Evaluate my mare's diet - for weight gain
   

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Evaluate my mare's diet - for weight gain

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  • Ration balancer plus rice bran for weight gain
  • Senior mare on ration balancer needs more weight

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    11-02-2011, 02:27 PM
  #1
Foal
Evaluate my mare's diet - for weight gain

Horse is a 20 yr old Paint, about 14.3 - 15 hands, ~950 lbs. Fidgety / nervous type -- well trained and sensitive to cues but just more anxious then some. Vet says she needs to gain 60 - 70 lbs.

The vet's recommendation for our mare at initial checkup was 5 lbs of alfalfa, 15 lbs of grass hay, and 2 lbs of Purina Ultium daily. (divided into two feedings).
We've been mostly following that, except allowing free access to grass hay. There was some green grass in the pasture still when she came home (first week of Oct) but it's all brown now. They still nibble at it, and weeds & mesquite leaves, a bit.

The mare got a body condition score of 3.5 out of 9 at her initial checkup, and a 3 today. So I think we might need to adjust her feed. (Vet said to stick with what we're doing and give her time...).

The horse was badly in need of having her teeth floated, she actually had a hole in her tongue from a sharp point; that was done at the initial checkup. (Oct 6)


Just wondering what others are feeding their horses or think of this schedule... thanks!
     
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    11-02-2011, 06:19 PM
  #2
Foal
2 pounds of Ultium really isn't that much feed. I'm with you; I'd feed free choice hay.

Ultium is probably a good calorie source with all the fat, however the starch level scares me-for an already nervous horse, I avoid high starch feeds.

Does your store sell Enriched 32? Try topdressing even that Ultium with a pound a day of the Enriched 32 for added protein and vitamins.

Personally, I feed a ration balancer plus high fat/low starch/high fiber feed. The Purina version is Wellsolve of the high fat/low starch. If it were *my* horse that's what I'd put her on-about 6 pounds a day plus a pound of Enrich 32 (the ration balancer).
     
    11-03-2011, 11:33 AM
  #3
Started
It's pretty common for a horse to lose weight when they are stressed from a move. Add the poor teeth, she probably had a sore mouth for a few days after floating and wasn't eating well so dropping a few more pounds shouldn't be a concern. 2# of Ultium isn't enough to do much of anything. It's a high fiber feed so it's not nutrient dense and she could be missing out on some vit/minerals. Adding a ration balancer or upping the amount wouldn't be a bad idea. I'd refrain from trying to much right now. Give her some time to settle in, up the alfalfa if you can. Hay is always the cheapest and safest way to add weight.
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    11-03-2011, 01:29 PM
  #4
Foal
Thank you!
I didn't even think of moving stress, but you're right, that's likely a factor. She's moved about 4 hrs away and about 2K feet higher elevation... her body needs to adapt. Adding alfalfa is easy to do.

Haven't heard of Enriched 32 but I'll look into it. And Wellsolve. I was under the impression we were feeding the Ultium for the extra fats in it. If there's a better one then we may switch.
     
    11-03-2011, 07:07 PM
  #5
Foal
Do you have any idea what she was getting before you moved her? 2 lbs of feed is not enough to meet vitamin mineral requirements when feeding ultium. I agree with being on a high fat feed for a horse who needs to gain weight, but you will need a min of 5 lbs per day to get what is on the tag. Since her teeth were so bad it may take a while for her to be comfortable eating so it may take more time than you would like. Hay is the most important thing, so free choice is best, but id try to keep track of how much she is actually eating. And if in the next 30 days or so of doing what you are doing she does not start to gain weight, I would start to increase the feed.

A ration balancer feed like enrich 30 is only to be used when you have an easy keeper horse who requires less than 5 lbs per day. So if she maintains good weight on less than 5 lbs per day that would be a good choice to add at about 1 lb per day, but she sounds like she will end up being a harder keeper and need more than 5 lbs to get to the weight she needs to be and stay there.

I am an equine nutrition specialist, so if you would like to PM me and talk more specifically please feel free.
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    11-03-2011, 07:31 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by dipper    
do you have any idea what she was getting before you moved her? 2 lbs of feed is not enough to meet vitamin mineral requirements when feeding ultium. I agree with being on a high fat feed for a horse who needs to gain weight, but you will need a min of 5 lbs per day to get what is on the tag. Since her teeth were so bad it may take a while for her to be comfortable eating so it may take more time than you would like. Hay is the most important thing, so free choice is best, but id try to keep track of how much she is actually eating. And if in the next 30 days or so of doing what you are doing she does not start to gain weight, I would start to increase the feed.

A ration balancer feed like enrich 30 is only to be used when you have an easy keeper horse who requires less than 5 lbs per day. So if she maintains good weight on less than 5 lbs per day that would be a good choice to add at about 1 lb per day, but she sounds like she will end up being a harder keeper and need more than 5 lbs to get to the weight she needs to be and stay there.

I am an equine nutrition specialist, so if you would like to PM me and talk more specifically please feel free.

I, too, am an equine nutrition specialist, and have been seeing FANTASTIC results using a ration balancer feed like Enriched 32 for HARD KEEPERS, when used WITH another source of calories such as Wellsolve.

MOST of your run of the mill lines of feeds are made with "Ration Balancers" as their backbone-when a label says you have to feed a minimum 5 pounds, that's like saying there's "one pound of ration balancer in that 5 pounds".

When you feed a balancer on top of something like senior, high fat/low starch, etc., you're giving a super boost of their core requirements ON TOP of adding calories from those other feeds.

A horse that is needing to gain weight, IMO, is in "heavy work."

So, a typically feed label will say it needs 8 pounds of feed or MORE per day. (Not including hay).

By separating the balancer from the calorie source, a person has the ability to increase or decrease either one:

For instance:
An easy keeper in maintenance: 1 pound per day of RB.

An easy keeper in work: 1 pound per day of RB plus 1-2 pound per day of calorie source...

Compared to an easy keeper in work requiring 8 pounds per day.

I've seen many horses be given however many pounds the label says withOUT successful weight gain.

Those same horses, when given a proper balancer on top of the calorie source feed start to BLOSSOM after as few as 2 weeks.
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    11-04-2011, 12:41 PM
  #7
Foal
I think there are many ways to feed horses to get the desired result. I was not intending to attack your ration balancing option, simply offering another opinion. I also use ration balancers frequently and have seen wonderful results. I don't know this horse and do not really have enough information to make a perfect recommendation. I was just trying to help out.
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    11-04-2011, 02:44 PM
  #8
Foal
It's good to hear different opinions. I know the same thing will not necessarily work for 2 different animals, even with very similiar stats and workloads.
My dogs are a great example of this; they're sisters from the same litter, same living conditions & exercise levels (we might occasionally take one for a walk without the other, but rarely, usually both go, plus running 2-5 acres). The bigger of the two is about an inch taller -- and stays at least 10 lbs heavier (smaller is 44 - 46 lbs and larger 55 - 58). The smaller one gets exactly twice as much food and still looks skinny, while the larger looks chubby.

I'm not sure what other info on Cali you need / want, but please ask, I'll answer anything I can.
I *did* have her weight wrong in the first post, the gelding was 950 and Cali is about 880. 950 is probably about ideal, the gelding is the same height and healthy weight.
Usually both turned out together with the hay so hard to judge for sure -- but Cali has been in her own pen for the last few days and seems to eat about 2 - 3 flakes of Bermuda a day. (I know weight is more accurate but I don't have the means to weigh it ATM). She gets two flakes morning and night, and there's always hay left when it's time to feed again, and *sometimes* it looks like she still has almost a full two flakes left, in which case she doesn't get more, or maybe gets a flake. (I try to leave more overnight, during the day I can easily feed more if it's out).

She isn't being ridden at all right now (hasn't since she came here) and 'exercise' for now mostly consists of walking -- we take her for walks up the road like a dog. Some roundpen work, walking over poles, and stretching. She needs to build up her muscles, esp. Along her back, before she can be ridden. She's turned out in a 3 acre pasture, free to go in & out as she pleases. (mostly. Again, the last few days she's been in a smaller pen by herself, limited movement there, but within another day or two she'll go back into the pasture)

And we're in AZ so not very cold here, no need to feed extra for warmth beyond leaving hay available. (High of 75 F & low of 50 today for an idea).
     
    11-08-2011, 09:44 PM
  #9
Started
Its probably stress, and she hasn't had good teeth for to long of a time . I love Rice Bran, defiantly recommend it, shiny/dappled coats and gains weight.
     
    11-10-2011, 07:40 AM
  #10
Super Moderator
I own two metabolic horses and keeping them on the thin side is now the norm. If she is 14.3 and weighs 950 lbs, I honestly don't see that she's underweight.

We as horse owners (and even some vets) have gotten ourselves into the mind set if a horse isn't plump, it isn't being cared for. Since my senior horse exploded with Equine Metabolic Syndrome four years ago, I have spent these last four years re-training my brain cells that "thin is in". The handsome chunk in my avatar is my EMS guy, no surprise there knowing what I know now.

Not saying AZ doesn't get some cold weather but it's sure not Minnesota in the winter and if this horse has plenty of hay and good ration balancer, she should be fine unless she's got some health issues the vet isn't picking up on.

My 14.3H TWH (with metabolic issues)now weighs somewhere around 950 - 975; I can feel his ribs if I lightly press on his sides. My vet said to not let him lose anymore weight going into winter. He doesn't need to gain but he doesn't need to lose.

You could take your bathroom scales to the barn and weigh yourself holding the hay. Flakes of hay vary greatly in weight. If nothing else take a 30 gallon garbage bag with you and stuff it full of hay until you get 2.5% - 3% of her body weight on that bag.

Once you see how tight you need to pack the bag and how it "feels" with that much hay, you can probably stop lugging the scales to the barn.

Can you post a side view of her that is in good light? If she really is 14.3H I am having trouble seeing a way underweight horse at 950 lbs. My friend's Paso Fino that is severely cushings/IR is taller than that; he is strictly kept at 950 lbs and would look really great if it weren't for the muscle wasting the cushings has caused.
     

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