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TruNorth7 02-05-2012 03:13 PM

Old OTTB not eating: Most palatable horse feed?
Jade, my 34 year old Thoroughbred mare, is a very picky eater and recently went on a hunger strike. I've had three vets look at her, blood work done, teeth floated, ulcer meds, etc. All anyone can come up with is that she's being, well, picky. In an effort to keep her interested in food I've been trying different things.

Jade Likes:
Strategy GX
LMF Gold
Chia Seeds sprinkled over feed
Wheat Bran mash

Jade OK's:

Purina Equine Senior
Beet Pulp
Omolene 200
Vita Bran Performance (Stabilized rice bran pellets)

Jade Dislikes:
Pennfield Senior (Stage IV)
All-In-One (Chopped hay and molasses)
Nutrena Life Design Senior
Nutrena Safe-Choice
Alfalfa/Oat Pellets
Soaked Alfalfa cubes
Elk Grove Milling pellets (all types)
"Regular" rice bran pellets
ALL oils (Corn, Soybean, Rice Bran, etc.)

As you can see I've wasted A LOT of money buying things she rejects! All feed changes are made gradually, and her meals are split into 5 or 6 feedings per day. Also, she is on a joint supplement, Source Focus Senior, a probiotic, Omega Horseshine and sugar-free electrolyte. She gets free choice Meadow Grass hay and sifted alfalfa (leaves only, stems removed) but she is unable to get much nutrition out of hay due to inefficient teeth- Jade just plays with and sucks on it.

What do you all think? What do your horses like the most? I would appreciate your experience on what is the most palatable feed.
I want to try some new stuff for her, but would prefer to go on recommendations on what YOUR horse likes than to keep 50# buying bags Jade rejects. Though, my other horses are REALLY happy when Jade turns her nose up!

Roperchick 02-05-2012 03:27 PM

we have a TB whose a really hard keeper and we give him Max-E-Glo stabilized rice bran. its helped alot to maintain his weight and its meal, so its powdery and soft enough for our older paint mare to eat as well.

TruNorth7 02-05-2012 06:26 PM

Thanks RoperChick! I had her on Max-E-Glo a few years ago, but then my local feed store stopped carrying it. I may go hunt it down somewhere else. Worth a try!

Roperchick 02-05-2012 06:53 PM

np keep us all updated.

caseymyhorserocks 02-06-2012 12:03 AM

Agreed, I also feed the Max- E - Glo meal stuff, sure is great! It is the consistency of sand. Could you drizzle some Molasses over his feed to make it some more appealing? And what about adding some fruit or veggies, that are safe for horses and in moderate amounts. Also feeding in smaller meals more times a day can help tempt them.. You could also look into a B12 injection by your vet to help pick up his appetite, or even adding a B-vitamin supplement into your horses diet can help..

mftowner06 02-06-2012 02:15 AM

I saw that you can get purina and I was at their site a few days ago and thought I remember seeing a new Senior feed and I was right ...can you get ths?

Purina Horse Feeds - EQUINE FAMILY - Equine Senior Active Healthy Edge.... ;)

Worth a shot?

SueNH 02-06-2012 06:21 AM

Most tractor supply stores carry the rice bran or they can order it. I suspect most of the better feed stores can order it for you as well.

Could it be at 34 years things are just getting harder to chew? Maybe making a mash out of the favorites. I'd even go as far as wetting it with apple juice. Just enough to scent it.

I don't know where you are but Poulin grain makes a hay stretcher that is apple faintly apple scented. I don't think my old one would bother with it if it wasn't for that apple smell but she has the opposite problem and gains weight thinking about food. Poulin is a family owned company in VT. Kind of New England regional but can be found sporadically in most of the northeast. All their dealers are actually trained to answer questions about their products. I really like them.

Tractor supply....they have screwed up special orders for me now 4 times. I now take my feed business 35 miles south. Even after I called corporate they screwed the special order up. Even after I gave them a flyer with pictures of the feed they got it wrong. That said, they carry a chopped hay product called TNT. I had an old one that had virtually nothing for teeth anymore and he could chew it. All the 7 horses I had at the time liked it. The standlee hay pellets are also well liked. They have them in timothy, timothy/alfalfa mixed and just alfalfa. The pellets are kind of big and hard. I have one that will choke if I don't wet them.

Is Jade still a working girl? If she is recently retired she just may not need as much concentrated feed as she did when used. Unusual but I have had a few that would walk away from their feed just because they had enough and come back to it a little later.

Old ones often just need more time to finish eating. I have a 37 year old pony that can't chew big mouthfuls of hay anymore but she can chew the smaller ones and knows it. Takes her longer to accomplish the same task. She is still the alpha mare and at least I have no worries about the others running her off her feed. Just the opposite, I have to protect the grain the younger ones get.

I have 2 senior horses and one in her teens now. I have no effective way to segregate them at mealtime. The youngest one is a tall TWH mare who came to me in late fall a walking skeleton. The other is an older appy mare about 14.1, easy keeper, prone to choke with all but the smallest pellets. The 37 year old pony is an air fern, probably insulin resistant so I feed her as such. The appy mare is doing nice on the low carb stuff too. The TWH is still thin but gaining. I have to stand outside in all weather to guard the high fat feed from the old pony. I give the two small mares their ration balancer mixed with a low carb hay stretcher first and then feed the twh and stand guard. I also have several extra feed pans out there with nothing but the hay stretcher so they have something to eat while I'm guarding the high fat food. It's the dead of winter in the mountains of New Hampshire...once the TWH's concentrate is gone I'm gone and they can chase each other off the hay stretcher. Hay I feed in big round bales so they all have plenty around the clock. Not the most efficient method but it works for me. Also if the temps drop into the single digits or lower I usually make a 5 gallon pail of beetpulp and hay pellets into a warm mash. Probably does more for me than them but they like it. I have had old ones where their meals all had to be a wet mash in order for them to eat it and stay fit.

TruNorth7 02-08-2012 05:23 PM

Thanks for the comments and advice!
We tried the Purina Equine Senior Active Healthy Edge, but Jade acted as if it was poison. I don't get that, since it isreally similar to regular Equine Senior.
My "local" TSC (its over an hour drive) does have the Max E Glo, but I'm thinking she's already getting enough rice bran, 1.5 pounds per day (Calcium: Phosphorus balanced)
J gets plenty of carrots and apples, which she eats greedily. I was grating up carrots and mixing them with her food, but that wasn't a hit.
SueNH- I'm in California, east of San Francisco, and we don't have any of the poulin feeds, but thanks for that tip. You are a great horse owner: standing out in all weather? I'm assuming that includes snow... I can't even imagine because, well, it doesn't snows where I live ;). I can handle rain, but not snow.
Jade does like mashes, but in moderation and only so long as they're still warm. She likes when I mix a little apple juice in with warm water for her mashes, and molasses over her beet pulp.
Jade has been fully retired for about 4 years. I make her lightly exercise daily to help keep her from getting too stiff, but no riding at all. She is in a 12'x12' stall with attached 16'x120' paddock (as good as it gets in the Bay Area- horse real estate is rare and expensive here!), so she has no competition for her food.

My Quarter Pony sounds like your pony... the little porker! I don't even want to think what would happen if she got into Jade's feed.

I will keep you all updated. Maybe this hunger strike will end! Jade isn't acting like she's ready to die, and all the vets I've had look at her agree there's no indication it's her time to go. For 34 she's in pretty good shape, other than some arthritis and her new I-Won't-Eat-To-Torture-Mom attitude!
Thanks again!

SueNH 02-08-2012 07:12 PM

Then there is always the possibility...

Old horses grow very wise over the years. Could she be pulling a fast one on mom and forcing extras and endless variety?

MyBoyPuck 02-08-2012 08:24 PM

Have you tried Omegatin or Pennfield Fibregized? A lot of really picky horses love that second one. It's great for putting and keeping weight on.

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