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Fosters Mom 07-26-2010 10:24 PM

Senior needs weight
My 25 year old gelding is ribby and needs weight. Vet sees him twice a year and scores him between a 3 and 4 on the Heneke Scale. Blood work is all good. He is sound and otherwise healthy. He has regular dental visits. Wormed every three months with alternanting dewormers. Free choice to hay, water and pasture. Eats 3 qts of triple crown senior morning and again at night along with weight builder of cool calories in each meal along with joint supplement. I've tried veg. oil, triple crown rice bran oil and powder, soaked beet pulp. I have read about the smartpak smart digest. Any thoughts on trying this product? Any suggestions? I'm desperate to solve this problem!

CountryJay 07-27-2010 11:48 PM

We have a OTTTB and she was a very hard keeper. We just now after 4 or 5 years have her nice and fat. What we did was buy her very nice green alfalfa mixed hay and fed it to only her. Over the winter we gave her soaked beat pulp and sweet feed late winter/spring. It's worked very well for her. Best of luck getting him at a healthier weight.

jtmdah 07-28-2010 12:26 AM

Lots and lots of hay. If your horse has no hay, then give him hay. That is what we are trying with my 22 year old off track/ex-contester/ex-jumper thoroughbred. She gets probably close to a whole bale herself over a day's time.

Also, Beet Pulp. It's cheap and it's a main component in Senior Feeds. Just Soak about a pound for a half hour and feed cold. Most horses love it, so of course mine didn't. I mix mine with molasses, brown sugar, carrots, apples, and some senior feed pellets. It's pure calories, and it will keep your horsie hydrated.

Which brings me to the next point. Make sure your horse is drinking enough water. Get him a salt block, that will encourage him to drink. Just make sure you monitor the intake so that you know if you need to offer more water depending on how much he drinks!

If none of these ways work, some Weight Supplements do work, but it's always best to try natural first!

Ladytrails 07-28-2010 12:48 AM

Hi - a cheaper alternative to equine senior feeds is a non-medicated complete feed for young beef. I use Nutrena's NutreBeef Stampede, about 15-18 pounds in 2 feedings daily, soaked in lots of water, for my 950 pound, 31 year old gelding. He has no teeth at all for chewing and gets along great on this. Supplement with salt, minerals (loose), grazing on pasture/grass hay for mental health. I keep on hand probiotics plus Calf Manna for cold weather, illness and other stressors that cause weight to start to drop. My vet is now giving my 'recipe' to some of the other clients with skinny older horses after seeing how well my old guy has done for the past 3 years. He has a shiny coat, luxurious mane and tail, and the farrier says his feet are in great condition, too.

Fosters Mom 07-28-2010 09:37 PM

Thanks for all the ideas. He does have free choice to salt and mineral block. I've tried the soaked beet pulp and it gives him diarrhea. I have ordered the SmartPak alfalfa pellets & will try that. How do you feed Calf Manna?
Is that something you add to his senior feed?

luvs2ride1979 07-28-2010 10:47 PM

Personally, I would give something with high calories and digestible energy, so I would go with alfalfa pellets. Start with 2 qts per feeding. Add some water to mush them up (not a lot) and then add your senior feed. To that, add a probiotic like SmartDigest and a good fat source like Flax Meal. Ditch the Cool Calories, it's just a solid form of vegetable oil. Corn or Veggi oil doesn't work well and can be not good for senior horses. I have had better luck using flax. has a good one called NutraFlax. Their prices include shipping.

Start with 1/2 cup a day of flax meal (2 oz by weight) for 3-4 days, then increase to 1 cup. Stick with that for a couple of weeks, with your 2 qts of alfalaf pellets twice daily. If you don't see much improvement, increase to 1 cup of flax twice daily.

Also make sure he has free choice grass hay in front of him at all times.

Ladytrails 07-28-2010 11:50 PM

Hi, Foster's Mom - Calf Manna is pelleted, so I just put it in with the other pelleted feed, added water to make it all moist. This was a tip I got from an old horse breeder-trainer. I also agree with the idea of adding flax or something else for Omega 3's - if they aren't on fresh grass to get those omega 3's, adding that back into the diet will really help. Weight Builder is also something I've used for added fat in the diet but I think it takes longer to work than Calf Manna.

RE the diarrhea - the probiotics will REALLY help with that, as they address gut health. I have had trouble with the old guy off and on with diarrhea but the probiotic cleared it right up and I'm careful to make feed changes gradually.

Good luck - it's a puzzle but you'll figure it out!

Fosters Mom 07-29-2010 08:56 PM

Thank you all!
I received my SmartPak alfalfa pellets today. I will order the SmartDigest tonight. I will do my homework to learn more about flax meal and calf manna.

Much appreciated,
Lisa & Billy

MIEventer 07-29-2010 09:21 PM

My 21 year old OTTB has always been a hard keeper until I got him on 2 products from SmartPak - one is the SmartDigest Ultra, and also SmartGut - and he's come around wonderfully since he was started on the digestive aid suppliments.

You can shove all you want down their throats, from grass, hay, fattening suppilments, alfalfa pellets and all that other expensive nonsence - but, if your horses digestive system isn't working properly, all that money you've spent on his groceries, aren't going to work because his body isn't processing it and using it to his advantage.

I'm glad you got Smart Digest - that's a start. You have to help them get their system balanced again inside first, before his body will use his food correctly to help him gain weight and maintain it.

Fosters Mom 07-30-2010 07:45 PM

Thank you.
What is the benefit of using SmartDigest along with SmartGut?
I looked up SmartGut and it talks about ulcers and having a healthy stomach lining.
How would I know if my 25 year old had an ulcer?

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