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TWH - high/hollow withers, bad topline, thin, narrow back?

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        06-14-2014, 04:06 PM
      #11
    Green Broke
    My thoughts

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BadWolf    
    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:I don't think you missed anything - that was an awful lot to absorb

    The photos are current.

    He is on regular deworming, but probably I'm not doing that frequently enough...?I only worm my four, three times yearly but they are on 20+ acres and I take fecals to the vet once out of those three times. Which are Spring, late summer or very early Fall, and the old standard "right after the first hard freeze".

    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?Not so much different worms, although some horses seemed more inclined to pick up some types of worms than other horses.

    One of the big reasons for having the vet check manure is to see which horse(s) are the highest shedders. In a broad analogy, it's sort of like THIS child is very prone to contracting Impetigo while THAT child can roll on a wrestling mat full of it and not contract it.

    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.Dropping the stool samples off is fine but in this case, if you can afford the vet bill, it might be better to have the vet out to give him a good physical. Include his checking his teeth, even though they were done recently. One of my horses had changes in his teeth within three months of the vet looking at him and needed the molars filed.

    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.Yes, yes, and yes now that SUENH has explained what the stock feed is. Horses need to be on something specially formulated just for them but stay away from sweet feed

    I have three Walking Horses with varying degrees of metabolic issues so I am dead against anything with grain - that doesn't mean it's wrong for your horse, however - lol. Just read the ingredients label closely and choose a feed that is lower in iron and lower in starch; starch equals "NSC" value or "non-structural carbohydrates". Corn is just chuck full of NSC's

    When molasses is added to a grain-based feed, it's like giving a ten year old boy a steady diet of HI-C and Hershey Bars

    6 cups of All Stock weighs just over 2 pounds.If you put more forage into him, you may not need more than two pounds daily, PROVIDED that two pounds of a bonafide horse feed will give him all his needed supplements.
    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.One of my TWH's is 14.3H, has metabolic issues so I keep him "race horse thin". He weighed 975 pounds when I measured him two years ago. I don't weigh him anymore because I know how many ribs I need to see in the sunlight - lol

    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. Is there any way possible to stand with them while they eat their feed pan stuff? Holding a riding crop or a nice green tree branch? The TWH really needs to be eating all his feed and the Donk needs to leave him alone - it sounds as if the Donkey is the boss, at least for now.

    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.They can share the hay, just spread it in 4 - 5 piles as horses play musical chairs with hay piles. Eventually they all end up at the same piles they started with but the alpha's have to be sure none of the other piles taste better

    With the weight he lost, he has been getting no purposeful exercise from me. Only what he does himself. Probably a mistake? Riding him would put some muscle on him but, truthfully, I would wait until he gets some weight on him first.

    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.Something you can do, to save your hay, is to buy bagged hay. Tractor Supply carries Standlees brand hay cubes and also hay pellets. I've used Standlees for the last two years and can say every bag has been consistently dust-free and I've never opened a moldy bag.

    I soak the timothy/alfalfa cubes for my two late 20's fellas; one has molar issues, the other doesn't have any molars

    I feed the timothy pellets to the two Fat Guys who only get one pound of Ration Balancer daily; one pound is all it takes for them to get their needed vit/mins. The timothy pellets are good fillers so they can still be eating, along with the elder Gents.

    You would have to soak the cubes, then feed right away as they do turn rancid, or you could feed them each a few pounds of pellets twice a day to help make up for not having enough hay. They still need hay or grass for chewing but the hay pellets and cubes are an excellent way to compensate for shortage of forage.

    To answer your question further down ---- horses are designed to eat forage so giving them more forage than feed is the proper and healthiest thing to do
    The only one still getting hay is our mini mare (pregnant). You could even feed her the bagged forage, I'm just not sure about giving her anything with alfalfa. I know nothing about Mini's except how to spell it
    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.

    It might be easier to gather soil samples, ask your Ag folks which is better and which is cheaper.

    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?If there is a copper deficiency, it also affects the immune system. I am also not familiar with the inner workings of mules. It could be the mule is much more tolerant of mineral deficiencies than the horse
    He's in the photos too a bit, and eats the same thing.And he needs off that stock feed, too He can eat whatever you buy for the horse.

    As someone else commented, PLEASE don't buy DuMor from Tractor Supply. If TSC is your only option, they also sell Purina, Omolene, and Nutrena.

    If you could tell us what your horse feed options are, within a comfortable driving distance, we should be able to help you find something that will work.
    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? More hay, horses are herbivores and that is what their stomachs and intestines understand. It is we humans who decided they should eat 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.I know the feeling and sympathize

    I am fully retired and was completely blindsided when my first horse was diagnosed with metabolic issues in 2007. Along comes metabolic horse #2 in 2010. Horse #3 has been showing very early warning signs since last year.

    I have made sacrifices that even my careful planning hadn't planned for

    I hope this doesn't sound wrong but it's good that you understand about corn/soy-free food with your dogs --- it gives you a good head start on how to feed the horse and mule. Much has changed in the last 15 years when it comes to feeding horses. It's not near as simple as it used to be.

    You will do just fine

    Thank you so much for helping me through this.
    --
    BadWolf likes this.
         
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        06-14-2014, 07:24 PM
      #12
    Started
    Hay is the main dish when it comes to feeding. Unless you have big unending pastures. Mules and donkeys are usually really easy keepers. They came into existence in the desert lands of Africa and the Middle East. Horses roamed richer, wetter grounds. Takes a lot less to feed a long ear.

    I don't know what you have for feed stores around there. I assume tractor supply. They usually have Nutrena and Purina. A bag of Safe Choice is only like $2 more than the All Stock. It's way higher is starch and sugar than I feed any of mine but a lot of people use it with success.

    There are a lot of different worms that horses get. Ivermectin wormers take care of most but you need different wormer meds for incysted strongyles and tapeworm. The ivermectin won't get them.

    If the grass is good and green save the round bale for the mare. It's grass and not just a lot of green weeds right?

    Pick something low starch, high fiber, not sticky sweet feed. Your horse might be able to handle it now at 6 but as he ages it might be setting him up for insulin issues. Without going into a long winded explanation something like horsey diabetes but not quite. Most of the feed sacks have guidelines on them for horses in no work, light work, heavy work.

    Copper and sunbleaching...

    Balanced Equine Nutrition - Link between minerals and coat bleaching
    BadWolf likes this.
         
        06-14-2014, 08:00 PM
      #13
    Started
    2 of my horses are serious air ferns. I have to watch what they eat like a hawk. My TWH is a 13 yr old mare who stands a smidge over 16 hands. She needs more calories going on than the spartan diet of ration balancer and hay pellets I give the other 2. You know what I use...Purina Mini Horse and Pony Food. She also gets a portion of the hay pellets the other two get.

    I tried to put her on the same diet as the other 2, didn't work. She started dropping weight right away. I didn't want to make her fat or crazy either so after asking for the starch/carb count in all the available feeds from each manufacturer I tried the mini food. Works.

    Tie the donkey if you have to while they eat. I used to have 6 horses out back, all with slightly different needs and the alpha was a food pig. So for 25 yrs I stood outside at feeding time and kept the piggies away from my old ones who needed the chew time. -20 with the wind howling and I was standing there with a makeshift whip (baling rope tied to a stick). Pouring rain, swarms of biting midges I was out there. I'm tickled now because I've got it worked out so I'm only standing guard about 10 minutes now. The TWH finishes her higher calorie meal and eats the hay pellets last. If I'm cold or soaked I can walk away at that point because all that's left is the hay pellets. I have 3 extra pans out there with nothing but the hay pellets and they play musical dishes and chase each other off until they realize they all have the same thing.

    Mine also have 20 acres of grass to graze. In the winter I have 2 round bales going out there most of the time. This winter the snow got so deep I had to drop the hay in the front yard and peel off what I needed and move it by sled. Made lots of little piles so nobody was every without.
         
        06-14-2014, 11:38 PM
      #14
    Weanling
    Here's my plan of attack on this:

    - Check with the vet on deworming
    - Replace All Stock with something formulated for horses
    - Add hay or hay pellets back into his diet
    - Add mineral block to pasture since that should help all of them
    - Have grass tested by the County Ag Office

    I'm going to weight tape him tomorrow and get that number for you (Mom & Dad gave me a surprise visit today).
    Just based on looks, how much weight do you think he actually needs to add?
    I'm not good at estimating that sort of thing.

    Is there anything specific I can do to help him rebuild his muscle tone?
    He hasn't been ridden at all since last year, so I have a strong preference for ground exercises for starters, just until he gets refreshed.

    Are his withers actually high, or can they really be assessed at this point?
    When he gets back into proper condition, I plan on getting some photos of him for the conformation forum.

    ****

    Also, I can not thank each one of you all enough for taking the time to give me such detailed advice. It amazes me how nice and supportive everyone is here, and you don't even know who I am. The fact that I'm trying to do right by my horses counts, even though I've made some mistakes. I wish people in "real life" were as forgiving, but now I know it's going to be ok.
         
        06-14-2014, 11:51 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BadWolf    
    Here's my plan of attack on this:

    - Check with the vet on deworming
    - Replace All Stock with something formulated for horses
    - Add hay or hay pellets back into his diet
    - Add mineral block to pasture since that should help all of them
    - Have grass tested by the County Ag Office

    I'm going to weight tape him tomorrow and get that number for you (Mom & Dad gave me a surprise visit today).

    Good.

    Just based on looks, how much weight do you think he actually needs to add?
    I'm not good at estimating that sort of thing.

    No way to know at this time. Weight is important, body condition score more so.

    Is there anything specific I can do to help him rebuild his muscle tone?

    Ground work. Lots of it as he rebuilds himself.

    He hasn't been ridden at all since last year, so I have a strong preference for ground exercises for starters, just until he gets refreshed.

    Good plan.

    Are his withers actually high, or can they really be assessed at this point?

    Insufficient information at this time.

    When he gets back into proper condition, I plan on getting some photos of him for the conformation forum.

    ****

    Also, I can not thank each one of you all enough for taking the time to give me such detailed advice. It amazes me how nice and supportive everyone is here, and you don't even know who I am. The fact that I'm trying to do right by my horses counts, even though I've made some mistakes. I wish people in "real life" were as forgiving, but now I know it's going to be ok.
    Best of luck in your project.

    G.
         
        06-15-2014, 12:40 AM
      #16
    Weanling
    Can you all tell from those photos what his body condition score would be?
    If not, I can take new ones when I measure him.
         
        06-15-2014, 07:26 AM
      #17
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BadWolf    
    Can you all tell from those photos what his body condition score would be?
    If not, I can take new ones when I measure him.
    We don't need photos; it would be a good DIY project!!!

    Go here:

    Body Condition Scoring of Horses

    IIRC there is at least one other method but this is a good one.

    G.
         
        06-15-2014, 08:40 AM
      #18
    Started
    It's really hard to tell from pictures like you have beyond he needs weight. Not a lot of perspective. If there was something common and familiar in the picture like a 5 gallon bucket we could get more size info. I do see ribs. Some say you should see his last rib in good shape, some say just easily feel the last rib.

    Take a picture in the same spot and in as same a position as you can get him to stand once a week. It will allow you to see his progress. Without it you may not notice and get frustrated. I've plumped up a few skinny ones before and I'll warn you the last bit of weight seems to take forever. Resist temptation to overfeed any bagged feed. You can give him all the grass hay you want. Mine always have forage of some sort 24/7.

    Weigh the new feed out when you get it. Put a scoop of what ever it is in a bag and put it on a scale. Use whatever you normally use to scoop with and get a good weight. If you don't have a kitchen scale you could probably ask a farm stand if they could weigh it or maybe a neighbor has one. Then follow the directions on the bag. Only increase his feed a little bit at a time. You can use up the all stock by adding a cup of it to the good feed, bit by bit. I chose the pigs because they weren't going to be with us long enough to have any feed issues. The piggies also had unlimited pasture.

    Don't fret too much about body scores. Just keep making steady slow changes and gains.

    His withers and other bones will look less pronounced with more meat on him.

    When he starts making changes I'd love to see pictures of your boys.

    When you get a mineral block make sure you get one made for horses. The licks made for cattle are too rough and a lot of horses don't use enough because of that. I actually have a plain salt one and a mineral one out there. Don't know that it makes much difference but I've got one that is insulin resistant and another that probably is judging from the changes I noted when I put her on the same diet as the old pony. IR horses don't need any iron in their mineral combo. They get plenty from forage so I kinda hope they will self regulate but I don't see any difference or preferences. A lot of Walkers seem to be prone to insulin issues later in life so keep that in mind.
         
        06-15-2014, 10:23 AM
      #19
    Green Broke
    Ditto this:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SueNH    
    It's really hard to tell from pictures like you have beyond he needs weight. Not a lot of perspective. If there was something common and familiar in the picture like a 5 gallon bucket we could get more size info. I do see ribs. Some say you should see his last rib in good shape, some say just easily feel the last rib.

    Take a picture in the same spot and in as same a position as you can get him to stand once a week. It will allow you to see his progress. Without it you may not notice and get frustrated. I've plumped up a few skinny ones before and I'll warn you the last bit of weight seems to take forever. Resist temptation to overfeed any bagged feed. You can give him all the grass hay you want. Mine always have forage of some sort 24/7.

    Weigh the new feed out when you get it. Put a scoop of what ever it is in a bag and put it on a scale. Use whatever you normally use to scoop with and A postage scale also works for dry weight measurement. Any office supply place or maybe even WalMart might have one of those small ones; they don't cost much.

    Weigh the scoop empty so you know how much feed actually constitutes one pound.

    The RB I feed requires three 8-0unce household measuring cups to equal one pound of feed. That sounds like 24 ounces BUT household measure cups are based on liquid weight, which is more than dry weight

    Get a good weight. If you don't have a kitchen scale you could probably ask a farm stand if they could weigh it or maybe a neighbor has one. Then follow the directions on the bag. Only increase his feed a little bit at a time. You can use up the all stock by adding a cup of it to the good feed, bit by bit. I chose the pigs because they weren't going to be with us long enough to have any feed issues. The piggies also had unlimited pasture.

    Don't fret too much about body scores. Just keep making steady slow changes and gains.

    His withers and other bones will look less pronounced with more meat on him.

    When he starts making changes I'd love to see pictures of your boys.

    When you get a mineral block make sure you get one made for horses.

    The licks made for cattle are too rough and a lot of horses don't use enough because of that. I actually have a plain salt one and a mineral one out there. Don't know that it makes much difference but I've got one that is insulin resistant and another that probably is judging from the changes I noted when I put her on the same diet as the old pony.

    IR horses don't need any iron in their mineral combo. That is the Gospel. Generally speaking, no horse needs extra iron unless the vet has diagnosed it as anemic. They get ample iron in grasses and hay. It might be best to just feed them loose white salt. You can put a white block out and see if they lick it but if they don't have loose salt available for them.


    They get plenty from forage so I kinda hope they will self regulate but I don't see any difference or preferences. A lot of Walkers seem to be prone to insulin issues later in life so keep that in mind.Another truism. I have three TWH's. Two are formally diagnosed and the high hipped/Generator guy seems to want to head that way. He turned 20 this past April and had started showing signs in 2013. He has always been a slender athletic horse and could rumble the ground when he came running down off the ridge. I still can't believe he's probably headed for insulin issues but I am living thru enough with the other two, that I recognize the early warning signs


    Meaning, if your horse is a bean pole after an appropriate amount of weight gain, be happy
    --
         
        06-16-2014, 06:15 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    Too bad all horses are not closer to his fat content. Too many obese horses and the owners don't have a clue, what being obese will do to them. They think they look nice, fat as butter balls.

    This horse IS NOT too thin. Looks about right. Many horses this spring were/are very slow to shed. He looks to be lacking in some muscle, but that will come with exercise.

    Nothing wrong with checking for worms, stool sample to the vet.

    I see nothing wrong with what your feeding him, I'd prefer less protein and a higher fat diet, but what your feeding should cause not problem. I'd definitely not try and put more fat in him. He Does NOT need more fat.
         

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