Feeding a Hard Keeper
I have a question for a friend -
She has two TWH geldings in the same pasture that always have the same diet. One is a healthy weight year round, and the other always drops off in the winter. Neither one is ridden much. The one with good weight is 5 and the hard keeper is 6.
Something else I noticed about him is that, when he trots fast or canters, his stomach gurgles/sloshes really loud. It makes the same kind of sound as if you run with a container that's half-full of water. No idea what that's about.
She's added a scoop of Purina 200 to his diet. I think it's 4 cups, once daily.
As far as I know, they're on a regular deworming schedule and both have good teeth.
I'm not really sure what to suggest to her.
The noise is a normal noise. Some say it is caused by him being tense. Some will say it's from his sheath needing to be cleaned but that is incorrect. It's not something to be concerned about.
As for being a hard keeper, I'm not a big fan of store bought processed feed. I don't know anything about the Purina 200. We have had good results with beet pulp. You can't overfeed it. It won't cause colic or founder. Try to buy it with very little or no molasses added to it. You should soak it. If you use hot water, it should be ready in about 1/2 hour.
To feed the horses differently, she will more than likely have to pull the one out so it gets to eat what he needs.
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To be on the safe side with the hard keeper, when is the last time a vet gave the horse a physical, looked at its teeth, did a fecal check?
I would not suggest anything to the horses' owner until she has a vet out to be sure there are no serious underlying reasons why the horse is thin.
The hard keeper could be just that --- a hard keeper that needs separated at feeding time and his feed increased. IMO I would up his feed a little but I would still want the vet to draw blood and thoroughly examine him:-)
I agree with the beet pulp. I have a TB mare that came to me severely underweight and that and additional rice bran really helped with wonderful results and its easy on the pocket as well.
I'll suggest a vet check. Always an excellent idea.
Also, I know nothing about beet pulp, so I doubt she does either. She's very new to horses and wasn't really prepared for the two she got when they fell into her possession.
Is that something an average feed store is going to have or will it need to be ordered?
I've heard that adding canola oil to their feed will help build fat along the topline, but I suspect that's just an "old wive's tale" - anyone heard of that before?
She needs to feed as much good quality grass hay as possible to the hard keeper. I would stall the horse and just keep adding flakes until the horse cannot keep up. I had good success supplementally feeding Purina Equine Senior to my elderly hard keepers and they are they absolute hardest to put weight on, yet mine did. Her horse needs the Vet to check him out, float the teeth if necessary, and do a fecal to determine if he carries a high worm load and "sheds" it. Those horses require worming more often. The wormers should STILL be rotated bc of parasite resistance and avoid the cheap Ivermectrin wormers bc they are like cheap generic cold medicine that doesn't really work.
Also, the ideal time to worm a horse that has turnout is when it is DRY. It can be hot and dry, warm and dry, cool and dry or cold and dry, but a drought or very cold AND dry kills off the eggs, and any wet in the soil enables more to survive and be picked up whenever the horse eats something else off the ground and the eggs are there.
She needs to study up on wormers bc there are only 3 chemicals used and several products use the same chemical but different names.
The newest problem to deal with is tapeworms and praziquantel ("Quest") is the only one that is effective. (It was developed here in Champaign, IL at the University of Illinois Vet School.)
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