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My hard keeper is not anymore, help?

This is a discussion on My hard keeper is not anymore, help? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        03-28-2013, 12:30 PM
      #21
    Showing
    I run my fingers toward the midline under the belly to get a horse to lift it's back. The horse will look thinner once it loses it's winter woolies.
         
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        03-28-2013, 12:32 PM
      #22
    Green Broke
    Lol yes I'm sick of winter. Up until 3 weeks ago she was ridden a good 3 days a week about 30-60 min. So not a ton but not just sitting around. She was only on stall rest for a week and has been out of work for 3 due to the mud, ice, crap outside stuff we've been having.

    I'm not out of shape though, I got a third job cleaning stalls for 6 hours at another barn lol. That is some hard work and I thought I was going to die after the first day but now it's pretty easy.

    I try the belly thing, she hates that too. She will lift it a little bit but really hates it.
         
        03-28-2013, 12:33 PM
      #23
    Green Broke
    The bloated-looking hay belly from inferior hay is a lot of times caused because the hindgut is having trouble digesting properly. Putting her on a probiotic could help if there is not a way to change her hay. Other than that, your next best medicine is movement, so as much exercise as possible, as much turnout as possible, put small piles of hay around her enclosure to encourage her to move around as much as you can.
         
        03-28-2013, 12:39 PM
      #24
    Super Moderator
    Just start working her and it'll be fine. I would seriously hesitate touching anything about her food until after you start working her. This is from standing around doing nothing, once her energy requirements go back up, you'll be playing catch-up once again if you lessen her feed now.

    I'm not sure what sort of "image" you're expecting from her but she may just be a thicker built Arab who's finally getting "there". My mare was narrow as all get out when I got her (obese though) then she lost weight and got even narrower so I assumed she was just one of "those". However, once I started getting her into more slow-long work and feeding her better (quality hay, high protein because she gets a potbelly when she doesn't get enough protein, etc), she seriously muscled up. She suddenly became this wiiiideeeee muscular machine. And I thought she was going to stay narrow! Hahaha
    Of course, thinking that this may be a step in her fitness doesn't really include her belly but that's all probably due to the hay she's eating. The rest of her looks perfect. Finally not too skinny (imho, she's always been too skinny before this).


    My other thought is that since she was starved for so long, it has probably taken quite a while for her body to build back up it's internal stores. If I remember correctly, she's only been out of starvation "mode" for about a year and half, so it stands to reason that her body may be finally catching up and finally able to get some fat on her bones. It does take about that long for some muscles in the body to rebuild after loss.
         
        03-28-2013, 12:50 PM
      #25
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wallaby    
    Just start working her and it'll be fine. I would seriously hesitate touching anything about her food until after you start working her. This is from standing around doing nothing, once her energy requirements go back up, you'll be playing catch-up once again if you lessen her feed now.

    I'm not sure what sort of "image" you're expecting from her but she may just be a thicker built Arab who's finally getting "there". My mare was narrow as all get out when I got her (obese though) then she lost weight and got even narrower so I assumed she was just one of "those". However, once I started getting her into more slow-long work and feeding her better (quality hay, high protein because she gets a potbelly when she doesn't get enough protein, etc), she seriously muscled up. She suddenly became this wiiiideeeee muscular machine. And I thought she was going to stay narrow! Hahaha
    Of course, thinking that this may be a step in her fitness doesn't really include her belly but that's all probably due to the hay she's eating. The rest of her looks perfect. Finally not too skinny (imho, she's always been too skinny before this).


    My other thought is that since she was starved for so long, it has probably taken quite a while for her body to build back up it's internal stores. If I remember correctly, she's only been out of starvation "mode" for about a year and half, so it stands to reason that her body may be finally catching up and finally able to get some fat on her bones. It does take about that long for some muscles in the body to rebuild after loss.
    Yes she was always too skinny and it took some time to find what really worked for her. I would love for her to be one of the thicker arabs, as I'm 5'8" and she's only 14.1 lol. I didn't worry too much about her muscle before because she had to get healthy before she could build muscle. It has been about a little over a year and half since she was rescued.

    Protein - how do I know if she is getting enough for her? Her stall does not smell at all. And the only way I know if they are getting too much is when they have that strong amonia smell to their pee. Her pee only has a bit of smell immediately but quickly dissipates. So could she maybe not have enough protein? Maybe she needs more alfalfa when I put her back into work? I looked into testing the hay but there is like a huge process and it's almost $60 so if someone knows an easier way than the UofM please tell me. I'm guessing the hay is pretty much worthless though. Most of it is way to stemmy.

    Come to think of it the belly really got big with this new batch of hay. She had been getting really fluffy green hay, still not great, but it was better than this crap.

    Oh and cheapest probiotic to feed? I can get capsules of Florajen for free. They are for humans but could I break one of those open and put in her feed? They have 10 times more good bacteria than yogurt does.
         
        03-28-2013, 12:56 PM
      #26
    Trained
    So you answered your own question the new batch of hay
    Alfalfa is an excellent source of protein, so upping this is okay. She will use it and it's amino acids to build muscle.
         
        03-28-2013, 01:03 PM
      #27
    Green Broke
    So how much could she get of alfalfa? I can only do two feedings per day. Or well enough that it will make a difference?

    I so wish she was at my house and I wouldn't have this hay problem.
         
        03-28-2013, 01:04 PM
      #28
    Green Broke
    I don't know the conversion rate for Florajen. I have my old man on Probios that I get from the feed mill or Tractor Supply for roughly $10 a month. He had years of digestive issues before I put him on them and I could see a marked difference in using them after only a week. So I have become a big fan. That is not to say it will help every horse, and its not an end all be all solution but if it does help even a little, it's truly worth it. Also, I haven't heard of anyone causing problems by adding a probiotic. It's a safe additive without causing a change in energy level, other than just that they FEEL better, etc.
         
        03-28-2013, 01:12 PM
      #29
    Weanling
    She looks like, if anything, she could use a dose of wormer. She is absolutely NOT fat, as far as I can see. Actually, her hind end appears a little sucked-in.
         
        03-28-2013, 01:17 PM
      #30
    Green Broke
    No worms, I'm not worried about that. Her hind end is not sucked in, it just isn't muscular. I have to really push to feel ribs, that is boarder line fat.

    Looked up the florajen to probios and the probios has 10 million CFU per gram and the florajen has 20 billion cfu per capsule. So one capsule is definitely plenty. By the way Florajen is for humans so if that is how much a human should need I'm guessing horses are being way under fed with probios.
         

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