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Under weight horse, what am I doing wrong?- update

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    I took his blanket off for the pic, and its 51 degrees today...

    The "fat" pic is where I'd like him to be, but in full work he stays about the middle pic.

    Already said hay isn't the best, but its what we have, it's better than the hay he was on which had no color whatsoever. We live in the midwest, barns are having to buy hay from halfway across the country at 2-3x the cost, unfortunately that's beyond my control. I'm trying to find ways to get him back up to weight with the resources available to me. And buying shipments of hay is not, unfortunately, something I can do due to cost/storage not to mention I'm paying for full care as is. I'm looking at another barn but its full, I barely squeezed into this barn.
    Team Ginger

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    • #22
      Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
      You might try adding rice bran to his feed, very dense in fat. You can get that at TSC, I believe. My 35 yr old is eating Nutrena but we add about a cup of the rice bran (Envision) to her feedings.
      I've not had any luck with rice bran, especially so little, for a horse that really needs weight. It's only about 20% fat. Oil, on the other hand, is 100% fat.

      I've had luck with rice bran for a horse that just needs a *little* extra, though...

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        I'm armed with a list of things to try, speaking to my BM tonight, and we'll give it a few weeks and see if there's a change! If not, it'll be about time for the vet to come out for shots/teeth floating so I'll have him pull blood too.
        Team Ginger

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        • #24
          Originally posted by NErider View Post
          I took his blanket off for the pic, and its 51 degrees today...

          The "fat" pic is where I'd like him to be, but in full work he stays about the middle pic.

          Already said hay isn't the best, but its what we have, it's better than the hay he was on which had no color whatsoever. We live in the midwest, barns are having to buy hay from halfway across the country at 2-3x the cost, unfortunately that's beyond my control. I'm trying to find ways to get him back up to weight with the resources available to me. And buying shipments of hay is not, unfortunately, something I can do due to cost/storage not to mention I'm paying for full care as is. I'm looking at another barn but its full, I barely squeezed into this barn.
          I'll disagree I think he looks fantastic in that middle picture (in work) - he's not a chunky horse & looks to have good muscle with no obvious fat deposits: if you want more bulk than this, add it slowly with by building more muscle etc not by adding a layer of fat.

          I suspect the hay is an issue, so rather than adding more hay, I'd bulk him up with Alfalfa cubes/pellets, Timothy/Alfalfa cubes (some horses find these much more palatable) etc.
          If your BM can give him an extra feeding of concentrates & cubes during his turnout, I'd do that rather than extra hay.

          Rice bran tends to be less palatable than milled flax (which has a better nutrient profile), play around with adding cracked corn (as he seemed to do well on it previously), black oil sunflower seeds, flatted oats etc.

          Take note of what happens with his manure - if the birds are crazy for it, there's undigested yummies coming out, & you need to play with the volumes you're giving at one time or the fibre/fat balance ...

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          • #25
            totally agree with the above poster. in the middle pic, he is just on the verge of overweight, and just where i would like to see a horse in light-medium work.

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            • #26
              He looks good in the 2nd and 3rd pics- but a bit skinny now. The hay does not look great- does he have turnout buddies now? It could be that he doesn't LIKE it that much and leaves it lying around a less picky horse vacuums it up.

              I understand the hay being beyond your control at this point. Adding hay cubes, alfalfa cubes, alfalfa pellets, hay stretcher or beet pulp would be your best bet. My almost 20 year old OTTB stays like the 2nd pic on 25ish lbs of hay a day, and 1lb hay stretcher with 1lb Sentinel Lifetime twice a day, with 2 scoops of cool calories in the evening. The key for him is forage material. For a couple years a friend of mine had him and they fed him about 40 lbs of hay a day and he looked like porky pig when he got home. Unfortunately, I'm unable to feed him more hay since he's on 24/7 turnout with a buddy that resembles an overgrown pony named Hoover. So I get him as much forage and calories as I can. In the summer, Hoover is in work and stays a reasonable size on pasture turnout and OTTB is free to pack on pounds grazing all day.

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              • #27
                Personally, I've had great luck keeping weight on my mare over the winters with TC Senior, alfalfa pellets, and rice bran. But there are many roads to Rome, as the saying goes. You are going to get the most bang for your buck, calorie wise, with fat, so I would definitely look to add that along with the alfalfa. Either as oil, Amplify/fat supplement, or rice bran. FWIW on the rice bran, IME you need at least a pound a day to see a difference.

                Purina Ultium Competition is something like 1900 kcal per pound and 12.5% fat. It already has Amplify, their fat supplement added to it. I have no idea how expensive it is, but may be less expensive than your current feed plus alfalfa pellets/cubes and some sort of fat supplement.
                Caitlin
                *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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                • #28
                  I've used Purina Ultium, Equine Senior, Omolene 400 (beet pulp based complete feed), soaked alfalfa cubes and Dengie as horse fatteners. Find some combination of extra food that he likes, and add it to his current ration. Also add extra hay, and he should start looking better. TBs often need a lot of calories.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by NErider View Post
                    I took his blanket off for the pic, and its 51 degrees today...

                    The "fat" pic is where I'd like him to be, but in full work he stays about the middle pic.

                    Already said hay isn't the best, but its what we have, it's better than the hay he was on which had no color whatsoever. We live in the midwest, barns are having to buy hay from halfway across the country at 2-3x the cost, unfortunately that's beyond my control. I'm trying to find ways to get him back up to weight with the resources available to me. And buying shipments of hay is not, unfortunately, something I can do due to cost/storage not to mention I'm paying for full care as is. I'm looking at another barn but its full, I barely squeezed into this barn.
                    After I posted that I thought that maybe you had taken his blanket off for the picture....
                    It sounds like you have several things to try if you can't get any decent hay and maybe a complete type , high calorie feed and some alfalfa pellets or a chopped bagged alfalfa that some feed places have ( or you could order). I think he looked o.k. in #2 but I liked the healthy bloom he has in #3. I would certainly shoot for somewhere in between. New hay this summer will make all the difference and a new barn may not be any better at this point.

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                    • #30
                      I hate safe choice. I have watched horses get thin eating loads of it. I just dont think its a quality feed for a horse like a TB that might be a bit of a hard keeper. I even watched easy keeprs get thin on it at one point.

                      For my TBs, Its Ultium or Triple Crown Sr for a feed at about 6 lbs a day. For ones that are really bad off you can give up to 12 lbs I think it is but I never feed more than 4 lbs at a time in one feed. Both are high quality forage based feeds.

                      I also feed 5 to 10 lbs of Alfalfa in whatever form (pre soaking weight in the case of cubes or pellets of course). I will back this off as caloric needs decease.

                      For one really hard keeper, I also added 3 scoops of Cool Calories twice a day. It did seem to help also and he loved the taste over messy oils. I used just a dab of oil to get the CC to stick to the pellets.

                      This is all based around free choice good grass hay in a slow feeder. I have great results.

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                      • #31
                        When I want to pack some extra pounds on my boy, my go-to is Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage. I work him up to a large bucketful morning and night along with his regular feed. It doesn't make him hot, is low in NSC, and he LOVES it.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          when it comes to the BOSS, please note that some bags of boss have a vitamin coating on them (for the birds) and from what i've read/heard, you should NOT feed that version to horses. just a thought.
                          WH Miakoda - 2010 Appaloosa gelding
                          Storm N the Harbor - 2007 Thoroughbred mare
                          WHS SlikBlak Cadilak - 2014 Appaloosa mare (RIP)

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                          • #33
                            When I look at the most recent picture he looks to me likes he's lost both weight *and* his top-line. The area by the side of the withers look like it's practically lost all of its muscle.

                            I'd have him checked for lyme disease. That can cause a horse to lose weight fast and not be able to put it back. The vet can pull some blood and send it off to the lab, and the test is relatively inexpensive. Frankly, if I were you I would insist that the vet do this.

                            My horse has had lyme a couple of times, and one of those times the only obvious symptom she had was the dropping of weight, an inability to gain weight (and I tried oil, rice bran, powerpacking, GastroGuard, etc.), and she was lethargic. When the vet finally did do the test, she had a very high titer.

                            I'd also look at your saddle fit. If you're using the same saddle now that you did back in the fall, it can't fit him well (or if it fits him now, it must have been pinching him badly in the fall).

                            Good luck.
                            "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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                            • #34
                              You have diet that works for him, why can't he go back on the feed program he was on @ the trainers. It seemed to work well for him.
                              When you took out the corn & alfalfa you cut his calories in half.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                With what you have available to you I would switch to Ultium. If I HAD to feed Purina, that's what I would feed. FWIW... I never had good luck with rice bran either. Boy always did much better on ground flax. I tried to save a couple of bucks by trying Dumors UltraShine instead of the Omega Horseshine. According to the label it was a little higher in fat, but contained ricebran, ground oats, and flax and it's $17 cheaper for a 20lb bag. I had to feed him more of it, it had a funky smell to it and made his poop smell really foul. I wasn't saving any money and just really didn't bloom on it. So I switched back to the Horseshine. He does so much better on it and I can give him half as much as the UltraShine.

                                Ltc4h... I bet the reason he looked the way he did at the trainers was quality of hay he was getting (not the corn, lots of corn is the devil AFAIC) and it looks like he had lots of grass to eat in that last pic too. Mr. Green does wonders for them.

                                OP it sounds like you have a plan of action and spring is just around the corner so hopefully he will be getting lots of good pasture to graze on

                                eta: I also hate SafeChoice... Boy did horrible on it. Was eating tons of it, lost a lot of weight in the blink of an eye, was jumpy and spooked at everything.
                                Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                                Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                                "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Thanks guys!

                                  I weighed the hay last night, 3 flakes is 10lbs, so he's getting 25-30lbs of hay a day, when I'm out I give him 3-4 more flakes too. But, its not the best hay, and lots of sticks, etc.

                                  I'm spending the weekend getting a new diet plan tackled for him, including finding the one feed mill that sells Ultium around here. My last TB gelding did well on it too, but the stores in town stopped selling it so haven't tried it on my current guy.

                                  I also think he's been dehydrated at the new barn. So I'm getting alfalfa pellets to soak to tackle two problems at once.

                                  He hates Cool Calories, tried it, had to give most of the bag away. We tried the Dumor horse shine stuff too, he ate some but managed to shift most of it to the bottom of his feeder. However, he will eat oil, so I'm going to get a few gallons of it!

                                  Also put a liner on him under his blanket, cold snap this week.

                                  Thanks so much, I've learned a lot and hopefully will be posting pictures in a month or two with him looking better, fingers crossed!
                                  Last edited by NErider; Feb. 15, 2013, 11:09 AM. Reason: edited bc I can't do math
                                  Team Ginger

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                                  • #37
                                    Hi there, I have a gelding who was extremely difficult to put weight back on as he lost it. We think he has hind gut ulcers. Only way I can confirm this is that we treated for this and he is gaining rapidly. Omeprazole will only treat stomach ulcers not hind gut. May be something to look into.
                                    Originally posted by Calamber
                                    So much stupidity, so little time.
                                    Confessions of a Dressageaholic - www.dressageaholic.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      First of all I just want to say he's a lovely horse! I"m a sucker for exactly that type of big red TB gelding!

                                      My big red TB gelding thrives on Ultium. He looked worse than yours last winter and I did pretty much exactly what you did - pulled him in off of rough board, piled on the Ultium and good hay, and ***had the vet look really hard at his teeth.*** Turns out he had a molar that was shifting out of line and was starting to bother him; it broke, we pulled it, and the rest is soaked feed history. So if you're thinking about doing spring vetting a little early this year, have his teeth looked at really, really well and see if there might be a problem that escaped you last fall. Just a thought.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Have you tried Omega Horseshine?? TSC sells it... it's gone up in price though, from $40 for 20lb to $47, but one bag lasts me a few months! That stuff has more than doubled in price since I've started feeding it but it's such good stuff that I can't stay away from it. Everytime I try to save money and try something else I always end up going back to it. Plus it has Diamond V yeast in it which I think sets it apart from other weight builders.
                                        Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                                        Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                                        "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

                                        Comment

                                        • Original Poster

                                          #40
                                          Ultium is $26 a bag! Yowza! But I'm doing it. How much should he get at first? Feeding directions say up to 8-12lbs a day, is that about right?
                                          Team Ginger

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