Originally Posted by barrelracer516 View Post
My barrel horse, Kyler, he's 19 years old, 16.2hh. Since the winter, he has dropped a lot of weight. He always has his blanket on when is 40 degrees or below. I stopped riding and shoes were pulled for the winter. (It rains a lot and is muddy, and I'm not riding anyways so we decided he didn't need to wear his shoes.) He had his teeth done before I bought him back around March. He is on a regular worming schedule with alternating wormers.
Right now he is eating:
3 "scoops" of Purina Senior
1/2 "scoop" of pelleted rice bran
1 "scoop" alfalfa pellets
He gets this in the am and then the same thing in the pm. Usually I try to soak it in warm water to make it easier for him to digest.
And when we have hay, he gets all he can eat. (It's hard to come by this time of the year.)
He loves it and he is stalled to eat, he is eating all of what he is given and is drinking plenty of water.
Should I feed more? Try different supplements? Change my feeding plan?
Im looking for opinions and suggestions please & thank you in advance!
From the perspective of a healthy (i.e. low sugar, low NSC, etc), high caloric, easily digestible feed (i.e. not something that is not good for their digestive system like grains) the best thing I can think of is beet pulp (soak and drain it if it has molasses which most do) and copra. Both are the left over by-products that provide good feed value.
Beet pulp is very easily digested fiber for hindgut with a higher nutritional value than the same weight in hay by 1/3 or more (depending on the hay it can be more). Good for keeping the hindgut working properly (one reason grain should never be fed) and requiring much less energy to digest so it provides a greater gain over loss ratio.
Copra is the left over coconut "meat" after the oil has been extracted. Super easy for them to digest. All in the foregut. Goes straight into the system. Hi calories.
Both can be fed soaked or dry. If the beet pulp has molasses I would recommend soaking and draining to remove it (too much sugar...it's not good for the horse). If fed dry recommend that plenty of water is readily available. No they won't get messed up from the feed swelling inside them. The only danger you have from feeding dry is if they bolt their food dog that hasn't eaten for days (which some horses do). Feeding dry isn't a problem if they eat in a normal fashion.
I'd keep free choice hay in front of them and if there's grass that's not stressed available it can be good to (need to be careful though to avoid the NSC and/or sugar). You'll still to insure the proper minerals, amino acids and having the right ratio Hay should provide some. Beet pulp is great for CA. but virtually no P. Copra is great for P, but low in CA. The compliment well. Should always have a slightly higher CA to P ratio. But there are still the other things, like zinc, phosphorus, copper, etc, etc, etc, etc, (and that's just the minerals....then there's the amino acids, which I'm don't have time to go through just like I didn't really go through the minerals). Equine digestion and nutrition is something everyone should study (would alter the domestic equine world) since too often they suffer from, even end up being killed, as a result of the caregiver's kindness (i.e. lovely cared for, but not properly cared for). e.g. Secretariat deal at 19 (does anyone imagine that they didn't lovely take care of him? $$$$$$$$$$$$$)