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- - Hard keeper (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hard-keeper-15444/)
My Anglo Arab is not a hard keeper. He's an impossible keeper.
Beau is a former racer and grade gelding, he looks like an Anglo Arab but who knows. He was a champion jumper for years until his owner decided she wanted a car instead of a horse. She sold him to his farrier, and then things started to go downhill. Beau lost 250lbs while in the pasture with the farrier's QH. He didn't understand why the guy was taking it so hard, so he put him up for sale and we bought him. He was in pretty bad condition when we got him, but still jumped just fine on a longe. He gained a decent amount of weight over the next few years, always about 100lbs underweight no matter what we did. Two or three years ago, he choked because he was so nervous about something. He just does that, has nervous fits. He had to wait a full two days for the vet because the vet was involved with a mare who was colicking and about to foal and both were about to die (they turned out fine). He was about 75lbs underweight at the time he choked. He dropped to near death because of the stress of the choke. We changed his diet to mush. A year later, he did it again. Added more water to the food. Again, he dropped to near death weight.
Now, year and a half or two years later, he's back to a decent weight, but still about 100lbs under. At least no one is calling the humane society anymore telling them that we are starving and neglecting our horse. He's in a field where everyone else has a grass belly (great rain this summer) and we're having to cut back on feed a bit.
He gets a full bucket of Triple Crown Senior (supplemented with Mare and Foal when his weight gets really bad, the senior also has beet pulp in it) watered down to a mush, corn oil, raspberry leaf (to calm him down, that stuff really works), and two flakes of alfalfa every day, plus a round bale in the pasture and free grass. All the food is spaced out to twice a day except for the pasture stuff. He will not eat weight builders, I've tried every one on the market I think. This routine has kept him out of the danger zone, but he still is underweight. His ribs are getting better, but you can still see his spine and tail base. His face is also very bony.
Vet has checked him out as a-ok health wise, other than being an impossible keeper. He has had sand clear, and gets a special wormer.
Any suggestions? Is there anything I can do that I might not have thought of yet? If I left out something, please ask me and I'll add it!
The pic of him in my "barn" is when he was at a good weight. His face is much older looking now. He's only 18.
You didn't mention anything about teeth and worms, but I suspect you would have tried these. Otherwise, I don't really know what to suggest.
Yes, I knew there was something I was forgetting. He has great teeth (only good thing he has health wise) and the vet has checked several times for worms. We can't find anything medically wrong with him.
He could also have ulcers - which would interfere with digestion and they will flare up with stress, making weight gain more difficult during stressful times. If you see him nipping at his sides while he's stressed I would think that an ulcer could be the case.
A weight builder supplement would be a great idea. I know you said he doesn't like it, but I would try to add a tiny bit (less than recommended dosage) to his "mush" and slowly, gradually increase the amount to the desired dosage. And if at all possible, I would try to increase the amount of feedings per day to as many small meals as possible. There is only so much a horse can digest in one sitting, and after that all the excess feed has pretty much gone to waste and it will be discarded without being digested. Have you ever seen whole pieces of oats in his feces? This would be an example of the undigested extra feed I'm talking about. I feel that smaller meals fed three or even four times a day would be beneficial for him - he'll simply digest more that way in my opinion..
It sounds like you're doing an incredible job with him, and I can tell you love him dearly! Please give him a big hug for me, and I wish you the best of luck with him :) Katie
have you tried TC's rice Bran supplement?? Will he eat extra beet pulp if you add it?? What about soaked alfalfa pellets??
I was going to mention ulcers as well...would be worth a check.
For an ulcer prone horse you cannot feed them ANY grain or pelleted feed products. Too much concentrates sends the stomach into overdrive. I would put him on Triple Crown's 30% Supplement (grain/feed replacer), 3-5 lbs (dry weight) of shredded beet pulp soaked (15-20 minutes does the trick), and 1.5-2lbs of stabilized rice bran, split into twice daily feedings. Add into that an extra pro/prebiotic like Fastrack (if the OTC ulcer supplement doesn't already have one in there). That should be enough calories and fat to keep him going while being a LOT more friendly to his stomach. It should also help calm down his nervous behavior.
My Anglo was also thin and a hard keeper. As soon as we took him OFF the grains and feeds he gained weight nicely and keeps it on now too with very little extra food.
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