Hard Putting and Keeping on Weight - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hard Putting and Keeping on Weight

I still feel as though he’s is underweight. I don’t want to see his ribs.... at all! He’s getting the correct amount of feed, beet pulp, and he has 24/7 access to hay and grazing. He has been dewormed, got his teeth checked, and about 3 months ago was checked and cleared by a vet.

I don’t what to do. Alfalfa cubes didn’t help at all. What do you guys do for putting and keeping weight on hard keepers?
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 01:11 PM
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Have a look at the 'weight critique' thread for discussions on what constitutes 'underweight'. Your horse does not look too thin & I would not call him a 'hard keeper' based on that pic and he will likely be overweight to have that bare trace of a rib not showing at all. And given there's only one rib line obvious, I wonder if it's not like that due to injury or such, not weight.

But of course, one pic doesn't show whole story, perhaps it doesn't show him accurately. What & how much do you feed him? What do you mean by alfalfa didn't help? How much/how long did you feed it? Nutritional balance & ulcers are 2 possible reasons for 'failure to thrive' too.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 01:22 PM
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Excess weight causes other problems. If you add enough weight that his ribs donít show at all, his feet and legs may not hold him up. Donít discount how much the additional forces are exerted on his feet over a jump.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 01:49 PM
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Alfalfa cubes will make the difference...you need to give it time to work magic.

My vet told me...
For a horse of his size...
Alfalfa cubes not the mixed grass ones.
2 - 3 large handfuls ...like 2 handed sized large.
Fill a water bucket 3/4 full of water and add the cubes..let soak till they are completely soft.
Feed them everyday..no skipping a day here or there...
Feed them IN ADDITION to all his other rations.
It doesn't work in a day or two but you should see a difference in appearance by the time you finish the 50 pound bag of Tractor Supply brands cubes...
If you stop feeding them he will lose the weight and bloom he gains eating them.
Your horse looks amazing to me, mine was much thinner.
Today, the space between the ribs is filled in and covered with a layer of fat, his top-line is filled in and places I did not recognize as a deficit the weight has gone to and my horse looks amazing...
PS...my horse is 22 years old and if needing his feet done stands just over 16 hands and solidly built like yours.

Now, you have a Thoroughbred and no matter what you do they are near impossible to get "fat appearing" like some other breeds.
He is darn close though honestly..
Thoroughbreds are known as harder keepers just because they have a different working metabolism.
He is not thin, he is lacking some of his topline which could be from not riding back to front enough...he doesn't "push" he "pulls" and his muscling alludes to a heavy on the forehand way of riding.
It takes months to repair damages done and build new muscle, teach a horse to carry themself more effectively...
This guy is wearing a cribbing collar too isn't he?
That can also contribute to him using certain muscles more for urping...
But thin...no.
In fact, I would be cautious about packing to much more weight on his frame you might just head down a road in his health no one ever wants to travel to...be careful!

You should see just a hint of ribs when standing...when moving they should ripple below his skin.
Please do not make him so fat no rib is felt or seen cause then you went to far and made him obese.
Today to many have obese horses and think this is the way they should look...wrong.
Obesity in horses is unhealthy, period.

But yes..exactly what are you feeding him?
Brand and type of feed? How much? How many times a day is he fed this?
How much hay? What type of hay and how often?
Besides a round bale {are you still doing this?} how many pounds of hay is he fed daily in flakes?
Again...what kind of hay is he fed from square bales?
What else do you give him for supplements?
All he takes in makes a difference...

Might I suggest you take pictures not for a critique of how he is built but for a real critique of his weight.
I can pretty much tell you from this one picture...
His shoulder point is well covered, his wither and wither pad of fat is in place, his neck is fleshed not skinny, his flanks are flat if not slightly rounded, his tailhead is covered and his rump is rounded and full.
He is just starting to show a channel if you look from his butt forward along his spine.
His hind legs {upper} meeting under his tail are full as they should be...
His ribs are covered in flesh...not easily seen...sorry, one rib seen is not a issue.
Take the pictures and see what is seen by others and why...
...
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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He is getting 10 pounds of his feed a day. 5 in the morning, 5 at night, as suggested by the bag. It’s SafeChoice Original. We always have a round bale out for him. As for supplements, he isn’t on any.
We did soaked alfalfa cubes for about 2 months and didn’t notice any change so we switched to beet-pulp.

I can take more pictures tomorrow. I thought with the body scale it says that you shouldn’t be able to see any ribs, but you should be able to feel them. Here’s another picture of him right after a bath.
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 03:30 PM
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There are slight variations and interpretations on those scoring sites...
After you read, look at about a dozen of them you realize it is about the horse looking healthy, a comfortable weight for their body style.
Not only read some of those sites but ask for the pictures to be shown...
I just did "horse weight scoring" on my search bar and came up with numerous charts and then the pictures to accompany and individual to show more details...
For something you would say is #4 or a #5 or a #6 ....there is quite a bit of room for individual opinion.
The picture of the horse wet from a bath...is how old?
His dry picture shows different muscling and weight on his frame...
He looks good in both...honestly, I prefer his dry one better but from how thin he was till now, a vast improvement.
Like anything else, it took time to lose, it takes time to add and recover.
He's coming out of winter, a change of home and feeding schedules and food fed....
All that can and does make a difference...but he is well on his way to a solid gorgeous animal.


I did read the feeding directions/suggestions...Safechoice Original
I know you ride near everyday for hours at a time..or you did.
You just might not be feeding enough...just slightly less than what he needs.
Yes, the rule many go by is no more than 5 pounds per feeding of feed, but ....
He is not a a maintenance horse, but is burning calories of a moderate to intense exercised horse...that extra 2 or 3 pounds needing fed can make a huge difference in calories eaten a day...
I think SC Original is 1431 per pound...so add an extra 4,500 calories a day is a lot of calories to set the scale.
It takes 15,000 to maintain weight and as much as 33,000 a day to gain or more...
Don't forget to figure in his forage amounts and beet pulp numbers.

Do the math, figure it out and see what you are feeding if you really want to make him heavier...
I truly don't see him needing it at this point, not from the first picture shared...and I think that is most current {a gut feeling}...
...
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Now, you have a Thoroughbred and no matter what you do they are near impossible to get "fat appearing" like some other breeds.
He is darn close though honestly..
Thoroughbreds are known as harder keepers just because they have a different working metabolism.
This bit I don't quite agree with. Yes TB's are *often* hard keepers, because the way 'performance horses' esp racehorses are fed n managed causes gut probs. And the work they do effects their metabolism - that's not so much about breed. Of course different types of horse have different body shapes, but ime *healthy, well fed* TB's are just as likely to get fat as others.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 07:28 PM
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My vet recommended rice bran (in a wet mash) to put weight on a horse.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DreamerR View Post
He is getting 10 pounds of his feed a day. 5 in the morning, 5 at night, as suggested by the bag. Itís SafeChoice Original. We always have a round bale out for him. As for supplements, he isnít on any.
We did soaked alfalfa cubes for about 2 months and didnít notice any change so we switched to beet-pulp.
He does look a little thin in that second pic. You don't say how much alfalfa/beet pulp, but yeah if u only feed maint amount of safe choice & you're trying to put weight on, that's not enough. I would not increase the size of meals, if you're feeding 5lb plus however much beet pulp per feed. I'd feed around 5lb total at a time & add another meal.

And including a gut support/ulcer supp would probably be a good move if he's always been a 'hard keeper'.

Quote:
body scale it says that you shouldnít be able to see any ribs,
Depends which scale.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-21-2019, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
And including a gut support/ulcer supp would probably be a good move if he's always been a 'hard keeper'.

I think, not positive, but think this food product has added in the recipe some of that that you make comment on...

I know Nutrena Empower does and many of that recipe additives are used in other recipes...
...

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