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gamehuntrr 11-10-2008 09:56 AM

Help with Horse Diet
I am a new horse owner and have bought 2 new horses that are underweight. One horse is a 15.2 TB and the other is a 15h Curly. Both seem to be about 200lbs underweight. I am currently feeding them free choice hay, each one are going through a round bale in about 10 days. They are being fed grain 2 times a day, morning and evening

2lbs beet pulp twice day
3.5lbs safe choice twice day
3/4 lbs oats twice day
1 cups oil twice day

I am being told by my son and daughter in law that I need to up their feed as they are not gaining weight as fast as they would like to see. From all that I have read they are already on a high calorie diet. Please help me to clarify how much I should be feeding them. I am just trying to take care of these horses the best I can since they were neglected to begin with.
thanks for any help

Peggysue 11-10-2008 10:00 AM

increase the beet pulp back down on the actualy GRAIN products as well as the safe choice and find a good vitamin/mineral supplement ... depending on what you can get as to what wouldbe best

I would get rid of the oats and add a rice bran pellet easier on the system

walkinthewalk 11-10-2008 01:05 PM

Ditto what Peggy-Sue said.

Also, have they been de-wormed? Worms and tooth issues could also add to why they aren't gaining weight.

If it hasn't been done yet, I would have a vet evaluate both of them including checking their teeth and giving him or her a stool sample from each horse.

They could also have encysted strongyles, which would mean worming them with a Power-Pak ---- again something the vet should evaluate.

Finally, if each horse is down ~200 pounds, it is going to take them a long time to get back up to speed. They aren't going to look their "A" game overnight, so try not to get upset by any outside comments:-)

When I rescued my Arab 15+ years ago, he was a head attached to a skeleton.

He was so down, he got fed a little bit 3X/day instead of the normal 2X/day everyone else got fed.

While he started making immediate progress, the progress curve would sometimes be flat, then it would spike, then be flat again for awhile.

It took him until the following year to look like the show horse that I had no intention of making him be:-)

I have rescued 3 or 4 starving horses over my life. My personal opinion on horses that are even 100 pounds underweight is to not rush them into "fatness". They need to be brought up to speed at a slow but steady rate.

Hope this helps you some:-)

Ottakee 11-11-2008 07:34 AM

I would see if you could get some free choice minerals for them.

Then with winter coming, you might look at Buckeye Ultimate Finish instead of the oil. The pellets are easier to feed in freezing weather. We give ours 1 oz per day for general coat condition but for our old guy that came very underweight we give him 1/2 cup 3 times a day but could go higher. Have their teeth checked as well.

Our vet said it would take 6 months to get him back up to a good weight as you don't want to do it too fast.

I would also provide as much turn out as possible and start hand walking them and then start lightly riding them when they are at a better weight.

We got a 30 year old gelding in late Feb. who would have been at a 2 (maybe) on the scale. He is now up to a perfect weight. We fed him 4 times a day to start (no teeth so a mash) and now he gets fed 3 times a day with hay in the pasture. After a month my girls (only 75 pounds) started riding him for 5 minutes a day at a walk and slowly built up from there to where he is now riding the trails for an hour a day---pretty good for a 30 year old guy.

kickshaw 11-11-2008 08:25 AM

i would look into increasing forage (beet pulp, hay, alfalfa cubes etc.) before I increased any of the grain products ;-)

free choice minerals will help, too :-)

gamehuntrr 11-11-2008 09:13 AM

Thank you for all the advice. I didn't mention that I do have a mineral block in with both horses. I will be giving the vet a call about their teeth but it will probably not be an issue, I think that in our economy people are just not feeding their horses and then when they get bad they are dumping them:cry:. I will be upping their beet pulp for now and see how that goes. Please post if you have any more advice, it all helps.

luvs2ride1979 11-12-2008 12:10 AM

Horses should gain weight slowly. It's healthier for them in the long run. They are already getting a LOT of food! They really don't need any more. The rule of thumb is no more than 6 lbs of concentrates per feeding. You are already there!

I would first deworm them, if you haven't already. I would give them Tape Care+ Plus now, Ivermectin in 4 weeks, then Quest Plus 6-8 weeks after that. That should clear them of all internal parasites.

I would add to their diet a probiotic or other digestive aid. That will ensure that they are utilizing all of the food that they are eating. Smart Pak Equine has a huge list of digestive aids. I've used Source Focus WT with good success.

geewillikers 11-12-2008 01:12 AM


Originally Posted by Peggysue (Post 184838)
increase the beet pulp back down on the actualy GRAIN products as well as the safe choice and find a good vitamin/mineral supplement ... depending on what you can get as to what wouldbe best

I would get rid of the oats and add a rice bran pellet easier on the system

I agree:D

gamehuntrr 11-12-2008 11:32 PM

Thanks for the reply, I will continue my feeding schedule as is over the course of winter. Every thing that I have read and hear on the forum tells me the diet should be fine. I have already wormed the horse which is the first thing they get when they arrive on the property.
My son's fiancee has 6 horses here also and she has had good results also with Source Focus WT. I think I will look into adding that to his diet and see how that helps. I am also having a dentist come in to make sure the teeth are floated and have no problems.
I just started feeding him a better mix of hay which are square bales so I will be able to monitor hishay intake better than I could with round bales.

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