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help me with my pony hunter's diet

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  • help me with my pony hunter's diet

    OK. here is the deal. I have a pony who shows in the medium pony division. he is 7 years old. He isn't necessarily skinny, but he isn't as fat as he needs to be in the ponies. I would say he could use another 75 pounds. He is thin at his hip and his top line needs work. His neck is getting a lot better slowly, but needs help through his back and hind end. Also, he tends to have extra energy, so I am worried about feeding him something that will make him too wild.

    Current diet:
    3 quarts of 12% sweet feed 2x daily
    grass/alfalfa mix hay
    no supplements

  • #2
    Sounds like he needs some muscle.
    Also, I would switch him to strategy.
    To me, 3 quarts of feed is quite a bit of sweet feed for a pony especially if he's a little spicy. Strategy seems to give them a focusable energy and plenty of plumpness and shine.
    As for the alfalfa, that could definitely be adding to his energy. How much turn out is he getting? I suggest making sure he's on as much turn out as possible and supplementing some of the alfalfa with a high quality Timothy hay or even Timothy pellets.
    Last but not least, I have had great luck using Cocosoya oil. It's fairly high in fatty acids and have seen it put on a few pounds on a hard keeper.

    Is your pony the neurotic or anxious type? It might be worth investigating if any of that can be resolved. A nervous pony can really spend his calories doing gymnastics from the rafters when it's not necessary.


    • Original Poster

      regular Strategy or Healthy Edge? I was also looking at the Purina Ultium Competition and Sentinel LT/LS Performance. He gets about 5 hours of turn out per day which is the most available at our barn, but they don't run around much with the frozen ground so they do all have pent up energy. Not the nervous type but needs about a 15 minute lunge to be good under saddle after 2 or 3 days off.


      • #4
        IMO Strategy isnt much better than sweet feed, but each to their own.

        If you have triple crown in your area, look at TC Senior. No it isn't just for senior horses! It is low NSC, so it "shouldn't" make your pony hot.

        If your hay isn't free choice already, increase until it is. That will really help put on weight.

        You could add any number of supplements from rice bran to oil to weight builders, but IMO its easier to just increase the grain a little and wait/see.

        Of course you should check teeth and pull a FEC, I've also found that hot horses can be more ulcer prone, which can lead to weight loss, so it might not be a terrible idea to scope.
        come what may

        Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


        • #5
          How much of the hay is he getting? I would look at upping that first if he's not getting free choice. If you up that, you might be able to get rid of some of that sweet feed and still have him gain weight. I wouldn't assume the alfalfa is giving him too much energy- I sort of think that's just your normal 7 year old pony bouncies. He's still young. Add healthy and fit to that and you got bounce ;-) Of course, check into tooth issues and worming too.


          • #6
            What feed exactly? 12% doesn't say much

            There are many alternatives that are much better than nearly anything labeled "sweet feed". I don't like Strategy because of the huge variance in how well and poorly horses do on it, but at least they have gotten the NSC down to about 18%, so it's a lot better than it used to be, which was about 25%.

            That said, that's not where I'd start anyway. It will help to know what brands you have access to. There are quite a few brands with alternatives much better than almost anything by Purina, but if your choices are, for example, Purina and Dumor, than Purina wins hands down LOL

            How much hay?
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • Original Poster

              thanks everyone for the replies so far. He gets all the hay he will eat in his stall. I do want to get away from the sweet feed but I am not sure where to start. I forget what brand the sweet feed is, recently it changed but hasn't affected his weight. I have most brands available close by. Purina, Nutrena, Buckeye, Blue Seal, Triple Crown...


              • #8
                Given that he's a pony, I'd start with the TC Low Starch and feed the recommended amount and see how that works. If he gets too heavy, then switch to the TC Lite.

                Give it a few months - it might take a while to adapt from all that sugar he's getting now
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • #9
                  Oh! I used Sentinel LS on my mare and LOVED IT. I mean love. It has 16% fiber, which is so good for their digestion, and I forget off the top of my head but a good amount of fat and protein (maybe 12 and 13% respectively?) I would suggest adding some sort of muscle or fat supplement if you want to really bulk up, but it is a wonderful grain. I've used SmartMuscle Mass and it worked really well, however I was skeptical about how "real" the muscle tone was because it contain creatine, which I would suggest researching if it's of high concern. Sentinel has really low NSC, and has a lot of aminos and omegas that really make the horse look good too. AND I don't think there's any added sugar/molasses so he shouldn't get hot off of it.
                  Last edited by kmmoran; Mar. 4, 2013, 04:14 PM. Reason: additional sugar comment


                  • Original Poster

                    kmmoran - I read that the Sentinel feeds are very "fluffy"/not dense... as in less than a pound per quart, so people found they had to feed a lot of Sentinel to get what they needed.. Did you find this true?? Other than that, I am really leaning toward it.


                    • #11
                      If you want to add a supplement to help your topline and muscling- I highly recommend Tri-Amino from Uckele. I used that on our Morgan a few years ago after he was really sick and it really seemed to help put his topline back where it belonged. (And it smells super good ;-)


                      • #12
                        I think it stinks! LOL It's got that "dirty milk" smell that is lysine But, my horse eats it, so who am I to complain LOL

                        But, it's not going to do any good if there's already plenty of lysine and methionine in the diet, so...
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by feedmypony View Post
                          kmmoran - I read that the Sentinel feeds are very "fluffy"/not dense... as in less than a pound per quart, so people found they had to feed a lot of Sentinel to get what they needed.. Did you find this true?? Other than that, I am really leaning toward it.
                          Yes it is very light as the granules are almost airy, like rice-cake feeling almost (sorry for that sad description...) But, I personally did not have trouble keeping weight with it. I just checked the pdf, an theres 12% fat and 12% protein. I fed my horse 3 qts twice a day, plus she got alfalfa cubes at night and plenty of hay. She is a 16 hand hanoverian in fairly moderate work. The last barn I was at had most of its performance horses on sentinel and they were all fat, happy, healthy and I don't remember feeding any of them over 4 qts a meal (and that was a 17.3 big boned guy).

                          That being said, is it a grain a super hard to keep horse would be on? Probably not. Volume-wise you would need to feed more if you want to keep the weight ration the same, but the theory is that with more nutrition, calories, and health benefits in one pound of this vs. one pound of say sweet feed, less is more. (All my opinion and experience, of course)

                          If you want to check out the nutrition, here's the pdf file:


                          • Original Poster

                            I think i am going to go with Triple Crown Senior for now. If it is going well but he needs something extra, maybe I can add some vegetable oil or rice bran pellets for some extra calories... That being said, anyone have a preference for brand of rice bran? Also, should he be getting any vitamins/minerals? Sorry for all the questions!


                            • #15
                              If you feed the recommended amount of the TCS, that IS your vits/mins

                              Don't try to make this pony "as fat as he should be for Hunters". That's just going to set him up for metabolic issues, and he's already predisposed to that by being a pony, unless he's just a pony-sized TB His health will be much better taken care of by keeping him in good, lean weight. I really, really doubt you will have to add fat
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET