Need a feed to help my TB x gain condition
I have a 6 year old 14.1 hand TB x Welsh pony which I have owned for two years. He is generally ridden everyday and competed usually in show jumping at a local level throughout the summer. Since I brought him I have been working on his outline, which has been coming along really nicely. Recently due to the winter he has lost condition.
He is turned out every day for about 5/6 hours and he is currently fed on happy hoof with pony nuts due to him having time off a year or so ago, up until now this hasn't been a problem.
Someone mentioned just giving him more of what he is on, but I was wondering about changing him onto something more suitable.
I was just wondering if anyone knew of any feed that may give him that little bit more condition.
I am not familiar with what you're feeding him... it's hard to recommend something without any details. How much is he worked, I know you said riding... what kind of riding? heavy riding, walking, trotting, jumping and for how long? a few hours or a half hour? How much hay does he eat (weight)? and how much does he weigh? what's his ideal weight? Free choice hay is usually best, and will help with weight gain if you're not already giving it to him.
First of all, has your horses teeth been checked recently?
What about wormed?
After that, get your horse on a high fat and fiber diet. I recommend Rice Bran and Beet pulp, and possibly some Alfalfa pellets.
Worm, teeth, rug, lots of chaff and crushed oats.
Unless he's in hard physical work &/or he's got some underlying health issue, the type of feed he's on should be adequate & good for him. I presume he's also getting hay? If not, I'd probably add that too. Why do you think it's not a suitable feed for him? How much does he get & how often is he fed?
There are 'conditioning' feeds, such as beet pulp, soy hulls, etc that you can add if needing more calories. Fermenting fibre is what creates the most bodyheat, if it's the cold that's an issue, so feeding more hay over winter may be a good move.
Has he been wormed, teeth done, etc lately? Does he get any nutritional supplementation? If there's a possibility he has ulcers, any other physical problem, of the GI tract or otherwise, or anything to mentally stress him out, these things can all cause weight issues. It is natural & not necessarily anything wrong with a horse losing a bit over winter - can even be good for otherwise compromised metabolism, to use up fat stores if they're overweight. Of course, if he's thin to start with, or prone to lose a lot, you don't want him losing too much though. Some other things to consider...
Free movement is important for a horse's health & wellbeing for a number of reasons, including digestion. If he's cooped up in a stall for all but 6-7 hours daily(I'm supposing you ride for about 1 hour?), this could effect digestion negatively.
If he has previously been on a high energy/starch diet, he's not fed little & often(ie. he's only fed in a few or less 'square meals' daily) &/or he has been fat for some time prior to the weightloss, it could be something like ulcers, hindgut acidosis or metabolic issues that need to be resolved.
If he hasn't got well balanced nutrition, he may be getting enough calories but imbalance/deficiency is causing his body to be unable to utilise what he gets.
I have rescued a couple of skinny tb and an over weight tb and a foundered pony and the best things for the condition of the horse or pony turned out to be correct hoof angles, and a working hoof mechanisim. Feeding whole oats, getting the teeth done, detoxing the organs and understanding the workings of the gut and digestive system and not leaving it to feed companies to tell me. Horses need to have freedom of movement and the ability to eat at lib as their digestive system is designed for a constent supply of food. My suggestion is to you and any horse owner, is to become a responsible owner and research and understand the equine systems and dont rely on people to tell you. Good luck
Does the horse have access to hay at all times, as his gut requires? Is he able to eat during his 5/6 hr turnout? Try hanging a couple of small mesh hay nets in his stall, if a box stall, The small mesh will force him to nibble which is better for digestion that a large mouthful of loose hay. By hanging a net in opposing corners he will move back and forth which is better than him standing still. It is easy to get caught up in feed hype but the horse's gut is designed for long fiber which is grass or hay.
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