Sr. Horse - Weight - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-26-2013, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Sr. Horse - Weight

Hi Everyone!

It's my first time on this type of forum and I'm really excited to talk to other horse addicts.

I'm having a little trouble with my mom's horse. He's a quarter horse pony mix and is going on 33 this year. He's always been an easy keeper and has been on a 12% sweet feed mix up until last year when he dropped a little weight. We added soaked beet pulp and changed him to a Sr. feed and he gained it back okay.

In November he suffered an injury to his back leg that left him on stall rest and very limited turnout. He has recovered a good deal since then and is getting along, albeit with a limp. (He will actually lope away if we try to catch him in the field, so it can't be too bad). He is still not on full turnout due to the winter weather & ice.

The issue I'm having is putting a little weight back on him again. He's a little ribbier than I prefer and I'd like to see him a little heavier. The beet pulp didn't touch it, weight supplements for months have done nothing, and the Sr. feed runs right through him. I'm slowly switching him over to a high fat pelleted feed and he's eating cracked corn like a champion. His teeth seem decent considering his age. Is there anything else I can try to help fatten him up?
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-26-2013, 09:59 PM
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Try adding some oil to his diet. That will add calories into his diet that he burning off. I would try to stay away from corn, it has a lot of sugar in it. Try giving him some oats. Get him looked over by a vet as well to make sure he does not have anything else wrong. If that does not work, make sure he gets alfalfa hay 3 times a day and give him senior feed.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-26-2013, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Freemare! I will definitely try that.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-26-2013, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by swimminchikin View Post
and he's eating cracked corn like a champion.
That will probably be contributing to his problems!! Sorry to say but I cringed at what you've been feeding... even without details. I know it's very hard sometimes to get good info on horse feed/feeding...

A lifetime of sweet feed & being an easy keeper is likely to have left him insulin resistant & possibly with gut issues. Senior feed is often sweetened too & often high starch - tho at least the grain is well processed. We need to know what exactly it is & also what else he gets, how much, how often, etc to have a better idea.

I'd personally be looking at other healthy, low starch feeds like the beet pulp. Depending on how his teeth are, he may be doing well on hay/grazing, or may need chopped hay to replace forage he can't chew. I'd put him onto a probiotic & would consider treating him for ulcers, to combat effects of the high starch diet. Appropriate nutritional supplementation to balance his particular diet is also important.

You can learn a lot on Home & Katy Watts | about healthy feeding.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-26-2013, 11:16 PM
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When was the last time he has had his teeth checked/floated? At that age they can start running out of teeth, which, obviously, makes it difficult to chew their food and digest it properly. You could try giving him a mash of soaked complete feed or alfalfa cubes and see how he likes it if you think he could be having dental issues. One way you can check is to his manure. The fibers in it should be relatively fine for the most part, with fibers less than a couple centimeters long.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-27-2013, 10:50 AM
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Corn is one of the hardest grains for a horse to digest. An old one would have an even harder time. Loaded with starch you don't want it overloading his hind gut. Save the corn for the wild birds.

Beet pulp, hay pellets of any sort, senior feed, any combination of, are all options. You want to load his old tummy with fiber he can digest. Make changes slowly except for the corn. Loose the corn immediately.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-27-2013, 11:18 AM
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How long has been since he's had a physical, including some blood work and getting his teeth checked?

It sounds like maybe the vet was involved when he got hurt last November BUT did your mom's horse get a physical, at that time?

If not, I would start there while, removing the corn and sweet feed at the same time. For all the reasons others have stated

Beet pulp is good to add weight but even the pellets should be soaked.

Very well soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes should not hurt him but, if he has metabolic issues, even at his senior age, the alfalfa may raise his insulin.

Soak them down into grass mush.

It would be great if he can tolerate a small amount of alfalfa cubes as it is good for soothing the stomach.

If he doesn't have ulcers by this juncture of his life, he is doing fantastic -- he is doing fantastic anyway - smoochies on the snoot of his sweet face

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-27-2013, 11:32 AM
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Call a nutritionist! Our equine nutritionists in this area offer free service and consultations. They will also test your hay for a nominal fee to tell you whether or not your hay is suitable for him. Get your vet on board as well and work with a nutritionist, with a horse his age you want to do everything you can to keep him comfortable and happy. I'd say lose the sweet feed and corn and focus on lower starch feeds, but a visit from a nutritionist will definitely help you along in the right direction :)
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-27-2013, 11:39 AM
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I would take him off the corn and off the sweet feed...switch him over to a well balanced senior feed, beet pulp if he can eat it and you might want to look into adding alfalfa pellets in to his diet (soak them) it will help add weight on esp if he cant eat hay. You could also add oil to his diet. But the main things would be get him off sweet feed and corn and switch to something more healthy. Its like feeding candy to a baby
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-28-2013, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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He's actually been off the sweet feed for a while and has been on Sr. feed for about a year. He is getting shredded molasses-free soaked beet pulp too. I'm going to add in some oils too and definitely start weaning him off the corn.

It was really warm this morning so I turned him out for a while. Next thing I know he was on the far end of the pasture pretending to be deaf while I called for him. :) Needless to say it was a lovely hike across the field to bring him back. 32 years old and he still acts like he's a teenage colt, strutting around for the mare. :)
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