Feeding the Fat Morgan and Senior Half-Arab - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Feeding the Fat Morgan and Senior Half-Arab

I've finally convinced myself that Minnie the Morgan is actually getting plump, and may need further feed adjustments to avoid any problems with IR or getting any plumper. Toofine the senior, however, remains in a slightly ribby state, no matter the amount of feed that I shovel into him. They both need to eat the same feed, and I'm stuck staring at the feed choices that I have and which one I should go with. I have a preference, but I am wondering what others think...

Here are their current feed regimens:
Minnie the Plump Morgan:
- 1/2 qt Safechoice Maintenance
- 1 oz Mineral Sea Salt
- 56.7g Magnesium 5,000

Toofine the Senior Half-Arab:
- 1/2 qt Safechoice Maintenance
- 1/2 oz Mineral Sea Salt
- 58g SmartFlex Ultra Pellets
- 3 oz Cool Calories


I originally choose Safe Choice Maintenance in order to have something simple for Minnie to have her supplements in, while having something higher in fiber to keep their guts happy while eating it. I add Cool Calories to Toofine's feed to make it similar to a Senior feed, while benefiting from the higher fiber in the Maintenance feed. I gave up on Safe Choice Senior and Purina Senior, as they made no difference in Toofine's weight (and quite frankly, I'm fine with his ribs showing a tiny bit, much better than being plump!).

Here are the feeds and their 'important' stats that I am looking at. I would really, really like to return to Gro 'n Win, as that is what I fed while still living in the lower peninsula of Michigan and had access to it. I just realized SmartPak has it on their website, so I realized it's possible again! Otherwise I have access to the feeds that Tractor Supply carries.
Feed: Safe Choice Maintenance
Protein: 12%
Fat: 5%
Fiber: 18%
Dietary Starches/Sugar: 25%
Feed: Gro 'n Win
Protein: 32%
Fat: 5%
Fiber: 5%
Dietary Starches/Sugar: 13%
Feed: Purina Enrich
Protein: 32%
Fat: 5%
Fiber: 5.5%
Dietary Starches/Sugar: 15%
Feed: Renew Gold
Protein: 15%
Fat: 15%
Fiber: 22%
Dietary Starches/Sugar: 10.6%
I'm intrigued about trying Renew Gold due to the lower starches/sugar, but I think that the fat % will just encourage Minnie to get more plump. I like that Gro 'n Win has lower starches/sugar than their current Safe Choice Maintenance, but I was really hoping the fiber % would be higher to keep their guts happy. What would you choose given the choices? I am also open to suggestions, as long as they are available on SmartPak or Chewy!

Edit: Forgot to mention that they get free choice hay in nets, and have access to pasture in the summer months. In the future, I will be asking that Minnie gets turned out on grass at night to help limit how much sugar she is taking in!

Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan
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post #2 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 07:01 PM
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Can you add something? I would keep the simplest "ration balancer" feed but try adding beet pulp or alfalfa for the older guy. Low sugar/starch is important. I would not feed Safe Choice.

I also am curious why they are getting the same amount of feed? I assume that is per meal twice a day, and would at least double if not more Toofine's dose. 1/2 qt 2x/day is typically a good maintenance. I am not a fan of adding a "calorie" supplement unless everything else is exhausted good feed is more important, nor does that in any way "mimic" a senior feed. I think swapping up their feeds will give you drastic improvement in both of them.

Of the options listed I would go with one of the two ration balancers and supplement Toofine.
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post #3 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
Can you add something? I would keep the simplest "ration balancer" feed but try adding beet pulp or alfalfa for the older guy. Low sugar/starch is important. I would not feed Safe Choice.

I also am curious why they are getting the same amount of feed? I assume that is per meal twice a day, and would at least double if not more Toofine's dose. 1/2 qt 2x/day is typically a good maintenance. I am not a fan of adding a "calorie" supplement unless everything else is exhausted good feed is more important, nor does that in any way "mimic" a senior feed. I think swapping up their feeds will give you drastic improvement in both of them.

Of the options listed I would go with one of the two ration balancers and supplement Toofine.
I have gone down the route of alfalfa, beet pulp, various oils... Nothing has ever added weight to Toofine. When we first moved here, the picture below was when he was eating 4 qts of Senior feed a day. His coat was dull, he wasn't shedding nearly as well, and he was showing ribs much more.

When I tried beet pulp and alfalfa, he would quit eating it. He is very, very picky with anything that has to be soaked, and quickly turns his nose up to it. Cool Calories was a test for us to see if he would eat a fat supplement instead, and he gobbles it up.

The feed amounts are fed once per day. This started out as a test when I switched off of Senior Feed and wanted to see what he would do with just a maintenance feed. His weight hasn't changed, and honestly, he looks a lot better than what he was before. I added the Cool Calories to see if they may add weight onto him, and he hasn't changed much, so I just up'd how much he was getting by an ounce. I'm trying to find the 'simplest' route to maintaining him, and how I can feed the 'least' to him so most of what goes through his gut is what is supposed to, forage.

I am open to adding alfalfa pellets into his feed, but since he hasn't changed since decreasing in the volume of feed, I don't really want to add more pelleted, processed feeds into his diet. In the years I competed him, I tried Ultium, Triple Crown Senior, a special mix from a feed mill, and other high fat feeds. He remained at this slight ribbyness. Would alfalfa pellets be able to be fed dry?

*Edit: I also will be getting a feed scale within the next week or so, then I will have the weight I am feeding!

**Edit: How do you feel about rice bran being added for calories?

***Final Edit: I also want to avoid any of the single serving SmartPaks!

Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan

Last edited by ClearDonkey; 08-10-2019 at 07:22 PM.
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ClearDonkey View Post
I have gone down the route of alfalfa, beet pulp, various oils... Nothing has ever added weight to Toofine. When we first moved here, the picture below was when he was eating 4 qts of Senior feed a day. His coat was dull, he wasn't shedding nearly as well, and he was showing ribs much more.

When I tried beet pulp and alfalfa, he would quit eating it. He is very, very picky with anything that has to be soaked, and quickly turns his nose up to it. Cool Calories was a test for us to see if he would eat a fat supplement instead, and he gobbles it up.

The feed amounts are fed once per day. This started out as a test when I switched off of Senior Feed and wanted to see what he would do with just a maintenance feed. His weight hasn't changed, and honestly, he looks a lot better than what he was before. I added the Cool Calories to see if they may add weight onto him, and he hasn't changed much, so I just up'd how much he was getting by an ounce. I'm trying to find the 'simplest' route to maintaining him, and how I can feed the 'least' to him so most of what goes through his gut is what is supposed to, forage.

I am open to adding alfalfa pellets into his feed, but since he hasn't changed since decreasing in the volume of feed, I don't really want to add more pelleted, processed feeds into his diet. In the years I competed him, I tried Ultium, Triple Crown Senior, a special mix from a feed mill, and other high fat feeds. He remained at this slight ribbyness. Would alfalfa pellets be able to be fed dry?

*Edit: I also will be getting a feed scale within the next week or so, then I will have the weight I am feeding!

**Edit: How do you feel about rice bran being added for calories?

***Final Edit: I also want to avoid any of the single serving SmartPaks!
Of course he's picky! It's never that simple ;). 4 qts daily isn't a huge amount of feed, I consider it my "healthy maximum" for a horse Arab sized (meaning if they still need weight at that point I'll start looking elsewhere lol but I'm comfortable feeding that). If he does better with this feed then I would simply up the amounts he gets, 1/2 per day is barely anything especially if he's a little thin, you can definitely do 1/2 twice a day and still have him on a very minimal grain ration.

There are hay supplements designed as grain pellets that may help (like the big hay stretcher but made in grain sized pellets so don't need soaking...if you can find them!) If he's not showing a positive change on something cut it out. I assume you do NOT mean alfalfa when you said "pelleted processed feeds"? You wrote them back to back so just checking. Fully agree that forage should be first! I assume he's getting free choice good quality hay, and your mare is getting more restricted quality hay :). I haven't fed alfalfa pellets in awhile but assuming they are pretty small then no they don't need to be soaked, large pellets should be soaked, it really just depends on the style and your horse, mostly it's a choking risk. I think I've only seen alfalfa pellets in the larger style. You can also experiment with soaking (just damp, soupy, etc) or maybe he would like the cubes soaked. You could try alfalfa hay or something too if you haven't already, that might be very beneficial for him. I know that can be hard to get in some areas, it is here! But a flake or two a day would be plenty.

Have you ruled out possible health issues? Ulcers? I find it very odd that he has proven to be such a hard keeper despite feeding established quality high fat feeds. Not that his weight is poor, like you said better then fat, but you would expect him to fluctuate a little more when fed such different things! Unless you're continuing to feed at minimal doses... I just feel like there's a missing puzzle piece here, hmmmm....

Scales are great, my head works in amounts lol but most basic pelleted feeds (including the safe choice) are about 1 qt = 1 lb.

I don't like rice bran as I think there are better options (beet pulp, alfalfa, etc) but it may be a good choice for a horse that won't eat those things. Might be worth a shot for him. You could also look into keeping the grain amount the same but adding a top dress maybe calf manna or something specifically designed for weight like omegatin or amplify, that would likely be the direction I would try next for him (aside from getting some alfalfa into him, I think that would be a good thing!)
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post #5 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 10:54 PM
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You can feed alfalfa pellets dry. I find they don't like them after a few weeks of feeding it.

Out riding my horse.
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post #6 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
Scales are great, my head works in amounts lol but most basic pelleted feeds (including the safe choice) are about 1 qt = 1 lb.
Just to point out realistically, this is true about the pellets I've weighed. So you're feeding around 1/2 lb of pellets. You're very concerned and analytical about the exact ratios of less than 1% of your horse's diet. That's basically like considering the effects on your own health from 1% of what you eat each day. I'm assuming your horses eat around 20 lbs of feed or so.

Something else to consider when using something like Cool Calories to add weight. It has about 250 calories per ounce per the company, so with 3 oz you're feeding 750 calories. That's a little less than a pound of hay/calorie wise. That's really not going to add much weight to any horse, but it can certainly add to skin and coat health.

I would consider a horse an easy keeper if they can be maintained on hay plus only about 1,500 extra calories from supplements (fat plus your half pound of pellets). So I certainly wouldn't worry about your thinner horse. He's barely getting anything beyond his regular hay. If he does become a harder keeper later in life, you have a long ways you can go with adding feed.

It really doesn't matter a whole lot what you're feeding at just a half pound, of the choices you've listed. Basically, if your hay is 11% NSC and whatever protein level it is, even if your 1/2 lb of pellets are 25% NSC (and your protein level whatever), when you average it over your horse's entire diet, you still come up with less than 12% NSC overall. That half pound just does not affect the diet very much.

With this type of feeding plan, I'd say your most important factor is the quality of your hay, NSC and protein level of your hay, along with the NSC level of your pasture. Those are the things that will end up causing IR or issues with the horse rather than these small additions.
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post #7 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
Of course he's picky! It's never that simple ;). 4 qts daily isn't a huge amount of feed, I consider it my "healthy maximum" for a horse Arab sized (meaning if they still need weight at that point I'll start looking elsewhere lol but I'm comfortable feeding that). If he does better with this feed then I would simply up the amounts he gets, 1/2 per day is barely anything especially if he's a little thin, you can definitely do 1/2 twice a day and still have him on a very minimal grain ration.

There are hay supplements designed as grain pellets that may help (like the big hay stretcher but made in grain sized pellets so don't need soaking...if you can find them!) If he's not showing a positive change on something cut it out. I assume you do NOT mean alfalfa when you said "pelleted processed feeds"? You wrote them back to back so just checking. Fully agree that forage should be first! I assume he's getting free choice good quality hay, and your mare is getting more restricted quality hay :). I haven't fed alfalfa pellets in awhile but assuming they are pretty small then no they don't need to be soaked, large pellets should be soaked, it really just depends on the style and your horse, mostly it's a choking risk. I think I've only seen alfalfa pellets in the larger style. You can also experiment with soaking (just damp, soupy, etc) or maybe he would like the cubes soaked. You could try alfalfa hay or something too if you haven't already, that might be very beneficial for him. I know that can be hard to get in some areas, it is here! But a flake or two a day would be plenty.

Have you ruled out possible health issues? Ulcers? I find it very odd that he has proven to be such a hard keeper despite feeding established quality high fat feeds. Not that his weight is poor, like you said better then fat, but you would expect him to fluctuate a little more when fed such different things! Unless you're continuing to feed at minimal doses... I just feel like there's a missing puzzle piece here, hmmmm....

Scales are great, my head works in amounts lol but most basic pelleted feeds (including the safe choice) are about 1 qt = 1 lb.

I don't like rice bran as I think there are better options (beet pulp, alfalfa, etc) but it may be a good choice for a horse that won't eat those things. Might be worth a shot for him. You could also look into keeping the grain amount the same but adding a top dress maybe calf manna or something specifically designed for weight like omegatin or amplify, that would likely be the direction I would try next for him (aside from getting some alfalfa into him, I think that would be a good thing!)
All of this was very helpful! I can adjust the amount of feed he is getting tomorrow when I visit the barn. We will see what an additional half quart does for him.

Tractor Supply in my area carries the Dumor beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and timothy grass pellets, and also Standlee products. I am willing to try hay pellets out, it would just be tough getting rid of a 40 lb bag if he turns his nose up!

As for hay, both of them have free-choice hay on netted, slow feed round bales. Their pasture isn't great grass, nothing seeded by any means, it is under a lot of tree cover and whatever grows naturally. My BO bushhogs all of the crappy stuff down as it needs, so it is taken care of so they don't run out of anything to munch on. She also rotates pasture, it's just not GREAT grass. The hardest part about feeding him flakes of alfalfa as a supplement is that he is pastured with two other geldings, and he no longer is pushy enough to not share a hay pile. My BO may consider separating him long enough to eat a flake or two of alfalfa, but she is a very busy lady and I don't want to pile too much more onto her.

I had the vet out last winter for an a sheath swelling issue, and she commented that his overall health is very good. Every vet that has seen him isn't too concerned about his slimness, as everything is completely normal with him. I haven't considered ulcers as he has never shown the typical signs; no mood changes, discomfort, problems working... and he can be an honest horse when something is bothering him. I could look into dosing him with an ulcer medication, but he isn't showing any signs.

I have considered a top dressing for his feed, and I have had friends have success with Calf Manna. One of my 'requirements' to any additions is that they can be added to baggies that I mix his joint supplement, cool calories (until they run out), and loose salt with. I really don't want to be a boarder that hauls tubs and tubs of additions out to the barn, and would like it to stay as simple as possible for my BO!

Also, I could've included his workload in his description. Before I came to college, I was riding him 3-5 times a week, and competing pretty often in speed events, jumping, pleasure, etc etc. Since being up here, I showed him last summer in the same type of events and this summer all we have done is trail ride or do light arena work occasionally maybe two to three times a week. Since last summer to this summer, his weight has been constant, even with the differing workloads.

I don't know if his barrel conformation may have anything to do with it, but anyone that has ever seen him has commented on how large of a barrel he has. Sometimes from a distance it looks like he is a round, pregnant mare rather than my very not pregnant gelding. Who knows!
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Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan
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post #8 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
With this type of feeding plan, I'd say your most important factor is the quality of your hay, NSC and protein level of your hay, along with the NSC level of your pasture. Those are the things that will end up causing IR or issues with the horse rather than these small additions.
Then in this case, sounds like the Fat Morgan has a grazing muzzle in her future, at least for the summer months. I know that Morgans can be very easy keepers, but gee, she is round for just getting hay and some 'meh' pasture.

I would like to choose the best vessel for her supplements though, as most of the feeds are listed are at the same price point and I would like to feed the best that I can.
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Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan
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post #9 of 30 Old 08-10-2019, 11:45 PM
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Problem with Renew Gold is it reads off the manufacturers website as, "Renew Gold™ is a supplement for all classes of horses"...
To me, that means it is not their base feed but a top-dressing to fill in the blanks missing in the diet. https://www.renewgold.com/renew-equine
Purina Enrich is not for a "harder-keeper" as your one horse sounds...easy keeper, your air-fern in the making, it works.
https://www.purinamills.com/horse-fe...ing-horse-feed

Since you are using TSC for feed also know if you want something particular from any of the brands they stock and it is not in store they can and will special order it for you, speak to the store manager.
I would not be happy feeding anything with sugar/starch numbers of 25% to my horses...that alone would have me looking elsewhere...to what though is a larger dilemma possibly.


Have you tried just feeding your thinner horse a flake of alfalfa hay 1x or 2x a day with the rest of her hay?

Neither of your horses from the pictures appears to be headed to obesity nor is the other skinny by any means.
What I see is lack of muscle with weight hanging in the belly or a diminished topline {?}.....
From the pictures offered...I would score both your horses as 5 on the Henneke scoring system.
...
jmo...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #10 of 30 Old 08-11-2019, 08:02 AM
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I have been very happy with Purina's Enrich. It works well at 1 lb per serving for my air ferns and I can add a little Strategy or Ultium or Amplify for those that need some extra calories. It's a ration balancer, so designed to be fed in small amounts. My horses all like the Enrich & the ones I've been adding the Amplify to, like that. Never have feed left behind.
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