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Best way to get weight on a horse while boarding

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  • #21
    She hasn't even asked the BO yet, though.


    • #22
      Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
      My gelding is slightly underweight. Nothing horrible, but he is ribby. For the past two weeks I have been stuffing his face with hay and feeding him a combination of Omolene #500 and a sweet feed our local mill prepares. He is a hotter personality than most stock horses I have worked with, so far weight gain has been pretty nonexistent looking.
      Did the vet have any suggestions? did you deworm (check with previous owner for what's been used over the past year or so)? fecals can be helpful.

      If you've only had this horse a couple weeks, he may still be settling in & stress (even if he internalizes) will interfere with weight gain.

      Also check or treat for ulcers (as this may also account for low weight/"hot")

      The problem with moving him to a boarding facility is that hay intake will be pretty much standard boarding facility quantities.
      it must be a local thing ... most barns here are more likely to feed on the generous side (& hay is expensive in this area) & every horse has a stall sign listing his feeding program.

      Now if you want more bedding, that is a lot tougher

      I am leery of alfalfa cubes or pellets making him hot
      I'm always confused when I read this, it's the odd horse that actually gets "hot" on alfalfa, many horses that apparently react to alfalfa are just exhibiting a response to extra calories - rather than the alfalfa component.

      Anyway, congratulations on the new horse


      • #23
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        I used to buy extra hay, store it in my trailer, and either have someone regularly feed the extra (barn would not accomodate requests for extra, even if one offered to pay) or just throw 15 pounds myself to the horse each time I went out.
        Yep. Or buy a bale-sized Cinchchix net, hang it in the corner of the stall and put a whole bale in it every time you go out.

        My hot, easy keeper does great on TC Senior, which is beet pulp-based but does not require soaking. As a BO myself, I do not want to mess with soaking BP -- nor are there all that many calories in BP, really. It works but there are better options.


        • Original Poster

          I have heard a lot of really good things about TC Senior, I am going to look into it as an option.

          No, I have not talked to the BO directly about this specific situation, but I have been to the barn before, have friends that board there, and have a pretty good idea of how they operate.

          edit to add: for those of you that feed TC Senior, how much per day are you feeding to get weight on?
          Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
          The Blog


          • #25
            The harder keepers at our barn have had good luck with Empower, Boost, Ultimate Finish type products over just senior feed.
            Semi Feral


            • #26
              Manna-Pro sells a pelleted rice bran. All of the hard keepers at our barn are fed it. I've also had success with Cool Calories. My OTTB won't eat powdered supplements, so he only gets it when he is getting wet food. This is what our vet recommends for putting weight on. Start simple first and if that doesn't work, move into more complicated options.

              PS Don't be afraid to talk to the barn manager about feeding wet feed. I've worked at barns that were more than willing to soak feed. I've worked at barns where it was done for an extra fee. You just don't know until you ask.


              • #27
                I had a hard keeper at a barn that fed this amount of that feed, if your horse needed more you paid for more feed, heres what I did. I used alphalpha cubes or pellets + a senior feed, he was only 10 but it was easy to process, I just about doubled what he got from the BO, & it worked. BO was ok with feeding it if I left it in the feedroom, made it easier on me. No soaking of either cubes or pellets, he knew to chomp them in half & IIRC he hated them soaked. WHen I went out to ride I fed him some extra cubes or pellets while I groomed, made him ready to come inside & stand still while I groomed. When I left that barn he still needed some weight but no ribs showed.
                “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                • #28
                  Please talk to your barn manager. As a barn manager I would find it totally irresponsible if a horse in my care did not look great. I always feed free choice hay, and a ration balancer. Then a low starch/sugar grain is added only if the horse needs the extra energy depending on the work he does. If a powdered fat supplement is needed, the border supplies it and I will feed it. Same for oils (try to use an unrefined oil like Cocosoya. Vegetable/corn oils can be very irritating to the gut) I supply/soak beet pulp and use it for the hard keepers. Cheaper than pumping them full of grain and a lot healthier for them. And my board rate is very reasonable too. Standard 2 flakes/hay per meal makes me cringe. The easy keepers will get a grass 1st cutting 'lower quality' lower calorie hay. The hard keepers get 2nd cutting and as much as they're willing to eat. All the horses get 1 flake of alfalfa/day in their stalls, for the possible ulcer benefits, bigger flake for the bigger horses. If the manager refuses to feed your horse for what he needs, then I agree w/the hay nets in his stall you keep full, making a mash of beet pulp/Cocosoya/fat supplement that you feed everytime you go to the barn. Best of luck


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Skyedragon View Post
                    edit to add: for those of you that feed TC Senior, how much per day are you feeding to get weight on?
                    Depends on the horse.

                    My hardkeeper mare at a barn that didn't feed enough hay? About 15 pounds. Plus oil. Got expensive.


                    • #30
                      I used to work at a vet clinic that had two 30+ year old geldings given to them in a retirement pasture. They got two coffee can sized scoop of purina senior and one coffee can sized scoop of rolled steamed corn twice a day. Six coffee cans a day. only enough hay to quid all afternoon. they were fat shiny and happy.
                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                      • Original Poster

                        I thought that corn wasn't digested by horses very well and went right through them?
                        Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                        The Blog


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                          Depends on the horse.

                          My hardkeeper mare at a barn that didn't feed enough hay? About 15 pounds. Plus oil. Got expensive.
                          I was just going to say it would be far less expensive to feed extra hay than to feed extra senior feed -- in my parts...50# of hay = $4.00; 50# of TC Senior is about $20.

                          If this were my horse, I'd approach the barn manager about feeding more hay, and paying for it if necessary. If they give 2 flakes/feeding, I'd ask for 3 or 4...what would that be - $3.00 a day? That would be the easiest, safest and least expensive way to add weight - and it is really no extra effort on barn staff or you.

                          But, in all honestly, if the barn doesn't feed hay according to weight/type/condition of the horse, I would have reservations about going there at all.


                          • #33
                            I feed TC Senior to my hard keeper and he does really well on it. He gets 7 quarts/day.

                            Another idea for adding calories (and I agree feed more hay first) is Purina Amplify. I've used that with my horse too when it's not feasible to add oil to his diet.
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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                            • #34
                              Appreciate this post. Under the blanket/hair, didn't notice until recently my guy needs some adjustment. Hoping to increase the hay, and see if I can put up a nibble net. Keeping these ideas handy.
                              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                              • #35
                                I supplemented my oldster with Gleam & Again 60 in SmartPaks and did soaked alfalfa pellets whenever I went to see him. This was at a boarding barn (a good barn, we were leaving a not-so-good barn) and was fed in addition to very good quality grass hay and rolled oats for morning and evening feedings, and a flake of alfalfa for lunch.

                                I *also* didn't ride for about 10 months - my horse's "job" was to get back to a good weight. He is in his mid 20s and had gotten very thin (maybe a 2.5 body condition score) at the previous barn. Not riding wasn't great, but my horse has never been so beautifully groomed.

                                Do talk with the barn owner - most take pride in how the horses in their care look and feel, and they will let you know what they can do for your horse.


                                • Original Poster

                                  He isn't horrible emaciated, just needs a little more coverage on his ribs. He is a nut if he isn't worked with regularly, even just lunging. Here is what he looks like right now.

                                  I think I am going to go with Cool Calorie 100. Took him over there last night and he is going to get extra hay instead of adding on more grain and see how that goes. I am going to feed the barn's grain (another custom sweet feed pelleted mix from the mill) until I can wrap my head around what to get him otherwise. The barn doesn't give any discount for bringing your own grain which is kind of a bummer, first time I have encountered that.
                                  Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                                  The Blog


                                  • #37
                                    Glad he'll get the hay he needs. That is number 1 priority in my book and where I always try to start (I've had a few that just won't EAT enough hay for their own good, but the ones who will, I stuff with hay). Cool Calories is a good option and is usually very palatable to even picky eaters. And should be easy for barn staff. If you don't get it in Smartpaks, consider portioning it out into little containers so they don't even have to scoop.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      He is going to go on to MSM as well, so I picked up little storage cups to do that with. Trying to make everything as easy as possible!!
                                      Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
                                      The Blog


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                                        I was just going to say it would be far less expensive to feed extra hay than to feed extra senior feed -- in my parts...50# of hay = $4.00; 50# of TC Senior is about $20.
                                        Yep – that is why I feed extra hay. Here 50lbs of alfalfa pellets = $16.00, 115lbs of alfalfa hay = $18 – much more economical and has added benefits of allowing extra chewing time / fiber / gut volume.

                                        OP – You said that you already know some people at this barn. I have never had a BO that was willing to go the “extra mile” and feed extra hay etc. But, I have ALWAYS been able to find another boarder who was willing to share duties. Can you co-op with someone already there for the extra feedings?

                                        I do not even have a trailer to store my hay – my great co-op helper lets me keep it in hers – and I keep the trailer very clean in return, and help with her horses.

                                        My barn will not feed anything extra – I usually get out to the barn just about every day to feed extra hay, but I have two “helpers” that will feed when I can’t (and I blanket for them in exchange etc). Sounds like different parts of the county have different standards, but around here you get about 20 pounds of hay per day. If you need to feed extra, you (the boarder) feed extra. Some will feed “baggies” if you pre bag your additional feed.
                                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                                        • #40
                                          When I have my horses at home they are NEVER thin. LOL

                                          So when I board I just watch my horse on what they feed and of course have a plan with board facility of what they eat now and what they are willing to feed. Most places I have boarded will feed either alfalfa hay and/or orchard hay. So I usually do orchard in the am and pm and alfalfa for lunch.

                                          If my horses lose weight or because they are working harder lose weight; I discuss with manager that I would be willing to pay more for more grass hay or alfalfa if horse is not hot. That usually does the trick and is not difficult to do. I also feed diet/ration balancers, electrolytes, and a joint supplement.
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