I rode my mare today from 1:00 until 4:51 and we went about... eight miles today, but that's not my concern.
I just got back and unsaddled and I noticed that my girl has lost a lot of weight... well, actually I noticed that she'd lost some weight when I had to pull up my flank strap the first time. I just didn't notice how much weight she was missing until I got home and unsaddled and looked at her. (I had to pull the flank strap up two more notches during our ride.).
All in all, I pulled the flank strap up three notches, which was probably about... five to six inches. I ride with the flank strap up so that it's touching her stomach lightly or hanging down about a centimeter or two, never looser.
I have noticed that winters seem to be getting pretty hard on my girl... she lost a lot of weight last January, but I put it off to her being sick (she was sick last January). Her teeth do not need floated, so it's not that...
Why could she be losing weight? She lost this weight between the last time we rode and now. The last time we rode was about a week and a half ago. None of the other horses have lost weight (that I know of... I don't mess with any of the horses besides my two). My girl isn't getting run off from the hay, either. She's the second in command in our herd and runs the others off that are lower than her.
I was thinking ot could be from our riding, but I don't think so. When we ride, we always warm up, walk, trot, canter, gallop, and cool down sufficiently. We always ride at all the gaits, and my girl's very used to the way we ride.
She also is on pasture grass 24/7 and has free choice hay in the winter 24/7. I feed a quart of F-R-M Prime Time 10 non-pelleted feed (I prefer the pelleted feed, but my colt chokes on it and after I switched to the the non-pelleted feed his choking stopped).
So, why could she be losing weight? What can I give her to help her gain her weight back? This month is going to be our coldest, and I don't need her losing anymore weight... Even though she could lose a few more pounds and still look great, she has been too fat).
With the cold weather & long workouts maybe she needs a higher calorie feed (I recommend Ultium or Complete Advantage, but not 4-way grain). Soaked beet pulp pellets with rice bran is a good way to put on weight as well.
You probably have thought of this, but is she warm enough? Maybe she is getting chilly at night?
Is she on a correct de-worming schedule?
Keep an eye on saddle fit if she's losing weight, you don't want her sore to boot! Beval makes nice fleece pads.
Good luck with your horse's weight! My horse eats me out of house & home, so I know how you feel :-)
I only have access to F-R-M feeds, so if any of them are made to put weight on a horse then I'm set... if not... well... yeah.
I'm prettyu sure she's warm enough... we don't blanket, as we have barbed wire fencing (5 horses, 2 donkeys, and a load of crazy cows). I wish we didn't have barbed wire, I and the horses have been caught in it too many times.
She's on a correct deworming schedule [finally]... but my two are the only horses who get dewormed by schedule... my family who owns the other horses don't seem to care and I'm not going to pay for it when all I get is screamed at when I do try to take care of their horses for them.
Have her teeth been floated?
Yes, and it's not yet time for them to be done again. She's not dropping feed and is eating like usual. She has a good six months to go before it's time for her teeth to be floated again.
Beet pulp & Rice bran would help out alot!
She's 15 and is a Tennessee Walker.
I've heard of Beet Pulp and Rice Bran, but I don't know of where to get it anywhere around here and I don't even know for sure what it is.
You can get beet pulp and rice bran at any local feed store. If they don't supply it on hand, you should be able to request it. Otherwise, you can try feeding Purina Ultium, it is going to have a higher calorie count, and more crude fat. As your horse gets older, you are probably going to want to start thinking about changing her feed anyways, perhaps think about mixing with a senior feed. Just some things for you to think about.
There isn't a set limit for time inbetween floatings. Also dropping feed, while a good rule of thumb, isn't the only thing that could cause teeth related weight loss. She may not be properly masticating her food and if that is the case it is more difficult to digest. If she got her teeth done in the past few months then probably not teeth but any longer and I would not rule it out. Go to your local feed store/co-op and you should be able to get any brand of feed you want and also beet pulp or rice bran, or at least place an order for them.
The store that I buy my feed from is the best around that I have access to (the only one that I can go to that I don't have to drive to another county). All the other stores sell cheap sweet feed that can be bought for four dollars or less. I've never heard of rice bran of beet pulp being sold at the feed store I go to, but next time I'm there I can ask. Like I said before, the feed store I buy from gets ONLY F-R-M feeds, nothing more.
I am going to switch my mares feed soon, but it's hard considering my mare is 15 and my colt is 2 (almost 3). I wanted to keep them on the same feed as long as possible because I just do not have the money to be buying two seperate feeds... I was hoping to put off putting my girl on senior feed until she was closer to twenty... but if I can't then I can't and I can go without something for my horses. If I have to start my girl on senior feed before I wanted to, I can make it happen.
Also, yes, I know that there is no set time limit between floating a horses teeth, but, quite frankly, I do not have the money for it right now and I'm planning on getting it done when I get the vet out for their yearly vaccinations this spring. I honestly don't think her teeth are bothering her, though. I know that I can't know for sure, but usually when her teeth need floating, she drops a lot of feed and bites the shanks of her hackamore, bites and grabs her leadrope, and bites the sides of her feedpan and she hasn't been doing any of those things.
Thanks for the information.
It was pointed out to me on another forum that she may be dehydrated. We have three ponds in our pasture, but it was pointed out to me by a friend that her horses don't drink as much water as thy need in the winter and get dehydrated easily, and my girls weight loss is right where she'd 'drop' if she were indeed dehydrated... and there's no muscle loss/condition loss anywhere else but her stomach.
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