Could 24/7 turnout cause weight to drop?
My horse is an older Appy, at least 20. When I got him he was at a not great barn on 24/7 turnout. Huge herd, competition for hay. After a few months of owning him, I decided to do 12/12 turnout. In at night in winter, in during day in summer. He seemed happier over all, relieved, better rested and just better overall, despite arthritis. I had worried he would be stiffer but he wasn't.
At my current barn that we moved to end of Oct, he has been in at night 12/12 through winter. He has always been a hard keeper but did decently in winter. In early April, we noticed he dropped weight, so we upped his feed. He started to gain nicely but end of April, early May, BO started turning them out 24/7 due to the nice, moderate temps and amazing grass. We thought the grass would really pack the weight on him. Nope - he started slipping BACK. He is still out 24/7 until temps reach mid-80's. He is now back to his end of winter weight on the weight tape. UGH. The ONLY change is the turnout to 24/7???
He is turned out with a mare and 2 yearlings. They move, walk and play alot. His old barn he was out with 2 retired geldings in smaller fields. He just hung out by the gate most of the time. He is MUCH more active at this barn which has been fabulous. He is sound, happy, rides well, I took him off his Previcox completely which worried me but vet recommended it since he had been on it for almost 2 years, and he is doing GREAT. But his weight drives me crazy.
COULD the change from 12/12 to 24/7 cause him to drop weight?? He has poor back teeth and when he is in his stall, he only eats about a flake of alfalfa. He quids some. I do also believe he doesn't eat nearly as much grass as the other horses, even though he grazes ALL day. He drops some and it probably takes him twice as long to consume it. The grass is LOVELY LOVELY. Can't even describe it. So one would think he is better to be out 24/7 but I wonder if he is just burning too many calories?
He is wormed (always negative, but wormed twice a year with Equimax). Teeth were just done sedated by vet/dentist. All fine. He can be ulcer-prone but is on Smartgut and devours his food. No ulcer signs.
His diet is:
a.m. and p.m. - 4.5 lbs. combo of Triple Crown Senior and Genesis Organic (crimped oats based feed), 1 lb. Legends Omega Plus, large scoop beet pulp soaked (probably 1 to 1.5 lbs dry weight), 2 ozs Cocosoya Oil. I can't really increase the concentrates/grain but could increase the oil.
Mid-day third meal - I feed him 2 lbs. soaked alf. cubes and chopped alf. combo (weighed dry), 1-2 lbs. MORE of the Triple Crown Sr, and 2-3 ozs. more of the Cocosoya.
When he goes in 12/12 next week I think due to higher temps, I can leave additional cubes and beet pulp when I visit mid-day, for him to munch on all afternoon. He'll also get his flake or two of alfalfa/grass mix. (60% alfalfa)
I feel if I pump any more groceries into him he'll burst but my trainer is concerned that he isn't plumping up due to the grass. His health otherwise is great. His coat is shiny - best it has ever been (I think due to the cocosoya and Smartvite I started a few months ago - he looks amazing coat-wise)
Sorry for the book, but my question is, can change in turnout to 24/7 cause a horse to LOSE weight??