OTTB weight gain

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OTTB weight gain

This is a discussion on OTTB weight gain within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Feeding alfalfa pellets to horses for gaining weight
  • What to feed your ottb on

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    02-15-2009, 09:54 PM
OTTB weight gain

We recently bought an OTTB(off the track thoroughbred), and he is SUPER SKINNY. We've had him for almost a month now, and I think he's either stayed the same or lost weight. I ride him 5-7 days a week, and he's on 12% Creep Feed(about 1 large scoop) and a flake of alfalfa; morning and night. We can't seem to find any solid advice on what to feed, and how much. I don't know anything about his past, but he was definantly malnurited so we don't want to start by feeding him too much.

So any advice on what to feed and how much to give would be great! We cannot give him free choice of hay because he is boarded with 2 other horses in the pasture, so please no posts saying "free choice hay".

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    02-15-2009, 10:07 PM
You are going to get so many answers. First of all, know how much your horse weighs now and what he should weigh. REMOVE THE WORD "SCOOP" from your vocabulary and always know how much it weighs in lbs.

Lets say your horse should weigh 1000 lbs. I would feed him 15 lbs of hay (put hay in a net and hang it on a scale) 1/2 coastal and 1/2 alfalfa and a minimum of 10lbs of grain (depends on the grain) but I really really like triple crown senior.

Free choice is best.. I would check with your barn and the other two horse owners and see if they would split the cost of a round bale with you
    02-15-2009, 10:58 PM
Well I'm not exactly sure how much LBS that scoop is, the one we use here at our house is different that the one where he's boarded. 'Cause we feed about 10lbs for my Appendix and about 5lbs for our pony.

What I was mainly asking(sorry, I should of been more specific), is WHAT KIND of feed we should be feeding him, how much of that and if we should maybe look into a weight gain supplement. He should be at least 1200lbs, because he's a big, 16.2hh horse.

I have a picture from a couple of days ago:
    02-16-2009, 10:22 AM
I board my horses also so I get the maximum hay they'll allow which is 3 flakes 2x a day. I feed purina strategy and love it. I feed him approx. 8lb a day (1 scoop am and pm). To increase intake his hay I feed him alfalfa cubes or pellets (these also come in timmothy). I find the pellets and/or cubes really helps keep the weight on my gelding.
    02-16-2009, 01:29 PM
Green Broke
First, NO sweet feed! Diets high in sugar and starch will only rev up his metabolism, making him LOSE weight.

I had an OTTB and the following diet did him WONDERS!

Gaining diet:
  • Free Choice grass hay, or at least 25-30 lbs a day
  • 3 lbs dry weight of shredded beet pulp (NO molasses), soaked for 15-20 minutes, then excess water drained out
  • 3 lbs dry weight of alfalfa pellets or cubes
  • 2 lbs of stabilized rice bran, powder or pellets
  • Source Focus WT supplement
  • any general vitamin supplement (Balance II or SmartVite Maintenance Grass are good).
If you can't give free choice grass hay or at least 25 lbs a day, then you can increase the hay pellets to 5-7 lbs a day, split into two feedings. If rice bran is too expensive for you, then you can use 1-2 cups of corn or soybean (veggie) oil.

Maintaining Diet:
  • Free choice grass hay, or at least 20-25 lbs a day
  • 1.5-2.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets (1/2 to a full 2-qt feed scoop)
  • 1/2 lb of stabilized rice bran or 1/2 cup of oil or 1 cup of milled flax
  • any general vitamin supplement
If you can't feed free choice grass hay, then 2-3 lbs of alfalfa pellets should do it. For the flax you can feed Omega Horseshine or NutraFlax from if your feed store doesn't have bags of stabilized milled flax. You might have to add a little water to the bucket if he sifts out the powdered ingredients.

This simple, forage based diet works WONDERS and will help calm the horse down. His metabolism will stabilize and he should keep a good weight on less food, even in hard training.
    02-16-2009, 01:33 PM
Green Broke
Also, have the vet out to check his teeth and make sure he's been thoroughly dewormed. Not being able to chew his food properly due to sharp points on the teeth can cause weight loss.

Parasites will cause weight loss as well. If you don't know his deworming history, then give him 1 tube of Pyrantel Promate paste now and Ivermectin in 4 weeks. Then keep him on a good deworming rotation. With his fuzzy tail dock, he might have pin worms.
    02-16-2009, 06:13 PM
I have a OTTB and she get two flakes in the am and two at night (mixture of alfalfa and grass hay) and she gets about 2 lbs of purina strategy and 1/2 lb of grain at night, pluss a multi vitamin)

Hope that helps :)

Oh one more thing... if you are going to ride that much you need to bump up the feed quite a bit ..

Also are you blanketing? OTTB are sensitive and if you don't blanket they are using a lot of energy to keep themselves warm. Just a thought. You can get really cheap blankets on line and that might be a good thing to try :)
    02-16-2009, 07:35 PM
Thanks a lot guys!

We were sort of on that diet with my Appendix when we lived in California, with the rice brand, flax and alfalfa... it didn't serve him any good, but he had a problem with his teeth... and the vet can only come out next month(beginning of march) to float my OTTB. He got all of his shots/vaccines when the vet came out to give him his coggins, so I don't think its parasites... and we wormed him the first day we bought him. I think we'll talk with the barn manager and the owners of the other horses and see about getting a round bale of bermuda.

I know we should increase it, but the barn manager does what she wants, and she only wants him on 2/3's of a scoop day and night and a flake of alfalfa day and night. And we do have a blanket(its 1200 denier, so its a winter blanket), but he's been of the track for a while now I'm guessing(his tattoo starts with an F), do you think he would still need it if he's been off for that long(probably 3-5 years)?

Oh, I was looking at some weight gain supplements on smartpak, what do you guys think of them?

weight gain:
Fat-Cat from SmartPak Equine
Platform Weight from SmartPak Equine
Focus WT from SmartPak Equine

Omega Horseshine from SmartPak Equine
Red-D-Vinity - Skin & Coat Supplements from SmartPak Equine
Hoof & Health from SmartPak Equine
BioFlax 20 from SmartPak Equine

Gleam & Gain from SmartPak Equine
    02-16-2009, 08:20 PM
I would still blanket, it isn't them being on or off the track that affect the way their body works with warmth. (hopefully that makes sense) Especially if he is thin to begin with, his body doesn't have the fat to keep warm. My mare gets the alfalfa when she is out of the stall or I know it's going to be a cold spell.

Can you talk to the barn manager/owner to explain that you horse needs more to eat? Or can you sneak a flake when you are out there? :) hehe

Oh another thing to try if they won't feed more hay, get alfalfa cubes ... then you can feed them whenever you want :)

I have really found that the blanketing has helped my mare keep her weight on, even tho I am in CA and it doesn't get that cold- she needs it.
    02-16-2009, 10:30 PM
Green Broke
Weight gain supplements are worthless. HAY does a lot better job and is healthier for the horse. Tell your barn manager that YOU want YOUR horse fed as much bermuda hay as he can eat, plus the alfalfa and grain she's giving. Offer to pay for the bermuda hay, or at least your share if she'll be putting round bales out in the pasture.

Add to his pellets 1 lb of rice bran and 3 lbs of soaked beet pulp. Between that and the extra hay, he should start gaining weight like mad.

If your barn manager won't accommodate your needs, then you need to find a new place to board.

ottb feeding weight gain

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