Can't Keep Weight - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 05-31-2009, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Unhappy Can't Keep Weight

My horse can't keep weight on. We've tried giving him richer feed, putting him in a pasture, corn, and now we're working on calf manna. The only reason we've tried all that is because it hasn't worked. What do you recommend I do about his weight problems? His lack of weight makes it seem like we neglect him.

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post #2 of 26 Old 05-31-2009, 05:55 PM
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I would caution against any corn products since they are high in starch & carbs, and possibly lead to founder issues. I'm in the process of putting weight on a hard keeper TB, and have done a TON of research in the process. The most helpful products I've found are:

Free choice hay - enough said.

Timothy Hay Cubes- I had started with Alfalfa-Timothy mix, but have since learned that the Alfalfa can sometimes increase the risk for founder and also, most horses don't need the amount of protein that comes with alfalfa. (about 14%). About $10 for a 50 lb bag

Beet Pulp - I'm using soaked beet pulp molasses free pellets. They blow up nice in about 15 minutes. These are very high in soluble fiber, very little chance of causing founder, colic, etc and can be used to substitute up to 50% of the horses forage diet without ill effects. About $12 for a 50 lb bag.

Stabilized Rice Bran. Rice bran in either powder or pellet form. It's great source of fat and can provide the extra calories you're looking for. Stabilized gives you a corrected calcium/phosphorus ration since rice bran itself is very high in phosphorus which can damage bone density over the long haul.

I'm currently feeding 2lbs hay cubes, 2lbs beet pulp and 1lbs of rice bran. I soak the beet pulp separate and dump out the water to rinse off any excess sugar that might be hanging on, mix it all together in a wet mash, and my TB loves it. I just started this regimen 3 weeks ago and am just starting to feel a little more meat between his ribs and so far he's gained 22 lbs.

good luck.
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-31-2009, 05:59 PM
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my horse had the same problem, we now give him a supplement to help his digestive system and it helped A LOT but it took 5-6 months to really go into effect. ask your vet or trainer to know the best one for your horse
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post #4 of 26 Old 05-31-2009, 06:22 PM
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Have you had his teeth checked ? the first part of the digestive system is a horses ability to chew its food properly . Also when was the last time you gave him a wormer or had a worm count done. The best diet in the world won't put weight on a horse if it has bad teeth or a high worm burden.
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-31-2009, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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His teeth are fine and he was dewormed recently so rule out those two. He doesn't have any health problems that we know of since the last vet visit.

"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-31-2009, 06:52 PM
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What is his base diet? How much hay and/or grain is he on for maintenance? What breed are we talking about, and how much is he worked? You might just be putting in fewer calories than he needs, plain and simple. Start with what you do know and then work in the appropriate extra foods depending on whether he needs fats for forage.
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post #7 of 26 Old 06-01-2009, 02:08 PM
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There are a few things to consider but without knowing what you are feeding it is hard to say exactly what might help the most. I'm a big fan of stabilized rice bran, there are a ton of them out there. I'm not a big fan of corn oils as another poster mentioned they weren't either and would use an omega3 oil if I wanted to go that route. It has the same benefits plus additional benefits that vegetable oils cannot provide. Filling them full of feed or oils isn't always the sure fire way solve a weight problem though, often there are digestive issues when you are doing everything else right.

A couple of questions first, what are you feeding? Does he show any signs of ulcers or hind gut acidosis? Does your vet offer any suggestions?

A good friend who is also our equine dentist was having a similar problem a month ago and was on a good feeding program and had tried many avenues with the help of his vet. We suggested he try EquiShure and he saw results in a few weeks. Read the article and see if you think it can help you are call and chat with someone there if needed.
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-01-2009, 02:41 PM
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everything has pretty much been covered... but if you rule out any physical discomfort that is causing the problem, try Amplify by Purina. It's a supplement that is specifically formulated for hard keepers. I put my WB mare on it (she drops and gains weight daily!) and she has evened her weight out. It's a great product and it is the only thing that has worked for my hard keeper.

good luck!

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post #9 of 26 Old 06-01-2009, 05:21 PM
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Stradegy :)
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post #10 of 26 Old 06-01-2009, 06:15 PM
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The first reply really hit the nail on the head. Those sugary/starchy foods actually kill off all the "good" bacteria in the gut and therefore the horse can't absorb any nutrients from the food. Less is more. Feed forage based feeds...and a good ration balancer. I've recently switched to ADM Stay Strong and LOVE IT. My horses have been on it for about a month. I can already see a difference in my older guy and my TB. Filling out top line and getting so shiny! I also feed Omega Horseshine and love it as well.
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