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savepitbulls 01-01-2007 10:23 PM

My old lady
Hello all! Just need some outside opinions on my mare. She is a 27 year old Appendix QH. I've had her since she was 15 and she was my main dressage mare up until about 4 years ago when I retired her. SHe has always bee a tough keeper but I've been able to keep the weight on and her coat always looked like glass. I wish I could post a before and after picture. This summer she went downhill really fast. She had a low-grade infection that we treated with antibiotics and she started to bounce back, but ever since then she looks OLD. (duh) I know that sounds funny for a 27 year old mare but I'm not used to seeing her like this. Her worming and vaccinations are all up to date, she is fed separately from all the other horses - with a feed bag for her grain I might add so she doesn't waste any). She is heavily blanketed in the winter. Right now she's getting (forgive me I don't know the weight so I'm referring to a 3# coffee can) 3/4 of a can of Allegra Cadence/rolled oats 3:1 mixture 2x a day. 1 cup corn oil in the mornings. 3 flakes orchard grass, 1 large flake alfalfa, 1 small flake Sudan grass 2x a day. She cleans up her grain and eats her hay throughout the day. She is also now getting 1/2 can grain mixture in the middle of the day. I just ordered AvtiVEX X for her arthritis, but jeeze I don't know how else to get this girl back into shape. I've tried rice bran, all kinds of weight gain supplements, beet pulp (she won't eat it) and other oils and so far this combination has worked the best. She acts totally normal but I'm not ready to admit defeat. There has to be SOMETHING else I can do! She needs to gain about 100 pounds.

kristy 01-02-2007 09:17 AM

Horses at an older age just don't bounce back as well. =/ I have a 22 year, so I understand.

How long have you been trying to put weight on her? How long has she been on her feeding schedule?

Edit: You said you feed with a coffee can, right? The large metal ones? How many pounds of feed does it hold? And how many scoops are you feeding?

savepitbulls 01-02-2007 12:05 PM

Its been about a 4 month process now. She is better but not where I'd like her to be. Her ribs finally stopped showing but her backbone and hip bones are still showing. Mainly her topline, but also the points of her shoulders. And she's too arthritic right now to excersize her at more than a walk. That's why I ordered her the ActiVEX. Bute isn't cutting it. She's been on this feed schedule for about 2 months now w/o any changes. I use the large metal coffe cans - I don't remember the weight but I'll check when I get a chance. I'd estimate that a full can holds about 4 lbs of this grain. She gets 3/4 of a can 2x a day. Plus 1/2 a can in the middle of the day. If I feed more than that at a time, she doesn't utilize it as well and I see it in her manure. I'm considering adding Fastrack or something to aid digestion but I'm not sure that would help.

barnrat 01-02-2007 10:09 PM

You said that you have tried beet pulp, we had a 30 year old horse at our barn that was getting beetpulp twice daily (he had no teeth so could not have alfalfa) we also have a arab that stays really thin so we give him beet pulp everyday. It would be a really good idea to keep trying the beet pulp, I would put molassess in it and also add carrots, oats, apples, just add her favorite treats to the beet pulp and try giving it to her. Beet Pulp works so well, the arab also wont eat the beetpulp unless we put a ton of water in the beet pulp as well (dont worry, we do soak it). Well hope that helps.

savepitbulls 01-03-2007 09:19 PM

Believe it or not, she manages to eat around the beet pulp (yes soaked) and leaves it in the bottom of the feed bag. I have no idea how she does it, but either she leaves it or she refuses to eat it at all. I mix it with everything I can think of but sh's a very picky horse. She will only eat alfalfa from a certain field. Sigh. I might try it again, but she's pretty set in her ways.

barnrat 01-03-2007 09:33 PM

huh, dont know how to help you then.....sigh, sorry...

kristy 01-03-2007 09:41 PM

I boarded at a private stud barn a while ago that fed two full coffee cans twice a day of sweet feed. :shock: The stallions were QH and they bulked up very well; used part of the energy, gained and stored the rest as fat.

It takes time. You've successfully put some weight on her ribs! That's an accomplishment! The rest will come. If you feel that your process will be efficient over a period of time, keep doing what you are doing. If you are still interested in change, then I would consider switching feed and increasing grain. If she has difficultly digesting she will not get the nutrients she needs from the feed. There is feed especially design for sensitive seniors, even feed designed for seniors without teeth. (LMF Senior comes to mind.) There are options! This feed is much easier to digest and consume. I would also recommend walking her daily . This will help her in so many ways. It may also stimulate hunger because of the activity done. It may also work out stiffness and soreness that may be decreasing her appetite. (I trust you can judge whether walking would benefit. My horse is in severe pain when he is boxed in with no space to move. It is the quickest way to make him lame.)

As I'm sure you know, transfer feed very slowly. She seems to be a very sensitive girl. Research feed as well and the maximum amount to feed/most efficient feed. You could also look into a weight gain supplement, although I'm not sure how well they work. And as far as worming, are you absolutely sure she is worm free? Dewormers didn't cut it at one point in time and I put my critter on Strongid. It worked very well. I just don't want this girl to be over whelmed with supplements! I'd like to see a picture of her, we could watch the progress!

barnrat 01-03-2007 10:08 PM

I agree with kristy! I would love to see pictures to see the progreesion!

savepitbulls 01-04-2007 05:44 PM

Yeah I agree with the walking suggestion. She goes out in the pasture with a turnout blanket when its not continuously pouring but since I live in Oregon :? she hasn't been getting out much lately. I let her wander while I clean her stall but I really don't think its enough. I'll start walking her and see if it helps. Might keep my kids busy too. I don't want to add too many supplements either - that's what sparked my original question. I know people who are adding 4 or 5 different supplements to their own horses and I just can't see how that would help her. I cringe at the thought. I've heard of the LMF but I'm not sure if it's available in this area. I'll have to do some checking. I tried Super Gain when she was really far down about 2 months ago but its not something I like to keep her on and I wasn't really impressed with the results. I usualy see better results in younger, more active horses. I rotate wormers every other month. Anthlecide is one I use, Ivermectin past is another and then I use Panacur. The vet did a fecal sample and there weren't any signs of an infestation. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I might switch feeds over the next couple weeks and up it a little. Ill post pics as soon as I figure out how... :wink:

savepitbulls 01-04-2007 06:05 PM
This is Onyx before retired her. Fat and shiny like I'm used to seeing her.
I took this one of her about 3 months ago right before we started her on antibiotics.
Now her ribs aren't showing and she has filled out a little overall. I'll try to get some more when I go out if I can remember my camera. She's hairy now though so its hard to see how she's improving unless you actually put your hands on her.

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