I have a couple of questions that I need answered for me, as I am in the process of making a few decisions. When we first got Nakita she was probably 500-600 lbs underweight. I have had her since the beginning of April. She is slowly gaining weight but not at the rate I have seen other gain weight. She is a coming 9 year old Thoroughbred mare. I could not tell you if she is an easy keeper yet or not. Right now I would say she probably needs another 150-200 lbs before I am satisfied with her weight. Here are my questions: Would it be better for her to gain weight by being fed grain, free choice hay, and all the grass she can eat, or by free fed hay and grass with no grain? How fast would you expect a horse to gain weight on either choice? Should I be worried that she has been with my friend for almost 8 months and not back up to the correct body condition? I would really appreciate any and all comments. Thank you in advance.
Personaly when I want a horse to put on weight it gets the following:
Good grazing with nice rich grass
If it has to come in then it gets good quality haylege and as much as it can eat.
Fed 4 to 5 times a day with Alphabeet and a conditioning feed mix. I will also normaly iinclude some form of flax oil
Gaining weight too quickly is bad for a horse,a slow steady weight gain is much healthier
My TB gained the most weight when he was on free choice hay. Took about 4 months to see real results. We did it in the dead of winter, so I'm thinking it would have been sooner if the weather had been good. If you go mostly hay, definitely work in a vitamin supplement.
Right now, she gets nothing but bermuda hay. I found out recently that she has not been fed any grain or anything like that since I got her. Until I started reading the forum, I did not know about other alternatives to feeding a thin horse....like beet pulp. My friend and I went round and round about feeding for a while. She finally agreed to feed a 10% grain. That has not happened yet, and it has been about a month and a half. I am attaching pictures of her from when we first got her and pictures of her from a month ago. Let me know what you think please.
I just very recently learned that horses gain weight front to back and top to bottom. Based on that, looks like he's 1/3rd to 1/2 of the way there. In that last pic, her front is filled out nicely, her middle is a little ribby and her back end needs a lot. Great job so far though. You've done this horse a great favor.
Is she working at all? I really do agree that she needs more muscling than just weight. If you aren't comfortable riding her yet, just hand walking her for 30 minutes a day can really add up the muscle. Add in some hills and the muscle will pour onto her without losing any of her fat.
In her case I would say I would rather have her eat all the hay she can rather than toss in some 10% sweet feed. If you can switch the sweetfeed to something like beetpulp, it will help. The sweetfeed...I feel like you would be wasting your money.
She is 100% adorable though. Get the muscle back on her and you will be suprised by how much better she looks.
I agree, she was only about 100-150 lbs underweight. She needs about 50-75 more lbs, plus lots of muscle.
I would be giving her free choice grass hay, alfalfa pellets, and 1-2 cups of flax meal. I would add in to that a vit/min supplement and a digetsive aid. Make sure she's been thoroughly dewormer, her teeth have recently been floated, and the hay she's getting is decent quality. She has a bit of a hay belly, so you might want to also check her for sand.