Help!! Feeding an Ex-Racehorse...
I have a 10 year old, 16.2 hh ex-racehorse gelding named Louie. He is being ridden 4-5 times a week for half an hour to an hour in light work, and I am hoping to increase his workload. I am wondering what to feed him as he had liver damage from his previous owners and is slowly gaining weight with me but I have had him almost a year now and he is still ribby. I live in New Zealand and he is kept out in his pretty lush pastures 24/7 with shelter and is rugged up during winter, bad weather and cold nights, the paddocks are free of weeds and are frequently rested and cross-grazed with cattle and he is wormed regularly. What should I feed him to help him continue to gain weight, to build muscle on him and still is enough calories for him to be worked out?
I have currently run out of hay and am feeding:
-2 cups of soaked beet
-1 cup of chaff
-1/2 of feed balancer
-4 cups of Cool Feed
-A TBS of Magnesium
This is feed once a day when not ridden and twice morning and night when he is ridden.
Here is a picture of him taken yesterday (:
Plenty of fibre (ad lib hay), a high fibre feed and linseed (flaxseed) is good for weight gain and make sure worming is up to date. Brewers yeast is very good for digestion and horses getting the most out of their feed.
He needs a quality protein to help build muscle.
I agree with flax. Either feed him morning and evening every day, or up the quantity. Soaked beet pulp is great for putting on weight, some of our off the track thoroughbreds get 6-8 cups(dry measure) soaked daily, with flax and whole oats. The REALLY bad ones get a high fat pellet as well, but most don't need that.
What helped all my TB's put on the final 30-50lbs is alfalfa/lucerne. Soaked pellets or chaff. That would also provide the quality proteins that were mentioned.
I feed 6 lbs of soaked alfalfa pellets, a little bit of grain, and a LOT more than 2 cups of soaked beet pulp (more like almost 2 quarts, dry) every day and she does really well on it. Maybe you just need to up the amount. I can't imagine 2 cups doing much of anything for a full grown horse.
How much hay is he eating right now?
Senior feed and good 2nd cutting hay should help him along with the fresh green pastures.
He doesn't look a bad weight to me, but if you're going to start working him more he may need more. Agree with the free choice hay as the main one. Pref tested low NSC, especially if he's on a high starch(improved) pasture. Native grass hay if you can get it is generally better.
If it's been hard to get him up to this condition, have you considered ulcer treatment, probiotics, teeth, etc? And a high starch diet(don't know what's in the feed he gets) can also cause hind gut probs & difficulty maintaining weight.
Feeding whatever supplementary feed over a few or more meals daily is best and the horse will get more out of it, than just one meal daily. Upping the amount of beet pulp & (lucerne not oaten) chaff would also help, but maybe not if you can only feed once daily - that overall amount of feed in one meal is good but meals shouldn't be too big either. Oh & as beet pulp & lucerne/alfalfa are also high in Ca you may also want to up the Mg a bit.
Thanks for the help (:
He is wormed regularly and has his teeth done... I would like to reply to loosie that he was much thinner than this. And im a happy with his progress. I feed him hay cut off our own pastures as we own 47 acres of lush pastures (: lucky us in little New Zealand. In response to Endiku, we have run out of hay at the moment but will get some more shortly as it is nearly summer. I am usually unable to feed him in the morning and at night, but could i still feed him at 4pm and again at 6-7pm?
So he isn't getting any hay at all?
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