Can't get my old horse to gain weight - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-11-2013, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Can't get my old horse to gain weight

Hi, I have a 27 year old horse that will not gain weight. I have tried giving senior grain and his teeth have been checked. I need to find away to get him to gain some weight by this winter... Does anyone have any weight gaining tips?
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-11-2013, 12:06 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by senior grain as grain to me (I'm from the UK originally) means oats, barley, etc in natural form - not processed.
If you haven't already tried it you might find something like Sentinel Senior soaked prior to feeding will help, you can add soaked sugar beet to that and soaked alfalfa pellets - he might find softer food easier to chew and digest
Are you feeding enough hay or does he have enough grazing?
All horses can be prone to ulcers so something like U-Gard might help
Have you had a fecal worm count done and had him blood tested for encysted worms?
Have you treated him for tapeworms?
Have you had him tested for thyroid problems or metabolic/IRS issues?
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-11-2013, 12:07 PM
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try soaking some alfalfa pellets. Rice bran is good for gaining weight. black oil sunflower seeds has a lot of fat and protein.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-11-2013, 12:08 PM
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What kind of condition are his teeth in? At this point they're probably nearly nonexistent and he may be having a hard time chewing and digesting his food. For the last 4 years of her life (24-28 years old), our old grade mare had to eat a tailored diet but she did great on soaked alfalfa pellets that had been soaked the night before (8-12 hours) in place of most of her hay, fine hay, and senior food mash + rice bran. Senior feed is made to become mushy very fast, so you can add some water to it and 3/4 a pound or so of rice bran and it will soup up and be easy for even a toothless horse to eat!

IMO soaked beet pulp may not be the best option because even soaked for 12+ hours, it can still be very chewy. It slowed my filly down a LOT to eat her beet pulp with her grain.

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post #5 of 13 Old 10-12-2013, 01:44 AM
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Hmm, I'm no expert but a friend of mine (if the horse has lost its appetite) used to make a nice bran mash, with apples, carrots and honey, and grain. Sometimes she would make it softer by adding some warm water.

But that was just her horse, every horse is different.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-12-2013, 02:14 AM
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There is a horse at the therapeutic riding center I volunteer at and he's about 35-37 years old and all he feeds him is some soaked alfalfa pellets and the occasional apple and he still looks awesome. He doesn't have any teeth except for the ones in the front. So he practically just gums everything haha. So maybe that would help your horse too?

Here's some pictures of him.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-12-2013, 06:45 AM
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^^Wow, that is an awesome looking horse for his age! Looks like he's still going very strongly!

In addition to answering Jaydee's questions, what were his teeth like & when were they 'checked'? Old horses tend to need attention more often than the regular yearly. It depends a bit on previous diet & management as to how much/many teeth a horse of that age has. If they're not good, feeding chaff instead of hay, beet pulp, rice bran, etc, can be easier for them.

Consider low starch/NSC options rather than grain if poss and consider treating for ulcers & giving probios. What is the senior feed & how much does he get? How much of what else?
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-14-2013, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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His teeth were checked last month, they said they were good. He was on an all hay diet eating about a bail a day with no grazing(he always had hay and could eat as much as he wanted). and got 3/4 pound of Purina senior grain every morning. He has been checked for worms and seen by the vet. we were just told he can't hold his weight due to age. He is now in a very green pasture all day and still gets hay but it's not helping at all. I will try the rice bran and beet pulp though thank you :)
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-14-2013, 01:31 PM
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Try adding probiotics might help.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-14-2013, 01:48 PM
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3/4 of a pound of senior feed is nothing. I mean, literally, almost nothing. Senior feeds are intended to be fed at amounts of 5-10lbs a day, to start with. At the high end, a horse might eat nothing but senior feed and get 20lbs a day split into multiple feedings.

I would keep giving him the hay, but as it sounds like he is not getting what he needs from it, you you need to add in other sources of calories. You could go with a senior feed or a complete feed, but I'd start out with at least 5lbs/day and go from there. Hay pellets, beet pulp, and rice bran are other good sources of calories for horses who need a little more. Finally, if those aren't doing it, adding a fat source like vegetable oil or stabilized fat products like cool calories can be helpful.
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senior horse , skinny horse , weight gain

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