How much to feed???
   

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How much to feed???

This is a discussion on How much to feed??? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • How to feed the race horses
  • +how much do you feed a racing quarterhorse

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  • 1 Post By WildAcreFarms
  • 1 Post By HagonNag
  • 1 Post By HagonNag

 
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    04-02-2012, 09:28 AM
  #1
Weanling
How much to feed???

I own an OTTB, he came off the track at the end of January this year and is losing weight during his let down phase.

He stands at least 16.2hh - 16.3hh. He is fed twice a day on a mix of a cubed feed and a concentrated feed containing extruded maize, oats and yeast etc. He is on hay morning and night and is out to graze during the day but the grazing I do admit that the grazing is not very good at the moment.

He is also given a natural supplement to assist any ulcers he may have as well as improve his general health.

My question is, what quantity of hard feed / concentrate feed should he be getting a day? I am getting mixed opinions...
     
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    04-02-2012, 05:45 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Not sure what a cubed feed is (hay cubes?), but the best thing to do is start with the minimum the bag recommends for your horse's desired body weight and then bump it up slowly over time if he's losing weight (or not gaining, if that is your goal). If you're getting up to the highest amount recommended and still need more calories then start thinking about adding in additional high fat feeds, like beet pulp, rice bran, oil, etc.

I generally dislike keeping a horse on grain unless he really needs it, and I try to avoid corn (maize) at all costs even then. It might be worth re-evaluating the particular concentrate you're feeding him.

How much hay is he getting? When he's not on pasture, try to keep hay in front of him at all times- a small mesh hay net is great for that. If the pasture is really poor, consider putting out a round bale or flakes of hay for him during the day, too. Keeping him constantly eating small amounts of food will also help with any ulcers he may have.
     
    04-08-2012, 04:26 AM
  #3
Weanling
ottbs need extra fat in the diet

They need a fat content about 5 to 6 % is optimal. You can do this in one of two ways. One buy feed with high content (like strategy) or go to the mill and make a customer mix OR simply add fat to his diet that he's already eating. Corn oil and kind of veggie oil soybean oil its all pretty much the same amt of calories and that's what he needs more calories in the feed.

I've retrained many OTTBS and trust me they ALL have ulcers and they ALL need extra oil in their feed. If he is losing weight he's not getting enough feed calories. And they will eat about 4 times what an Arab or QH will eat which can seem SHOCKING. LOL
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    04-10-2012, 09:20 AM
  #4
Weanling
Sorry, the word escaped me when I wrote it! I meant concentrate feeds (ie cubed!) my bad!

I have upped his feed to 6kgs a day which most people think is a lot but I have spoken to a few people who have been in the same situation with their OTTBs and they agreed he needs more especially due to his size. He needed to put on weight when I got him and has since lost quite a bit around his bu, and topline.

I have also put him onto what is called "Acid Buffer" for his ulcers and I will keep him on that for minimum 6 months. To that I have added a supplement which was recommended to me by the locals who have OTTBs called Mass Gain which is 1 cup a day and is said to really help them pick up weight.

Someone else told me of a local health shop where the owner has helped many horses by putting together a mix of certain natural products to cleanse their systems so I am going to go see her this week and see what she puts in it.

I avoid corn at all costs. It just makes them hot and I don't need that. He is a very calm and chilled horse, Id like him to stay that way!

He has good quality hay available all night and a net in the mornings as well and I am trying to get my hands on some good quality lucern. This month the BO is providing Teff for them all on top of their normal hay.
     
    04-11-2012, 03:39 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticL    
sorry, the word escaped me when I wrote it! I meant concentrate feeds (ie cubed!) my bad!

I have upped his feed to 6kgs a day which most people think is a lot but I have spoken to a few people who have been in the same situation with their OTTBs and they agreed he needs more especially due to his size. He needed to put on weight when I got him and has since lost quite a bit around his bu, and topline.

I have also put him onto what is called "Acid Buffer" for his ulcers and I will keep him on that for minimum 6 months. To that I have added a supplement which was recommended to me by the locals who have OTTBs called Mass Gain which is 1 cup a day and is said to really help them pick up weight.

Someone else told me of a local health shop where the owner has helped many horses by putting together a mix of certain natural products to cleanse their systems so I am going to go see her this week and see what she puts in it.

I avoid corn at all costs. It just makes them hot and I don't need that. He is a very calm and chilled horse, Id like him to stay that way!

He has good quality hay available all night and a net in the mornings as well and I am trying to get my hands on some good quality lucern. This month the BO is providing Teff for them all on top of their normal hay.

When we got our 16+hh OTTB about 11 years ago, he lost quite a bit of weight before I figured out how much he actually needed. I've forgotten the amounts, but forget about what you are used to feeding normal horses and throw mass quantities of food at him!!
The metabolism of the average OTTB is running so high, that they inhale feed. They need TONS of calories and high quality calories if they are going to stay looking good. Once their body adjusts to their new workload, their needs will moderate but most OTTBs remain hard keepers.
That's only my opinion and I'm not a vet and I've been known to be wrong. My best advice is keep high quality hay in front of him at all times and feed the absolute best feed you can afford in gigunda amounts with a top dressing of oil or rice bran.

In our case, we also needed to add Biotin+ as a hoof supplement. He had really thin-walled thoroughbred hooves that would NOT hold a shoe. He now has hooves with nice thick walls that hold shoes quite well. Clips help also.

ETA: If your grazing is not very good, consider the fact that most horses on the track NEVER get to graze. They exist on top quality hay and feed. The nutrition your horse is getting from low quality grazing is probably nowhere near what his system is used to. You need to take this into consideration when you are figuring out his feed.
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    04-12-2012, 04:37 AM
  #6
Weanling
Thanks HagonNag, I have had a lot of people tell me pretty much what you said word for word.

This was his weight as he arrived. Taking into consideration that he had not had a start in a month (he only had 4 starts in his racing career) and he was not being trained to the full extent as he was looking for a home. He was "racing lean" when he arrived but very fit and strong.

Cumani 21 Jan 2012 1.jpg

A month later he looked like this (on 4kgs a day plus ulcer meds and hay)

Cumani 26 Feb 2012 12.jpg

And now he looks like this - I took this photo before we increased his feed and started him on Mass Gain supplements so I am going to be monitorng it from now on. (it's been just over a week only) I have bought a weight tape so I am going to get a rough estimate of his condition now and monitor how it improves. He has lost weight around his backend, but even so he is full of energy and life and is enjoying his work. I wouldnt call him a bag of bones but I can see the change since I got him 3 months ago.

IMG-20120325-00368.jpg
     
    04-12-2012, 04:41 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by HagonNag    
My best advice is keep high quality hay in front of him at all times and feed the absolute best feed you can afford in gigunda amounts with a top dressing of oil or rice bran.

In our case, we also needed to add Biotin+ as a hoof supplement. He had really thin-walled thoroughbred hooves that would NOT hold a shoe. He now has hooves with nice thick walls that hold shoes quite well. Clips help also.
One more thing, when you mention top dressing of oil, what type of "oil" are you meaning?

His feet are much better. My farrier has been working to change his feet slowly to get him right. Initially he threw shoes often but the last 2 occasions he has kept them on right through until they need to be re-done.
     
    04-12-2012, 08:06 AM
  #8
Yearling
Corn oil or any vegetable or soy oil. He will NEVER look like he did when he came to you unless you send him back to the track. Even if he wasn't racing, he was getting fed top quality feed in massive amounts and he was being exercised daily and handled by experts. Our OTTB came off the track at nine years old and didn't know what a pasture was! He was a failure as a race horse and his owners walked away from him. Luckily, his trainer really liked him and used him for training youngsters to break straight from the gate and as a track pony. He was the oldest horse in the barn and the staff all loved him and he came to us looking race fit and totally sound...even at 9. Unless you train this horse daily with breezes and gallops and feed him like a racehorse, his physique will gradually change. His metabolism will change and so will his muscling. That's good because you don't need to be riding a race horse unless you plan on using him like a race horse and like shelling out money for tons of feed. Grass and pasture time will help with the change. I doubt you'll ever have to worry about him getting fat (although there ARE fat thoroughbreds) but if you try to keep him looking exactly like he looked when he came to you, you will drive yourself nuts. Now I'm saying this not knowing what you intend to do with him, so I may be very, very wrong. Our OTTB is now the world's best trail horse at 20. He still screams thouroughbred when you look at him, but his butt says quarterhorse! LOL
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    04-12-2012, 08:18 AM
  #9
Yearling
I'm glad your farrier is working on his feet. Most OTTBs have really low heels and longer toes. It can take FOREVER to change this depending upon how long they've been at the track. I've had multiple farriers and vets tell me that our horse just plain isn't going to change that profile because of the age at which he came to us. God knows we've tried. We've been able to build a good, solid hoof, but never any really good height to his heels. We've anguished over getting his feet really solid. He will never be able to be barefoot, but at least he's got good feet now and he's still totally sound.
     
    04-13-2012, 02:31 AM
  #10
Weanling
I know he won't look like he did when he arrived :) I don't really want him to, I want him to just fill out a bit. He is a light horse though and will probably never be bulky. Quite frankly, Im just more concerned about him getting everything he needs and keeping him happy and healthy.

He is exercised 4 or 5 times a week at least. I havent put him into serious work, I want him to have time to let down and be a horse. He mainly hacks and does some schooling. While hacking I sometimes pop him over a few cross country jumps.

Low heels and long toes...look at those pictures! Ha ha! Exactly that! My farrier works primarily with Racehorses so he is confidant he will improve his feet. We took the back shoes off as soon as he arrived and he has not had a moments trouble. In fact his back feet are smooth and neat even when he needs a trim. His front feet seem to have hardened up quite a bit too and are not cracking up where the nails are like they first did.

I have to say, Cumani has settled in to his new life really well. He made a really good pasture friend and the 2 of them are always side by side. Sometimes I look at him and think he has forgotten all about racing in this short space of time...only when he sees open space does he remember ;) But even then, he has stopped his galloping and likes to have a long controlled canter instead. And he has learned what carrots are very quickly, and will empty my car boot out in search of them!

I took him out last night. Unfortunately with the change in our season the sun is going down much earlier. He felt really good though, I think his increased diet is doing him the world of good. I will look into oils to add :)

Thanks for all the help, really appreciate it. Hopefully one day he has the "quaterhorse butt"! Ha ha!
     

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