Problems keeping on weight..
My horse Liebe is a 7 year-old Clydesdale Thoroughbred cross and I have had her for about a year now. We are originally from Miami, Florida but we just recently moved to Tennessee in June for school. Back in Florida it was pretty much impossible to keep weight on Liebe, we don't have a lot of land down there so she barely got any pasture time and when she actually did there was no grass- just dirt. I had her on two full scoops of Equine Senior (Pennefield) which was recommended by our vet, and two heavy flakes of hay twice a day which was rich with alfalfa PLUS a weight gain supplement (Fat Cat) PLUS we mixed in vegetable oil as well. Nothing seemed to be working, I have her on a daily wormer (Strongid) and i deworm her every two months with my yearly deworming pack AND I've had the vet come out to draw blood and take a fecal sample. Nothing seemed to be wrong.
Well in June we finally made our move to Tennessee, once we got up there I adjusted her feed a little bit; I decreased her feed to only 1 1/2 scoops of senior and gradually added her grazing time in the pastures. I let her get used to the grass and after two and a half weeks I let her out in the pasture from 6 pm to 8 am the next morning. She immediately started to gain weight! I took her off of Fat Cat and stopped using the oil on her feed and decreased her grain to 1 full scoop of Omolene 100 and hay once a day instead of twice. She was still filling out and was looking awesome! Until the beginning of December...
Liebe has never lived outside of South Florida and has never had a "real winter" below 50 degrees. So I made sure to keep a close eye on her when temperatures started to drop. She seemed to being doing fine, until she started gradually dropping weight again. As soon as I noticed her weight loss I put her right back on Fat Cat, added the oil in her feed, and gradually increased her grain to 1 1/2 scoops. She was still dropping weight, by mid December her ribs were fully visible again and her hip bones as well.
I know the thoroughbred in her has a lot to do with it being hard to keep weight on, and also the winter doesn't help either. But I was wondering if anyone had the same problem and used a feeding plan that really worked for them? I'm back in Florida for winter break, but I will be back in TN with her next Saturday and I am planning on adding a scoop of beet pulp and maybe looking into some other weight gain supplements? I am also going to call the vet out for some suggestions on what I should do. I know it isn't worms or ulcers because she is on strongid plus I deworm her every two months and when the vet came out to take blood he said that the lab results showed no signs of ulcers.
Thanks everyone and Happy New Year!
Roughage, roughage, roughage and more roughage. Increase the hay intake up, up, up.
Horses are designed to have consistent and constant roughage running through their systems, the least they get, the more issues arise - one being weight loss.
Up the hay as much as possible, the more you give, the better.
I would ensure teeth are up to par as well.
In winter, they need more hay just to keep warm instead of shivering their weight away, as MIEventer touched on! That should help her keep her weight.. also I adjusted my horse's diet when we went into winter and started giving him about a cup more grain as well (with high fat content) due to riding him more regularly.
Also I have him wear a rain sheet when it's cold AND wet.. otherwise he goes commando. It seems to help him keep his weight on better and he is a notorious hard keeper.
But the key is them keeping warm by eating.. so the more hay they get, the better!
I agree with everything above me. Your horse simply needs more roughage.
Oh yes i forgot to mention that her teeth are done every 6 months and were just done in October. And I am always paranoid about keeping her warm since she's not used to the cold! Thanks everyone for the advice, I will add on to her hay also.
I agree with everyone, and want to add that you may be best to feed round bales during the winter, as they can eat continually throughout the day. However, I would suggest stalling at night or separating them from it so they don't over eat. Then feed the grain and supplements in morning and evening. Also I reccomend corn oil instead of veggie oil. Veggie oil is considered more of a lean oil.
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