Questions about nutrition and weight.

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Questions about nutrition and weight.

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    06-19-2009, 05:37 PM
Questions about nutrition and weight.

Hello everybody!

This is one of those times when I'm glad to have a horse forum to go to. I'm having some problems and I'm a little confused so I hope I can get some help here.
I just got into owning horses about 3 years ago. I have learned a lot along the the way! Anyways when I first bought my saddle I didn't really understand saddle fit. But now after reading and riding I have come to understand it. And I have found that every saddle I try doesn't really fit in some way or another. So I sent some pics of my horse to Chuck at He was very helpful, but what he said was that my horse had some nutrition issues and really needed fattening up. Well, in the back of my mind I figured he would say she needed more weight but I didn't think it was that big a deal. I have wanted her to be fatter for a while but I can seem to get anywhere on it. I'm going to post pics of what she was right after I got her, and how she is now. She is a registered thoroughbred/QH. She is six years old. I feed one scoop of 10% sweet feed and one scoop of alpha oats twice daily. Along with a block of hay. The hay quality is very poor. I wanted better but money was tight and my grandfather grew it. But I'm thinking it may be the problem. It is just a grass hay.....mostly weeds... :( When I first got her I was feeding a nice clover hay though. She has been wormed in the spring.
Also, now this is kinda weird. A large knot has recently come up on her chin. It is hard as bone, I think it is bone, and it doesn't move at all. It doesn't hurt her at all either, she is not sensitive to it in any way. Anyway I just thought I would throw that in incase it adds to things.
So here are the pics. She does look much better in the first pic. I am interested on all info. How bad is she? Really bad? Not too bad? What should I do to fix it? What do you think is up with the chin knot? Do you think her low weight is why I can't get a saddle to fit? P.s. She doesn't get any good pasture grass. I'm sure it would help...just not possible right now.
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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    06-19-2009, 05:46 PM
Lots of pics I know...I just want you guys to see lots of angles though. Didn't get any of the knot though....I took these pics for Chuck who was trying to find me a fitting saddle.
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    06-19-2009, 06:48 PM
She has an odd dip in her back, just by her hip. Has she always had that, or is it a recent development? I've seen thin horses before, but never with that outline to their topline.

She doesn't look horribly thin, but I can see why you want to get more weight on her. I would give her as much hay as she can eat. Just keep it in front of her. If she finishes it all, she hasn't had enough. I'm betting that your hay is the issue. Could you maybe snap a pic of it and post? To rule out poor hay quality, I would buy a few bales of high quality hay and mix it with yours. Not as good as really good hay from the get go, but better than just poor hay. I also lace my own horse's sweet feed with a few tablespoons of corn oil at each feeding. That really adds fat, and keeps their GI tract well lubricated. I don't know what your daily feeding schedule is like, but if you do 2 feedings, separate that amount into three feedings more frequently, to keep some chow in her belly (a more natural way, anyway). I'm trying to feed up my newest horse as well (kind of a rescue mission). Good hay and exercise really agrees with him, lol. If free choice hay and a third feeding don't do the trick, maybe a weight supplement.

I don't know about the knot. I've seen soft lumps (turned out to be a wad of hay lodged in a missing tooth space), and injuries, but never hard and insensitive like you're describing. This could, however, be a red flag to check her teeth. If she isn't chewing right, she isn't getting the nutrition from her feed. I'm assuming based on your post that you got her 3 years ago. If so, she's long due for a dental checkup at least. Most vets can get a look (mine will do a float job if the teeth aren't too far gone), and refer you to an equine dentist if necessary.

Try to get some pics of the hay and the knot up.
    06-19-2009, 08:10 PM
That dip is called a "hunter bump" where I live. My TB has it as well. As he has been putting on weight and butt muscle, the bump has gone down. Also I had him chiropractically adjusted and the bump went down.

Like Scout said, add some fat to her food. I use corn oil or rice bran. Corn oil is cheaper usually. I start out with a little and build up to 2 cups per day. Or you can use beet pulp, its really cheap and works well plus it wont make them hot or founder. Definitely have her teeth checked, that might give you clues as to what is up with her chin.

Our hay here right now is pretty poor quality as well. I have been giving him a supplement called Select II to counter act it as well has his Ultium and beet pulp. Its slow, but its working.
    06-20-2009, 12:07 PM
Thanks for the replies! I really appreciate it. Can I get corn oil or beet pulp from a feed store, or from a catalog or what? I want to try adding a little something for extra fat. I'm also going to try keeping more hay out there. I hope maybe I can get some better quality soon. I did have her teeth floated last year. I wouldn't think they could need it again, plus she doesn't drop feed out of her mouth everywhere either. Try and get a pic of that chin knot soon.
So that dip in the back is called a hunter bump. What causes it? Does she just need more fat to cover it up?
    06-20-2009, 01:09 PM
I buy my corn oil from Wal-Mart, just the biggest bulk container they have. I do know someone who tried corn oil on their pony and it didn't work. On closer inspection of the package, it was fat free corn oil ! I didn't know that was physically possible, and I've never found fat free corn oil myself, but I'd check the packages to be sure. If it's cheaper in your area, regular veggie oil works, too. I'm not sure about the beet pulp, I've never looked for it before.

I did a little research on the hunter bump, and it looks like it can be caused from an injury, is common to jumping horses (hence the name) but any breed or discipline can be affected. Some horses find it painful, others don't. Basically, no one really know exactly what it is, lol. This is based on 10 minutes of Googling, I had never heard of this before. Chiropractic adjustment seems to be the treatment of choice if it bothers the horse. Your mare's hunter bump looks more prominent than most of the pictures I've found, but I'll bet that's because of her weight. The angle of the "before" pic is tricky to see, but I don't see it nearly as prominently in her "heavy" picture.

To get a better idea of the state of her teeth, take your left hand and hold the bridge of your mare's nose, midway between her eyes and her nostrils. Take your right hand and gently grip her lower jaw and try to wiggle it anck and forth, and then side to side. If she has any ridges, hooks, etc, her jaw won't wiggle freely. This may not work if she clenches her mouth, but it can be a decent indicator. I've seen horses in a bad way dentally that didn't drop feed. Also watch when you are riding to see if she's evading the bit, this can also be a potential indicator of mouth pain or dental issues. If it's been a year, she is due for another checkup. I think the recommended time between checkups is 6 months to a year, just like people.
    06-20-2009, 07:13 PM
She is def lacking QUALITY protien... ditch the sweet feed and give me your zip and I will see what I can find in the way of GOOD nutrition for yoU LOL

Please don't use oil it has been shown to interfer with the digestion and utilization of some feed stuff which you do NOT want...
    06-20-2009, 09:02 PM
I would say she def needs more weight, my older guy had that bump on his back when he was underweight.How old is your horse? I don't know if I would even put a saddle on her.By the looks of the pics I think she needs almost 100 lbs. Put on her.
    06-21-2009, 03:32 AM
My Zip code is 38674. It's funny because I have had some people tell me to keep the protein low...Always different ideas about things.
I also did some research on the hunter's bump and I'm not sure that is what it is. She has never and never does show any pain whatsoever. Her gait is perfect, no dropping, or out of balance, or rotating or anything. Also I got her when she was three or four and I know since I've had her she hasn't had any kind of injuries. She is six now by the way. I just don't know does look kinda funny, but hunter's bump doesn't really seem to add up in some ways.
Also I was at my feed store today and I picked up one bag of beet pulp to try. It's shredded beet pulp w/ molasses. I have been reading on it and some say it is good for adding weight. Isn't it also supposed to be good for preventing sand colic. I am just confused on whether or not I should soak it or feed it dry and mixed with grain? What would ya'll recommend? Also how much do ya'll think I should work up to. I of course know to start out slowly with a small amount.
    06-21-2009, 09:36 AM
I feed mine wet ... not really soaked.. I water it as I head to the barn so 15 or 20 minutes...

I have honestly have better luck with alfalfa pellets then Beet Pulp

NOw off to see what you can get :)

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