That's a lot to take in, but I can't even begin to say how much I appreciate you all being constructive and helpful instead of the alternative.
I'll read through that Nutrition page too.
I'll see if I can go kind of point-by-point so I don't miss anything:
The photos are current.
He is on regular deworming, but probably I'm not doing that frequently enough...?
They're dewormed 4x per year on the first day of the season so they'll get their next on June 21.
We adopted that schedule based on the suggestion of a relative who has very nice looking horses - no doubts about their weight.
Different horses, different pastures... Different worms?
I'll call the vet on Monday (already closed for today) and see if they need to see him or just his manure to check the worm situation.
He had his teeth floated less than 3 months ago, and that did help with him continuing to gain weight, but he's plateaued at the current level, hence my questions.
Wrong feed is looking increasingly like the problem.
6 cups of All Stock weighs just over 2 pounds.
I have a weight tape now, so I'll see if I can get a decent estimate on him.
He's only 14.2hh if anyone wants to guess based on that.
I don't really have a good way to separate them at feeding time at the moment, so there is definitely some stealing back and forth between horses.
After way longer than expected, we finally have what we need to put up a round pen/dry lot, so I could feed him in the pen and the rest outside it as soon as it's built.
With the weight he lost, he has been getting no purposeful exercise from me. Only what he does himself. Probably a mistake?
Good to know about the high hips. After some other reading I did, I suspected that conformation may be playing some role, but I didn't know how much.
I really don't want him to be thin, but I don't want him to be fat either. Most people I know have big built, overweight quarter horses, and it's hard to get them to understand that even at a healthy weight he's not going to look the same. He's not a QH or a "race horse" (TB) so there must be something wrong with him - sigh :(
We had only been giving hay in the winter, so that stopped several weeks ago.
The only one still getting hay is our mini mare (pregnant).
We have 1 round bale left before we would need to buy more, so I was saving it for her since she should foal very soon. I can start hand-feeding him from that so the others don't steal it.
We're also having our open fields cut for hay next week, so we won't run out before I could buy more. Instead of saving it for winter, I'll go ahead and let them have it. Even if it's not the best hay, it should be better than nothing.
My honest opinion of the hay is that it will be "good" not "great."
He is turned out 24/7, so he gets grass constantly.
I called the County Office and they're already gone for the day, but Monday I'll see about having the grass tested.
I had always thought that his "highlights" were just sun-bleaching.
If it's a lack of copper, what would that do to the mule's coat?
He's in the photos too a bit, and eats the same thing.
They've had the same deworming schedule, hay, and type of feed, but the mule didn't drop weight and he shed out normally.
Just as far as my budget goes, would he be better off if I invested more into his hay or into his grain?
I want to improve both, but I'm not sure the best way to do it.
Whatever is most important, I'll invest more into that and make changes on other things to balance it out it my budget.
I gave up sodas to put my dogs on corn/soy-free food, and I can make changes for my big boys too.
Thank you so much for helping me through this.