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Peacefuldweller 05-07-2009 11:39 PM

How Much Weight Gain?
I'm a newbie horse owner and have found this site very helpful thus far! :D

I wanted to ask you all a question about my horse, Storm. He is a just-turned 3 yr. old Tennessee Walker and a real sweetheart. We purchased him along with our other horse, Sarge, from a farm nearby. However, unlike our other horse, Storm had not been with the farm very long at all (only about 2 or 3 days) as he was rescued from owners who apparently did not feed him properly as he is a bit emaciated.

He has a large pasture to do serious grass-grazing during the day and of course hay and treats (apples, carrots, flavored horse treats). In addition, we've been keeping up with the same feed he was given from the farm (Reliance) but I've been told that that brand of feed is very hard to come by (and I have yet to find it in my area) and I'm getting near the end of the bag. I dont' want to make the horses colicky and wondered how to go about switching them to a new feed and what feed would you reccommend trying for a horse needing to gain weight?

I realize a Tennessee Walker's frame is not meant to be as hulky as a QH, but as you can see our boy's ribs show very easily and you can feel them like mad when you are grooming him. He's just a dream horse---couldn't ask for a sweetier, gentler boy, and we want to get him at a proper weight for his size.

My questions are---what weight should he be at? How much does it look like he should gain? How long will it take him to gain the weight?

LeahKathleen 05-07-2009 11:51 PM

As far as switching feeds, I would do so gradually, mixing it into the old feed little by little, until it's entirely the new feed. Some horses don't mind a straight switch, but others are very sensitive, so take it slow to be safe.

As for the weight gain, I have heard that beet pulp is good for getting weight on, but I don't know very much about it, as I have never really rescued a horse or anything.

There are actually a few threads about this I think, you may want to check them out. But I'm sure someone will post some good weight-gain foods for you horse here. :] Good luck.

luvs2ride1979 05-08-2009 12:41 AM

I do not see an emaciated horse there, just a young, growing Walker gelding. Gaited horses, especially Walkers, DO go through odd growth spurts and look "gangly" well into their 4 and 5 yr old year. They should not be round and filled out like a stock horse. Walkers are supposed to be angular and "sleek", more like a racing Thoroughbred, with long and lean muscle.

Your boy looks like he just needs more riding to build muscle, and maybe add some alfalfa (hay or pellets) to help keep his weight up with increased activity. Adding some flax or corn oil to his feed wouldn't hurt either, but really, he's in fine condition. He's no where near "emaciated".

I don't see any ribs, just water marks or shadows. At his age, you SHOULD see rib when he turns or stretches out at a gallop. If you see rib in person, maybe you could get some pictures of him at different angles when he's completely dry.

I would have the vet out to check his teeth, just in case. I'd also deworm him now with Pyrantel paste and then Ivermectin in 4 weeks. Then keep him on a good deworming schedule. That will make sure he's parasite free and able to absorb the nutrients he's eating.

He's a very pretty boy!

Peggysue 05-08-2009 08:18 AM

I dont' see an underweight horse I see a growing horse

for instant
This was my 3yo QH the dayhe headed to the trainers :)

My horses are all on a ration balancer and free choice hay / pasture with 1lb of alfalfa pellets changing to BOSS for hair/hoof benefits(hopefully)

If you give me your zip either here or pm it too me I can find the brands you have in your area to help suggest what "I" think will work best

luvs2ride1979 05-08-2009 11:42 AM

There is a scale you can go on to judge his condition. It's called the Henneke Scale.

A growing horse should be in the 4-5 range. Seeing some rib is NOT a cause for alarm. Also, the protruding backbone is common for young gaited horses that haven't done a lot of riding yet.

Two different sites with the henneke scale explained:
Over & Under Feeding
Henneke Body Condition Scoring for Horses
Body Conditioning Scoring Chart :: McCauley's - Good photos of each step on the scale

THIS is considered emaciated:

An emaciated horse is one near death.

Peacefuldweller 05-08-2009 12:13 PM

Thanks so much for the links luvs2ride. I will definitely check those out---right now I'm all about getting as much information as possible to make sure I'm doing everything I need to be for our horses.

I suppose that my term, "emaciated" does not really fit his condition as he is nowhere near anything like the pic you have shown at the bottom of your post.

You can see Storm's ribs just a little bit more than I would think would be normal, more so when he's inhaling but again, nothing at all like the pic there with the hips jutting out. That is just awful. How sad that people allow their animals to get in such conditions.

I'll try and get a better pic of him today, weather has been bad here lately and it's been kinda tough to get a real good one.

Peggysue 05-08-2009 02:30 PM

seeing alittle backborn is normal on about ANY horse that is lacking muscle and not worked properly that is not obese

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