Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons View Post
Pictures would help but I'm going to guess that if he works as a carriage horse he is probably older. My first thought would be teeth and EPMS. Is he just underweight or also lacking muscle tone especially in his hind end? What you choose to add to his diet is only going to help as it's extra calories but I would skew my choices to a simple modified EPSM diet. Alfalfa for better protein to build lean muscle mass, oil for a concentrated calorie source and to provide fuel for the muscles if he is indeed suffering with the condition, a RB or vitamin/mineral blend (no need for an additional electrolyte as this is what a mineral blend is), salt and 40# or more grass hay. Changing him over to a high fat diet will take about one month to see results. Start with 1C a day and work up to 4 C. You must give the muscles time to adapt to using fat as a energy source. Many drafts are kept on a simple hay and whole oats diet so when you start messing with their food and adding a lot of extra stuff, they get suspicious and won't touch the food.
When the vet comes out make sure he's aware of proper sedation on drafts. Most are highly sensitive to the stuff.
In my limited experience with retired work drafts, they don't really relish down time. They are happiest working. He probably isn't broke to ride and initially it will be out of his comfort zone. Find a chore for him to do, harrowing the arena or dragging pastures are perfect. Keep him in light work while you are putting weight back on him to promote muscle gain.
Thanks - very good guesses. I don't want to get into his history or post pictures until he's in my barn - long story. But there will
be pics hopefully this Monday :S if not the first week of March.
He is old, about 20, and you're exactly right, he's lost almost complete muscle tone in his hind end. He's lost a lot of weight and muscle on his topline and hind end. His front end still has some weight and some muscle, but less than 2 years ago.
How would I know if it's EPSM - A vet? What would I do if he did have it? Would it just be a diet change?
Good I'll definitely have him on alfalfa then! Should I do alfalfa/timothy cubes + Alfalfa pellets, or just alfalfa cubes? Of course soaked.
Do you mean Ration Balancer or Rice Bran? I was thinking Ration Balancer to make sure he gets all he needs.
He's the type to eat anything, but I'll be careful to transition him slowly.
Thank you about the information for the vet - I'll make sure!
I broke him to ride 2 years ago when I worked with him, he's a doll, I used to take him out for trails occasionally, he seemed to enjoy it enough. I don't have any harness things, or anything for him to do (no arena or paddocks, just big pastures). I don't want to ride him while he's getting better but perhaps I better take him out for walks for a while, or line-drive him around the trails.
Thank you all VERY much! I've got a lot to think about and make sure of
My baby is coming home!! I've missed him so much, I don't think I've gone a single day without thinking of him since I left.