I picked up a three year old Thoroughbred last week and he's already got me all stressed out about food.
FIRST- He wasn't on pasture before, but he's now in a big field. His previous owner had him on grass hay, I bought some decent grass hay and he won't touch it. Won't even look at it. I'm ASSUMING it's because he has as much grass as a boy could want.
Second- He has a grass belly, but is also ribby. I'm guessing it's because of the quality of grass hay he was on??? Maybe he wasn't getting enough protein? Will getting him on a better quality hay help out his pot belly?
Third- I've been researching how to feed a youngin' and they talk a lot about protein being a key component. I'm assuming my guy has about another 2 inches to grow, if not more. He's 15.3H, but his parents were big, 16.2 and 16.3.
I'm probably going to be feeding him an orchard grass/alfalfa mix, to give him the extra protein.
I guess I'm just looking for opinions. I'm kind of confused of why he won't touch his hay, but as long as he doesn't get skinnier I'm not going to worry, but it is late in the season and the grass will die, although it is Seattle, so not anytime soon.
I'm also graining him, and I'm giving him beet pulp to try to see if that will help with his condition. He's not in poor condition by any means, but I'd like to see him become the beautiful steed he's supposed to turn into...
If the pasture is good, then he won't eat hay. As the pasture starts to look eaten down, then you can start throwing hay to see if he's ready for it. Grass hay is fine, or the Orchard mix if it has less than 40% alfalfa.
For feed, I would feed a ration balancer, like Triple Crown's 30% Supplement or Buckeye's Grow'n'Win. There are others as well. Look for a feed or "supplement" that is meant to be fed at the rate of 1-2 lbs a day. Most will be high in protein, which is what you want if you're feeding grass hay or a mix with 25% or less Alfalfa.
If you're feeding a mix with more than 25% alfalfa, then you don't need to supplement protein. Triple Crown's 12% Supplement would be the way to go, or something similar.
The belly + ribs usually means worms. I would deworm him now with a dose of Pyrantel Pomate and then follow with Ivermectin + Praziquantel or Moxidectin + Praziquantel. That will clear him up completely and then you can either start a rotation or use the fecal testing method for deworming.
You also want to have your vet out to float his teeth and give him a good once over.
If he were mine, on pasture or grass hay, this is the diet I would put him on. I can't get any good ration balancers in my area (I don't like Purina feeds), so I use a vit/min mix and make my own "feed." This is a complete diet, high in fat and protein.
Once he's at a good weight, you can reduce the alfalfa pellets to 2-3 lbs and flax to 1/2 cup or none at all.
The High Point supplement is a complete vit/min mix with added digestive aids. You can find similar mixes like Uckele's EquiBase Grass, SmartPak's SmartVite Grass, and GrandVite.
If you are feeding alfalfa hay, or he shows signs of becoming "hyper" on alfalfa, you can use Timothy hay pellets or beet pulp. I have two horses that I use Timothy pellets as they get just a bit "sensitive" to their surroundings when feed more than 1 lb of alfalfa pellets.
I initially thought worms too, so I wormed him last week, but then I got in touch with his previous owner and she's kept up on his worming and he was wormed about a month ago. So, unless she isn't being honest, I think he's good to go.
I'm definitely going to have the vet out in the next couple of weeks...
I'm doing a beet/flax/sweet feed/vitamin/corn oil mix with him. I've done this with a previous mare I had during the winter and her feet/coat/vitality were amazing on it. I'm definitely wary of behavior issues with this horse, especially since he is young.
I think I'm just nervous because of his age and that he's a thoroughbred, and that winter is quickly approaching...
Just becareful with sweet feed. I have had bad luck with most feeds and TB horses or TB crosses. It seems to make them lose more weight, at least IME. That's why I recommended the ration balancer supplement/feed, or a really high quality vit/min supplement.
I definitely agree on worming him ASAP. Pot belly plus ribs means worms.
When we bought our emaciated 5 yr. Old TB gelding from a used horse dealer, the FIRST step to weight gain was to put him on Continuex for a few months. A daily dewormer. This clears the system of ALL stages of worm cycles, whereas a paste dewormer often only kills the adult worms and not the larvae. Once you have cleared the system with Continuex, you can then start with the paste dewormers. Using a rotational worming system of course.
There are many types of paste dewormers out there and they can be used in a 2 or 3 way rotation...check with your vet about tapeworms. Certain areas of the country have a high incidence of them and ivermectin, pyrantel, etc dewormers DO NOT kill tapeworms. To kill them you will need a Praziquantel dewormer.... I personally ONLY use Zimecterin Gold. Equi max has some controversy surrounding it's safety level. IMO, any horse with signs of worminess, needs a daily dewormer for a few months....one dose of a paste dewormer is not always sufficient enough to kill the worms in their larval stages, killing only the adults, whereas the larvae then hatch and your horse is in a vicious cycle and never completely free of worms...despite the paste deworming having just been done.
I also HIGHLY reccomend Cool Calories 100 for weight gain and coat conditioning. We turned our boy from this:
To this, in only 7 months:
First step was a daily dewormer. He gets 3.5 lbs of Strategy once a day, a probiotic/prebiotic supplement, and two scoops of Cool Calories 100....he gets only limited GRASS turnout (about an hour a day) due to circumstances forcing him to be on dry lot, and one and a half flakes of hay in the AM and one and a half flakes in the pm. Even on dry lot, he's blossomed.... his coat is super shiny and so soft that his trainer stopped right in the middle of a lesson last night to touch him and comment on his soft coat. And since the Cool Calories, he's really packed on the pounds fast....
We'll keep him on it through the winter, but come spring, we may need to adjust the Cool Calories down....or he's going to end up FAT.
Your horse may not be touching his hay because he's on grass, and given the choice, EVERY horse will choose grass.....but the ribby pot belly is oftentimes indicative of worms, and you will want to get that cleared up...because once you do, he will really feel and look better.
Also, if you need weight gain or coat improvement....DEFINATELY try the Cool Calories 100.... it has worked miracles for our boy. As proof of it's miraculous power, it turned our TB into a little pudgy boy DESPITE being on dry lot....oh, and the Cool Calories 100 has NOT made him one bit hot. He's still the same sweet, calm and sane boy he's always been.
Since starting the Cool Calories, the change in his appearance has been truly remarkable.
Beauseant- Wow! What a good looking boy!!! Good job!!!
I definitely will look into cool calories, and the wormer... I really hope it's not worms. I made sure to worm him with a broad spectrum wormer, and he was wormed with ivermectrin a month ago. I will probably have the vet tell me what to do when she comes out.
Luvs2ride- I'll watch him with the feed... the last thing I want to see is him go backwards! I'm definitely not relying on the sweet feed to pack on any weight, but more of something to make his vitamins and flax and beet pulp go down easy... he seems to be a picky boy...
DEFINATELY ask your vet about a daily dewormer to clear out all the worms in their various life stages....
In some species of worms, the paste dewormers flush out the hatched worms, while not being able to kill the larvae due to their protective "coating"...they, the larvae, hatch a few weeks later, when the paste dewormer has cleared the horse's system.
Once you do that for a few months, then you either have the option of keeping them on the daily dewormer, or taking them off and using the paste dewormers.
Don't forget to ask your vet about the prevalence of tapeworms where you live....
And thank you for your kind words about Beau. I give all credit to the cool calories 100...... BTW, it is endorsed by Bob Avila and Amy Tryon......and of course, me.