Hard Keeper

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  • Promoting weight-gain in the hard-keeper horse
  • Hard keeper feeding schedule

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    07-12-2012, 03:14 PM
Hard Keeper

Hi folks,
So here's what's up. I own a 17yr old Holsteiner/TB Cross. She has always been on the skinnier side. You can always see a hint of rib no matter what I've tried feeding her so far. Her flanks are a tiny bit sunken in as well. We event at training level, and she's been pretty well conditioned, but we don't have any more events this year so she's had an easier workload. She's on a regular deworming schedule and is up for a fecal exam soon. If it helps to know, she's had two foals.

Right now she's on 24/7 turnout. About half of the time that's on grass pastures. The other half she's in a dry lot with Brome hay. She also gets 4 qts of Purina's Equine Senior morning and night.

Does anyone have any supplements, feeding strategies, or ideas to help me get a little more weight on her? I really don't like to be able to see much rib, and going into winter it starts to worry me.

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    07-12-2012, 03:27 PM
A few of the horses at my barn used to get Fat-Cat weight-gain supplement.

The description on the web-site says
"Fat-Cat is a concentrated natural muscle developer with amino acids to promote weight gain, shiny coats and extra energy. Fat-Cat is a great way to supply muscles with protein building blocks and beneficial vitamins and minerals."

The horse who used to get it was a TB as well- he switched owners a while ago and I think he's lost weight since he stopped taking it, so I think it worked. I suppose it's worth looking at anyway. :)
    07-12-2012, 07:47 PM
A 'hint of rib' is not necessarily bad at all. Check out this thread for more explaination Weight??

If she is underweight, I'd consider feeding her a lower starch/sugar/grain feed and feeding her ration over more frequent meals. I'd also consider ulcer treatment & probiotic. Nutrition, as opposed to diet may also be the problem rather than lack of calories.
themacpack likes this.
    07-13-2012, 03:46 AM
Can you get pics?

More hay is always best. Also putting her on a pro-biotic for a month to see if that helps.
    07-13-2012, 09:13 AM
I boarded a TB that was a hard keeper, tried both smartgain 4 and cocasoya from smartpak...great products...also improved his coat texture since he coat was really not very thick/subtle. Also had to blanket him in the winter since he just wouldnt grow much of a winter coat.
Skyseternalangel likes this.
    07-13-2012, 10:21 AM
You didn't say how much hay she was getting at night. Invest less than $10 and get a small mesh hay net. It will prevent her from bolting her hay and she will better digest it when she has to nibble it. Also put her pellets in a pan with a large bottom surface, not a typical corner feeder or pail. This too will slow her down. I made one from a scrap of 3/4" plywood and set it on a frame made of scrap 2 x 4's. The "pan" is about 30" square. My preference is that it would be larger yet.
    07-13-2012, 10:48 AM
Green Broke
Brome would not be my first choice for a horse I wanted to put weight on/maintain weight for a harder keeper - I would suggest a nice, quality timothy/orchard and possibly alfalfa mix hay. I would also gear my program towards free choice provision of that hay.
    07-14-2012, 10:23 PM
I must not have made myself clear about her hay situation. She has free choice all of the time. She tends to "browse" eat, so no bolting hay here. :) Switching hays is not really an option. We're in northeastern Kansas and I only know one or two providers who offer something other than brome or prairie grass.

I have discussed putting her on Succeed. Does anyone have any experience with that?
    07-14-2012, 10:26 PM
Sorry OP I did not read that in the replies nor the OP. I get it now :P

I have no experience with succeed. I have experience with triple crown senior though and it's very positive.
Do you think a probiotic for a month would help her out at all?

A weight suplement is always a good idea too. It could be she's just got some deficiencies..
    07-14-2012, 10:38 PM
Yeah, I'll talk to the barn owner about putting her on some probiotics and see if that helps. I'd like to go that route before increasing feed or anything drastic. If I don't see much improvement then I'll probably try some weight gain supplements.

She's really a TB type and I don't mind her current condition when we're competing, she's in fighting shape. It's just going into these cold Kansas winters that I'd like her to have a little more meat on her bones, especially as she's out all of the time. :)

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