Weight issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-18-2010, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Weight issues

Anyone have a suggestion of a feed or feed supplement (available in Canada) to help put weight on a horse who seems to "get full" (or bored - we're not sure) quickly?

Right now she's on full turnout (though the quality of grass is iffy this year - not much rain in my area until recently), and getting about 2lbs per day of HiFat20, 4 scoops of Cool Calories, 4lbs of Alfalfa pellet, 1lb of beet pulp(dry weight) (all per day). It seems to be about the most we're able to get her to eat (even if it's broken down to several feeding in a day). I've also just started her on "Recovery" to see if that might help her apparent stiffness. (When she's at a show her grazing is replaced by free choice, quality low sugar hay with 12% protein)

The vet has seen her, and doesn't have an "answer" for why she wouldn't be eating enough to keep weight on her. She is otherwise seemingly healthy (bright, alert, willing to work - though stiff). Her blood pannel came back fine - a little low in some minerals (so that's been increased), and her teeth are OK (she'll be floated soon anyhow, but nothing he felt was going to cause this problem).

I'm wondering if there's another feed I can add, or replace what we're already giving her with, that people will "swear by" ? (she's a little fussy, but not too bad)

She's a 13yr old American Saddlebred, probably about 900-1000lbs at a "good weight" (she's a little under that right now) - she's never been a really hard keeper before (she's new to us, but her previous two homes swear she wasn't - and they are both honest people), though she is working harder than she ever used to. What baffles me most is that she won't eat "more" feed - but still won't put weight on. Her workload has been decreased as well.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-18-2010, 11:45 PM
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make sure her teeth are okay. I know you said the vet checked her and that she would be floated soon, but did he put a speculum in her mouth and really check? I just had Speed floated as usual this time of year and had questions cause he seemed to be losing weight, even though they are on good green pasture. The initial check of his teeth was a few points and sharp edges, but after he as sedated, we found a molar that was split in two. He will be having surgery Monday to take out the tooth. I know that is causing his weight problems, he doesn't want to chew on that side.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-18-2010, 11:50 PM
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How about digestive issues? Has your vet considered uclers as a cause of her weight loss?
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-18-2010, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, he really took a good look in her mouth... she has some uneven-ness he said could be corrected, but nothing that appeared to be significant.

Ulcers have not been discussed yet, never occurred to me actually.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-18-2010, 11:57 PM
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How is she other than the weight? Has she 'lost a step' or is she her same old self just skinnier? How about under saddle. I've heard of horses with ulcers having issues with being ridden.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-19-2010, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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It's hard to say for sure... to US she's her same old self - both hanging with her pals and under saddle... but we've only had her since February - she's always been lean, from day one (not as lean as she is currently)... and she's always had some "cranky" behaviors (she had 3 years of doing "nothing" but living in a small paddock because she had a bit of a spazz-rear-lock up and not move-spin around like a dolt "habit"... so her "behavior" was a large part of why the woman was getting rid of her, she wasn't very experienced). We've found once we got her through her "hissy fit" (she doesn't do that routine anymore) she's been great - she's had a lot of comments from PC coaches that she's "Terrific", " A great trier", "Really smart, athletic horse".

We have noticed her weight does take a dip after showing and training hard, then comes back up if she has time off (which makes sense, most horses will - especially because we don't cut back on her feed when she has time off). It's not that she isn't eating either - she does enjoy her food, and never seems "off her feed" exactly, more like she'll eat until she's full, then stop.

When out on pasture she eats "normally" too - constant browsing, like all the other horses... we're just not sure where she's putting it :(
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-20-2010, 12:48 AM
Green Broke
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Hmm. If she were mine I'd have her on flax instead of cool calories and I would add some digestive aids to increase appitite and nutrient absorbtion. If she's never been on alfalfa pellets before you bought her, you might take her off those and try timothy pellets instead. Some horses can have a feed sensitivity to alfalfa pellets. If you can't get timothy pellets, use plain whole oats with her beet pulp.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-20-2010, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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She won't eat flax... we tried. She'll turn her nose up at the whole meal if it's in there. It was our first try this spring when we started giving her a little extra feed.

She was on the Alfalfa pellet before we got her - so we just kept it as part of her feed. Alfalfa is supposed to be easy for horses tummies - due the calcium in it (information my vet gave me years ago), as well as the low natural sugars, the pellets are just about exactly the same as cubes - but smaller (I've found my horses seem to like them better).

I was warned against oats - something to do with sugar content, I think. It's been years since I've used any horse feed with oats. (Even feed manufacturer nutritionalists say it's not the 'best' feed out there for horses - I attended a lecture last fall, and was really surprised by some of the information - some I'd already picked up elsewhere)
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-20-2010, 11:47 AM
Green Broke
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Sounds like she may be under some stress. I don't know. My mare sometimes won't eat all of her grain either. She should be grained 2 x day but if I do that she won't eat all of it. Sounds like your doing all you can.
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