My horses wander 20 acres that is mostly grass but some has reverted back to woods. The horses have trails worked through there too. Shelter is a big run in so they come and go. The pony is 37 years old. She gains just thinking about food. She is also the alpha horse and I've spent ages guarding feed pans in pouring rain, raging blizzards and subzero temps. Hay in the winter is free choice. I use a ration balancer for them all along with a very low NSC hay stretcher. The one horse that needs a little more than that gets a cup of rice bran with each meal. Otherwise they are fed the same. The different amounts of ration balancer between the 3 are finished in minutes and the hay stretcher keeps the pony content to stay at her dish until the others get theirs in. By the time she wants to check to see if somebody has something better left there is only crumbs left in the other pans. Been working great for me. A couple of extra feed pans with nothing but some hay stretcher makes her think she found something. She fills up on a feed with a NSC of 6.9 so she isn't grazing on the grass or hay as much. I think it's the only thing saving me from a grazing muzzle or dry lot at this point. I don't think she would do well with either at this point in her life.
Been at this routine for a full year know. The pony looks 10 years younger than she did before the switch. The old, but not sure how old, app mare has lost the humps that made her look terribly swayed back. Now she just looks like an older mare. If that makes any sense...not contemplating special padding to make a saddle fit without bridging anymore, just a good pad.
My walker...she kind of falls into a different category. She was skeletal when I got her last fall. So bad that the first 2 weeks she was here I was checking constantly to make sure she wasn't dead. I was using a good senior feed to help her gain along with rice bran and some alfalfa pellets. I had to guard the pan with my life. Once she was out of the woods I switched her slowly to a feed designed for mini horses with a real low carb makeup. For a little while I was able to get Nutrena's safe choice special care. I kind of took Walkin's advice to heart since her boys and so many other IR stories seem to have TWH's as chubbo in question. She seems to need more than the other two. Not much more besides the size difference but needs more. She's a 16 hand horse as opposed to the app at 14.1 and the pony at 11 hands. She is now at a point where she just needs to regain lost muscle. Point being I was going to note changes in her just feeding her but she looks great on just some ration balancer, rice bran and free choice hay and/or grass now.
The other two look like the time clock has been turned back! The old pony being the most dramatic. Except for gray hairs on her face she looks like she did at 20. I'm pretty happy keeping it simple.