a sharp watch for any scuffles or bullying. The hay is good quality orchard/timothy/clover mix and the horses gobble it up. With the increase in soaked alfalfa cubes combined with a smaller paddock where my horse will have tons of hay all to herself, I think she's going to be very happy and fat in no time!

                                  Summary: Teeth floated, Vet reviewed food and made 3 revisions, starting panacur powerpack & succees. Will speak next week about bloodwork and fecal results and how that plays into things.

                                  I am grateful for all of you who took the time to write messages with what worked for you in the past or what you would suggest I do. Nothing is ever cookie-cutter and the great thing about message boards is the ability to reach a large, usually knowledgeable audience and ask for help. So thank you very much!


                                  • #37
                                    Thanks for keeping us up dated, please call the company that makes Succeed and tell them your story, they will send you a bunch of it at a small discount. I fed it to a horse with diarrhea and no difference, the diarrhea went away on it's own. Good luck.

                                    Actually, here's the number and sales rep 1 800 281-6727 extension 116 you'll get Larry (very nice guy.)
                                    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                                    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Eventer55, thanks for giving me the phone number! I really appreciate it and will call Larry first thing Monday morning.


                                      • #39
                                        I agree with those who suggest TC senior. It's a great feed, low NSC and high fat. My 28 year old mare isn't what I would call a hard keeper but because of her age we pay extra attention to her weight and diet. She gets 3-3.5 lbs TC senior per day with 1 lb of TC omega max, 1-2 lbs of soaked alfalfa cubes per day and free choice hay and she is in perfect weight. You can call TC and speak with the nutritionists there and they are great, they were actually the ones that suggested the omega max for her. The omega max is made from flax seed but it's all ground up so it seems to me that the omega 3's & 6's would be more available that way.

                                        Good Luck


                                        • #40
                                          I agree that it doesn't seem like there is anything in there with a large enough amount of calories to really make a dent for a hard keeper. 2.3 lbs isn't much in the grain department

                                          I love TC senior. I really do. I think the other things are great too - the beet pulp, the alfalfa cubes, etc.

                                          Can you add another grain feeding?

                                          As for suggestions, I've had great luck with using
                                          TC Senior
                                          Purina Amplify
                                          Calf Manna
                                          Alfalfa Pellets
                                          Timothy Pellets
                                          Gleam and Gain 60
                                          Buckeye Ultimate Finish

                                          (not all on one horse, just things I've used in the past on various horses)