My horse was ill with the equivalent of the the flu in December and most of this month. During his illness he dropped a lot of weight.
He now unfortunately looks like this:
The barn he's at has upped his grain (which has given him more energy than he needs but not much else). Right now he's turned out almost 24/7 but in a mud lot since the barn don't want their fields destroyed. They throw hay in the mud lot but not as much as i'd like.
I was thinking of adding a weight gainer to his supplements. Is there anything else i can do?
My parents want me to move him to a different barn since he's only been at this barn since October and now looks like this.
I'd move him.
The barn should know better then to treat an animal like that. You can't just keep them in the barn all the time. And on top of that, when they do turn him out, it's into mud where he will end up with thrush if he doesn't have it already.
He should have hay in front of him 24/7, especially when he looks like that, and especially if they aren't going to let them out into the pasture to graze a little bit on what little grass might be left. Their "poor pasture". Good lord some people are selfish.
What kind of grain are they feeding him? If it's sweet feed, that'll up his energy level but it's not really going to do anything nutritionally for him. Adding a weight builder may help, but the best thing you could do for him is to have hay in front of him 24/7 and then grain him with something that is going to be more nutritious.
I'm looking around and if i had the money i'd move him back to where he was a few years ago but unfortunately they are a little pricey for me right now.
He's rarely in the barn, although when he was sick he was inside or out by himself, so that's probably a month of either in the stall or out in the round pen.
I agree about more hay needed. When it was very cold last week and they threw hay they put it so far into the field that the horses (who were all slightly tender footed because of the frozen mud) wouldn't go get it, Phoenix was the only one who did, so he had the whole pile to himself.
The grain is not a sweet feed thankfully, he's been on sweet feed before and he was a nightmare.
He doesn't have thrush, he has pretty good feet and me, i make sure his feet are picked and i apply apple cider vinegar to them once a week to keep the thrush at bay. His legs are so muddy though, it's so hard to get that stuff off.
He hasn't looked this bad in the 5 years i've had him and i feel it reflects badly on me, i feel like i'm letting him down.
If you can move him to a better place then maybe you should if you think you'd both be happier. You've done a good job pulling him through his illness.
I don't fault people for not wanting to ruin their pastures. A good pasture is not cheap to maintain & sometimes it is not wise to turn horses onto them.
Instead of upping grain, why not up hay? Increasing the hay (grass, oat, bermuda, etc.) ration should put more weight on him with minimal energy impacts. Grain is something that can be sensitive to change, so adding more isn't the greatest idea I've ever heard. One of the biggest rules of feeding is feed little, often. Increase the poundage of hay per day and spread out his feedings... Giving him free choice of grass hay as well as feeding at least 3 times a day should be very beneficial to his health.
What is his feeding schedule?
I understand her wanting to keep her pastures nice, i really do. She has a wooded lot she could use that has a little grass at the back of it, plus on days like today and tomorrow, dry and in the 50s she could use the side pasture and still leave 2 to stay nice for the spring/summer. Most of the horses are older and just want to eat, they rarely run when grass is an option.
He's fed twice a day and i can't see that changing.
Then changing barns is definitely a very viable option; if she can't feed him more hay and only feeds a pile of hay in a group of horses twice a day, she isn't competent to care for your or other's horses. Quite obviously, it isn't working.
Your boy is too cute to suffer!!
Yes he is! I'll start my search. Moving barns is a pain and finding competent people is next to impossible.
I'm going to start him on a weight building supplement to make sure the problem doesn't get any worse while i look.
Agree with others, that it seems he is not being managed very well or fed enough hay. I wouldn't generally feed grain, weighlifters, etc, if it could only be fed twice a day either. Some lucerne/alfalfa hay along with the grass would be helpful.
But have to ask, as I expected to see an emaciated horse, considering your title, was the horse skinnier than that & has put on some? I appreciate pics can be misleading & he's also got his winter scruff, but while he appears a bit thin, he doesn't look terrible at all.
The sooner he gets moved the better. He may not pull through it next time without a healthy immune system to start. :(
I hope you find someplace affordable. And fast. If you do, make sure to let the new place know about his illness and quarantine him for 4 weeks instead of 2. Just to be on the safe side.
Great job pulling him through. Horses are very difficult to deal with when they get so sick. He still looks pretty miserable in that picture you posted.
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