Which is more frustrating to deal with: Easy or Hard Keeper? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Which is more frustrating to deal with: Easy or Hard Keeper?

The horse I lease is an 'easy keeper'. seems no matter what we do he still has 'butt pillows' and a cresty neck. He's hungry all the time, no matter what or how much food is given .

Your horse? is he/she a hard keeper?

which situtation is more frustrating to deal with, in your opinion?. and, how do you deal with it?
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 03:34 PM
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Personally, I'd much rather have an easy keeper than a hard keeper.

For me, it's easier to restrict a horse's eating (and increase exercise) than it is to get one to eat more. "You can lead a horse to food but you can't make them eat."
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 03:38 PM
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Easy, hard or in the middle is all a problem unless you have pasture.
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 03:43 PM
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Definitely the 'easy keeper', they're a nightmare unless you've got a good 3 hours minimum to really work them properly most every day.
Trying to balance giving them enough food to not put them at risk of ulcers and them not fence walking or field hopping or pacing around the stable developing bad habits while keeping weight off them is really hard.


Most hard keepers have some underlying problem and once you get that fixed they're no longer hard keepers!!


Several of the horses I have now were sold to me as hard keepers - not any more they aren't!!!
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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We have all day turn out on pasture available to any of the horses at the barn, but the easy keepers are often forced to be on dry paddocks, becuase they will just eat themselves into sausages! (so round they look that way).

X has been on a dry lot for two months, timothy hay, no alfalfa , no grain. We try to ride him as much as we can, but it's really only 3 times a week or so . . . and he looks as fat as ever. The only time I"ve seen him get into better condition was when he was ridden 5 times a week, hard. He is an Andalusian, and seems able to live on air, except that he is HUNGRY~!
which means that when I take him out to tack up, I cannot resist giving him a bit more to nibble on. He just seems driven to distraction looking for something to eat, but is fat, fat, fat!
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
X has been on a dry lot for two months, timothy hay, no alfalfa , no grain. .

He just seems driven to distraction looking for something to eat, but is fat, fat, fat!
This would really concern me as a metabolic issue that needs medication from a vet.

You don't mention vitamins or minerals although I know you are giving in adequate amounts for the horses weight....
That horse could be hungry, genuinely hungry although "round"...
Consider a full blood panel and chemistry done as something is out of whack someplace and needs attention.

I have a easy keeper and I have a hard keeper and then those in the middle of both my problem children...
My hard-keeper lacks for nothing in his diet and is just older and a hard-keeper being that Thoroughbred metabolism of needing more calories.
My easy-keeper gets fed empty calories and a ration balancer....ration balancer you know why but those empty calories are fed so he leaves my other horses eating their feed ration alone in peace.
He is a pest and intimidates at feeding time if not having his own portion to chow down on...
....

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 07:23 PM
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I'll take a hard keeper over an easy keeper, hand down. I'd rather feed more than have to restrict and exercise constantly.

I've got a hard keeper. My previous horse was on the easier side. Was fat in the summer, but not dangerous. Hated it.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-19-2017, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
Definitely the 'easy keeper', they're a nightmare unless you've got a good 3 hours minimum to really work them properly most every day.
Trying to balance giving them enough food to not put them at risk of ulcers and them not fence walking or field hopping or pacing around the stable developing bad habits while keeping weight off them is really hard.


Most hard keepers have some underlying problem and once you get that fixed they're no longer hard keepers!!


Several of the horses I have now were sold to me as hard keepers - not any more they aren't!!!

I.m with Jaydee on this one!
When a horse is advertised as an easy keeper, that is NOT a plus for me
A hard keeper can be on full turn out, get extra food, have under lying condition discovered, and treated.

An easy keeper spells MANAGEMENT., esp if they like Carmen, have learned to get ride of every grazing muzzle out there!
Yup, thus I have excess pasture, acres of it, but need to lock up my easy keepers, at least part time and feed hay, which I now buy,-more in summer then in winter!
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-20-2017, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
This would really concern me as a metabolic issue that needs medication from a vet.

You don't mention vitamins or minerals although I know you are giving in adequate amounts for the horses weight....
That horse could be hungry, genuinely hungry although "round"...
Consider a full blood panel and chemistry done as something is out of whack someplace and needs attention.

I have a easy keeper and I have a hard keeper and then those in the middle of both my problem children...
My hard-keeper lacks for nothing in his diet and is just older and a hard-keeper being that Thoroughbred metabolism of needing more calories.
My easy-keeper gets fed empty calories and a ration balancer....ration balancer you know why but those empty calories are fed so he leaves my other horses eating their feed ration alone in peace.
He is a pest and intimidates at feeding time if not having his own portion to chow down on...
....
I agree. But , horse is not mine.
I would want to know if there is an insulin imbalance issue. in other respects, he is very hardy.
Additionally , his owner says that she does not worm as a routine but does fecal counts.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-20-2017, 09:39 AM
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I have both a hard keeper and an easy keeper. I'd choose the easy keeper, myself.

You can cut back an easy keeper's feed - how much they weigh depends entirely on how many calories you allow them to consume. They might want to eat more, but you can keep them healthy (this assumes you didn't let things get out of control in the first place and end up with bad hoof issues).

But how do you get calories into a horse that just won't eat enough? Not to mention, it only gets cheaper as you cut back on the easy keeper - no grain, just vitamins. The hard keeper gets more expensive as you add ulcer treatments, digestive supplements, things to balance the gut flora, different types of hay to tempt the palate, various fats and oils, beet pulp, complete feed, etc. Sometimes the issue is solvable, but with bad teeth, poor digestive absorption, chronic gut acidity, it can take a long time to get to the bottom of things and sometimes you can't fix it.

There are horses that have issues that make them feel hungry all the time. I've read about leptin resistance (no "shut off" for appetite), and horses with Cushing's have elevated cortisol levels - if you've ever talked to someone who has taken steroids like cortisol or prednisone they can attest to how hungry that makes you feel. Still, considering the horse's health and not feeding them as much as they'd like to eat, the weight can be controlled and the insulin resistance kept manageable if that is the problem.

I believe the main obstacles to an easy keeper are if you don't have the ability to manage the environment: say you don't own the property and can't make a good setup without a lot of grazing. Or if you don't have someone who can feed the horse to your specifications.
With the hard keeper, they can be sitting up to their ears in lush hay, pellets, everything else, and still be thin!
And there's no compunction about exercising the horse that tends to be chubby - more is better. You don't have to think about losing those precious pounds by riding too far.
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