Help With Skinny OTTB - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Help With Skinny OTTB

I'm new at this and am not even sure if people will answer but I need some help and its worth a shot.

I recently bought an OTTB from an auction. I didn't go to the auction to buy a horse originally, I went to the auction with a friend who was selling some cattle but when I seen this skinny scared gelding come into the auction ring he pulled on my heart strings and I had to get him but anyway I'm having a hard time putting weight on him our vet recommended beet pulp but he refuses to eat it (I think because its wet). He's not wormy and he eats his feed and hay just fine he has no teeth problems. I've been told OTTBs are hard keepers and I'm totally prepared to handle all his needs I don't ride him because of his weight but I do lunge him, work him in the round pen and pony him when I ride my other horse in the arena so he does get exercise. He's my first Thoroughbred I have only had QH and Arabs. I've been told by people at my barn that buying him from an auction was a huge mistake and sale barn horses aren't worth much but I think the only reason he ended up at a sale barn was because when I looked up his tattoo he never won a race and never placed high at all but anyways does any body have any suggestions and/or tips for me about his weight gain or just OTTBs in general I really don't want to give up on him he's a sweet boy and full of personality and him and my current mare get along so well I've only had him about a month hes not emaciated but you can see a little of his ribs and his hip bones are prominent.

Oh sorry to post so much but I was also told that riding him with a western saddle is bad for a Thoroughbreds kidneys is that true?

This is Ace our OTTB!
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 06:56 PM
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It takes a while for them to put weight on, but it sounds like you are on the right track with him. It sounds like you have already had the vet out to check him out, so his overall health, teeth, deworming, etc have all ready been checked then.

I would make sure that he has free choice all he can eat good quality hay and/or pasture, that's the most important step.

What type of feed are you currently feeding him and does he get the full recommended amount it suggests on the feed tag for his size/work? Does it give your horse all of the recommended vitamins and minerals he needs if fed at the full amount?

I like high fibre, high fat feeds. I also like to use a ration balancer if I'm not feeding the full recommended amount it suggests on the feed tag. Ration Balancers can be fed alone or with only hay, pasture, beet pulp, alfalfa cubes or alfalfa pellets at the full recommended serving. The one I use is meant to work with the feed I use, so depending on the amount of feed I am feeding depends on the amount of ration balancer I need to feed. Ration Balancers add all of the vitamins and minerals that horses need.

Since he doesn't seem to like the beet pulp, you could try alfalfa pellets or soaked alfalfa cubes. You could also try adding some type of "fat" to his feed, if his current feed doesn't have any added to it. Flax seed, oils, or rice bran are all good sources of fat.

I have no experience with western saddles so I'm not sure what to say, but I would think that if the saddle fits your horse properly and you use a good quality pad underneath, it should be fine. Maybe you could get a saddle fitter out to check the fit, just to be sure.

I can see why you ended up bringing him home with you! He is a nice looking horse.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 07:12 PM
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What I do with OTTBs who come off the track with weight issues is cut the protien and kick up the fat in their diets up to around 20% fat.There are good sources on the market these days,you just have to find to one that works for your current situation.And of course,plenty of good hay.I refrain from using Alfalfa during this let down time however.I wish you the best with your new horse.
As for the western saddle...I ride them western all the time and do not have kidney problems.It is important that the saddle fits properly and is padded adequately...other than that,no problem.

Last edited by oceanne; 04-13-2012 at 07:15 PM.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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I have had my vet check him out he's sound health wise so i don't know why hes underweight I know very little about his past but we feed him Purina Strategy Healthy Edge my vet recommended it said he's had luck with it putting weight on horses in the past. He does have access to a good green pasture 24/7 and we feed him an rye/oat hay mix 3x a day and gets fed 3x a day and there's 2 mineral blocks in the pasture he does lick on them. I posted because I've heard some weird things at my barn about OTTBs and didn't know what was true or not because most of the people at my barn are first time horse owners and everything thats been told me are like "My sisters, friend, cousin said this..." not really reliable information so I thought I would ask some experienced horse people how have done it before themselves and not just heard things through the grape vine but all I've done are things my vet has recommended I was just looking to see if maybe I'm doing something wrong or needed to do something different or add something but thank you for yalls help it's GREATLY appreciated! I will try them out and see how they work.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 08:14 PM
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I have an OTTB, and he's not really a hard keeper. He eats a mix of beet pulp, oats, and Dumor Equistages once a day, and a smaller feeding of equistages and oats in the morning. Other than that he just gets hay 2x's, and pasture 24/7. As a matter of fact I've had to scale back the evening feeding a bit because he's getting a tad on the fat side. All we ride is western saddles and Sonny has never had a problem with it!
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 09:04 PM
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It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong at all. You are doing what your vet has recommended to you and he would know what is best for your horse. Not all tb's are hard keepers though, I have 3 tb's and I wouldn't call them hard keepers. You have only had him for 1 month, it just takes time for them to put on weight.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 09:07 PM
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I rescued an OTTB and he was in sad shape when I got him. You need to know that a horse can drop weight in an instand and it can take a long time to get it back. I have my 17 yr old TB on a ration of 4 flakes grass & 2 alfalfa a day, a full ration of Ultium, pro-bios (very important in my opinion!!) and 1/2 a bucket of beet pulp (3/4 in the winter). He also gets turned out to graze 4 hours a day. You say your guy doesnt like the beet pulp cuz it is 'wet' so maybe try soaking the beet pulp then mahsing out all of the excess water and 'fixing' it up with something sweet like shredded carrot's, apples, or molasses for flavor? I really think the pro-bios help with so I would ask you try them. They are not very expensive. Good luck!!! Let us know how it goes.....
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 09:33 PM
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How much to feed???

Try this in the nutrition section. Do you know when your horse raced last? Is he tattooed on the inside of his upper lip? Did you get any history on him at all? If he is tattood you can pull up not just his breeding but his racing record if he has any. He may have ended up at auction because someone else gave up trying to put weight on him. It can be expensive.

It's not unusual for OTTBs to lose weight when they come off the track and it can sometimes be difficult for them to put the weight back on.
Not knowing your horse's history, but just looking at him, he needs feed.
LOTS of feed. If no one in your barn has experience with OTTB's you need to talk to some of the people on here. You (and your friends) will be shocked at how much feed a thoroughbred can eat. Forget quantities you feed to arabs, grades or quarter horses. Talk to some of the people on here who rehab OTTBs. They can guide you.
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 09:54 PM
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My 3 tb's are all ottb's, they looked pretty much like your horse when I first got them. One may have been worse. It just takes a long time to put the weight on. Once the weight was on them, I don't have any trouble keeping them at a good weight. The most important thing is the 24/7 good quality hay and/or pasture. My horse's have always been on high fat high fibre feeds and they all gained weight well and now maintain it with the same. They just ate a lot more of it when they needed to gain weight than they do now.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-13-2012, 10:24 PM
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Hi I just got over this issue with my thoroughbred. He looked pretty similar to yours. What feed is he on? What kind of hay? How much hay and grain a day?
Have you dewormed him yet?

It took me 3 months to get to my "ideal" weight with him. By 3lbs of strategy feed a day and unlimited access to a grass round bale.
I originally tried giving him extra beet pulp (he loved it) but that didn't do much good. A good quality grain and plenty of hay should be enough.

I also ride my horse in a western saddle. He'll be fine. Western saddle distribute weight better than English saddles anyways.

Last edited by mselizabeth; 04-13-2012 at 10:26 PM.
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advice help im new , auction , ottb , thoroughbred new horse , weight gain

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