Is my horse too thin? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Corfu, Greece
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Is my horse too thin?

Hi, I have my horse on permanent loan as his owners had to move to a different country. He's my first horse and had a really bad start in life, so is covered in scars but he's adorable! When I got him some people told me that he was a bit overweight especially as he's 18 years old. I've had him since the beginning of April and he has been turned out 24/7 and managed to eat his way through 16,000 square metres of land! I live on a Greek island so was told that he would lose weight during the height of summer so last month I started giving him 2 small cups of sugar beet mixed with 2 cups of bran and water. I've also added 30 g of a supplement called "in the pink" which someone brought over for me and is specially designed to help the digestive system and bones of older horses. Since last week 1've also been giving him a couple of bales of hay as the grass on our land isn't that brilliant. I had a text yesterday from the owners that they are coming over in 2weeks and want to check up on him and am now worrying myself sick that they'll think he looks thin - couldn't bear the thought of now losing him! I've attached a couple of photos, the first is when I got him, the second was taken today and the last is just my favourite photo of him. What do you think? Does he look OK and is there anything else I should or could be doing? Please bear in mind that I have limited resources over here so most things have to be sent from UK and there isn't even a equine vet on the island to ask for help! Thank you!
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post #2 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 08:31 AM
Green Broke
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Yes, he is very thin and poor. he might need worming as his belly looks round. Suggest he needs good quality forage or hay and increasing the hard feed. Can you get hold of linseed ?
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post #3 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 08:46 AM
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He has very much deteriorated. He actually looked good in the first photo. Do you have anyone local hat can help you with diet? Someone froma feed store?
Have you been giving him standard vet care?
He looks to need his feet cared for also.
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post #4 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 08:49 AM
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I would be honest with he owners and maybe they can help you get a proper diet.
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post #5 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 09:08 AM
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You're supposed to add the supplement to actual feed. I would buy him QUALITY senior feed, and start giving him hay. Not too much all at once, do it gradually. I'd say add 1/4 scoop of feed to the beet pulp for the first few days, and then up it to I/3, 1/2, etc. until he starts looking healthy and maintaining the weight. If you give a horse who's not used to feed a lot at first, it will be a pretty big shock to their digestive system.
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post #6 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 09:18 AM
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I had to go back and re-read your post, I thought the second picture was when you first got him because the he looks so much better in the first. I'm really surprised you even have to ask if he is too thin now. His coat looks much better in the first picture.
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post #7 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 09:30 AM
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He definitely could use some weight.

Give him as much hay as he'll eat. You say you're giving him a couple of bales, a day? a week? How heavy are the bales? Horses need 1 - 2% of their body weight in forage a day. And if the grass isn't high quality then most of that will need to come from hay. If possible, put the hay into some sort of slow feed net so that it will last him throughout the day and it won't gorge on it and then stand around with nothing to eat. Horses are grazers (as you've figured out with how much he's eaten the land down) and will graze for a good chunk of the day.

Then I'd supplement with a good quality senior feed. Something designated as a complete feed for senior horses with a good vitamin/mineral balance.

If a complete feed isn't available, beet pulp, rice bran, flax, alfalfa cubes/pellets, anything you can find to supplement the hay with and then add a vit/min supplement to.

How are his teeth? If they haven't been floated in a while they could be causing pain while he's eating or he's not chewing enough food and therefore not digesting it well.

Definitely could use a dewormer if you haven't already.

And definitely could stand to have his hooves trimmed. They look very long and run forward.
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post #8 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 10:34 AM
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Yes, he is too thin.

Since I have no idea what's available where you live I'd suggest you talk to other horse owners on your island and see what they feed their horses.

Worming & teeth floating are also things that need to be considered.
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post #9 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 10:55 AM
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No more bran - it can mess up the calcium balance. If you can weight the hay start with 20 lbs per day. It is best if it is well scattered or stuffed into a small mesh hay net. You can get them to fit a bale. It will slow him down which enables him to better digest it.

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post #10 of 98 Old 10-03-2014, 11:04 AM
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Yes he is too thin. It's not helped by the fact he has a big belly, which is potentially worms (especially taking into account the rougher coat) and that he seems to have lost a lot of his top line. As JC said, teeth can also be an issue, not because he can't eat, but without proper chewing he can't break down his feed well enough to get the nutrition from it

What do you have available to feed him? I'd suggest that your grass and any local hay is pretty low quality, so you will need to find a way to add calories, protein and vitamins/minerals.
I'd also worm him ASAP , and repeat in six weeks or get a fecal egg count done. Getting his teeth done sounds like it could be very difficult if there is no vet on the island, but ask around and see what other horse owners in your area do.
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