Hay for older horse?

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Hay for older horse?

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    09-08-2011, 03:19 PM
Hay for older horse?

Ok i'v been out of horse for awhile and just got my daughter a old mare, givin to us by a lady that had her 3-5 months and left her in a small pasture. She gave her to us and her feet where horrible probably with the original shoes on from 6 month ago, she was skinny, bitten up by mosqitos and bug and quite a few nicks and scratches
is her 5 days after we got her doing halter with my daughter, Skinny. This is her now
after about 5 weeks. I'v had her on just grass hay about 20 to 25# a day with winter coming up and her being a older horse(22) would it be better to feed both alfalfa and grass. I have a guy that wants to sell me a ton of alfalfa for 150 but he says its "hot" and "roundup ready" 1st cut after planting over oats. It looks real green. Would it be a good mix with the grass?
Also yes I have wormed her but have not had her teeth done yet probably in the next week or two.
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    09-08-2011, 03:43 PM
Is this a pasture pet or a riding horse? She looks swayed back to me. As for the alfalfa, I would introduce it very slowly. But it should be fine, and make sure its mixed with some ncie grass hay.
    09-08-2011, 03:56 PM
There is nothing wrong with feeding a horse alfalfa.

She might find it easier to chew even.

I am not sure what it being roundup ready has to do with anything at this point of its life. That simply means it is a genetically modified strain that is resistant to round up so they can spray off the weeds and not kill the crop.

I agree that if your mare has been eating only grass hay all along it is best to add the alfalfa slowly as it is probably much richer than what you have been feeding her.
    09-08-2011, 04:05 PM
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During the winter I feed my mare (26 year old) free choice grass hay (which she hardly ever touched, except for when it was really cold) and about 15 pounds of alfalfa a day. I also fed her about 2 pounds of soaked beet pulp.
She's a pretty easy keeper (on grass it's hard keeping the weight off, on hay it's much easier) and that diet kept her chubby all winter.

I would definitely get your mare on a diet of free choice grass hay (basically, as much as she can eat, she should never be without food) and slowly work your way up to 10 or more pounds of alfalfa. If getting that much hay is difficult (I know some places are experiencing a severe hay shortage) I'd introduce soaked alfalfa pellets and beet pulp to her diet. In any case, it would probably be beneficial to start her on soaked pellets because at her age, it's possible that her teeth aren't really in working order anymore. Speaking of which, have her teeth been checked by a vet?

Basically, if you can get it so that she's basically swimming in food (work up to that much gradually though!) that she can digest easily, I'll bet you'll see a marked difference in a month or two. Over the summer I was working with a horse that started out looking like she did in the first picture and once I got him on 20 pounds of alfalfa and ten of grass everyday, his weight got up to almost normal in about a month and a half. After he gained the weight he was able to easily keep it on with just 5 pounds of alfalfa a day and 15 of grass (and no work, he would have needed more had he been working). It was just a matter of getting him there.

If it were me, I'd go for that alfalfa. That's a good price and it more than likely will only do good things for her.

Good luck! She's lucky to have someone like you who wants to see her fat and happy and isn't using the "well, she's old" excuse. :) Age is no excuse, unless there is a severe underlying condition.
    09-08-2011, 04:16 PM
Poor thing looks so skinny! I am glad you got her and are trying to give her a good home. Not to be rude or anything but do you guys think she looks so swayed back because she's so skinny?
    09-08-2011, 04:17 PM
I think weight will look good on her, but the sway back is present, skinny or not. IMO
    09-08-2011, 04:32 PM
I do not think she is as underweight as you think she is.

With her loooooong back and her advanced age and lack of muscle I am not sure you would really want her to carry too much more weight than she is carrying now. She certainly should not get any thinner either.
    09-09-2011, 02:40 AM
Ok so the alfalfa is a go.i was just wondering cause the guy said it was "hot" (what does that mean?) and that if I feed it straight to her without grass she might founder.Now what is beet pulp and what does it do? How do you feed?

she is not a pasture pet, she is a nice mare so my daughter is learning to ride on her. She does have a bit of a sway back but she also has a bit of some high withers (i think that's why it looks worse) and a very long back, she is a big girl. She doesn't have any problems riding she has some spirit. She's out of easy jet and mother is mayors easy flight. She was a race horse then a brood mare had like 8 foals and then was passed around from there I think.
anyways her teeth don't look to bad from what I can tell but they are kinda sharp and need to be floated I am hoping to get that done in the next 2 weeks now that I found someone to haul me there. But I think getting her teeth done will help, she doesn't seem to have a hard time eating, she'll even eat hard hay cubes just fine. But when we ride she does chomp on the bit so may be teeth, although the chomping has slowly decreased since we've started riding.
she doesn't have much muscle at all and I want to build it up a bit. I also want to build up her back muscles to help with the sway back anyone know some good exercise to do this? We've been riding her about 2 times a week for anywhere from 1-3 hours. Should I work her more than that? I didn't want to over stress her coming from no work at all.
also has anyone ever made those "slow grazers", do they work? I don't want to just give her free feed even with grass cause she wont stop eating she's kinda a piggy, in fact yesterday she had her morning, afternoon, and night feeding and then I had moved a couple flakes messing with my bales and went out a bit later and she had manage to get it, so I just gave the rest to her and today she looked kinda bloated, I have no doubt she would go through a bale a day if she could. Anyways thanks for all the responses
    09-09-2011, 08:12 AM
I do not know how much your bales of grass hay weigh but I do not find eating a bale a day to be a crazy high amount.

I have had very good luck with my small hole hay bags. They slow down my chow hound (who can eat his whole ration of hay in about 20 minutes with out the hay bag). They also have my picky eater eating more.

I do not know what your hay guy means by hot. You might want to ask him what he means. I can guess that he might mean it is good rich alfalfa and alfalfa has been know to cause some horses to act more hot.

Your mare being willing to eat hard cubes and such does not mean her teeth are fine. I am glad you plan to get them done. If you can feel some sharps I am betting they are truly in need of doing.

Here is a good info sheet on beet pulp.
    09-10-2011, 02:41 AM
The grass bales I just got are uneven but are between 45 and 70, but the alfalfa is baled at about 75 to 100#. I have never tried the bags, I was always kinda leery of them. They never looked like they would hold up for long, maybe i'll try one. I don't know what he meant by "hot" either, he just kept saying it. He's a old farmer so maybe its there old lingo, he says barrel racers will use it when they go for events and such cause they can feed less of it, I don't know but I think i'm going to find out more.
I looked at that beet pulp fact sheet, so if I understand it right it provides more calories but without the sugars of say grain or a sweet feed. Less protein then alfalfa. But more calcium then grass hay. So with me adding in the alfalfa with the grass. Would beet pulp be a good addition or a un-needed addition.

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