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post #1 of 24 Old 07-11-2015, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Ecuador
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New Horse Owner

I never expected to own my own horses and now I've found myself the owner of two. They are sort of rescues. They were not abused, but were rather neglected and my husband and I couldn't stand to watch while we have the resources to care for them.

Let me give you a little back story. I live in a small town in Ecuador and people here have a different attitude towards animals than most North Americans do. Animals are there to help the people either through work or as meat animals (not horses of course) and few folks here have the money to sink into animal care. And so some, like our two, do not get the proper care that they should.

Now I've ridden with friends off and on for a couple years and taken some lessons, but I'm no expert. My horses are only 2.5 years old. I know, I know, it's not an ideal partnership, but we are committed to caring for them as no one else around here can and I'm willing to do whatever I need to care for and train them properly.

They are already broke to ride (the previous owner did that) and are as sweet as can be, but they need a lot more groundwork. There are no traditional barns/trainers/lessons in this section of the world so I need to find some good online instruction for what I should be doing with them. Any suggestions?

Also, the male is in desperate need of fattening up. I don't have access to fancy feeds here so I need natural things I can give him to pack on the pounds. Right now they have 24/7 access to pasture, but it's the dry season so pickings are becoming slim.
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-11-2015, 11:33 PM
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Location: Southern Indiana
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Welcome to the forum and horse ownership!

As for what to feed do you have hay available? If pastures are dried up then hay or some kind of forage is a must and should be the basis of your feed program. Grass hay with 24/7 access is good and then if they need some weight a few flakes daily of a legume hay will help. Alfalfa is the best legume hay for horses but I haven't a clue what kind of hay is grown in your part of the world. Oats are another option and, although it seems to have fallen out of favor these days, corn will help add weight. I still use corn in my feed mix and have never had a problem feeding it.
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Ecuador
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Thank you for the welcome JCnGrace. :)

There must be hay somewhere, but I've never seen it. Most people just move their animals from pasture to pasture through the dry season and let them forage whatever they can. Cisco (my colt) was skinny even before it dried out though so he obviously needs more. And he has a couple of sand cracks in his rear hooves so I think he's got a nutritional deficit. I know I can get corn here and probably oats so I'll get some of that ASAP for him. Can I put vegetable oil on the oats to add some fat?
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 10:51 AM
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Location: USA
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Originally Posted by WendyJane View Post
Can I put vegetable oil on the oats to add some fat?
Corn Oil is the best IMO to add to feed for putting on weight as far as cost being effective, Vegetable Oil is the least expensive, but does not give as good of a result as Corn Oil, Rice Bran Oil is probably the very best, but is the most expensive option.

I think we used about 6 ounces of Corn Oil per bucket of Feed, Corn Oil in the feed also helped one of our Horses who had a habit of Colicing, he would Colic a 2 or 3 times a year but after the Corn Oil trick he has not Coliced in over 5 years.

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post #5 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Central Hill Country Texas
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There is a product here in Texas called Chaffhaye which a lot of us ended up having to feed our horses during our drought when dry hay simply couldn't be bought unless you had the time and equipment to drive for a couple of days out of state.

Chaffhaye is a brand name of haylage, it comes out smelling a bit like wine and feeling soft like lawn clippings (it is formulated as grass or alfalfa). It is very good at putting on weight IF your horse likes it. There are pluses and minuses, research it and perhaps you can find some in your area.

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post #6 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 05:59 PM
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I would suggest if you have anyone who feeds beef cattle in your area contacting them and asking if they have extra hay, or know where you can get some. Cow hay and horse hay are not equal, but in a pinch it'll do. You can also feed small amounts of straw if you have that, though I can't remember if it's oat or wheat straw that's better.

Oats, corn, barley, split peas, vegetable/ corn oil will all help with weight gain, but if fed in excess with cause a calorie overload and possibly hyper horses or laminitis. I'd try to go with oats and the oil.

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post #7 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 08:20 PM
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Hi & welcome,

Sounds like while you're inexperienced/unprepared, you are being considerate & intelligent about it, so you'll/they'll be right, I'm sure! Good on you for taking them on!

Yes, free choice hay is important, if not enough grazing. That should suffice for most healthy horses not in hard work. Nutrition could do with a boost though, and if you can get a good mineral mix for horses(no idea, considering your location, you may have to buy online).

The thin horse may be wormy, and worm medicine for both horses will be a good move. Teeth could also be a problem - horses, as herbivores, grow & grind down their teeth over time, so tend to need them filed down periodically, if there are sharp hooks or points developing. Bad teeth can cause weightloss. Hopefully you can find a good vet who can check/file their teeth. Ulcers or other gut problems are a possibility too, esp if the horse was starved at all. Ensuring they've always got something to eat in front of them(horses naturally eat very small amounts near constantly) is most important, but there are also meds & herbs that aid gut healing, if needed. *If gut damage/ulcers, high starch(grainy) feed can exacerbate.

As for higher energy feed to supplement the hay, not knowing what's available there, but I imagine oats may be your best bet too. Cereal grain is high starch, which can be problematic for horses, and is hard to digest. Corn is both the hardest to digest and way high in starch, so I'd avoid that if possible. If you must, I'd cook it first, and feed in very small quantities. Oats however, are the lowest starch modern cereal grain and are reasonably digestible when fed whole/unprocessed. Still important to feed in small quantities, and little & often meals are important for whatever 'supplementary' feed, so if possible, feed over 3 or more small meals daily. At least 2 meals daily for any rich feed. Oil may be added, but horses don't naturally have the enzymes to digest it, so start in tiny amounts & build gradually to perhaps half a cup over a few meals a day if needed. Best to start any new feed gradually.

Hooves will need attending, and yes, cracks and unhealthy feet can be due to nutrition - gotta have all the ingredients to make a good cake! But it's also likely there are issues of hoof trimming. I imagine good farriers are rather more difficult to come by in your part of the world. Do you have someone in mind? To learn more about hooves & their care, check out the thread link in my signature below, and if you'd like to post pictures of hooves for opinions/advice, check out the other link below for what is needed.

And 2.5yo is still quite immature. I know they're often ridden/worked hard from a young age in many places, but immature bodies are more easily damaged, so I'd not be doing too much on their backs for another year or 2 at least. Light riding in a well fitting saddle is probably fine tho.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 09:51 PM
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Location: Temple, Georgia, USA 🇺🇸
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
And 2.5yo is still quite immature. I know they're often ridden/worked hard from a young age in many places, but immature bodies are more easily damaged, so I'd not be doing too much on their backs for another year or 2 at least.
I will agree with that.

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post #9 of 24 Old 07-12-2015, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Ecuador
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Thank you all for your help! I'll be searching out oats in town soon and see about worming them.

There is so much to learn and I've been reading/watching so much that I think my head may explode. I watched a Clinton Anderson video today and even though my horses are "broke" I think I need to start at the beginning with a lot of the groundwork. My husband made a rope halter (took him 2 days to figure out the YouTube video method, lol) and it works great, so now I need to buy more rope (only available an hour away by bus) for another halter and to use as lead ropes. Once that's done I'll get serious about training.

I definitely need to interact with them more on the ground and gain their respect. Even though they are good tempered they don't have total respect for me yet. They refused to go more than 20 yards down the trail today while riding and wanted to turn around back to their pasture. And yes we're only riding them lightly and only plan to use them for pleasure/trail riding.

Here are photos if anyone wants to see. BTW, they are both Paso Finos. The mare is named Cali and the my son is on Cisco.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg JC.jpg (69.2 KB, 108 views)
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-13-2015, 12:15 AM
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Both good looking horses! Not obviously unhealthy looking. The mare looks to have a roughish coat, but could be the season or her age.

I presume the horse being ridden is the 'skinny' one? He does look a little light, tho not at all bad, from what can be seen, saddle & rider being in the way. He looks perhaps more a finer, thoroughbred-y type, and also given his age, he could be just having a 'leggy teenage phase'. So if he's got enough roughage, he's wormed & teeth are in order, I'd probably forego the extras, at least for a bit, to see how he goes. As with people, lean is healthier generally, and also trying to 'beef up' immature horses risks developmental orthopaedic disorders(you will find lots of info on 'DOD's').

By light riding, at their age, I mean very light, such as sitting on them & going for a 5-10 minute walk every now & then. I'd wait another year or 2 for light 'real' riding

& don't mean to pick, just not sure how much you know, whether this is just a 'one off' or some such... It appears that saddle may not fit the horse & it is sitting forward on his shoulder blades, which would be uncomfortable. Also a 2.5yo baby, even if started really early, & 'quiet', hasn't had a lot of experience/education, and if your son's not an experienced rider/trainer, probably best not to let him ride much(especially without a helmet!), as everything you do with a horse is training it, and if the rider doesn't know what he's doing, the horse isn't sure about it, it's a good way of inadvertently 'untraining' a horse to be a good mount.
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