11-17-2012, 02:20 PM
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Sorry, no time to read all posts, so I might be reiterating a previous point. You need to know EXACTLY how much hay she is eating. I feed a few flakes at a time, and when my horse leaves some, I cut back. This winter, w/55-65 lb straight alfalfa bales, my one (1,400 lb) gelding gets 7 flakes/day, and my other 6yo gelding and my 14yo mare (both ~1,100 lbs) get 5 flakes/day. I have enough hay to see me through next April, when the pastures are edible, and I should still have about 50 bales left. Check out my horses--EVERYBODY is a 5-6 on the Apgar scale. They are ALL easy keepers, but I've owned many hard keepers, including "Corporal", (1982-2009, RIP). I put him on Purina Equine Senior, and he looked very good on it, though he was NEVER any higher than a 5.
HAY should be your primary feed, and I would make it at least 70% of your horses diet. Horses must have lots of fiber in their diet or else their digestive system, which is the most vulnerable part of their anatomy, will digest poorly. They are made to consume grasses. The other products supplement but, unlike cattle, you cannot fatten them on beet pulp and the other stuff. I had a skinny TB mare when I first got my horses. She was a HARD keeper and lost a lot of weight. My Vet had me start with one full bale of hay/daily, no supplements, to start her back on the road to recovery.
Alfalfa hay has deep roots and was the best survivor of this year's drought. HOWEVER, older horses have a lot of trouble masticating it. They will leave the stems and eat only the leaves. I would feed alfalfa cubes intead of pellets. They generally sell here for about ~15.00/50 lb bag. Wet them before serving and she'll be able to easily eat them.
Good luck, no matter whose advice your take. **hugs**