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Where am I going wrong feed wise...

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  • Where am I going wrong feed wise...

    I have a 6 year old Thoroughbred who I'd rate as a hard keeper. I am curious however, if I should change his grain perhaps.

    I'll start out with his current diet:

    3.5 lbs Vintage Performance LS by Blue Seal
    1lb Alfalfa pellets
    1 cup Canola oil
    1 dose Ultra Elite Digest (pre/pro biotic)
    .5 cup Omega Horseshine
    1 scoop of Cool Calories


    Same as AM

    He also gets a mid day snack of 1.5 pounds of Timothy Alfalfa Cubes with a cup of Aloe juice.

    He gets close to free choice hay (there might be an hour or two where he doesn't have hay but has a little grass to nibble on). He just gets a locally cut grass hay.

    I just feel like I am feeding him too much.

    He was scoped for ulcers and we found nothing but I treated him for a month anyways and noticed no change there.

    He's on a good worming program IMO. I follow EqTrainer's plan for the most part.

    Power Packed in early March, two tubes of Athelcide after that, then did Ivermectin, then wormed for tapes with Equisomething or other it's slipping my mind and back to Athelcide recently. This was over the span of the 5 months I'd say.

    I always give him more wormer then his weight calls for to insure that I don't under dose him but not enough over to cause serious side effects.

    I am rather stumped. I feel as though he should be more fleshy. I'd place him at a 4 on the Body scale.

    I've considered switching to Blue Seal Carb Guard seeing as it's even lower NSC and perhaps he does better on a pellet than extruded. That or Triple Crown Senior. Maybe this grain just isn't working well for him.

    He looked great before but he did start more work when he was on training board for a month that's why I added the Cool Calories and I did up the grain 1lb during this time but now he is coming home to a more relaxed environment with less work. Should I just see if he starts filling out more again from just being at home?

    Thanks for reading, I know it was lengthy!

  • #2
    Originally posted by ThoroughbredFancy View Post

    He gets close to free choice hay (there might be an hour or two where he doesn't have hay but has a little grass to nibble on). He just gets a locally cut grass hay.

    I just feel like I am feeding him too much.

    I'd determine the RFV of his hay and make certain it was about 100 or better....the lower RFV numbers clog the hay's digestion and prevent more intake...all the grain in the world (short of a total complete ration) can not undo or go around this fact of hay's nature

    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


    • #3
      I'd up his fat intake.

      One scoop of Cool Calories (which is TINY) does diddly. Up it to one full measuring cup's worth. Since he's already getting one cup of canola, adding more will probably make him pull his nose up.
      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


      • Original Poster

        I actually thought the scoop for Cool Calories was kind of large, well, in comparison to other supplement scoops. He gets 2 scoops a day between AM and PM but I suppose I could up it.

        The hay analysis is on it's way as well for this year.

        He's still eating some of last years which is good quality.


        • #5
          I only know that the still-little-bit of CC isn't much/enough. My Percheron has EPSM so higher fat is required for her. She won't eat 2 cups of oil, so I substitute one full cup of CC - down it gleefully goes!
          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


          • #6
            Originally posted by ThoroughbredFancy View Post
            The hay analysis is on it's way as well for this year.

            He's still eating some of last years which is good quality.
            do you have the RFV numbers ? we could tell just about how much is being allowed in his system from that number

            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


            • #7
              How much is he working? How much turnout? Does he play a lot in turnout, or pace the fence?

              Does he have access to good pasture or for forage is he dependent on the alfalfa pellets and the hay? Can you estimate how many pounds of hay per day he's eating?

              It might be useful to try to estimate the number of calories he is eating each day. But for that you'll need to know how much hay.

              He may simply be using up a lot of calories.

              You could also switch him to a different grain. I think (if I'm remembering correctly) that the Vintage Performance is an extruded feed with molasses in it. Is that right? Some horses can't deal with molasses, and maybe one of Blue Seal's pelleted feeds would work better for him (Demand, for example).

              Of course if all else fails () you could ask your vet.

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


              • #8
                I'm guessing since he was scoped for ulcers you have recently had his teeth checked??? I'd change to Triple Crown Senior and Weight bulider supplement. This should throw weight on him pretty quick and keep it on. You'll have to probably feed a 1-2 scoops of the TC senior twice a day and do the weight builder like it says to. This has always worked for our hard keepers. Also maybe have his thyroid checked.
                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                • #9
                  I would ditch the Blue Seal, and switch to TC or another comparable feed... I prefer TC Complete for the harder keepers. Almost of all my TB's are being fed TC Complete, Rice Bran pellets and BOSS along with good quality hay and pasture. I also give Probios and electrolytes daily.

                  It may also help to break up his feeding to 3 times a day. When I get one that needs weight I always feed lunch.


                  • #10
                    My TB has been a hard keeper his entire life, and looking back, the two fat supplements I tried (Fat Cat and Cool Calories) made little to no difference. I really don't think they're enough fat. Why don't you try a combination of grain? My guy eats 1/2 scoop BS Vintage Performance LS, 1/2 scoop BS Carb Guard, and 1/2 scoop of a local grain store's pellet that is 11% Fat, 6% Protein and 8% Fiber AM and PM. He also gets TractGard and 1 cup corn oil with both meals. We are actually working on cutting down the grain and are going to try alfalfa cubes soaked (again...he doesn't like any sort of chopped/cubed hay). Anyways, he has gained remarkable weight on this diet!

                    Having a hard keeper is REALLY frustrating sometimes.


                    • #11
                      omolene 200/mixed with oats/cup calf manna....
                      dose of oil..... alfalfa.... good grass/timothy hay.
                      dash of salt
                      regular worming in cycles or low dose every 30 days (and always on a full moon)...
                      feed 3x's a day... 5am/noon/7-8pm
                      daily exercise/hotwalker min 1/2 hr.
                      optional ...fat cat
                      flax seed
                      and you might want to try a thyroid supplement >>ask your vet.

                      works for the worst of them.
                      Last edited by brightskyfarm; Jul. 25, 2009, 12:32 AM.
                      IN GOD WE TRUST
                      OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't change the grain, a 12/12 low starch is perfect for throughbreds. I would however ditch the alfalfa pellets and the cool calories and try him on body builder (or something similar with the gamma oryzanal)...


                        • #13
                          We have Paco eating the following and it is working out well now:

                          1-1/2 pound TC senior
                          1 pound TC complete
                          1/2 pound Omegatin
                          1/4 cup Horseshine


                          1-1/2 pound TC Senior
                          1 pound TC complete
                          1/2 pound Omegatin

                          Free choice local grass hay and 24/7 turnout on pasture.

                          Adding the Omegatin seems to be doing the trick for us.

                          ETA: Paco isn't what I would consider a hard keeper by any means but he is a "sensitive" horse and he came back to us underweight and unsure of himself. We had a hard time getting weight on him even though he was rehabbing on pasture rest. The addition of the Omegatin has perked him right up and now we are seeing change in his condition already. Normally the Horseshine does the trick for us, but he needed some more OOMPH!
                          I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                          Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


                          • #14
                            I have a tb who was skinny (ribs visible) for many many years. I tried many many things over the years. He was eating 2 whole liters of feed per meal and still he was skin and bone.

                            He is no longer skinny. Quite round. :-)

                            I can tell what didn't work: rice bran (he wouldn't even touch it), beet pulp, oil, flex appeal. What were very interesting when he was skinny: 1. while grained he was not interested in hay. 2. If I cut his grain, he became more interested in hay, if i just put him on grass hay with very little grain, he put on a little weight.

                            Which made me had this nagging suspicion, that his pellets, which he ate for years... it is called All in One, was not helping him.

                            You will ask why I didn't just cut his grain. I did try, but he does need more. Also at my barn, there is no free choice hay.

                            Then the barn got a horse that developed an allergic reaction to alfalfa products, which All in One is. The vet at the time recommended High fat high fiber (Purina), which does not have alfalfa. This made me, out of no reason really, switch him to high fat high fiber.

                            Then he starts to gain weight, and he starts to eat more hay. At the beginning I still gave him beet pulp and flex. After half a year, I got rid of the beet pulp and finally flex, and he still maintains weight. So to my horror, they were not doing anything. There was no change to his exercise.

                            I do not think high fat high fiber is a "miracle" feed. But my theory is, you need a way to have him eat grass gay constantly (instead of more grain), make sure there is absolutely no simple sugar or starchy stuff in his feed, and finally the key is, make sure the feed doesn't metabolize quickly. I am not a vet or nutritionist, so I dare not say anything like don't give him alfalfa or products made of it, because there are studies supporting the benefit of alfalfa, but it seems to help my horse when he doesn't touch it.

                            My horse is turned out 24/7 in the summer. He is fed one meal in the summer, which is half liter HFHF. (He is fed 2 meals in the winter). He did not lose any weight in the summer, or in the winter ever since the switch.


                            • #15
                              It sounds like he was in good weight when he was at home and lost weight while in training. It is likely that if he was getting worked harder and also in a higher dress environment which a training barn might be versus at home then he was burning calories at a greater rate than he was eating them. If this feeding program has worked for him in the past I would wait and bring him home and see it he puts the weight back on before changing the diet.

                              However, if you decide to make a change then start with estimating his weight and his ideal weight and figure out what his energy requirement is for his ideal weight. Next figure out the energy content of the hay, hopefully it was analyzed by a lab that does analysis for horses and calculates an equine digestible energy content (DE) that you are feeding. For this you need to weigh the amount of hay he is eating and then calculate how many calories that is and compare to his requirement. If what you are feeding in hay provides more than his requirement in calories and he is not able to maintain weight then you know you have a hard keeper whose personal requirement is higher than the "book" requirement. You can then either decide to increase the hay if he will eat more or look for a more energy dense feed like beet pulp or a grain. You could add calories through fat but it would depend on the type of work he does. If he is doing a lot of anaerobic (speed) work then he needs energy from glycogen and that does not come from fat. Be cautious about the total amount of fat in the diet as too much overall fat will disrupt digestive function in the large intestine and decrease the ability to digest hay and other fiber sources. Add up the amount of fat coming from the cool calories and the oil and the % fat in the grain and figure out your total dietary fat and consider reducing it.

                              The other thing to consider is overall diet balance. Horses need all the minerals in the correct quantities to insure not only their requirement is met but also that they are able to absorb the correct quantities. Certain minerals compete with others for uptake and if the ratios are incorrect even though there is enough present to meet requirement a deficiency can result. Minerals are required for enzyme functions and metabolic pathways etc so if any of them are lacking metabolism will not function as well as it could. Again the hay analysis should tell you what the mineral levels are the bagged feeds also give you some of the minerals and so you can look and see how much of each he is getting.

                              I help people balance their horses diets all the time so if you want to know how balanced his diet is just shoot me an email.


                              Clair Thunes, PhD
                              Independent Equine Nutritionist


                              • #16
                                I feel your pain!

                                My horse did not do so hot on the L/S when I tried it this winter. In fact, he lost quite a bit of weight on it.

                                I switched him to an RB and added fat, with access to pasture and good grass hay 24/7, and he did awesome until the heat hit. Then he started dropping weight like crazy. He seems to have seasonal allergies and also some food sensitivities. Once the hives and coughing and inflammation starts it is very hard to keep the weight on him.

                                We are back where we started now, on Blue Seal Senior and he is putting weight back on. Last year, under his old owner's care, he started the summer at a score of 5 and ended up a 1 so I am terrified of him losing that much weight again.

                                I know firsthand that a big TB (17hh and 1400lbs) can do just great on 3lbs of an RB, grass hay, good pasture and a bit of added fat. I can't figure out why my will not.... except that he is older, he doesn't chew well, I also think his digestive system just does not function as well as it should anymore, why I don't know.

                                I would pull blood if I were you. I would also not add anymore fat to your horse's diet. I think you can really overdo the fat in a TB's diet and cause other issues...
                                We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                                • #17
                                  My 1st cutting hay from 2008 was about 20% lower in nutrients than the year before. I don't have any hard keepers, but if I did the first thing I'd have to do is make up that deficit, and a piddly scoop or two of ANYTHING is not going to cut it.

                                  Can you get some good alfalfa and substitute that for a big portion of the grass hay?
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I can see if I can get some Alfalfa hay but it's so scarce here.

                                    That's why I feed him a lunch of Alfalfa Timothy cubes and include some Alfalfa pellets in his regular feeding.

                                    Things that haven't worked in the past include:

                                    Rice Bran
                                    Triple Crown Complete

                                    I think I will give him a few more weeks at home to see if I notice a change but the two grains I am interested in are BS Carb Guard and TC Senior if I do go with a grain change.

                                    I'll have a heck of a time finding anything other than grass/timothy hay around here and that hay gets fed as part of my board.

                                    The only deficiency we have found in this horse was one in B vitamins but he's on as supplement for that. I forgot to add that to my original post.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                                      I'd determine the RFV of his hay and make certain it was about 100 or better....the lower RFV numbers clog the hay's digestion and prevent more intake...all the grain in the world (short of a total complete ration) can not undo or go around this fact of hay's nature
                                      ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^


                                      • #20
                                        Do you feed? If not, you might consider pre-weighing and assembling his meals.

                                        My horse dropped weight and had trouble getting it back on, until she moved to a new barn, and ummm, was fed less yet put on weight. I think the morning feeding guy at the old barn fed very randomly to say the least.