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post #1 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
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Skinny Horse

Hey i have a bay mare named Izzy and she is skinny and not putting on weight. Her ribs are showing and her hindquarters and rump have hollowed out quite a bit. Her coat isn't too bad it just has a bit of Rainscold. She is somewhere around her mid twenties. We feed her 1.5kg of Gumnuts, 1.2kg of Calm Performer, 1kg of Rice Bran and a biscuit of hay per day. She gets wormed regularly. She is almost in spelling mode with an occasional ride at the beach or a trail ride down to our local creek. I have thought of the possibility that it might be something inside that is causing the lack of weight gain but i would like anyone's opinion on what it might be. Any thoughts will be helpful.. thankyou.
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 06:41 AM
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You need to have a vet out to look at her to determine why she's losing so much weight.

When were her teeth last done? Has she been fecal checked for worms?

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post #3 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 07:32 AM
Green Broke
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Well I have no idea what a biscuit of hay is but my first guess after the vet would be you are not feeding her enough. Not even close. 2% of what her body weight should be so for 1000lb horse that's 20lbs a day minimum of hay.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 07:37 AM
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3.7kg of concentrates [altogether] is ok, but ONE BISCUIT of hay per day?!

My first move with ANY horse I get is to put it on bulk hay. My two are presently on 24/7 access to a BIG round bale of high quality oat hay.

Horses HAVE TO eat 2% of their ideal body weight or more per day in roughage. For my 550kg gelding, that's 11kg of roughage EVERY SINGLE DAY. Between pasture and hay. You can ONLY get away with only one biscuit of hay a day if you have a lot of pasture feed, or an exceptionally easy keeper [and even then, you should give them MORE hay, that's got LESS nutritional value].

For the older horse, especially, more roughage is very important, if they have enough teeth in their heads to eat it. If they don't, beet pulp is a good solution for forage replacer [speedibeet is a very good brand, it only takes 10 minutes to soak up, 5 if you soak it in hot water]. You can get a thing called fibrebeet from the speedibeet people which has lucerne added into it as well, and that's great for horses that can't eat hay for whatever reason.

By the terminology you're using I suspect you are a fellow Aussie, and therefore in summer time, meaning your pasture feed is unlikely to be sufficient to keep your horse's roughage intake up.

Keep it simple for the older gut. ONE concentrate is ideal. Two, tops, if you can't get enough into your horse of just the one. Gumnuts are NOT the best senior feed out, either... they are ok but not the best by a long shot. I had great success with Nutririce Veteran, with my currently 17yo gelding, but the price is prohibitive. Copra meal was also good, but supply is inconsistent. I currently feed more of a young horse ration, with a good 2.5kg or so of grower and weaner pellets and then another 1kg at least of flaked lupins [lupins are a legume, and legumes are AWESOME for horses]. I feed very little chaff, because my horses have full access to as much high quality roughage as they want.

First step, ALWAYS, is MORE HAY, until the horse will not eat any more... THEN you up the grain, or look into internal issues.

edit for poppy's benefit; a biscuit is what Aussies call a flake of hay, it's really not much!

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post #5 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 08:05 AM
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it would be good to weigh how much hay you are giving her, get a better idea, is she on grass as well or is she in a small lot and just getting what you are giving her?
with older horses its always a good idea to have their teeth done too.
there are some special 'veteran' mixes on the market that might help to put some weight on.
perhaps add some oil to feeds too, though some horses do not like them, I have used corn oil in the past.

i am fed up with the speed and the greed of the world around me but i have not found nor can i offer a cure
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 08:08 AM
Green Broke
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I know you said that she is wormed regularly, but regular de-worming does not guarantee there is not a parasite problem (though I, too, think the issue is likely as simple as underfeeding). When you have the vet out, a FEC will determine whether there is also a parasite issue and help you to know WHICH parasites you need to treat for - much more effective than the old standard rotational treatment programs).
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-20-2013, 08:42 AM
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Another thing to check is to see how much sand she is packing in her gut. Take one fecal ball (fresh that hasn't touched the ground) and put it in a bucket. Add just enough water to desolve it. Slowly tip the bucket and see how much sand stays on the bottom (sort of like panning for gold, just not as rewarding!). If you see much sand at all, talk to your vet. Sand Colic is not a pretty thing!

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post #8 of 22 Old 01-22-2013, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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I'll weigh the hay when we get some more because we have currently run out... She has access to green grass almost 24/7 but i think that it might be a bit sour. The last time we got her teeth checked they were fairly good but i got to pester dad about going out again as her check up is just about due. It was actually my gelding that had a problem with his teeth. Her 2% body weight thing is (aprox) 9kg. Can anyone tell me how to detect worms in fecal because i'm not sure how to do that part as i don't know what exactly i would be looking for? Another thing, the people that had her before us fed her so much bred per day, what was that for? We were visiting to check out the horses for sale and the chick walks out of a shed with loafs of bread and she fed one whole loaf to each horse. Yer, anyway, thank you for all the advice and opinions so far i look forward to anymore you have to offer. She's been so sweet and gentle to me so far and i just want to help her out in return. :)
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-22-2013, 02:15 AM
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thats interesting, bread is one of the 'old fashioned' things that will help to put weight on a horse. nowadays your meant to buy fancy mixed up food... lol....
if you have plenty of grass then its not so important how much hay you give.
why don't you try the loaf a day thing.
a good feed that helps to put on weight is Baileys Topline no4.

i am fed up with the speed and the greed of the world around me but i have not found nor can i offer a cure
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-22-2013, 02:33 AM
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A fecal worm count is something you can't do yourself, because worm eggs are microscopic, and as you say you don't know what you're looking for anyway. That's a job for a vet, really.

I don't like feeding bread in any more than extremely limited amounts. Wheat isn't good for horses. My horses LOVE a bit of bread on occasion as a treat, but I usually only give them a little bit of the crust, and haven't given them any bread in over 6 months.

If you feel her feed is sufficient, she is likely to either have a heavy worm burden [which, going on your OP, is very resistant to the worming drugs], a heavy sand burden [which NEEDS to be sorted ASAP, this can kill them], or is in pain somewhere. I know it sounds kind of crazy but horses that are in pain don't hold their weight. My TB filly f/example, is on 5kg of concentrates/day, plus free choice high quality oat hay, and is STILL ribby. Because of her stifle problems, she's in constant pain [she is being euthed when I can get the logistics sorted, but that's proving an absolute nightmare]. She has no other reason to be skinny.

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