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Too thin?

This is a discussion on Too thin? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        02-21-2009, 05:13 PM
      #11
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
    You may want to look at one of the horse body scoring systems to evaluate if she is too thin or not (they tell you different things to look at). An example of one is at Body Condition Scoring of Horses
    Thanks so much, this was really helpful! It does say on the site that gaited breeds tend to be "hard keepers," so I'll have to keep my eyes open regarding that. Based on the chart, I think she would be considered in "fair" condition (the one they list below "good"), so she's not quite as bad as I was afraid of.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
    I would try to get her on a higher protein diet and add some amino acids. She's lacking in muscle, not weight. The Alfalfa should be giving her enough protein. Instead of the mare & foal food, which she doesn't need at her age, I would give her 1-2 lbs of Triple Crown 30% ration balancer feed along with 1-2 lbs of stabilized race bran or 1 cup of milled flax.

    If you'd rather feed "more" feed, then I'd go with Triple Crown Light, 3-4 lbs a day along with the rice bran or milled flax.

    The 30% would be my choice though, along with more Timothy hay.

    It looks like there are a lot of TC dealers in IN, so you should be able to find either one.
    Thanks luvs2ride. I'll keep it in mind, although I do disagree somewhat about the mare and foal, because even though she's 2 and 1/2, she's on the physical maturity level of a horse under 2. My farrier actually said she "has to be under 2" (even though she's not; she will actually be 3 in May), because he is not familiar with gaited breeds and their comparatively slower rate of maturity. My vet feels that the mare and foal is good right now, and that, like I posted earlier, she does lack weight. I totally agree with you though that she is lacking in muscle and will keep the amino acids idea well in mind. I know amino acids are essential for muscle-building...I would really like to get her off any form of grain, I'm one of those "crazy people" who leans more towards the more "natural" diet of high roughage (hay and good pasture). Not trying to start a nutrition debate, btw, guys, just my own opinion from limited research. The flax, though, I assume, has more amino acids? That's something I would definitely consider in moderation to get the muscle toning happening.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Peggysue    
    keep in mind that many times when you increase the nutrition that aids with the proper digestion and they won't NEED more. I have seen many thin or harder keepers become easy keepers and need to be on diets when the nutrition level was increased

    Pick up a good ration balancer whichever is aval in your area offer her free choice hay and remember she is a baby you don't want too much weight on her .. I see lack of muscle NOT lack of weight


    Can you feel her ribs?? How much pressure does it take??
    Ha! Thanks for the warning, Peggysue; I am actually guilty of overfattening rescue cats and dogs doing that very thing. I like to think I've learned, but...I have two "chubby" shelter cats looking at me who would indicate otherwise.

    Again, as stated earlier, she's in need of some weight, par my veterinarian's instructions. But you and luvs2ride are completely correct about the lack of muscle and I was at a loss what to do about that, so I appreciate the info. Since you both also agree on the ration balancer, I am highly leaning towards that idea, but is this supposed to be a "permanent" sort of thing, or can I just use it to get her up to form, then get her back into free choice hay/pasture?

    Thanks guys, sorry for being so long-winded!
         
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        02-21-2009, 06:13 PM
      #12
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lori1983    
    Thanks luvs2ride. I'll keep it in mind, although I do disagree somewhat about the mare and foal, because even though she's 2 and 1/2, she's on the physical maturity level of a horse under 2. My farrier actually said she "has to be under 2" (even though she's not; she will actually be 3 in May), because he is not familiar with gaited breeds and their comparatively slower rate of maturity. My vet feels that the mare and foal is good right now, and that, like I posted earlier, she does lack weight. I totally agree with you though that she is lacking in muscle and will keep the amino acids idea well in mind. I know amino acids are essential for muscle-building...I would really like to get her off any form of grain, I'm one of those "crazy people" who leans more towards the more "natural" diet of high roughage (hay and good pasture). Not trying to start a nutrition debate, btw, guys, just my own opinion from limited research. The flax, though, I assume, has more amino acids? That's something I would definitely consider in moderation to get the muscle toning happening.
    The big difference between mare & foal feed and regular mature horse feed is the protein levels and fat levels. You can accomplish that without using mare & foal feed.

    I'm glad you prefer a more natural diet, I do too. I got my mare at coming three. She was 14.2h and maybe 750 lbs. I feed her a combination of alfalfa pellets, dry COB (I'd prefer plain whole oats, but the cob was cheaper), and oil, along with a vitamin supplement and free choice hay/pasture. She very nicely gained 150 lbs and grew an inch! Over the next 2 years, sticking to one form of natural diet or another she grew 3 more inches and gained another 200 lbs! She is an Appaloosa mare, but her growth was stunted due to a neglectful home.

    So, if she were my mare, I would put her on a ration balancer or high potency vitamin/mineral supplement, more timothy hay, and a fat supplement, like flax, rice bran, or oil. Since you're already giving Alfalfa hay, I would give a combination of whole oats and hay pellets or shredded beet pulp. That will be a more natural diet with all of the protein and fat she needs to gain and grow.

    If you go with a ration balancer, you should have enough amino acids (especially if you can find Triple Crown). If you go with a vitamin/mineral supplement, you'll to add them. Uckele makes a good one called Tri-Amino. It's relatively affordable and since you're giving her Alfalfa hay, you should only need to give her 1/3 to 1/2 the recommended dose.
         
        02-21-2009, 06:16 PM
      #13
    Green Broke
    Oh, and the ration balancer is a high potency vitamin/mineral supplement. If you take her off of it, she'll still need some sort of vitamin supplement to make sure her diet is well rounded. Free choice hay/pasture is fine for some idle horses, but it won't meet the nutritional requirements of a riding horse or a "hard keeper."

    My horses get bermuda hay. I give them 1.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets with some flax meal and their vitamins. I use some water to make it all stick together. My "hard keeper" ArabxTB turned into an easy keeper on this diet!
         
        02-21-2009, 06:41 PM
      #14
    Weanling
    Thanks, luvs2ride, lots of good info there! I like the more natural option, and I will probably give it a try. I'm not as opposed to the higher fiber grains as some of the others.

    She's actually gaining weight fairly well now, but as you guys can see, no muscle tone. The mare and foal I feed is by Lowe's, and it's not really specific on what age to stop feeding it; it just says it's appropriate for "growing" horses, and pregnant and lactating mares. Annie's definitely still growing, and may reach 16hh.

    I just wanted to show a couple more pictures to give a better idea...oh, and PeggySue, I forgot to answer your last post; her ribs can be felt only with pressure, but very little pressure. Especially compared to the two heavier horses she shares a pasture with. Not sure if that helps...

    The first pic is from behind, and actually looks fairly good, I think. The other two, though, are from above and show some of the points that I am concerned with; mainly, her backbone and hips protruding. I just am not familiar enough with Walkers to know how much of this is due to her breed and age to make a good call.
    Attached Images
    File Type: jpg ANNIE2.jpg (51.5 KB, 64 views)
    File Type: jpg ANNIE.jpg (79.4 KB, 67 views)
    File Type: jpg ANNIE3.jpg (67.6 KB, 65 views)
         
        02-21-2009, 08:00 PM
      #15
    Foal
    To me hun she has had a dad start give her some summer grasing and see the dif in her just give her time to grow and mature she will be a fine mare x
         
        02-21-2009, 08:13 PM
      #16
    Started
    Mine are all the maintence level of ration balancer which is 1lb per day adn runs me about 50 cents per day ... nutrition is too important to not round out the pasture/hay they are getting with some type of vitamin/mineral
         
        02-22-2009, 10:16 AM
      #17
    Green Broke
    I really think she looks fine for her age/breed, but I know winter hair can hide things.

    I have an Anglo Arabian (TBxArab) and he's never going to be "plump." We tried putting weight on him, and he just ended looking like a pregnant mare, lol. He's my "hard keeper," which is now getting a bit too fat on just 1.5 lbs of Alfalfa pellets with 1/2 cup of flax meal and 25 lbs of high quality Bermuda hay, lol. We got him at 5 yrs old and he did grow another inch on us! My Appy mare grew 1.5" during her 4yr old year, lol.

    Here's the Anglo about when we got him. He was definitely too thin and wormy, but he started to put on weight quickly.


    Here he is Dec 2005, after trying to put a lot of weight on him.


    Here he is in 2006, a perfect weight for his breed/body type.

    That bony looking hip is actually an old injury. He's lacking in muscle here because he got the summer off from work. He loses topline QUICK! Lol

    The last place we boarded had a lot of gaited horses. When in "top shape" for riding/competition (they did field trials) they all looked "lean." Even so, you could just tell that they were healthy and they were definitely well muscled. They handled 4-5 days of riding 4-6 hours a day with no problems! And those rides weren't walking... They were chasing after bird dogs at their gait, usually pretty fast. The dogs were the ones that were judged in the competition. The horses just allowed the owners to keep up, lol.
         
        02-22-2009, 11:00 AM
      #18
    Weanling
    Luvs2ride, he looks great. (LoL, and what's this? A thoroughbred-Arab that is docile enough for a child to manage? I thought this was simply impossible...J/K ;) Yeah, I agree, gaited horses always have that look, especially TWH's and Saddlebreds. A horse that can go and go for hours at that pace just isn't going to have the look of say, a quarter horse. I think I'm going to go with alfalfa, then feed about 25-30 lbs. Of timothy (way more abundant here than bermuda). Since the flax seed is in such a small amount, I would like to try that as well. What would you say the main benefits of the flax seed are? I have read a few articles that say it can (rarely) be dangerous. Any ideas on that?

    Also, could somebody clarify the benefits/cons of alfalfa pellets to alfalfa hay? Obviously the pellets are going to be more condensed...can this be dangerous (as in, lead to colic or foundering)?

    Thanks!
         
        02-22-2009, 01:27 PM
      #19
    Started
    Alfalfa shoudl not cause colic or founder UNLESS overdone... IE 20lbs a day to start with .. as with any diet change take it slow.. the pellets tend to be more calories in a smaller amount and don't seem to fill them up as quick therefore allowing them to eat more grass hay but still adding the calories adn alittle more protein :)
         
        02-22-2009, 03:54 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    Ahh, that makes sense. LoL, it seems so simple now that you explain it that way. Thanks PeggySue!
         

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