The delicate balance. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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The delicate balance.

Hello everyone! I'm back again with a bit of a conundrum. I want to know how much is too much weight to lose over the course of the winter?

I really loved my new barn when I first moved there. They were a lot more relaxed, and fun. I enjoyed the lessons that came with my board plan, and I have really learned a lot.

Over the winter, the barn owner allowed an instructor from out of state to come in and do workshops. The instructor soon seemed to be doing all the feeding, etc. The instructor eventually befriended me, and had informed me that horses weren't getting fed as much as boarders had thought they were.

This has been a continued problem. I have been hearing more and more comments about how the horses look skinny (from visitors, or lesson kids/moms) and the instructor who has been staying all winter finally started paying me to feed her horses while she went back home for a week. She was concerned that if I didn't do it, they wouldn't get fed at all. (I have personally seen this happen, because the barn owner would tell me "I'll feed them later." but I was with her all day and I never saw them get fed?)

All this aside, I purchased my horse at nearly 300 lbs underweight. It took me 8 months to put weight back on her. This was 2 years ago. I will share a picture of what she looked like before she moved, and what she looks like now.

I have taken into account the harsh winter, the blanketing to keep her from losing heat/expending calories, she is on both cocosoya oil and cool calories supplements. She receives grain once a day, and there are 1-2 round bales outside in the lot (which is basically dirt atm. It's starting to show a little green.) I'd say there's about 17 head outside right now, and she's the lowest in the pecking order. Needless to say, I don't think she's getting the forage she needs either.

She is UTD on shots/wormer/vet check/float/etc. so I don't think it's health related.



I really like my barn owner, and I don't want to hurt her feelings. I don't like to just complain either. I've been helping her feed when I can, but I have a 6a-2p job that makes it hard for me to get out for the morning feeding (the only one my horse is entitled to, via the board contract.)

So, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Does it look like a significant amount to say something? Should I just wait a few more weeks and hope the spring grass helps her regain her shape? Thanks for being my sounding board!
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post #2 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 12:26 AM
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This is just me.

I consider any weight loss due to improper feeding to be unacceptable. It's one thing if it's because he's shivering the weight off or I'm not feeding him right, but if it's because he's basically being starved, then no, zero tolerance.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #3 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 12:51 AM
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From the pictures, and pictures can be deceiving, your horse looks good. I would not think about it in pounds or those tapes. I feel for ribs right in the middle of the horse. I like to feel them but not see them. If I see them , there's a problem. So I keep tabs on mine just by knowing what her ribs feel like with my fingers. She's at a point right now where I can barely feel them, and her weight's good.

I remember some years ago, I thought my horse was losing weight, and it turned out to be shedding!
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post #4 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 12:55 AM
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Only entitled to morning feeding?? ...that sounds crazy to me. All boarding stables out here feed at least twice a day, but then again the majority do not have turn out or pasture, and round bales are like nonexistent. If you are paying for feed and your horse is not being fed correctly, if it was me, I would certainly be throwing a fit. They should have enough round bales in turnout so that all horses can eat at the hay. With 17 horses and pecking order taken into account, they should have at least 3 round bales. not one or two. The pecking order is unforgiving, and without careful management in that kind of a setup some horses would starve or be going hungry majority of time.
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post #5 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princessfluffybritches View Post
From the pictures, and pictures can be deceiving, your horse looks good. I would not think about it in pounds or those tapes. I feel for ribs right in the middle of the horse. I like to feel them but not see them. If I see them , there's a problem. So I keep tabs on mine just by knowing what her ribs feel like with my fingers. She's at a point right now where I can barely feel them, and her weight's good.

I remember some years ago, I thought my horse was losing weight, and it turned out to be shedding!

(I wish she'd shed! lol)
Added a picture from another angle to show what I generally see.
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post #6 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horseluvr2524 View Post
Only entitled to morning feeding?? ...that sounds crazy to me. All boarding stables out here feed at least twice a day, but then again the majority do not have turn out or pasture, and round bales are like nonexistent. If you are paying for feed and your horse is not being fed correctly, if it was me, I would certainly be throwing a fit. They should have enough round bales in turnout so that all horses can eat at the hay. With 17 horses and pecking order taken into account, they should have at least 3 round bales. not one or two. The pecking order is unforgiving, and without careful management in that kind of a setup some horses would starve or be going hungry majority of time.
I didn't see a new bale go out this evening, so I'm assuming they didn't get one today. They ate it down to the netting and mud. I only pay for pasture board, so I only get one feeding. I added the supplements, thinking it might help, but I guess forage is going to be an issue until grass grows?

I hope the round bale goes out tomorrow. My horse probably won't see any of it, but I still hope it goes out. She isn't assertive at all, so she'll probably only eat it if every other horse is off of it.
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post #7 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 01:35 AM
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You may want to consider a healthy feeding of timothy/alfalfa pellets. My horse is on measured hay and the winter took a bit off him. A 40 lb bag of pellets will last almost a month at one feeding per day and cost only $15. I add the pellets to a bucket and pour enough hot water to cover the pellets. Wait 15-20 minutes and the pellets are fully expanded. This adds forage without the sugars of corn.

Just a thought. Our barn offers 2 feedings of hay but since there is no forage available I am adding more to his diet through the pellets.
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post #8 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AQHSam View Post
You may want to consider a healthy feeding of timothy/alfalfa pellets. My horse is on measured hay and the winter took a bit off him. A 40 lb bag of pellets will last almost a month at one feeding per day and cost only $15. I add the pellets to a bucket and pour enough hot water to cover the pellets. Wait 15-20 minutes and the pellets are fully expanded. This adds forage without the sugars of corn.

Just a thought. Our barn offers 2 feedings of hay but since there is no forage available I am adding more to his diet through the pellets.
I will definitely look into this, at least for the next month or so! Thank you.
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post #9 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 02:04 AM
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It was hard to see in the first "after" pic but in the second one she looks too skinny to me. I'd hate the thought of my horse out in a paddock, low on the pecking order with nothing to eat. It's not healthy and could cause other probelms besides weightloss.

I'd speak to your BO, show her the pictures, and ask what can be done. To have her say she'll feed them later and then not do it is ridiculous - that is NOT a good place to board.
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post #10 of 62 Old 03-31-2014, 02:31 AM
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I'd do one of 2 things. Either have your horse put on full board or stall board, so that she gets her own food and no one to chase her off of it, or move to another barn.
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