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mselizabeth 11-13-2011 12:29 PM

How to put weight and muscle back on my thoroughbred
Hi everyone, I just got a new horse yesterday.
He's a 16.2hh thoroughbred gelding. I've known him for over 3 years, and he's usually pretty filled out during the summer (he was a summer camp horse) but i've never seen him in the winter untill now.

He is pretty thin. His backbone towards his tail is protruding and you can faintly see his ribs.

He recieves unlimited hay from a round bale daily.
I do not have the ability to grain him everyday. If I were to grain him, I would only be a able to do it about 3 days a week, and it would be around the time i'd ride him (COLIC!)

So i'm at a loss, he needs muscle and weight for the winter. He also doesn't have a very good winter coat (like most thoroughbreds) so he will be wearing a blanket.

Is there anything special I could give him before or after rides and not have him colic?
Help? Thank you.

Endiku 11-13-2011 02:50 PM

I would think that as long as you cool him out properly, there wouldn't be a very big chance of him colicing when you feed him. Noah (the 17.3hh OTTB that I am 'restoring and retraining') generally has his workout around three or four in the afternoon, and I grain him after I cool him out and brush him.

What quality is his hay? Noah is free fed off of a timothy hay and alfalfa mixture, and is fed five pounds of Purina Equine Senior Active Healthy Edge (long name! o.o) as well as rice bran and beet pulp. In the past two months he's gone from a body score of 3 to 3.5, and is still gaining weight; so it's something to look into. He's a very hard keeper, and this is his first winter with us as well. So far it seems to be working!

mselizabeth 11-13-2011 03:09 PM

I've read alot about beet pulp. Because it's digestable and has similar qualities to hay it might be a better option. The barn owner grows his own hay. I'm not 100 percent sure what kind it is, but i know it's not alphalfa. Grain and oats scare me, because they're so hard for a horse to digest.

Has anyone ever tried beet pulp for weight gain?

amp23 11-13-2011 03:42 PM

I have added beet pulp to grain and it helped my gelding gain a bit of weight. Why exactly are you afraid of feeding grain or oats? Has he never been fed them before? I couldn't see a TB keeping on an weight solely on hay with no grain, but someone correct me if I'm wrong for thinking that

mselizabeth 11-13-2011 05:05 PM

Well if I fed him grain, it wouldn't be on a consistant basis. Therefore, I am afraid he would colic from the irregularity.

Oh yes, the challenges of a thoroughbred. I've heard alot of good stories about weight gain with beet pulp though.

And he's not dangerously thin, just under what i would prefer for him to be. I think about 100lbs or so is what i'm aiming for.

amp23 11-13-2011 05:18 PM

Is there no way you could pay someone to feed him daily for you? I don't know what your boarding situation is but it may benefit him to get at least a little bit of grain and beet pulp daily to help him gain a little and keep him weight up. I don't really know what to tell you if there is no way to have him fed daily, I don't know enough about riding/feeding a few times a week and how they would react to that. Maybe someone with more knowledge could help you a little more on here, there are many people with years of experience on this forum.

mselizabeth 11-13-2011 05:20 PM

Thank you. And no, they don't grain where I keep him. I bought 1 40lb bag of beet pulp. And I am going to try that.

If anyone knows about how much I should give him, that would be great.
He's probably 1,250lbs now. 100 or so lbs how much I want him to gain.

amp23 11-13-2011 06:04 PM

Hm.. I would ask if they would do grain at least once a day for an extra fee. But on the bag it should tell you how much to give per lb. Be sure to soak it a bit before feeding it to him to prevent choke. With my guy I put it in his feed with a little water but don't let it soak long, it's super ground up beet pulp and he doesn't eat too fast where he could get a big chunk lodged (though I do watch him while he eats to make sure).

Endiku 11-13-2011 06:46 PM

If you have a hard-keeping TB, I recommend just boarding him somewhere else, or perhaps ask another boarder, or a friend to grain him for a fee every day. He isn't going to gain weight if you can't keep things consistent, even on beet pulp.

I use beet pulp, and yes- it's a great suppliment. But you're running the same risks with giving that to him only a few times a week as if you were to give him grain.

I would seriously look at your other options before just giving him hay all day, and beet pulp whever you can. Horses are creatures of habit, and so are their digestive systems.

Skyseternalangel 11-13-2011 07:42 PM

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You could look at giving your horse alfalfa cubes as a treat after you ride or what not.. it's better than nothing and it won't upset them so long as you don't overfeed like a crazy person.

As for beet pulp... yeeeesh.. that scares me more than oats. I put my boy on oats and he was a champ without getting wired or spooky or choking.. and he packs down his grain! Another alternative would be to start bringing hay of your own like timothy or grass or a mixture and give him a few flakes when you see him.. like 1 or 2. That won't upset his digestive balance.

I used to lunge my horse in side reins and free lunge instead of just ride all the time and at the end I'd throw a few flakes of hay. That really helped to keep the weight on him throughout winter and spring.

But do you ride him on certain days or just kind of whenever you can? It'd help your horse to make a schedule and stick to it, even if it's just 3 days a week.. it'd be less strenuous on him but honestly I think he'll be fine :)

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