Our two girls lost some weight over the winter (due to poor quality hay) didn't realize until they started losing their winter coats and you could see their ribs :-(. We've been trying to put weight back on them all spring but they still look so thin to me. Diamond (the appaloosa mare has gained back about 65lbs using the tape and Diva the pony mare has gained back about 80lbs using the tape. Just seems like it is going on so slowly is that normal am I just worrying too much or do they look really bad? Sorry the pics are not the best quality but all I have right now.
The appy doesn't look skinny, just big belly and no topline. Is she in foal? If not she'll need a really good worming and maybe an oil drench for sand. The pony mare IS skinny, and it begs the question - HOW did that much rib manage to hide? That's a lot of rib easily visible, and she looks severely sunken in at the flanks. She is WAY too skinny and will need to gain a LOT of weight.
I would be looking for a different hay provider if I were you... better hay fed ad-lib (so she is NEVER without) and a weight gain feed will help her gain the weight faster, but remember you don't want them gaining TOO fast because that can cause big problems too.
I agree with blue eye pony if your appy mare isn't in foal then she looks like she needs a good worming other than that it does take a while for a horse to gain weight I would find better hay and a higher fat feed or try a weight gain supplement cool calories worked good for me. Having good quality hay available at all times is the most important thing.
I have a horse here atm that needs to gain weight, has put on a LOT since she arrived (was 585kg according to weight tape, but had a big wormy belly so that measurement is probably off, SHOULD be at least 620) but still has a LOT to go.
She is on a small grain feed morning and night with alkapellets (idk if you get them in the US?) and oaten chaff which is basically chopped up oaten hay, and 24/7 access to a big round haybale. Just grass hay, but good grass hay. The pasture here is GREAT for this time of year, fetlock deep and rich (it's winter in Aus and winter pasture is usually fairly ordinary). She was picking up pretty slow to start with but in the past week has just put on SO much weight and is FINALLY well-covered across her ribs... needs more on her hips and is lacking topline but she's getting there.
My gelding can be a poor keeper, he is also on a big round bale and the same rich pasture 24/7. He is in great condition at the moment on one mid-sized grain feed a day, probably 2.5-3kg of a different pelleted feed which is VERY high protein/energy/fibre and decent fat levels, plus the oaten chaff.
Both are worm-free and up to date on sand drenching (routine care here, most of my state is sandy soil so sand colic is a big problem), and both are on vit/min suppliments I have added to to cater for my property's magnesium deficiency.
If they're not gaining fast enough, ADD TO IT. Rice bran is amazing, I used a senior feed made with rice bran for my boy when he was underweight but it was too expensive to keep him on and he was too dead-headed on it - I like a bit of fire. Black sunflower seeds, the sort you feed to parrots, are also great, with the added bonus that they enhance coat colour! I have fed oils before, and I have fed coconut meal which was AMAZING for weight gain/shiny coat/protein/coat colour but my horse was too quiet on that as well.
I agree with the full spectrum wormer for both. You want to feed those horses, not the worms they probably have. I believe Panacea has a great pack that does everything full spectrum plus tapeworms that you dose them once a day for five days... just look around.
Then feed all the good quality hay they want... so they have it all the time.
Then you might also put them on beet pulp. I have 4 horses that love it and one that won't touch it. But you fluff it by soaking it in water until the pellets turn soft and fluffy then feed it according to weight. I've also put weight on skinny horses (I have a late twenties mare who's a hard keeper) by adding just plain old oats into their wet cob which is yummy and full of nutrition. It can make them a bit hot, so adjust accordingly.
It's actually not at all bad for horse's metabolism to have regular 'bad seasons' & use up their fat stores/lose weight, but yes, if the bay's put on a fair bit & still looks like that, she probably was 'skinny' after winter & lost too much. Yes, slow weight gain is best.
Agree the appy is certainly not underweight - perhaps too heavy, but hard to tell from those pics & with the big belly, which I agree with other's questions/comments about. The bay doesn't look skinny at all, but does look possibly underweight still. Just because you can see their ribs, especially through a summer coat doesn't necessarily mean they're under weight though & the angular look of her sacro, hip bones & rump could be due to body/muscle probs rather than 'condition'. She certainly looks well padded around her shoulders, so perhaps it's just where she keeps her 'groceries'.
Have they been wormed *effectively*? Have they had their teeth done recently? Any possiblity of ulcers inhibiting bay's health? What are you feeding & do they get nutritional supplementation?
I disagree, Loosie. A horse with rib showing IS A SKINNY HORSE. Skinny means the same thing as underweight.
MY horse holds his weight in his neck/shoulders better than his belly/hindquarter. Doesn't mean he's in acceptable condition just because his neck is a wee bit cresty and his shoulders are well muscled. When he was skinny it was his belly and hindquarter that dropped off. His neck and shoulders looked just fine.
He is now in absolutely ideal condition, fit and well muscled, and looks MAGNIFICENT. No rib (if anything he's a wee bit on the pudgy side) and his hindquarter is round and muscled, enough so that his hunter's bump is barely visible.
His neck is naturally big and thick and a touch cresty, it's just him and most if not all of it is muscle.
THAT MUCH RIB as on the OP's bay is NOT acceptable body condition. I like my horses fit and lean with just the slightest hint of up to four ribs... no more rib than that. Of course I've had people inform me that my horse was too skinny when he was that lean... he wasn't, he was just incredibly fit. Eventer-fit. Racehorse-fit.
diamondappy, I agree with you that they look a bit underweight, your pregnant Appy's hindquarters are the telltale giveaway; the topline on your pony is your telltale sign a bit moreso than the rib area.
The average horse will gain 1 body condition score (bcs) point per month, so if you simply have them on pasture right now, any additional supplementation you give, whether it's hay or grain, as long as you introduce it gradually, you'll probably begin to see and measure weight gain in as early as a couple of weeks. Patience is ever the watchword.
blue, I do agree that *generally* a horse who's ribs are too prominent(eg more than just visible through a summer coat) is underweight, just that I don't believe it's *necessarily* so. As with people, horses can 'keep their groceries' in different areas. I think it's important to lok at the whole horse when evaluating weight. I disagree with 'skinny' because that's a matter of degree in my perception - eg. the horse may be thin, but 'skinny' to me means extremely thin.
When you describe a horse that's 'cresty' but otherwise a bit thin, IME unless it's a stallion or a 'heavy' type breed, it's likely this horse is IR or such & they tend to retain the firm fat pads in neck, etc, even when they're otherwise thin. *Not saying that's necessarily the case with your horse. Yes, I'd agree that *generally* if a horse has a 'hunters bump' or such & has enough padding to disguise it, and has absolutely no sign of ribs even through a summer coat, that he's likely a bit too 'podgy'.
Just trying to point out that a horse looking a bit ribby or with a prominent spine, etc, is not *necessarily* due to lack of groceries.
They both don't look terrible.. actually your bay mare looks to be in pretty good shape minus topline. Yes she could do with some extra weight as that's what my horse looks like when he's dropping (he's a hard keeper.) Does she get ridden often? I personally think she'd look even better with a good topline and maybe think about starting them both on a good pro-biotic.
It'd also be beneficial to have them both see a vet so he or she can help you come up with diets and exercise plans to cater to their needs.
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