Feeding for a sensitive sport horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 03-08-2012, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Feeding for a sensitive sport horse

Warm weather comes early for us here in CA and with the warmer weather and longer days, my gelding will begin his full training schedule.
I have only had him about 8 or 9 months now and it was quite an arduous journey to find out what kind of feed and supplements he needed to be on. When he came to me he was on Alfalfa cubes and was explosive and hot all the time. So I put him on Bermuda.
A month later, he was a different horse entirely. He was responsive and polite. I have since added 3 large scoops of timothy pellets, a level full scoop of Grand Complete, and a level full scoop of SmartPak Smart Calm Ultra.
The thing i'm worried about is his body condition when he's in heavy work. I'm wondering if there is something extra I can give him to boost his calories and fat, while helping promote usable/healthy energy and maintaining his body weight, WITHOUT creating heat.

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-08-2012, 01:55 AM
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My horse is an OTTB so I have had to try and pump him full of food to keep his weight up and try and keep him calm at the same time.

He is fed grass hay, hay cubes, a feed called Podium (very high in fat) and beet pulp.

I know quite a few people who have had success with beet pulp. It is high fibre and doesn't make horses hot.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-08-2012, 02:45 AM
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Rice bran, beet pulp and oil are all good cool energy, fat sources. Depending on his system, in heavy work you are going to need to add in protein. A good ration balancer or complete feed might help and be cool. In hard work though, feeding some alfalfa will help him out. You just have to figure out where the line is as to how much he can have. You might also try magnesium supplementation if the "calm" supplement does not already include it. The most digestable form is Mg citrate.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-08-2012, 02:53 AM
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Another vote for magnesium here.
Takes a couple of weeks to get in the system, but I've used it on nervous geldings, to mardy mares- best thing ever.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-13-2012, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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okay I have one more question...
I have started giving my horse more "free choice" hay (Bermuda).
He eats, and walks around his stall, and eats, and sleeps, and then eats some more, and so on. I have noticed that he's got a wee bit of, what apparently some people call, a hay belly.
The Truth about Hay Bellies - HorseChannel.com

I read this article about such an issue and was wondering if this is something that his body will get more used to with time, as he has constant access to hay, or will he always have the belly?! (post script: he is not "fat" or out of shape by any means, and is professionally wormed by the vet every 3 months, as per our boarding agreement)

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-14-2012, 01:16 PM
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Has he always had free choice hay? If you just started offering him free choice he might be over eating a bit, as some horses will do that the first few months until they learn that there will always be hay there for them. But a hay belly is a sign of a healthy properly working digestive tract!
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-14-2012, 02:12 PM
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id give him free choice run around the field. Locking him in a stall all day isnt helping any more than sitting on a couch all day eating doritos would help you.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-14-2012, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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well Joe, as nice as that would be, I live in an area where my horse cannot be on 24/7 turn out. Although, as I stated above, he is in full training, and thus gets plenty of exercise. Also, one of the big reasons I chose to do free choice with the Bermuda hay, was because I was under the impression that it had pretty low nutritional value. I wanted him to be able to eat and chew like a normal horse would on pasture, but without so much concern for high energy and obesity.

Anyway the free choice hay thing has been a relatively new decision. I will just keep an eye on him, and see how it goes for a while until he gets more used to the whole idea!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-17-2012, 09:46 PM
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I understand that you are in a situation where 24/7 turn out is not an option, but does the horse get any time out by himself at all? I understand that he gets plenty of exercise through training, but does he ever just get to run around and be a horse, even if it's just for a little while?

As for the hay belly, I would not worry about it. It's a sign that his digestive tract is working well. As long as you give him free choice hay, he should have some extent of hay belly, it's nothing to worry about though. But honestly, the free choice hay will probably prevent him from developing stable vices as it will keep him busy. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you, keep feeding him the free choice hay.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-18-2012, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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he gets turned out every day for about 2 hours. Weird things about him though, is that he tends to just stand there. He doesn't run around. He'll roll once, sniff around a bit, and then stand under the tree in the corner of the turn out. Haha!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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