Senior grain making my horse hot?
Hello! I'm new here, so hi everyone!
I have a project on my hands right now. A 10 year old tennessee walker I'm training for an older friend of mine with MS. The horse, Jesse, has been perfect in every way. She's not spooky, easy to handle, patient and smart. Jesse's biggest problem thus far has been her weight. When she got off the trailor she was easliy 250 lbs underweight and that was in June. Originally we weight taped her at about 775lbs. We have tried her on a few different grains and settled on a pellet with Platinum weight builder supps (as recommended by the vet). Jess is also pretty much almost free fed hay throughout the day. She has slowly been putting the weight back on even though she is picky about the grain. Recently the vet came out still unsatisfied with her weight and would like to see her with another 50-100lbs. The vet recommened Nutrena Life design senior food. This seemed to be the answer we were looking for. She has been eating it like a vacuum! Now just recently, about a week after starting the senior feed I have noticed a HUGE spike in her energy level. I read all the reviews online and 80% of them said "Made my 25 y/o arthritic gelding feel like a spunky 2 y/o again".
Does anyone have any experience with this feed? Can you recommend a grain that will help put weight on a picky eater without hot horse side effects? Should I keep her on this food (that seems to be working) until she picks up more weight then switch/cut it down?
Thanks so much for any thoughts or advice! :D
My horses get Omolene through the winter. I somehow ended up with some pretty hard keepers in my herd. It does give them a bit of an edge but I've not had a horse do anything drastic.
Here's the link to the "Life Design".
Nutrena: Products - Horses - Life Design® - NEW Life Design® Senior
There should be Guaranteed Analysis information somewhere on the bag of feed. It will either be printed right on the bag or be on a tag that's been sewn to the bag.
Look to see what other ingredients are in the feed.
The first three listed ingredients are the major components; everything else is found in trace amounts.
Looking at this link it looks pretty good.
Increased energy can come in two forms:
1. She's feeling really good because the feed is working.
2. It can be a jittery/spooky kind of energy because the horse has an intolerance to something in the feed.
2.1 Also watch to see if she's becoming nippy, kicky, starting to pin her ears a lot, swish her tail in aggravation. If she were to start doing these things, when she didn't do them before going on the new feed, she's got a food intolerance to something in the feed.
One of my TWH's is oat/corn/soy intolerant. I haven't needed the riding crop in the bath bucket since I took him off oats/corn/soy four years ago. He's also got dust/mold/pollen allergies -- he's a train wreck - lol
I also cannot give this TWH or the other teenager more than a handful of timothy/alfalfa cubes sprinkled over their supplements or they will get testy.
My two mid-20's guys eat 3# - 5# of soaked cubes every day and they're fine; they need the extra protein and amino acids to keep their muscles toned. There was a point in their youth that they would've both been climbing the walls if I'd fed that much alfalfa - even mixed with timothy:?
My point is to monitor what form the mare's energy level takes on.
If it's a "meat and potatoes-I-feel-good!" don't worry about her and enjoy the ride:-)
If it's a "Hi-C and a-dozen Hershey-bars-jittery" kind of energy, you'll need to see what-all is in the Nutrena, then find something else that doesn't have the same ingredients.
I hope that all made sense:-(
I got a totally emaciated walker in Nov. Thin enough where the first week I would poke my head outside constantly to see if she was still alive. The Nutrena Senior food is what I bought for her and slowly increased it. The only change I got was an I'm feeling so much better, Thanks! from her. It wasn't the kid that ate too much sugar charge.
She really likes it too. I've been now slowly weaning her off it and onto a ration balancer mixed with grass pellets and rice bran only because I have an old fat one who really can't get into the senior food so I have to stand outside and guard dishes and winter is cold here. But I'm thinking one more bag or two.
I can't say anything bad about it. I like it. But I'm still a ways off from even trying to ride this horse. If you think it's making yours too hot then maybe the ration balancer is the way to go. Then just add fat something or other as needed. I use pelleted rice bran to add the fat. When I first got her I was using vegetable oil to add even more but it's kinda messy and I stopped that once I was sure she was gaining.
I did try a bag of Omelene and she didn't like it as much even in her starved condition. I have to say I didn't care much for it either because I could see bits of corn in the pellets. The goats on the other hand loved it and are complaining now that it's gone.
My hackney pony mare has been on senior feed since she was 10, she is now 29 and still going strong. I use the senior to keep weight on her. That's all. She has a very high metabolism and burns any other grain off in two seconds. She is a very quick mare by nature and the senior does not make her any hotter.
For the morning grain, the three year old and 25 year old receive Empower boost with their SafeChoice.
With our (so far) mild winter, I will be cutting the senior for the 26 and 3 year old. They are where I want to maintain instead of increasing weight.
I didnt want to quote since you wrote so much! Thanks!
I honestly love her that way, she is so much fun! Unfortunately this is not my horse. Her owner is a beginner rider with MS who wants to ride her in our local park. I need to make sure she is safe for her to ride, not for me to have fun on. Though it is tempting and I'll admit, I've cheated once or twice. :wink:
I did look up the garanteed analysis and I honestly didn't realize I knew so little about the compounds and make up of the actually food. I only have a good, I guess, more "general" knowlegde.
I feel it is more that sugar rush type energy. After bringing her down to the walk after doing whatever (not galloping obviouly or even an extended canter for that matter) she will keep jumping forward into the running walk/trot. It's not like she just has some energy and I can drain it or "take the edge off" by working her.
You did say that in your first post and I sort of lost track of that:-(
Now that the mare is getting to be of good weight, she is also getting her natural energy level back. That might be really high and it may turn out this horse won't work (in the ultimate end) for your friend.
The TWH in my avatar was full of go-go-go until his metabolic issues exploded on him when he was 19.
Historically, he could go on a 20+ mile trail tride, leave in the top ten of nearly 300 horses and come back to the trailer still in the top ten. I didn't ask him to do that, it's just who he used to be.
Don't feel bad about lack of nutrition knowledge. I know way more than I want to because of I have TWO horses with metabolic issues:shock:
While the mare needs her protein and amino acids, she might need more fat calories instead.
Feeding her may end up being a several-month experiment.
Ration balancers are great for horses. They are for forage horses and should not be fed with bagged feed because they contain all the vitamins/minerals a horse needs.
This is a great link discussing ration balancers. How to Recognize a Ration Balancer
I think Nutrena might be the company referred to in this link that adds corn (not distillers corn) to it's RB. Nutrena recently pulled Empower Boost off the shelves due to a higher than normal aflatoxin level and they state the matter has been rectified.
If a ration balancer doesn't work, there's always equine rice bran, then add a high quality vitamin/mineral supplement to that.
Given this horse is for a special needs person, strict attention will have to be given to diet - it will be good for the horse anyway:-)
This is going to be a horse that should not be in a stall longer than at night time. It needs to be outside burning excess energy. I hope there's a decent sized pasture.
Lots of things to be considered here, for the safety of the rider; many of them little things but all very important:-)
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