This last fall my 6 year old stallion was REALLY struggling with weight. He is not what I consider to be an actively breeding stallion (we bred him to our mare over two heat cycles). BUT, I was riding him for 1-2 hours average (sometimes more) daily. His weight was fine until about August on simply a good quality grass hay (about 16% protein).
In August, I noticed that he became ribby and his top line dropped. I significantly increased his hay and slowly added safe choice (nutrena) and then when the weather got colder alfalfa pellets.
Possibly because of the weight struggle in the fall, he never really got a fabulous winter coat, and really struggled with the cold needing blanketing early on. His coat is still not great, but he is doing fine in the cold now.
He seemed to get his weight back by late fall. I am not sure what helped most. Safe choice? Alfalfa? Me dropping my riding to 2-3 days a week due to cold weather?
I intend to ride just as much next summer, so I am curious how I might avoid the work load catching up with him next year. I have always thought him an easy keeper, but it didn't feel that way this year.
He was also very lathargic all summer (not what some would expect when they think stallion = animated). He has much better energy this winter when riding (because he is working less? More concentrate feed? Alfalfa?) I recently took him off of the alfalfa because it seemed redundant giving both alfalfa and safe choice...I will be watching him closely.