How much weight does my horse need to gain?
I have a 15.3 hand QH mare that is 12 years old and on a medium workout routine with trail riding and reining. She is ridden about 4 times a week for 1-2 hours and shown or trail ridden on weekends for about 2- 4 hours.
She has had her teeth floated and is on a 2 month dewormer rotation schedule.
She gets fed twice a day with 5 lbs of 10% pellets at each feeding and all the hay she can eat (our hay is very good quality).
She seems too thin and I am worried about her, I can see her ribs.
I have tried Farnam Weight Builder for 3 months and it didn't help at all. I have also tried Purina Amplify for 2 months and did not see a change in her weight.
Would you please tell me how much weight you think she needs to gain and if you have any feeding suggestions?
I know this photo is not the best(she is leaning to far forward) but it was the only one I could find right now...
Welcome to the forum.
I would try to supplement with beet pulp. She doesn't look bad, maybe a 4 on the scale - I might want to put 50 to 75 lbs more on her (but I like a heavier horse). Maybe you should also try scaling down a little on your schedule giving her a chance to rest a little more.
I would try adding some oil, or flax seed to her ration, adds a lot of calories without hotting a horse up or giving them extra bulk to eat
You got quite a workout for your horse. With the amount of hours your riding and the days your riding I would want to see him getting a higher protein level then 10% 10% is for low activity. Maybe up the protien to 12% and add Wheat Bran Oil or about 1 lb of beet pulp to his feed.
He is not that under weight heck if he was a race horse he would be "RACE FIT" But should have tad bit more weight.
I find that CALF MANA is a great weight gainer and adds shine to the coat. Just remember too if your doing alot of trail dont want him too heavy either.
I give my rescues CALF MANA along with their AM feeding. I have never been let down.
She looks fit to me & not necessarily underweight. If she is, it's not by much I think, tho some other pics of her from different angles would give a fuller picture. I don't think it necessarily sounds like she's in too hard work at all - you don't say what you do in those hours - perhaps it's mainly walking.
I would, however consider changing her feed, whether or not you decide she does need more weight. What exactly is/in the 10% pellets? Whatever protein level you think she needs, I'd be inclined to feed her a chaff based feed rather than pellets, for more chew time & more long fibre. I would certainly be mixing the pellets with a fair bit of chaff rather than feeding straight, if you continue feeding them. I would avoid grainy(be that pellet or otherwise), starchy ingredients as a rule & especially if the diet is starchy/sugary, I'd be feeding the ration over a minimum of at least 3 meals daily. That will allow her to get more goodness out of it and reduce problems associated with that sort of diet.
She does appear to have a rather chunky chest and less developed hind quarters. Also interested if that's the normal way of standing for her, or she's 'camped under' just in this pic? I'd consider getting a bodyworker to check her out & if she always stands like that, consider her heels may be a bit weak & in need of support/protection too.
She doesn't appear thin to me, but as you mentioned you can see the rib outline. I am wondering if deworming her every 8 weeks may be a bit too frequent. It may possibly have something to do with it.
I don't know what type of pellets you feed other than 10%, my thought is adding a little corn oil to her diet, soaking the pellets and mixing the oil in, may help put on a little additional weight. Another thought is to add a small amount of alfalfa if you think it's appropriate. Or good old fashioned oats. :)
An imbalance in calcium/phosphorus intake ratio could have something to do with her not assimilating the nutrients she's getting as well as she could. I assume she has a salt/trace mineral block.
She's a beautiful girl, by the way :)
I'd like to see a big more fat layer on that mare.. for 1-2 weekdays and 2-4 hour weekend rides, 4 times a week? Yeah she's lacking.
I don't know where you are, but if you can get it you might want to try Nutrena Life Design Compete. It's a 14% protein, 7% fat feed, fairly low in NSC's (at least compared to some feeds.) We used it when our horses had some issues this winter and lost a lot of weight.
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