Okay, since everyone seems to think that I'm just not taking care of my horse, I'm starting a thread.
Ice is a 12 y/o OTTB. Came to me not emaciated, but under weight (on grass and 8 lbs of grain a day) with no muscle anywhere except his butt. This still holds true a year later. We've put probably 200 pounds on him, but he's still ribby. On his left side, you can see 2-3. On his right side, you can see like 4 1/2 (Check my album if you don't believe me). He's had 4 months of no work, meaning no top line and no condition at all. He is gaining weight, its just not sticking to his ribs. He was wormed during the spring/summer/fall (I live in Florida so we don't have to worm from November to February, but this year it stayed cold through March). I am planning on having a fecal check done, although he is not showing any signs of worms, other than his ribs showing. His teeth were just done in February. He has access to a salt block during the day, I've seen him lick on it quite a few times. Right now, here is his feeding regimen:
-4 flakes of T&A a day. Its good hay, green and leafy and smelling nice. When he gets more work, we'll probably have to bump this up to five or even six flakes of hay.
-2 scoops (6 quarts) of Safe Choice.
-Joint supplements in the AM. We have had him on ulcer gaurd, but it seems to be like a waste of money, nothings really changed about him, in fact it may have gotten worse. (he still cribs, his appetite and coat were fine before, his attitude is better with work, but otherwise crap)
I am reluctant to feed him straight alfalfa, I don't want to make him hot, which it does do. I have thought of putting alfalfa cubes in his feed, but again, he gains weight, just not in the right place.
There is a large part of me that says that he just needs muscle; once he starts working, and working correctly he'll fill out, but I figured I would get input. I have also had people on this forum tell me he needs muscle, and not so much weight in a previous critique.
It took me numerous years juggling feed variations on my ottb and the only thing that kept the ribs at bay was 24/7 Grass Hay. Alfalfa (cubed and hay) made her hot, thus counter-acting the calorie increase. Grain? DOn't get me started. And I tried A LOT of different formulas, horrified of her ribs. That said TB are notorious for ribs and 'some' rib is just plain fact to their makeup. When you get hay belly and ribs - proper training and muscle building along the back is the only thing that helped my mare. She's very fine in the legs and too much weight would've buckled those back legs (horrible conformation - yet was never lame for me and was used as my main 4' jumper with excellent ability). I've attached a pic [she's the dark bay] of her last year just on grass hay (she's 23 years old).
Is this the only solution? No, I've heard of different things on the market now, but since this helps my mare, I'm not changing a good thing:)
As said above, 24/7 grazing or stand him in grass hay - since you're already feeding Nutrena, change him over to Nutrena Senior with the beet pulp and flax added. Add steamed rolled oats to that as well. You can add a little corn oil to it as well. Stay with the Nutrena as their feed includes probiotics.
I don't know why Nutrena does this, but they offer 2 Seniors... one with the beet pulp and flax, and one without and don't offer both in all places. Makes no sense to me but the Senior with the beet pulp/flax is wonderful.
My OTTB hard keeper on a similiar 'recipe'
*not the best pics, will find better ones but get the jist of it
I would firstly, make sure that everything inside your horse is going as it should. Digestive System issues are very prevelant in Thoroughbreds, there could be many things going on that we as owners are not aware of.
My TB has always been a difficult horse to keep weight on, so after a discussion with my Veterinarian I started him on a suppliment through SmartPak called "Smart Digest Ultra" which has ingredients in it to help aid your horses stomache and digestive tracts to process the feed that is coming in, to benefit your horse.
I also have him on an ucer suppliment through SmartPak called "SmartGut" because after being scoped, we discovered he has ulcers - which is another huge factor to a horse not being able to gain weight.
The first thing I would do, is I would up his hay intake. Even though he is on pasture, doesn't mean it is all he needs. I have Nelson on pasture and he has a round bale in his paddock so that he can have access to both, because grass doesn't always give the needed nutrients, where a round bale can.
Roughage is the most important feed to increase first.
I would also look to a more "Complete" feed, that has a higher fat content. Purina Ultium, or Purina Senior. As already mentioned - Tripple Crown Senior is very good and so is Nutrena Senior.
I would stay away from Corn Oil because studdies show that Corn can cause inflamation in your horses digestive stystem. I would look more towards an oil that is formulated for horses - such as CoCo Soya *I have Nelson on this*
Nelson is getting 3lbs of Purina Ultium and 2lbs of Purina Senior, + suppliments twice a day. So he is getting 10lbs a day, plus his pasture and plus his round bale.
He is turned out on a dry lot right now--there's zero grazing and no round bales (the lot itself is about 1/2 an acre) but he is turned out at night, so he basically sleeps. He's inside all day.
Writer, I know that TB's are notorious, but I started a picture thread, and people jumped on me claiming he was "too thin". He's not a big-boned TB, he's a small guy, he'd look silly with a big belly!
I'll have to make a trip out to the feed supplier and see what kind of feed we have available. Right now our barn has Some sort of generic Manna Pro bag (pellets), the safe choice, and Manna Senior. We also don't have flax readily available, but we do have bran. Would I be able to substitute that?
I feed my horses at least 8 flakes of hay a day so 4 doesn't sound like much to me for a TB. Also worms get resistant to wormers so he may still have worms. They don't always show up in fecal test either. Only know this because of 2 horses died suddenly from rapid weight loss. They had been on a regular worming program and had fecal test done. They didn't know they were infrsted with worms until they did a necropsy after the 2nd one died.
4 flakes with NO work. The most he does is walk to and from turn out. He's not loosing weight. I'm not talking about the float test, I'm talking about an egg count. The two mares that he's turned out after are wormed regularly, so although that doesn't rule out worms entirely, that does limit his exposure (since he's turned out by himself).
Horses are meant to have forrage in their tummies at all times. That means, all day when he is in his stall, he needs to have hay infront of him 24/7 and that also means that during the night while he is out in that dry lot paddock, he shoud have free access to hay.
It DOES NOT matter if your horse is not being worked or is being worked - when Nelson was on stall rest for the month of January, he lost weight. TB's need special care, moreso than that of a QH or a Draft.