Senior on Food Strike - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Senior on Food Strike

Very picky 25-ish Arab mare periodically goes on a food strike, but currently doesn't have weight to lose. Dainty 14.1hh, 750lb goal weight, weight tape shows her at 725lb with her thick winter coat. Heart murmur & several melanomas but otherwise deemed healthy for her age at her physical/dental appt in October, no ulcers or Cushings.

Still energetic and frequently galloping about the pasture, still chatty when the feed is dropped, but only consuming around 1/4lb of concentrated feed, the leaves of 2 two-string flakes of alfalfa (ignores stems so I don't know actual consumption weight) and nibbling at mediocre grass hay each day. Ideally she'd be eating 4lbs Triple Crown Senior/1lb Calf Manna (split in 3 meals,) and all her alfalfa each day. Currently in the dry lot/no grazing due to N Texas rain, no extreme cold or stress, run-in shelter/not stalled, one pasture mate who gets tied up at feeding time so this senior can eat.

Won't touch damp or wet food, won't touch food if vegetable oil is added, little interest in dry alfalfa pellets or cubes. No signs of teeth or gum soreness. Some success following her around the paddock and repeatedly shoving the grain bucket under her face when she stops, lol.

What would YOUR next step be? I don't feel like this still-sassy mare has "given up" yet, but as a friend mentioned, "She's an Arabian and they don't always play by the rules."
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~Reserved Cash, 2011 AQHA gelding~
~Lark, 20-something Arabian mare~
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 01:10 PM
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I know you said she's had her teeth done recently, but maybe it's time to see if you can find more of a dental specialist? At that age it can be kind of hard to work with their teeth. I don't suppose she's doing anything obvious like dropping feed or hay?

I have a picky one, too, and I've found that he tends to like variety. Could you maybe try a different kind of feed? And possibly sneak some alfalfa pellets in there? Alternately, adding things like beet pulp (if she's picky she probably won't eat it though) and treats-- things like apples, carrots, bananas, cookies?

If you're desperate, and sugar intake isn't an issue, could you try sweet feed mixed with a vit/mineral supplement?
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 01:47 PM
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Is this the time of year when pasture stars greening up in your part of the country? A friend once had a mare that would refuse to eat hay when it was spring and the grass was growing, she decided she should be out on pasture and never mind the hay, just let me out in the field.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 01:52 PM
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I think I mentioned this on another thread, but it might be worth mentioning here as well. I recently discovered Nutrena ProForce Senior and my 18 year old mare LOVES it. It is very sweet smelling and tasting, very much like a sweet feed, except you are supposed to be able to feed it as a complete ration. It contains beet pulp for fiber, but because of the wonderful sweet taste (yes, I admit to tasting it) my mare thinks this is the best treat ever!


I just feed it as a treat, so I'm not feeding a lot of it, but any horse that likes sweet feed I can't imagine not liking this. It's like the senior feed version of sweet feed. And it's supposed to be for active/performance type horses, so it should be high in calories (which is why my chubby girl just gets "treats" and not complete servings).


https://www.nutrenaworld.com/product...ior-horse-feed


I find it at the local Tractor Supply.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodhaven View Post
Is this the time of year when pasture stars greening up in your part of the country? A friend once had a mare that would refuse to eat hay when it was spring and the grass was growing, she decided she should be out on pasture and never mind the hay, just let me out in the field.
That is a good point, we've had a very mild winter and the rain is definitely greening up the ground right now. Hopefully she'll realize she's stuck in the dry lot for awhile with all this rain and needs to eat the feed I'm offering...
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~Reserved Cash, 2011 AQHA gelding~
~Lark, 20-something Arabian mare~
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 07:51 PM
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Oh, one other thing that might work if yours is the boss. I resort to this sometimes. I bring out food when all three of them are all together in the open, and put it out. Moonshine and Pony try to eat it, of course. Then Teddy (the picky one, who is also the boss of the group) sees them and thinks, "Oh, I must want that too," chases them off, and eats it.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 10:42 PM
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How frequently is she being fed? I might have missed that part.

I would try some different feeds, like Purina Senior, which everyone seems to really like. Plus toss some apples, carrots, pears, nicker maker treats, what ever she likes. I always feel like after a certain age, keeping their weight up is the priority.

Daily wormer helped my older horse a lot, he ate better and no diarrhea.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-13-2020, 11:13 PM
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Tractor supply sells one feed that is gets most of it's "energy" from peanut hulls. Peanut hulls are neither digestible nor tasty for horses.

Read your feed labels. Read the actual ingredients. If you don't know how to tell if a feed is good or bad, take the label to your veterinarian or another feed expert. If you don't get any good information there, take a picture of the label and put it on the forum or PM me and I will give you my email address so that you can send me a picture of the label.

If there is green grass available, it would be worth taking her out to graze several times a day.

I have a 32 year old mare. In the last few years, I have lost a 35 year old pony, a 30 year old mare, a 27 year old gelding, and a 31 year old mare. I keep them until they are through with this earth. I know that it is really expensive and labor intensive and emotionally draining to keep these guys going.

PM me. I'll be glad to look at your feed label.
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Celeste
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-14-2020, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
How frequently is she being fed? I might have missed that part.

I would try some different feeds, like Purina Senior, which everyone seems to really like. Plus toss some apples, carrots, pears, nicker maker treats, what ever she likes. I always feel like after a certain age, keeping their weight up is the priority.

Daily wormer helped my older horse a lot, he ate better and no diarrhea.
I feed at 5am, 5pm & 9pm. Grass hay nets during the day, closed into 15x15 ft area overnight with alfalfa hay so my dominant, fat-on-air gelding doesn't eat it.

Last 2 nights closed in she paced a trench at the divider instead of eating, so last night I tied up the gelding from 6-9pm and left the mare loose. She ate about 3lbs of alfalfa hay and 1/4lb of tiny alfalfa niblets with maple syrup. Ate another 1/4lb of plain alfalfa niblets this morning, so I'll try those again tonight. Some calories are better then none at this point, and I was relieved to find some of her poop this morning, lol. Will try adding in some other senior feeds over the next few days.

~Reserved Cash, 2011 AQHA gelding~
~Lark, 20-something Arabian mare~
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