Skinny horse gained weight then stopped?
Basic summary: 29 year old TB mare has gained plenty of weight, has had teeth floated last summer, was dewormed last month. She is on 8 pounds of feed a day, was on timothy pellets (all food soaked), tomorrow we are getting Orchard grass hay to keep out there around the clock for the mares. In the recent months she started at 500 pounds and has slowly reached a high 700 to low 800 pounds, but the weight gain has been halted by cold weather, need advice on helping her gain at least another 100 pounds.
More detailed information below. Thank you.
Little back story to get about this mare:
I got my horse moved to the property back in march. My boarder feeds them a 14% Protein feed, but when I first got their is was mostly Beet Pulp, alot of beet pulp actually. So after about a month I was allowed to take over feeding, I proved to them I wasn't some noob and with the help of a friend we convinced them to take her (plus 4 others) off this huge sugary diet. Another thing was they didn't feed EVERY day, maybe twice a week? Well they started feeding every day, slowly lowered the amount of beet pulp which really did help, the mare started to gain weight a steady pace, it was slow, but slow is usually the best way to go. She went from a low 500 to high 700 pounds low 800. I think this is FANTASTIC, but now its turning cold, and her weight gain has stopped, shes not losing any and not gaining any. I started soaking and feeding the mares timothy pellets, tomorrow we are buying Orchard Grass hay bales for winter. I would like some suggestions and tips onto helping this mare at least gain another 100 pounds, if she can get another hundred pounds on her and keep it that when spring rounds around I can get her into a very nice condition.
Since my coming here I have been given cheaper board, and almost full control over what the horses eat. I feed all the horses, water them, groom them and even tell the other boarder what they need to get and when to get it there. They are nice people, but not that horse savy. They have knowledge, but they also have hear say. Very little knowledge on caring for an elderly horse. Which they have 2 of them, one is 25 the oldest one who is having trouble with weight it 29-30 years of age. I have done the whole google thing and read stuff online, i've call the vet and she's got the attitude that she doesn't really care about her "patients" after they are no longer young breed able horses. Though she has given me good tips for getting the mare's weight up.
All of their feed is soaked. I plan on keeping hay available all winter, good quality hay. I just need a little Hands on advice dealing with older horses and the best clear shot method to getting her up to weight.
Her last teeth floating was last summer. She was dewormed last month by me. Another problem they do have with her that I am starting to see, is when she picks up alot of weight, she starts to get diarrhea. The vet had nothing to say about this other than her body is adjusting to the change in weight and diet... Which makes no sense to me.
The mare gets fed 2 scoops which equals out to about 4 pounds in the morning and 4 in the later evening. Then a fair share of soaked of timothy pellets, which as of tomorrow will change into actual baled hay.
I have a skinny horse and it's an endless battle to get weight on him. If I sneeze, he loses weight.
Going into this time of year, I can't get weight on him and it's a battle to maintain his current weight. Come the spring and good grass, he gains more. Hay doesn't do that. Once the weight is gained, it's easier to maintain, but gaining it is the battle.
If I were you, I'd have your equine dentist evaluate the horse (as it sounds like that might have been done by a different person last time) and do a Panacur Power pack for the upset stomach.
I agree with AlexS.
Also, things may have changed and her ability to chew hay properly could have worsened. If thats true, you can't rely on supplying her with hay and her finding a way to drag out what she needs. It can also be dangerous for them if they decide to just swallow it without fully chewing. It can lead to a blockage. Check her area, if you see a lot of clumps of semi-chewed hay, she isn't chewing it properly (at least that was what was told to me last year by our dentist).
Also, she will be burning more calories to keep herself warmer so feed her more and blanket when its cold and wet out.
Good point Icrazy, a blanket is very valuable for an underweight horse.
You could try adding oil.....you can go up to two cups a day.
When you say they were getting mostly beet pulp but then you convinced them to get rid of the sugary diet are you talking about the beet pulp or the %14 protein feed? Beet pulp has virtually no sugar.
Does she only get the 8lbs of feed per day??
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Beet pulp has nearly nothing for sugar. It's the waste leftover from producing our table sugar. Very little is cane sugar these days.
Beet pulp is great for gaining weight. Most senior horse feeds have a good deal of beet pulp in them.
Beet pulp is recommended for horses with Insulin issues. Again it doesn't have much sugar or starch.
If she can't chew hay then you need to get hay cubes and soak them. Mix them beet pulp and whatever other pelleted feed you use and make her a nice mash and feed her away from the other horses. Let her back out when she finishes her meal. The pelleted food gets the nutrition in but they need the long fibers for their gut to work right. Diarrhea might be one symptom.
Feedings twice a day is essential. Feeding 3 or more times would be even better with an old horse but I know that isn't always practical. The more smaller feedings you can break it up into the better.
Let the old one gummy as much hay as she can. They need it for their psyche.
Having fattened up more than a few I will tell you I've noticed that fed right they gain steadily and then sort of reach this plateau where it doesn't look like the last 100 lbs is ever going to come. It does happen though. Be patient. Older ones may take a little longer too.
The stuff I am calling Beet Pulp, it was very sweet smelling, and when soaked was sticky. I tasted it once and it was sweet and bitter all at once. it was giving all the horses Diarrhea, even when it was bought from the feed store.
Even the vet suggested to take them off of it. Considering the mare was getting 2 pounds of the stuff and less than a half of pound of feed. They were calling it beet pulp. But honestly I have no clue what it was. It was sickly sweet smelling and it was sweet but also bitter at once.
She can chew hay. Hay cubes she'll eat but she isn't very happy with them.
I did Up her feed from 4 pounds to 4.5 pounds in the evening now, and she is getting 10 pounds of hay in her stall. We are going through about. The bales with got arent that large in size, but are so heavy I have to use a dolly to move them into the barn so I can fill each horses hay feeder. They are very tightly packed, not a whole lot of stalks mostly nice leafy parts.
She's fallen in love with it. I am going to have to look for a blanket for her as the one she was given isn't there anymore. No clue where it went unless the other boarder took it.
Some beet pulp comes with molasses, I would never buy that kind. Also it could have gone rancid. Beet pulp with no molasses is not sweet at all. Smells like cardboard.
How much hay does she get per day? She should have at least 1.5-2% of her body weight per day in hay. Then other feeds on top of that.
If the bales aren't big but are heavy are they moldy? Hay baled wet will mold and be heavier than normal.
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