What could have been wrong with her?
Hey all! I was recently thinking about my first horse and thought I'd post on here to see what you all think may have been wrong with her.
When I bought her (a TB), she was pretty underweight and I was told she was 14. The owner had owned her about two years and said in that time she'd put on a good deal of weight, so she must have been a skeleton when she got her. She cribbed and had worn down her front teeth a lot. My vet did an exam and x-rays and found her to be healthy, just underweight.
In the three years I had her, she usually weighed less than when I first got her. The best she looked was in the summer when I was able to work her daily, but that wasn't very often since something often went wrong (threw a shoe, some kind of injury, etc.) Even then, she was still underweight. I tried everything I was suggested feed-wise (beet pulp, hi-fi, rice bran, weight builer, etc.) and she always had good grass and/or hay. The vet scoped her for ulcers and ran blood tests, found her to be very slightly in the Cushing's range (can't remember what it's called exactly) and put her on meds, but nothing changed.
When I went to college, we went ahead and gave her to a friend of my grandmother who had a large farm and several rescue horses where she could spend the rest of her days grazing.
What do you think could have been the issue during the time I had her? I was thinking that maybe she was simply older than we were told, though when my vet did the pre-purchase, he didn't seem to doubt it. Her front teeth were really worn down, though, and would have been useless for aging. She was on a regular deworming schedule, as well.
Owning a OTTB that sounds very much like her, I'd say the problem was she cribbed. In my situation, I can feed my horse 3X what everyone else needs and he's still on the thin side because instead of eating hay or grazing, he cribs. Again with my horse, his incisors are so short, he can't nip grass very well or at all if it's short so eventhough everyone else can get what they need grazing, he has to have hay year round.
But my first mare was the same in that she would rarely crib when turned out, which was 24/7 except for meals. Unless she was in the shelter because of rain or extreme heat, she was grazing, and she seemed very able to nip grass :? Maybe she still wasn't getting enough, though.
"Hot" horses like TBs often do poorly on feed and hay/grass that is high in sugar. It can amp up their metabolism, making weight gain nearly impossible. I went through this with my husband's TBxArab gelding. What finally worked for him was free choice medium quality grass hay, alfalfa pellets, and flax meal. He got no other feed or grain. I used a good digestive aid and vitamin/mineral supplement with added amino acids.
Since your girl had worn teeth, her chewing may have been effected. If she were mine, I would have tried three meals a day of soaked hay cubes, 3 lbs of Alfalfa or TimothyxAlfalfa blend cubes (dry weight) with 1 cup of flax meal. Or two meals a day of 4-5 lbs each meal. I would add to that a vit/min supplement once a day and a digestive aid w/probiotics twice daily. Plus free choice hay and grazing. I would also keep a good cribbing collar on her 24/7. She may be cribbing when you're not looking ;-).
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