OTTB Body Condition only a 2, how do I bring her back? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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OTTB Body Condition only a 2, how do I bring her back?

My friend leased out her horse and upon her last check was horrified so has taken the horse back into her care. She is a 13yo OTTB mare, vet has seen her and her body condition is about a 2. She has been dewormed and the vet said her teeth were fine, did her shots etc. She has just been getting poor quality feed and nothing in addition.

My friend works 3 jobs and has very little time so she has asked me to help her get this horse healthy and fit again. I have no clue where to go with this. She has been put on good quality round bale all day and we have worked her up to a 3/4 scoop of senior. She does have a history of colic. My friend just said to slowly work up her groceries and to star working her so she builds up some muscle. I have more experience fitting up OBESE horses and this is a much bigger puzzle to me.

Should I add in beet pulp to get more weight on her? And I'm thinking for working I should probably just walk and trot her on the lunge line for about 15 min every few days to start and then work her up? I'm afraid of working her too much at this weight? My friend says she can be ridden but I feel guilty actually climbing on her right now as she appears to have nothing protecting her spine.

Anyone with experience bringing back a poor condition horse like this that can share their stories, insight, suggestions, and definite DON'T DO'S would much be appreciated. Right now I just want to throw every grocery in the store at her but I know that will definitely be bad.
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 09:04 AM
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If she's scoring a two I wouldn't even contemplate working her. As I'm not familiar with the feeds down in the states I will not advise on what feeds to give her but just say free choice hay plus a high fat senior feed and some kind of pro-biotic to begin with.
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 09:15 AM
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For feed, slowly add beet pulp, alfalfa pellets/cubes, and/or a fat supplement. I like ADM MoorGlo.

Make sure she's getting a high quality vitamin-mineral supplement, and free choice salt.

I wouldn't start working her until she's feeling good enough to trot around at will. Once she reaches that point, some hand walking and trotting, with some of that over ground poles, is where I would start. Just a few minutes at a time. You can slowly build up from this.

I think it's wonderful you're helping out your friend this way.

Learning never stops
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 10:31 AM
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Alfalfa hay.starting out slow, work up to nearly free choice, along with the roundbale. I'd be very careful with any grain right now, beetpulp, alfalfa pellets, maybe some flaxseed and a tiny bit of ricebran, increasing the latter to a lb eventually.

I also would NOT work her at all. She needs these calories to come back to weight.

Just for reference, UC Davis recommends working up to free choice alfalfa for starved horses as the safest and best way.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your tips! I agree about not working, I want to see some padding on her first. I'll just keep watching her in the dry lot to see how active she is, or maybe turn her out in the arena and see what she does on her own. She is in a dry lot with some companion horses who are pretty laid back and seem to be "taking care of her" too. I'll just start by walking her to the barn each day for a good grooming. Her coat is in pretty sad shape. It's a walk of about 200 feet or so. That should do it for now LOL.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 11:50 AM
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id just go hay and grass with just enough feed to get her to get her to eat a multi vitamin or a couple handfuls of ration balancer. Wet alfalfa/timothy pellets can serve the same purpose. She didnt get that way overnight and its best just to give her time to build back up. Stay away from too much starch or sugar,
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 09:42 PM
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In addition to hay 24/7, many also suggest spreading the total feed (grain + supplements, beet pulp, etc) amount out over as many smaller meals as possible. From personal experience, breaking the total down into 4 smaller meals through out the day works wonders.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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I worked with her for the first time today. It has been about 3 weeks since the vet looked at her, I found out. I donn't think she is quite a 2 anymore though she is ribby, her spine and hips protrude grossly and she has no fat on her tail. She does have SOME muscle in her shoulders and butt. Today she was quite perky and when I put her in the arena she not only trotted on her own but cantered a bit as well. I just sat on a bench and watched so this was without ANY of my coaxing. I put her on the lunge and had her trot 2 times around and walk 1 time for about 5 minutes on each side and then hand walked her for another 15 minutes and then gave her some groceries which also included fresh carrots, cabbage shreds, and pumpkin seeds which are some of Cinny's favorite treats so I have them on hand. They are also good sources of nutrients and she really enjoyed them.

I think what makes me very hopeful is that she seems to really enjoy life and want to be out in it and working. I can't wait until she really CAN be worked!
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-13-2013, 11:36 PM
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Hay 24/7
Beet pulp would help, as would supplementing a grain in slowly

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-14-2013, 01:55 AM
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Im still for alfalfa. If you can't get the hay, give her soaked alfalfa pellets. Once she eats about 3 lbs of those, maybe during the grooming session, you can add a good senior feed. It's easily digestible and will help her " up" even more. TC senior, or Nutrena Life Design Senior. The second I had really good results with.
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