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Hey everyone!


My barrel horse, Kyler, he's 19 years old, 16.2hh. Since the winter, he has dropped a lot of weight. He always has his blanket on when is 40 degrees or below. I stopped riding and shoes were pulled for the winter. (It rains a lot and is muddy, and I'm not riding anyways so we decided he didn't need to wear his shoes.) He had his teeth done before I bought him back around March. He is on a regular worming schedule with alternating wormers.

Right now he is eating:
3 "scoops" of Purina Senior
1/2 "scoop" of pelleted rice bran
1 "scoop" alfalfa pellets

He gets this in the am and then the same thing in the pm. Usually I try to soak it in warm water to make it easier for him to digest.

And when we have hay, he gets all he can eat. (It's hard to come by this time of the year.)

He loves it and he is stalled to eat, he is eating all of what he is given and is drinking plenty of water.

Should I feed more? Try different supplements? Change my feeding plan?

Im looking for opinions and suggestions please & thank you in advance!
 

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If he is underweight, he needs more calories. You can increase his feed,add fat, but you need to add calories, however you do it.

Have his teeth checked, and get a fecal egg count to be certain he can utilize whatever you give him.

Nancy
 

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Hey everyone!


My barrel horse, Kyler, he's 19 years old, 16.2hh. Since the winter, he has dropped a lot of weight. He always has his blanket on when is 40 degrees or below. I stopped riding and shoes were pulled for the winter. (It rains a lot and is muddy, and I'm not riding anyways so we decided he didn't need to wear his shoes.) He had his teeth done before I bought him back around March. He is on a regular worming schedule with alternating wormers.

Right now he is eating:
3 "scoops" of Purina Senior
1/2 "scoop" of pelleted rice bran
1 "scoop" alfalfa pellets

He gets this in the am and then the same thing in the pm. Usually I try to soak it in warm water to make it easier for him to digest.

And when we have hay, he gets all he can eat. (It's hard to come by this time of the year.)

He loves it and he is stalled to eat, he is eating all of what he is given and is drinking plenty of water.

Should I feed more? Try different supplements? Change my feeding plan?

Im looking for opinions and suggestions please & thank you in advance!

From the perspective of a healthy (i.e. low sugar, low NSC, etc), high caloric, easily digestible feed (i.e. not something that is not good for their digestive system like grains) the best thing I can think of is beet pulp (soak and drain it if it has molasses which most do) and copra. Both are the left over by-products that provide good feed value.

Beet pulp is very easily digested fiber for hindgut with a higher nutritional value than the same weight in hay by 1/3 or more (depending on the hay it can be more). Good for keeping the hindgut working properly (one reason grain should never be fed) and requiring much less energy to digest so it provides a greater gain over loss ratio.

Copra is the left over coconut "meat" after the oil has been extracted. Super easy for them to digest. All in the foregut. Goes straight into the system. Hi calories.

Both can be fed soaked or dry. If the beet pulp has molasses I would recommend soaking and draining to remove it (too much sugar...it's not good for the horse). If fed dry recommend that plenty of water is readily available. No they won't get messed up from the feed swelling inside them. The only danger you have from feeding dry is if they bolt their food dog that hasn't eaten for days (which some horses do). Feeding dry isn't a problem if they eat in a normal fashion.

I'd keep free choice hay in front of them and if there's grass that's not stressed available it can be good to (need to be careful though to avoid the NSC and/or sugar). You'll still to insure the proper minerals, amino acids and having the right ratio Hay should provide some. Beet pulp is great for CA. but virtually no P. Copra is great for P, but low in CA. The compliment well. Should always have a slightly higher CA to P ratio. But there are still the other things, like zinc, phosphorus, copper, etc, etc, etc, etc, (and that's just the minerals....then there's the amino acids, which I'm don't have time to go through just like I didn't really go through the minerals). Equine digestion and nutrition is something everyone should study (would alter the domestic equine world) since too often they suffer from, even end up being killed, as a result of the caregiver's kindness (i.e. lovely cared for, but not properly cared for). e.g. Secretariat deal at 19 (does anyone imagine that they didn't lovely take care of him? $$$$$$$$$$$$$)
 
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I would recommend taking him off the Purina Senior. Go to the Triple Crwn website and do a dealer search. Get Triple Crwn Senior. Then you will not have to worry about all the details of balancing feed.....you can just trust that Triple Crown knows what they are doing!

It should not be a LOT higher in price than Purina, but you can cut out the other stuff you are feeding, except hay, and save some money there.

My 28 yo (BIG) Paint came back from a lease in horrble condition. He WAS eating Purina Senior. I put him on TC Senior, and he has BLOOMED. He looks better now than he has for 10 years. He has always been a VERY hard keeper, and on the TC I have actually cut his feed BACK!! For about 3 months, he ate 4 3-qt scoops, plus a little bit at lunch. Now he is eating 3 3-qt scoops.

Good Luck!!

Nancy
 

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Weigh what you are feeding. For an underweight horse, I would feed 2.5% of his DESIRED body weight in forage every day at least. If you can't find hay, get some hay cubes of pellets. Beet pulp has a lot of advantages, one of which is that it can replace some of the hay. Just make sure you are exchanging an equal amount by weight.

If you have no other choice than to feed Purina Senior, check the feed label. Make sure you are feeding the proper weight every day.
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If he is not getting hay and is only being fed twice a day, he will be at risk for ulcers, which can result in trouble gaining and maintaining weight as well. If he is not getting long stem hay, he needs roughage in another form- either more hay pellets or cubes, or beet pulp. The alfalfa pellets and senior feed provide some, but what does one of your 'scoops' weigh? If he is not gaining weight, in this case, I would suspect that the main issue is simply that he is not getting enough food. A typical 1000lb horse needs, at minimum 15lbs per day, and likely closer to 25 or more if he needs to gain weight.
 

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I would stick with what you are doing and then add in beet pulp(as suggested) and give him at least 4 flakes of hay a day, more if you have it.

There is no problem with feeding Purina, in fact, they have spent the most $$ to research what a horse needs(by actual trained verterinarians and nutritionists), and the Purina Senior feed is the MOST recommended senior feed.

Some folks have an issue with Purina's "formula" not being "fixed"...the reason it isn't fixed is because the nutrient value in the grains and roughage products change daily, so they have to remix the ingredients to get the desired "fixed" correct percentages of protein, nutrients, minerals, etc. I would rather Purina change some of the ingredients to keep the end result the same.
 
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