Problematic Horse to feed
Have a problem horse. She can't have grain because the fat in it makes her joints swell up and it becomes very painful for her. We also recently found that she has a sever stomach ulcer. She is being started on Nalox today to get rid of it. She is in a pretty low stress environment and isn't ridden hard usually walks around in the arena for an 45 minutes and trots for 5 for our therapy lessons. She is also being sponsored by a lady who rides her twice a week so she gets cantered for about 20 minutes twice a week. So in my book that's pretty moderate activity level.
She is fed 5 flakes of grass alfalfa mix hay a day and 3 pounds of E32 mineral supplement a day (what the bag says for her weight and activity range)
We are going to add oats to her diet for the extra calories today as well.
Has anyone else ever experienced a horse this hard to feed and take care of and do you have any advice on keeping her weight up other than more hay?
I hope you realize that oats is grain...
I don`t give any grain to my horses. They get hay or grass as the mojority of food and the foal gets frisky foal. And the rest get a complete feed to make sure they get all the nutrition.
Ulcers are very common in horses, there is ulcer guard you can give if your horse is prone to them.
What are you finding hard about feeding your horse. They need to eat too.
Oh... Beet pulp works wonders for putting weight on, its high in fiber( no molassas). so if you want to cut out some hay you can replace it with soaked beet pulp. Horses can have up to 10 pounds per day, but you would have to work up to that and feed in more than one feeding.
How much does she weigh and how many lbs of hay is she getting? (5 flakes could be anything). The easiest and usually cheapest way to get more calories in a horse is more hay, also has the benefit of helping to prevent ulcers since the digestive tract is active for longer. I know you said "other than hay". But if she's not getting the appropriate weight in hay or other forage daily, you're likely to continue seeing problems.
I also use slow feed nets. I have read that it will help to keep ulcers at bay and your hay lasts longer. Beet pulp is cheap. a little goes along way. here it is $12 a bag. a full coffee can equals about 4 lbs dry.
Can you give us a better idea of her current height/weight and how much weight you think she needs to gain?
What is the condition that she has that makes the fat in grain affect her joints? Is it something that's aggravated by the omega-3:6 imbalance in most grains?
Did the vet recommend the 3 lbs of mineral supplement? If she's on a good alfalfa grass mix then she should be getting enough without the supplement. 3lbs must contain a lot of filler and perhaps that is why she's not gaining weight - she feels full. Oats are good for ulcers because of the mucilage content. If she is stocking up when on grain she needs to be able to move around, not be kept in a stall. We have to be wary of what the feed companies recommend we feed, after all they are promoting their products.
As others have said, more info please. What is it that you find so difficult about her? Is it that she can't have grain, stomach ulcers? Stomach ulcers are generally a result of bad feeding - eg lots of grain or other starchy feed &/or too little roughage. They're usually not too difficult to treat if the horse is getting a healthy diet. As grain/starchy/sugary feed isn't that great for horses anyway & yours can't have it for a couple of other reasons, no worries, just feed a healthier alternative! Such as beet pulp, rice bran, soy hulls, etc if the horse needs more weight.
I disagree with Saddle that the horse would likely be getting all she needs nutritionally from hay alone, but do agree that if you need to supplement 3lbs per day, either something's wrong with your calculations or you're feeding a 'supplement' that's mostly filler. *Don't forget to consider what's in that too as far as grain, etc. FeedXL.com is a great resource for diet/nutrition.
Ditto what everyone else said but here's my question:
Has this horse always been fed bagged feed, when she starts holding water or will she swell up on plain corn (don't feed her oats as somebody else mentioned).
If she's being fed bagged feed, 99.9% of all horse feed uses soy for a protein source. It is not uncommon to have a horse with soy intolerance. I have one and his reaction is that he gets mean & ugly if he eats soy. He also has intolerance to oats & corn.
My point is trying feeding this horse something that is soy-free AND grain-free, yet will still give her the needed vitamins/minerals.
1. EquiPride Horse equine ? EquiPride and EquiLix
2. McCauley's 10% Balancer McCauley's® M10 Balancer
3. A liquid vitamin and use either pelleted beet pulp or equine rice bran as a carrier; rice bran is 22% fat but my grain-intolerant horse handles it just fine. Tuttle's Horse Care Products - Y-Tex Corporation
4. I would get rid of the alfalfa and stick to a good quality mixed grass hay.
Along with having a oat/corn/soy intolerant horse, I also have two horses with metabolic issues. One is a hard keeper the other an air fern. These options are how I feed my three:-)
Hope this helps:)
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