For a friend. Horse neeeeeds weight!!!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-26-2009, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation For a friend. Horse neeeeeds weight!!!!

So, my friend got a 26yr old TB mare last year and she was really really skinny! We got her on grain and extra hay, we used beat pulp for a while but she didn't really like it so we took her off of it. She has been wormed and I think her teeth are all right. She has gained a little bit of weight, but she still needs a lot of weight. Is there anything you can suggest for her? Right now she is on Rice Bran Oil and i think a grain for older horses.

Help Please?

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post #2 of 6 Old 12-27-2009, 12:11 AM
Green Broke
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I would have the vet take a second look at her teeth. Senior horses often need more frequent dental care. If she has any problems with her teeth, that would cause her to not chew well, then she'll need to be on soaked feed and soaked hay cube or pellets to make sure she's digesting all of the food properly.

If her teeth are in good condition, then I would have her on free choice quality grass hay or timothy hay, as much as she can eat. For her "feed", I would feed her:
  • 2-3 scoops of Alfalfa pellets (using a 3qt feed scoop), with a little water mixed in to soften them up (you only need 1-2 cups of water for this much pellets), split into two feedings if possible
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of Rice Bran Oil, or 1-2 cups of stabilized race bran meal.
  • 2 scoops a day of Platinum Performance Equine
You won't need any other feed or supplement with the above diet. The only extra thing I might add are some probiotics like Probios powder or Fastrack, to help make sure the horse is digesting all of its food and absorbing the nutrients properly.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-27-2009, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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I know that we have an older horse and we just get his teeth floated when we need to and he is on grain and stuff which is good. My friend also does not have a lot of money to spend. Her grandma and grandpa make their hay for them and they usually do not have to buy hay. Her horse does seem to be chewing alright, but she might need some extra help with that.

also about the rice bran oil, she's only giving a tiny bit! I thought it was waaaay to little. She said "thats all im allowed to give".... that puzzled me cuz its too little. Should I definitely get her to give more rice bran oil??
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-27-2009, 01:00 AM
Green Broke
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Any less than 1/4 cup isn't doing any good. For weight gain, horses should get 1/2 cup to 1 cup of oil. You can feed up to 2 cups of oil, if you split it between two feedings.

If feeding 1/2 to 1 cup of oil per day is too expensive, then have her switch to corn oil. You can getbig 5 gal jugs relatively cheap from Sams or other outlet store. Even just the big off-brand 1 gal from Wal-mart is relatively cheap.

If she can't afford the Platinum Performance supplement (and it is a bit pricey), then have her just add 1-2 scoops of alfalfa pellets to the senior feed she's already feeding. 1-2 scoops is about 3-5 lbs per day, when you use a 3qt feed scooper.

For the hay, she should be feeding free choice, as much as the mare can eat. Either a whole square bale a day (or half a square bale if the bales are heavy) or put out a round bale for the mare to eat off as she wants to. Put it under a shelter so it doesn't go bad.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-27-2009, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Okay thanks!!

As for the hay, her hay is quite light. One of her bales may equal not even half of one of mine? (ours our heavy!! and packed!!) hers fall apart and are very loose so her horse is on about two of those bales a day. Ill let her know about the oils though! thankk-you!!
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-27-2009, 12:10 PM
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At 26 years of age, hay may not be providing much in the way of nutrition for a horse due to the wear and tear on teeth. Having his teeth checked is definitely recommended as there may be issues which lead to uneven wear and affect chewing even more than normal in these old guys. But still with other changes in the digestive tract that occur with age hay becomes less and less digestible with age. That being said, if the horse is still eating hay well (not quidding and not passing it out in feces basically unchanged) then the first place to start on a diet plan for weight gain is adequate forage. For most horses you want to feed 1.5% of their body weight in forage a day---for 1000 lbs of horse that is 15 lbs of forage. For a horse that you want to increase the weight on, you want to increase the amount of forage. Free choice forage is the best way to go, but if you can't do that then increasing to 2-3% of the horse's body weight is good.

Besides hay, if the horse is on a feed designed for senior horses she needs to be sure that she is feeding it at least at the amounts recommended on the label and even above that amount for weight gain.

Fat in the form of oil is a great choice for these senior horses because it is a very concentrated source of digestible energy and easily digested. As Luvs2ride said, 1-2 cups a day can be fed for increased energy and body weight. Any vegetable oil can be used but for senior horses I would stay away from strictly corn oil as it has a high amount of omega 3 fatty acids which feed into the inflammatory cascade and thus exacerbate inflammatory issues like arthritis.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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