I just recently purchased an 11yr. Old 16.2 hh mare. She came from a gentleman who turned her out to pasture for the past 5 years and only fed her hay and grain in the winter months. Right now I'm working with her on ground work, not daring to try to work with her in the saddle as her backbone is clearly visible and sticks up about a 1/2 to 1 inch. Her butt is nice and toned, no hip bones can be seen, just her back.
I'm trying to slowly put her back on grain, but this too is going to be tough because she has really tough hooves and I want to keep them that way (she hasn't been seen by a farrier in over 2 years and her hooves look amazing! And I'm hoping to keep her barefoot). I'm afraid if I get her back on a decent amount of grain her hooves will eventually soften up from all the extra protein in her diet. Any tips? Right now I'm only giving her about a half a scoop (about 1.5 quarts) once in the morning and once in the evening. I was thinking about adding small amounts of corn oil to her feed but was wondering if you guys had any good tips. Any help would be greatly appreciated!