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feed mixing questions for a poor horse.

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  • feed mixing questions for a poor horse.

    Hey guys. Hope someone here can give me some advice! I was given a horse for my birthday. Me and my wife both had seen pictures of the horse but apparently they were some old pictures because when we got to the mans house and saw her we loaded her and got her out of there as soon as we could! I had asked the guy when was the last time she had been dewormed and he said he had never dewormed her and that he didn't know he had to deworm horses. And through the winter all he had been giving her to eat was some untreated, unfertilized cheap hay. She is do skinny you can see her shoulder blades! Okay now to my questions. I purchased some rice bran, alfalfa pellets, and some Start to finish Cool Calories 100.. I asked a friend and he said I also needed to mix with sweet feed, the rice bran and the fat supplement are both powder-like in consistency so the sweet feed would probably help since the rice bran and fat supplement would stick to it. But my main concern is will this be too much for her body to handle? And if it is or isn't I still need to know how much I should give her a day and what I should change to my recipe?

  • #2
    Bless you for rescuing her!

    Forage... and lots of it! Offer her free choice hay if you can and let her eat all she wants. If you can't do free choice, supplement the hay she is getting with the alfalfa pellets or hay cubes, beet pulp etc. Work with your vet on a deworming program that is appropriate since she's never been dewormed and is in a poor state of health. You don't want to hit her with a dewormer that's too much too soon. Once she's getting regular meals and is free of worms, then I would consider whether additional feeds or supplements need to be added to help her put on the weight. She will probably put on a surprising amount of weight just from having the regular access to good quality forage.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


    • #3
      Starved horses need to be brought along slowly. No grain at all at first. A decent grass hay at all time to start with a little bit of alfalfa added in as you progress. Google Equine Refeeding Syndrome for more information. This is definitely one case where slow and steady wins the race as you could literally kill her with good intentions.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
        Starved horses need to be brought along slowly. No grain at all at first. A decent grass hay at all time to start with a little bit of alfalfa added in as you progress. Google Equine Refeeding Syndrome for more information. This is definitely one case where slow and steady wins the race as you could literally kill her with good intentions.
        100% agree with Laurie. Start with GREAT quality grass forage then add in some alfalfa. Have the vet out to give her the once over, worm her (be aware if she has a large worm burden the die off can make her ill as well) check her teeth etc , work out a cereal feeding plan with said vet.
        "I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"


        • #5
          The advice above is good, but the UC Davis refeeding protocol says alfalfa is better than grass hay. Here is a link to that info: first the general info then more science info. http://www.starvinghorses.com/Refeedingsyndrome.html and
          If you have a Tractor Supply store nearby, they usually carry Standlee compressed bales of hay, both alfalfa and a mixed alfalfa/grass. They also usually have hay cubes in bags. If you use hay cubes, be sure to soak them, to soften them up. As neglected as this horse is, there surely are some dental problems too. After a few days of just alfalfa, start feeding Equine Senior. You also can serve that as a soup to be sure the horse is getting enough water in this cold weather.
          Bless you for your rescue of this down on her luck horse!
          Here is a summary of the most important info from the first link:
          "According to Dr. Carolyn Stull, PhD the re-feeding recommendations are as follows (RioVista Products):

          Days 1-3
          Feed one pound (@ 1/6 of a flake) of leafy alfalfa every four hours for a total of six pounds per day divided into six feedings. Contact a vet to evaluate
          the medical status of the horse.

          Days 4-10
          Slowly increase the amount of alfalfa and decrease the number of feedings so that by day six, you are feeding just over four pounds of hay every eight
          hours (total of 13 pounds per day in 3 feedings)

          Days 10 – several months
          Feed as much alfalfa as the horse will eat and decrease feeding to twice a day. Provide access to a salt block. Do not feed grain or supplemental
          materials until the horse is well along in his recovery; early feeding of grain and supplemental material complicates the return of normal metabolic
          function and can result in death.

          *Provide clean, fresh water at all times.
          *De-worming and correction of dental problems are very beneficial to the horse’s recovery."
          RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


          • Original Poster

            Alfalfa hay is pretty rare around here unfortunately. I do have some really good hay I purchased. But its no alfalfa. I'm glad I posted on here. I probably would have killed her! I have already started a deworming plan the day I got her. I have been giving her half a coffee can of breeder cubes and a pretty good amount of hay per day. I've never had a horse in this bad of condition so I'm kind of lost and searching for answers! She is the sweetest horse I have ever had! I named her Hita it means dancer in Choctaw.


            • #7
              Ditch the sweet feed, period. No horse needs it

              Get good quality hay - that is the basis for feeding a horse. Work her up to free choice hay by feeding smaller amounts several times a day. Based on what she's apparently been eating, if you just toss her 25lb of the good stuff, she's going to have problems.

              forget concentrates for now.

              Get your vet out for 3 things:
              1- check her teeth - no sense pouring food into her if her teeth can't chew it
              2 - get a FEC done so you know what sort of worm load she has, and deworm accordingly
              3 - it's pretty much time for Spring vaccinations in most parts of the country, so get a handle on what to get done. If you have no idea her vaccination history, then get rabies and tetanus asap. It might be a good idea in her case to space vaccines out a bit, so in 2 weeks or so, get the EEE, WEE, and WNV done as well.

              When you start feeding concentrates, don't try to just piece-meal put something together. The things you have purchased as additions to a nutritional base - they aren't where you start

              I would put her on Triple Crown Sr for now, if you can get that. If you can't, then it would help to know the brands you have access to to help you find a good quality feed.
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


              • Original Poster

                Okay well I have switched her over to hay and grazing on some of the green that is starting to come up and alfalfa pellets twice daily. I will go when I get a chance to see what all the feed store here has. But I work nights so it is difficult.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                  Starved horses need to be brought along slowly. No grain at all at first. A decent grass hay at all time to start with a little bit of alfalfa added in as you progress. Google Equine Refeeding Syndrome for more information. This is definitely one case where slow and steady wins the race as you could literally kill her with good intentions.
                  Heartily agree that slow progression wins the race on this one. It sounds like the supplements you bought are great, but they are not where you need to start. As others have said, she needs to return to a grazing style of eating with forage. That is how her body is designed to digest food.

                  Once she is doing well with the forage, after probably a week or 10 days, then you can start adding some grain to the mix and some of your supplements. I would do small meals (3-4 times per day)and then, very gradually, increase the amounts of her feed. The rice bran and the Cool Calories can certainly be added in once she starts eating the small meals for a week or so.

                  The horse's digestive tract is soooo sensitive and any changes to feed must be made very slowly for a starved horse. Otherwise, like others said, you will shock the system with too much of a good thing.

                  Good luck! Take pictures periodically to track her progress. Sometimes, it may not look like she is gaining weight, but when you look back at the pictures, you will see definite improvement
                  "The Prince" aka Front Row
                  Cavalier Manor


                  • Original Poster

                    A little update on my rescue here are some progression pics
                    The day I got her:

                    One month later:

                    2 months later:


                    • #11
                      Nice work.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        Wow, looking good! Unlimited karma points for rescuing this one and doing right by her, wish the world was full of people like you.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks guys! I'm really proud, she is such a sweet baby. You can jump on her bearback and ride, shoot guns off of her. Just a great minded horse. Her teeth were bad so I got a horsey dentist to work on them and float them. If anyone reading this needs a good floating done and lives near sw Arkansas, se oklahoma, or nw Texas ,Ben Mathesin (not sure if spelling on last name is right) is a pro! I think getting her teeth done help her pick up weight too. Cause she was.dropping a lot of feed.


                          • #14
                            She is looking good!


                            • #15
                              Wow she looks so much better !! Keep up the good work with her !


                              • Original Poster

                                Another update on my girl Here is a pic i took yesterday

                                I forgot to add that on the feed mixture im using i also added muscle up supplement and cocaban oil


                                • #17
                                  She's looking sooooo good!
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                  • #18
                                    That's a lucky mare.
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • #19
                                      Wow, good job! She looks great.
                                      RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                                      • #20
                                        Bless you! Great job with a now-very-lucky girl!
                                        If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great