I have an 8 year old OTTB. I bought him a year ago. He was very quiet and steadfast. This has changed in the last 5 months, because of what I believe is a diet too high in protein and grain! It an attempt to put weight on him I started feeding him alfalfa hay, 1 cup of oil and Step 8 Hi Fat Feed. The amounts looked like this in the end:
6 flakes Alfalfa a day/unlimited grass hay
1 cup vegetable oil
6 coffee tins (350 grams) of Hi Fat Feed A day
1 coffee tin (350 grams) of Dr Reeds Vitamin Pellets.
When I started this diet, he was at home, living in a large pasture. Now for winter, he has been moved to our local indoor arena where he lives in a very small paddock with a shelter. After one week at the facility my OTTB has become very hot! I used to be able to ride him 3 or 4 days a week, take a day or two off and hop right back on again! Not anymore! He bucks, bolts etc.....
And....I have realized, with help from his previous owner, that he is on protein overload! Also the hi fat feed is grain based, which doesn't help my situation.
I was under the impression that alfalfa (protein) didn't make horse hot...I don't think this is entirely true. Maybe in high amounts it does!
Has anyone deal with this issue before with a thoroughbred? What do you feed now to maintain a good weight?
He looks great right now...I would like to keep it that way. In the last week I have reduced his alfalfa hay to two flakes a day. I have cut back on the grain to only 1 coffee can a day. Today I started to incorporate Rice Bran so I can eliminate the grain all together.
Any advice, comments welcome! Thanks!!! :-)
I have a TB. Coming on 5yrs old. He's definetly got energy!
I have videos of him playing, and it's halarious. People passing by will slow down and watch. He is on hay/ grass 24/7 and a scoop of grain. We feed orchard grass hay in big round bales I think you may be over doing the feed. We do have alfalfa grass mix bales for a back up between round bales and he goes ape crap. Will pick the alfalfa out of all the piles of hay then is all wound up.
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Rice bran was a smart move- it doesnt make horses hot and keeps them at a great weight when used correctly. All of our OTTBs are on it. Cutting his feed back so significantly (6 cans of feed to 1, 6 flakes of alfalfa to 1) probably isn't a good idea thouhg. If I'm not mistaken 350 oz is about 12 ounces, so not even a pound. So he's gone from 4 1/2 lbs of grain to not even one pound.
How much grass hay do you think he eats?
We feed our OTTBS 5-6 flakes of hay daily, 1/3 alfalfa 2/3 timothy and they aren't hot. So they get one flake of alfalfa and two flakes of timothy every feeding. I'd see if you can do something like that with your gelding.
Soaking your alfalfa before feeding him also helps dissolve some of the sugars in it.
Can you get Purina or Nutrena feed? Purina's senior feed is good, and its what we feed most of our OTTBs. It seems to work well for them. They get anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds daily and do fine. They also each get 1 to 1/2 pounds of rice bran.
Just another note, you said that he's mostly been acting this way since he came to the new stable with a very small paddock (more like an outdoor stall type thing?) right? Maybe he needs turn out. All of our OTTBs are on pasture 24/7 year round unless they're injured, and they do just fine. Being fairly young and used to being able to self exercise, he's probably just bored to tears and wants something to do- so he's getting far too excited when you ride him. Can you get him back out into a pasture or atleast a turn out situation, or atleast lunge him for 15-30 minutes on days that you don't ride? That might help.
He might also be responding to stress. If he recently changed homes he may be getting uclers. We have an OTTB mare who had severe ulcers a few months ago which made her extremely mean and a terror under saddle. It was hurting her tummy to be ridden!
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What my grandpa feeds his OTTB to keep weight on is rice bran and soaked beet pulp. It really works, and it doesn't make him hot!
What about lunging him on days when you can't ride then? Its not optimal but it might keep him a bit calmer. You may just have to learn to work with the fact that he's hotter in the winter and let him blow off some steam by trotting and cantering some before trying to teach him anything new.
Another idea might be asking if you can turn him out (while watching him) in the arena for 30 minutes or so every day to stretch his legs.\
Yes, I do try to ride him 6 days a week and a lot of those rides were started out with a lunge! Did not help...lol...he could lunge forever and it never really "Brings him down"...
He does get frequent runs as well - outdoor and indoor arena.
I appreciate all your ideas! I have brought him home to decompress and detox.
Last year, at this same facility, same time of the year, he was an angel - on the lazy side even. I do feel this is definitely a diet issue. Last year I put him on Alfalfa pellets and he went through the roof! Took him off...four days later he was back to himself. I guess I was so absorbed with getting weight on him that I didn't realize how much alfalfa I was giving him in the end - plus the grain and actually plus a bucket of soaked alfalfa cubes for his vitamins!
haha, yeah some of them can be very sensative to foods and it sounds like you have on that is that way unfortunately...
another idea. Maybe engaging his mind more by getting him move forward-forward-forward in serpentines, rollbacks (later on), circles, and figure eights woul help him calm down and focus? Setting up poles, tarps etc might help. We have an OTTB mare (15 years old) who gets bored very easily and turns mischieveous immediately if you dont have her mind engaged. Starts crowhopping, trying to grab the bit in her mouth, etc. Give her something to really think about though and she's a totally different horse though. We're actually advertising her as a hunter jumper or or eventer for that reason. We just can't keep her mind entertained and she's bored with us!
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