Is this a reasonable rate of gain? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-13-2013, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Richmond, VA
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Is this a reasonable rate of gain?

I bought my horse, Barnabus, in early February. During the vet exam, he was measured at 916 lbs, and the vet told me that he should be around 1100 or so. At the end of March, the vet measured him again and he came out at 930 lbs. He gets grain twice a day, hay in the morning, and there's hay in the field for his nightly turnout. Other than a joint supplement (he's 15), he gets nothing else. Is 14 lbs of weight gain over 7 weeks a reasonable rate?

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post #2 of 11 Old 04-13-2013, 06:23 PM
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No. If he was taped, the tapes aren't the most accurate way to measure him but it will give you an idea of his shape has changed. He should be able to gain that 14# in one week with his eyes closed. As hay makes up the largest portion if his diet, start there. How much hay does he actually eat? Just because it's out free choice, doesn't mean he is eating enough. Quality is going to be an indication of how nutritious and calorie dense it is. How much grain and what type does he get? Has he settled in to the new living arrangements? Is he a nervous horse? There's many factors that go into putting weight on a horse.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-14-2013, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. I know that he's still pushed around a bit in the pasture at night. Other than that, he seems to have settled in really well. He didn't eat much hay for the first month that I had him, but that may also have been due to the ulcers he had. Now he eats as much as we'll put in front of him. Currently, he gets at least 2 flakes of hay in the morning, and the grain ration he gets is the same amount of grain that most of the other geldings of similar size at the farm get (I know the number of scoops, but haven't looked to see what that amounts to in terms of measured volume or weight-the numbers have worn off the scoop!). I think I'll talk to my BO about increasing the amount of hay he gets each morning.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-14-2013, 08:06 AM
Green Broke
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I don't have a weight for mine, but she's gained at least 50-75 within a month or so since I've gotten her. I pegged her about 200# or so under ideal when I got her and was told she was an easy keeper.

I took her off the grain they had her on and threw her out in the pasture with free choice hay 24/7. I can barely see her ribs now (clearly visible when I got her) and her hips are finally covering up.

Personally, I'd try and get her out on hay 24/7 and see what that does. I was told mine was a hardkeeper..and I call bull because she's gaining weight awesome on just hay and still half dead grass. I took the chance of her getting thinner because of the starvation hairs she had in her coat and I obviously chose the right choice, lol.

But..point is, you probably should just go off how he's filling in and such, not a weight tape. There's a problem (IMO) if he's only gained 14# in 7 weeks.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-14-2013, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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That's what I was concerned about. He's definitely filling in (the hollow behind his withers isn't so hollow anymore), but he's still ribby. Thanks for the feedback!
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-24-2013, 01:21 AM
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We dont know what your feeding grain wise but all horses should be fed by weight not volume. Try worming him to start this new process & getting his teeth checked

Being your horse's weight should be at 1,100lbs. You should feed him like a 1,100lb horse! He possibly needs 20-25lbs of feed a day, less grain more hay & vitamin supplement feed, with a alfalfa pellets or a beet pulp mash.
vitamin supplement Feeds like... Purina Enriched 32 or Blue Seals Sunshine plus for example, this way you dont have to add anything to his meals, its in the bag! & you feed less of it.

If not try using what you already have...

what exactly are you feeding your horse twice a day?
12%, 16% is it a sweet or a pellet?

Maybe try adding to his already existing feed schedule::

a handful of sunflower seeds - helps weight gain & shiny coat in his meals.

Great the horse is out on pasture bales for 24/7 also he is getting Vitamin D from the sun! But is that round bale good enough hay and is he eating enough?

Try to bring him in for a extra feeding of a 1/2 scoop of alfalfa pellets at lunch time & a fresh pale of water (or hours before dinner) & drizzle 1oz. coco soy oil on his pellets.
If he doesn't like the oil taste add a packet of oatmeal instant start stuff or do it anyway and we all own corn starch! add a pinch of that for 15% calcium & a little water to let the pellets absorb. then let stand before he eats it.
Be creative, smash carrots & cucumbers, mix a shot glass of fresh ground flax seed in the mix. Give your horse vitamins to allow his body to function properly. add some salt so he drinks more fresh water.

Good quality foliage is key for your horses nutritain. Giving your horse the right vitamins, hay/foliage & water is key for his health.

"If you have control of the hoof you move the mind."
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-24-2013, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the ideas! He did get wormed recently, per advice from my BO. She's now doubled the amount of hay he's getting in his stall each day. My BO also reminded me that for the first month I had him, he had ulcers, and didn't eat much hay - he really started eating hay only once the medicine had run its course and the ulcers healed up. Since increasing the hay, and the worming, it seems that he's started improving more - just from an eyeball perspective. I'll have to get a weight tape out and measure for myself.

The feed he's getting is not a sweet feed - it's a pellet, but I'd have to take a look at one of the bags for more details. The amount he gets is the same amount fed to the other horses of similar size (so it would be enough for an 1100lb horse).

I'll have to look into some of those additions you mentioned. There's no problem with his water consumption! During the day, he will regularly drink 3-5 pails of water, even if it's only 60 F outside.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-24-2013, 09:22 AM
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Our 12 year old QH broodmare was just like Iseul mentioned when we got her the first week of Feb.. She was barely being fed All stock 12% sweet feed, meaning she was not fed often and grazing on thin pasture.

I slowly changed her over to whole plain oats and slowly up'd her feed from 1 qt in the morning and 2 qts in the evening with 24/7 premium coastal round bale to a month later at 2 qts morning and night. We were also adding 2 ounces of Cool Calories 100 in the morning only.

Once she started filling in we transitioned her slowly over to Seminole senior feed along with keeping up on the Cool Calories 100. She was about 200# under weight when we started and is amazingly gorgeous now.
Jem's Left side.jpg

After (taken 2 weeks ago)
Jems gaurding.jpg

I hope this helps you visualize the difference after 2 months time.

I am Second
Born Once, Die Twice. Born Twice, Die Once.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-24-2013, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the before (early Feb) and after (4/14) pics of Barnabus. I can definitely see improvements, but my concern has been whether he's been improving at the correct rate.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-24-2013, 10:07 AM
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He has gained more than just 14 lbs
But there's still quite a bit missing.
Can you post what grain/ pellets he's getting, and how much?
He should never be without hay. Especially after the ulcers.
Adding alfalfa, either as hay, or soaked pellets, will do wonders. For vit/min I can't comment until I know what pellets and how much he is getting.
If he's being pushed around when turned out he might not have much chance eating on the haybale. Feeding or keeping him separate from the herd might be better as long as he's still underweight. Being out but not able to eat off the bale causes stress and ultimately ulcers again.
Key is good hay, maybe a little grain or a ration balancer or a vit/min supplement with either alfalfa pellets or beetpulp. I would also add flaxseed to help him shed out nicely.
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