The Sad Diet
We recently rescued a 22 year old TB from his home of the past 15 years. He was a a little heavy but badly sunburned and sand blasted. He was a very beloved pet and raised many grandkids.
We have kept him on the food they gave us and added a little sweet 10 and now safe and sound senior formula but he just isn't interested much in eating. He's slimmed down considerably.
I know that a lot of that is him getting in shape because he rides every day now and hadn't went down a trail in over 3 years when we got him.
He's just staring to have an appetite again but I think he doesn't like mixing with the other horses much.... He's more interested in people. And he loves his friend. He just wants it to be him and his 13 year long stall mate and all the attention to be on them like it has been for 2/3 of his life.
I don't know what to do to get some weight back on him. He doesn't look bad but I notice the difference. The other problem is that we are adopting him out and he may not go to the same home as his buddy.
How should I prepare him for that and what can I do to get weight back on him quickly. He's very active.
Any advice would help.
Im not at all a fan of sweet feeds. If he was mine I would put him on Purina Equine Sr as it includes beet pulp etc and horses love it. Its a complete feed so once hes used to it he can have as much as he wants
^^ I agree, I don't like sweet feeds either; especially for trying to add weight. It is almost like giving a skinny kid candy in hopes that they will put weight on. I would find some well balanced whole feed like Weefoal mentioned and maybe add some weight builder or something to it.
I saw your post entitled the Sad diet. I am in med school and to us SAD stands for "Standard American Diet," so we say the SAD diet to mean just that, sad - high carbs, low good fats, and low fiber. Maybe this goes for horses as well. We just had a great discussion on diet - you should search it. The thread was "proper horse nutrition." Many people gave GREAT advice.
Personally, I have abandoned marketed feeds and have had great luck with alfalfa pellets, hay pellets, flax seed, and a daily vitamin (in addition to orchard grass hay throughout the day.) I can let you know more if you are interested. I also feed beet pulp a few times a week as a fun treat (in case I ever have to hide meds in anything;) My horses maintain great weight and they are not anxious and jittery. Before, I thought that spookiness was just them, but when I switched from molasses based feeds, there was a huge difference in their moods. I did not realize I was stressing them out so much with just their food!
Also as horses age, they seem to become prone to metabolic disorders. But, I think if we have been feeding them all their lives with high starch feeds, this only helps them down that road. I would love to see a study comparing rates of metabolic disorders (IR, Cushings, etc.) in horses who had been fed marketed feeds high in starches and sugars to those who were pasture fed.
I WOULD LOVE to hear all the info you have about it. I'm going to real the thread you suggested as well.
I'm really new to having a variety of horses on a changing basis. I would really like to find one reliable feed to give to everyone across the board and know that they will benefit.
I understand that some have specific dietary needs and we'll cater to those, but I need a good feed that will be nutritious to everyone as well as help them achieve a healthy weight as soon as possible.
Any more specifics you can share, please do.
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact me off the forms on the website if that's easier for you.
Thanks so much,
I recently switched my TB to a mostly hay diet after two years of experimenting with all kinds of fat supplements. Hay turned out to be the ticket for my hard keeper. We're only 3 weeks into feeding him all they hay he can eat, and he's put on 50 pounds. We've cut his grain down to half of what he used to eat and he's still gaining. It might be different with an older TB, but hay worked for us.
Stop the sweet feed. That is often counter-productive for weight gain. Instead, I would use alfalfa pellets or hay cubes, wet them down just enough to make them fall apart, then add in the senior feed and a probiotic (like Source Focus SR).
I would have his teeth checked by an equine dentist as well. Senior horses often need more frequent dental care.
Have he been recently dewormed? If not, I'd get right on that too.
Thanks to all of you
I have talked to two vets now that went through the same questions with me and gave the same answer.
1. Q: Is he eating
A: Yes... now he is. He always acted like he wasn't hungry for the first few weeks.
2. Q: how's his stool
A: perfectly normal
3: Q: Has he had any changes recently in home, companions or human interaction?
A: Yes, he has moved from the home where he lived for 15 years after enduring drought and harsh conditions from weather. He has lost his parents, his grandkids and his little buddy Molly the Shetland. He's in a new home with lots of horses and new people. He's being ridden daily after not riding for three years and on strange new terrain.
At that point, both vets stopped me. Both said roughly the same thing but one's answer was so down to earth I thought I would share it.
He said, what if you lost your mom and dad and brothers and sister in the same day? What if on that day you were taken to a strange place and kept with lots of new people you have never met, some bite, some are friendly but all are foreign to you. Now add that it's about 3,000 feet above sea level from where you were... and then ad that some one is getting on your back and making you walk for miles EVERY DAY!
Would you be losing weight?
He said that emotional disruption causes weight changes in people AND animals and that changing his food would only add to the the changes he's already enduring. He told me that as long as he's eating and has been wormed and such, I should give him a little time to get his bearings.
He's right, he is looking much better this week. And he's acting hungry again. We have him on a round bale around the clock and he's pigging out and acting like a young horse. He's getting his spunk back.
I am asking the people who are adopting him and his buddy to come over a couple of times and let him get to know them before we move him. He is being adopted WITH his buddy of 13 years. That WILL help!
I think he's gonna be JUST FINE.
Thanks to everyone who added their help and suggestions.
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