Putting weight on and keeping it on the senior horse
I have had my new girl, Thelma, for just about two weeks now. She is 22 and at an okay weight, but I would like to get more on her since winter is on our heels.
She has very good fatty deposits where she should (butt, thighs, neck, and chest are all very well filled in.), but her topline is lacking and though I can feel but not see her ribs, I would like a little more fat there too.
Where I got her from had her on four flakes of grass hay and a scoop (probably about 2 lbs) of Nutrena senior a day. She had turnout,but it was pretty well grazed down, so not much there.
I have her on pasture (still a little out there to nibble, but not too much now) and she gets five flakes of grass hay (has a little bit of alfalfa mixed in, but very little) the hay is just from 50lb bales, and 3lbs of Nutrena senior feed a day. (plus what ever sweet feed she steals from the other horses).
I know it's only been two weeks,but I haven't seen a change in her at all except for a monster winter coat already. This makes me wonder if I should think about blanketing her if she is already freezing and the snow hasn't even fallen... My other two are just starting to get fuzzy.
SO my question is, what can I do/ give her to get her in shape for winter? I have quite a few feed stores around me and they will order stuff for individuals, so tell me what you like and I can see about getting it.
I know nothing about blankets, but if it will help her to stay at a good weight by not burning so much energy to stay warm then I'll get her one.
I was thinking maybe beet pulp? I have seen the pelleted and the flaked stuff, but I don't know a thing about it so tell me about that if you think it will help.
Here is a pic from a couple days ago of her so you can see. Really it's her topline that I want the most improvement on. Also, she recently had her teeth done and everything looked great, so no worries there.
I love beet pulp pellets to help put on weight.
It already sounds like you're doing a good job, but if you want a little extra oomph for the winter without adding 'hot' calories or extra sugar, beet pulp is the way to go.
I don't know where you are, but I rarely blanket. I have to blanket my TB because his winter coat is skimpy, but I only do it during the coldest days. The Arabians generally won't tolerate blankets.
Nice looking girl, BTW. :-)
I honestly would skip the blanket. Depending on where you live, they can actually be more of a problem than a solution. When you are cold (50 degrees or below) a horse is comfortable. If it dips below zero several times a year in your area, a blanket is nice to have. I live in PA and we have really crappy winters. However, we aren't blanketing this year because:
All of our blankets rubbed hair last year. Two of the horses ended up with sores on their withers from them rubbing. These are good, expensive blankets with sleezy's on underneath.
Half the time the horses were sweating or too hot underneath them. Even when it was 35-40 degrees outside. When the sun shines down on them and they have a blanket on...they get warm fast.
There is no going back when you blanket this early. If you start rugging her at this time, you better be commited to it. If you take that blanket off her in january, she will be freezing. They get used to them and then rely on them. We weren't able to completly take blankets off til late March this year...they all would shiver when we took them off.
As far as the weight thing, SR gave great advice. It sounds like she is getting a good amount of hay...you may have to up it in the winter just to make up for the lack of pasture.
She looks great! I love the seniors. They have a special place in my heart. Glad to hear that she is being taken care of!
We are in the same process as you are.
What we do is give them 1 lb rice and 1 lb of gentle balance LMF. I don't know if you have LMF but it really is an awesome brand. We also put in some alfalfa cubes and lots of grass hay. We go through a 50-60 bale in one day with 3 horses.
oh and CW is right with blanketing. If she has shelter you don't really need to blanket. My horses are being blanketed though because they are all going out in the pasture.
So I think I heard someone say that the beetpulp pellets didn't have to be soaked if you don't want to. Is that true? That would be best since I work second shift so I only feed mornings and the barn owner feeds more hay in the afternoon. I am very strained for time some days so waiting on soaking beet pulp would be tough. I can manage if I have to, but it would be difficult.
I live in Northern Il. Quite literally on the stateline with Wisconsin. The road is the stateline. Heading East in the right lane is Illinois, but if you jumped into the left lane, you'd technically be in Wisconsin.
We've had some weird winters the last couple of years, and we do get down into the negatives more than a few times before the season is over. I was thinking more of, let her coat grow in and see how she held her weight before blanketing her. I don't want to do anything unnecessary. My other two are giant fuzz balls, but it just has me a little on edge with her age.
And thank you, she's made having horses enjoyable again. I am very grateful to her, even if she doesn't understand what that means. :D
I think blanketing her would be an issue as she has quite the set of withers on her. They are white where there have been poorly fitting saddles on her in the past. Poor girl.
And I would like to get a round bale out there just so they had something to nibble on all day even if it isn't super high quality hay between feeding the good stuff. There are people that end up not using all of their hay from the year before and sell it cheap to make room for the new stuff. It's not dusty or moldy, just not new. There is a lady down the road from me that got rid of her horses a few years ago and has a nice horse style round feeder that I would like to get my hands on first but we'll see...
Thank you! I have grown quite fond of the seniors. They just seem to be ready to give you what they've got instead of fighting you or trying to get out of work. But she is still spunky and has lots of pep. She's ready to go when I am and has no problem flying backward with both feet aimed at Deja's head when she gives her some lip!:lol:
I fill plastic bottles (a bucket would work, too) with warm/hot water. After the beet pulp and feed are in the feed tubs, I pour enough water over the food to cover it. Then I take a wooden spoon and stir it up, so that everything gets wet.
Wait several minutes for all the water to be absorbed, stir it again to break up any clumps, and give it to the horses. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! :-P
I always make sure the horses have extra weight going into winter, the old guy especially. They lose a bit before spring comes, but not enough to concern me.
If they start to lose too much, I up their beet pulp and hay.
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