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Putting weight on broodmare that is heading to the show ring?

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  • Putting weight on broodmare that is heading to the show ring?

    So I have made the hardest decision I have had to make so far this year. My broodmare will not be bred back but will be ultimately be heading to the show ring with my daughter. I must admit I am a little sad, as I had planned on repeating the breeding to Escapade for next year. While I am sad I really can't wait to see the two of them pair up in the ring together. My daughter just started her back under saddle and she seems very happy to have a job. We are basically starting from scratch as she never got to focus on training due to an eye injury, 2 pregnancy losses and then foaling this year.

    She has never been a hard keeper, but this baby is taking a toll on her. Is there anything you would suggest adding to her feed that will help put some weight on her, but not make her hot? I am hoping that by the time we wean her baby that we can take her two a few local schooling shows to get her out and about. I would just like her to be on her way to her round self!!!
    Any suggestion would be appreciated.
    I would also like to hear what many of you use feed wise for your broodies.
    Worth A Shot Farm
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  • #2
    Before foaling my easy keeper mare was on 2lbs Triple Crown 30% supplement a day with free choice timothy/grass hay (about 3/4-1 bale a day). She was round and I always had to make sure she got the least amount of fat possible in her diet.

    Now that she has a 2 month foal by side she's eating free choice timothy/grass hay 1 3/4-2 bales a day), 2 lbs 30% supplement, 4 lbs alfalfa cubes and 2 cups Triple Crown Rice Bran oil (split between morning and night feedings. With all that she's eating now she's still ribby and I'd like to see more of a topline on her. I've resigned to the fact that I'm just going to have to wait until the foal is nursed before she'll plump up again. I just don't think I can safely feed her anymore than I already am.

    If someone has any suggestions I'd sure like to hear them to as I would love for her to look better when her and the foal go to inspection.
    '10 Dolce Latte G - Thoroughbred Mare


    • #3
      In addition to all-you-can-eat grass pasture, very good quality mixed hay, and free choice minerals, I'm currently feeding my broodies ProAdd Ultimate from Progressive. They also get flax, Diamond V yeast, garlic, grape seed, and electrolytes as needed.

      Your mare may need additional protein to build her topline if she is going to be working during lactation. I would boost her calories with a fat supplement eg. Envision from Progressive or something similar. Make sure she is getting plenty of high quality forage.


      • Original Poster

        She is eating about a bale of Timothy a day now. She is out 24/7 but there is no "real"grass so to speak of. She is getting a 2qt pro plus pellets, 2qt. pro plus sweet made by Seminole Feeds. She also gets a scoop of loose salt/minerals and 1 qt. beet pulp pellets soaked This is twice a day for her feed. The feed store recommended putting her on a racing feed sweet, but I don't know how I feel about that. It is higher in protein and fat though.
        I am open to changing feed brands as I no longer live right next door to where they make Seminole so I will look into the Progressive.
        What does the flax do? I am not familiar with feeding it?
        Thansk for the suggestion I am going to look up Progessives website now.
        BTW...How cute do they look together!!
        Worth A Shot Farm
        Finding the horse of your dreams, is always Worth A Shot!
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        • #5
          Looking at Seminole's website, it looks like those products are 12% protein and have a recommended feeding rate of 1-1.5# per 100# body weight. That is not a very nutrient dense feed which means you need to feed a lot of it just to fill her basic nutritional needs.

          I would look at a ration balancer combined with a fat supplement if necessary. These are much more nutrient dense so you can get much more protein and minerals in her per feeding with less volume and without all of the empty calories from large volumes of sweet feed.

          REMEMBER if you make any changes do it very gradually - postpartum mares are very sensitive and have a higher than normal propensity for large colon torsion compared to other horses.

          Re: flax, I feed it for the omega-3's.

          Good luck! Your daughter and mare look great together.


          • #6
            I count on oil to help with 'safe' calories. I had two elderly broodies for the last 6 years. Now just one, (22) the other had her last foal at 23 and was a picky eater to boot.

            I have poorish grass, so do feed hay too--but it's not that great either (only 8% protein)

            I use beet pulp and alfalfa pellets--normally just beep, but during the last 90 days I'll add 'falf until they're getting 2lbs of each (dry weight) soaked, 2x/day with about a cup to two cups oil. Oil's funny, some do better on one cup, some use the whole 2 cups.

            I also feed flax, (up to 1 cup) diamond V, and a 30% ration balancer (Sunshine Pellets/Calf Manna or Poulin's MVP) BOSS & Rice bran when I can get them.

            Depending on the mare, they also get at least one more meal, if not two a day. It's varied with the mare, but I've had the best luck with 14-16% protein, 8-10% fat 'complete' feeds. Brands are going to vary around the country... I like Triple Crown Sr., Blue Seal Vintage Gold and Vintage Sr. which are all in that range, and quite easy to digest. I normally prefer whole grains to mfg feeds, but this is one instance where you *can* get more digestible nutrients it seems...

            By 3 mos lactation, most of my mares are getting 10-16lbs feed/day. Which sounds like a lot--and it is--but don't forget 1/2 of it is 'forage'--the soaked beep/falf. I just find those are more easily USED calories than pasture.

            Incarceration is also a very useful tool, even though most of us agree the ideal is 24/7 turnout... Up here, pasture is a lot of WORK in the summer. Bugs, hot, following that frisky foal around... yuck. The girls are grateful to come in for a few hours with a bucket of mash in front of them, sometimes 2x/day for 4-6 hrs, sometimes in all day with a fan and mash, out at night. I do find they drop weight faster when they're out all day and night. I tend to feel like they can *rest* better when they feel the foal is safe. I've never had a foal complain either--they usually sack out for most all of the inside time.
            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


            • #7
              How great for your mare and daughter

              I'm in the same boat, sort of...decided to put my mare under tack and in the ring vs re-breeding this year. Her foal is a dinosaur and dragging her down quite a bit already

              Like you, my grass pasture isn't the best, and they are only on it during the day to try and salvage the little bit that is actually there. They have 24/7 orchard hay, decent quality but not super dooper - the best I can find.

              Feed - broodie is getting beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, barley, linseed meal (flax), cocosoya (fat), and a broodie vit/min supplement. She gets fed 3x a day and is maintaining weight but not gaining.

              I had her on free-choice alfalfa/orchard mix bales for awhile and she REALLY blossomed with that, was putting on weight with less feed, it was working great, BUT I had to stop the alfalfa b/c one of my other horses is super alfalfa sensitive and despite my best efforts was "stealing" enough from her to start causing problems. I switched to the alfalfa pellets and frankly it's just not the same.

              I'd say - find a great quality alfalfa mix hay and feed her free choice. That may be the only switch you need.
              Celtic Pride Farm
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              • #8
                Have you tried pelleted rice bran? It works for us.
                "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


                • #9
                  I second the alfalfa. Also, Seminole makes a nice high fat feed, I think 12% protein but 11% fat (don't remember) called Show & Sport.
                  Beth Davidson
                  Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
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                  • Original Poster

                    So I have been on a quest to find out more about the ration balancers. I have found a feed store close by that offers Purina E32 and McCauleys. Both seem comparable upon first look. Does anyone know either and have an opinion good or bad. Also in researching some sites recommend feeding with oats? Is this normal? Thanks for all the suggestions.
                    Worth A Shot Farm
                    Finding the horse of your dreams, is always Worth A Shot!
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by alliekat View Post
                      So I have been on a quest to find out more about the ration balancers. I have found a feed store close by that offers Purina E32 and McCauleys. Both seem comparable upon first look. Does anyone know either and have an opinion good or bad. Also in researching some sites recommend feeding with oats? Is this normal? Thanks for all the suggestions.
                      IMHO ration balancers are designed for easy keepers - essentially if a horse gets fat on air, they don't get enough fortified feed to meet their vit/mineral needs, so the RB was developed to be able to meet those needs fed in a much smaller amount. They are particularly good for young stock/ broodies in that it meets those needs as well as added protein. Oats are necessary if the horse needs extra calories. Barley is another option.

                      HOWEVER - if you have a hard keeper broodie, and end up feeding a ration balancer and then have to supplement with a LOT of oats/barley to keep the weight up, it actually throws the vit/min balance off kilter again.

                      I predict you would switch to a RB, and need to add a bunch of other stuff (beet pulp, alfalfa, etc) to have any luck on the weight gain. Or you could buy a fortified feed like TC Growth. Or you can buy better quality hay (alfalfa).
                      Celtic Pride Farm
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                      • #12
                        HOWEVER - if you have a hard keeper broodie, and end up feeding a ration balancer and then have to supplement with a LOT of oats/barley to keep the weight up, it actually throws the vit/min balance off kilter again.

                        That's why I feed fat for calories with a ration balancer - it doesn't upset the mineral ratio, and you can get way more calories in a smaller volume without all of the extra carbs, which leaves room for more hay and grass.

                        Some horses don't do well on a high soybean meal ration which is why I like ProAdd Ultimate. The protein comes from a variety of sources and the soy portion is mostly soy protein isolate rather than only whole bean meal. My IDs get kind of bloated on the typical bean meal balancers but are doing really well on the Ultimate.


                        • #13
                          Last summer Wolkenstanza lost a lot of topline while lactating. She was on a ration balancer and oats. We upped the balancer, kept the oats, added Envision (Progressive's fat supplement) and gave her a higher protein hay. Within 2 months of weaning the foal, she looked fabulous again and won the regional in hand Mare Championship.

                          I'd go with Progessive's balancer (I think your girl needs more protein) and add what we did for Wolkenstanza (oats, Envision and maybe a mixed timothy and alfalfa hay).
                          Mary Lou


                          Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


                          • #14
                            Mary Lou, What is the reasoning behind choosing T and A over O and A? We have both available to us and I want to make sure that I am making a good choice.
                            Sakura Hill Farm
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SakHill View Post
                              Mary Lou, What is the reasoning behind choosing T and A over O and A? We have both available to us and I want to make sure that I am making a good choice.
                              No advantage. The OP mentioned feeding timothy now, so I figured T&A would be readily available. O&A would give the same benefit. My suggestion was to add some alfalfa to whatever she's feeding now for the protein which should help the topline.
                              Mary Lou


                              Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


                              • #16
                                Anyone use FOUCUS WT??? I've never had to use it on broodmares but have used it on a gelding when he came home from training too thin!! It worked too!!
                       ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill


                                • #17
                                  My experiences have not been with broodmares per se, but I've had great success with adding weight and topline from alfalfa and fat based top dressings (take your pick, oil, Envision, Omegatin, stablized rice bran etc.). As stated you need some protien--fat alone won't do it.

                                  Ration balancers are designed for horses that keep weight without grain. You are balancing the vitamin/minerals they get from the forage.

                                  If you start adding flax or rice bran or any "pure" ingredients watch your mineral balance. For example, I feed a flax based hoof supplement, but it is Calcium/Phos. balanced (Horse Tech).

                                  One more thing. Oats (fed whole) makes my horse hotter than a pistol. The only "grain" (it is actually a complete feed not a grain) I've been able to feed is Triple Crown Senior (he's not a senior) to keep the weight on without the heat. I do add oats if the workload increases and he is lacking energy. Right now he's getting half his feed since he's on stall rest. Now other horses do awesome on oats and that would actually be my first choice.

                                  I'm not even going to tell you guys how much I have to feed this horse per day to keep weight on him--I dread winter.
                                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette:


                                  • #18
                                    In trying to keep my mare's starch levels down & fat levels up I feed ration balancer by Seminole plus add Nutrena Empower 20% fat normally. When she's needing extra calories such as in the last stages of preg or nursing I also add EndureExtra by Kentucky Performance Products. 50% fat powder. She eats it with no problem. I know that the Progressive products are really good so if you can get their fat supplement I'd use it. I tend to stay away from oats as I was having to feed vast amounts to try to keep weight on this particular mare so the switch to fat supplements worked better for her.
                                    I also use Opti-zyme (probiotics & digestive enzymes) daily.
                                    The feed you're using is 20% starch compared to the ration balancer's 5% starch. I love giving less feed with more calories plus free choice T&A.
                                    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!


                                    • #19
                                      I posted a thread about this regarding my older gelding and needing to put weight and muscle back on before show time next month. We have a month to get him looking show worthy. In the last couple of weeks, I've increased calories, protein and fat and also added beep. He's in a herd of 9 and is boss so gets plenty of food along w/ free choice alfalfa/grass hay. I'm going to give this plan another week and if no significant changes, I'll probably switch to Purina Ultium, as that's worked before on others, but I have to drive out of town to get it, after I order it.

                                      Good luck.
                                      A Merrick N Dream Farm
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