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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have a topline battle after a weight gain battle. My gelding has covered his ribs (4,5 BCS) but still with no changes in topline - it looks D in all three areas.
he is on adlib hay (average quality) and no grain diet (alfalfa/beet pulp) with moderate activity. I have been searching about equine nutrition a lot but have never ever seen or heard of the statement from the EQ nutritionist I got today:
“Fiber interferes protein digestion - you give your horse too much forage so the protein isn’t absorbed well.”
I’m puzzled really… does anyone heard this? Is it true?
 

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To build muscle you need adequate protein supplying the correct amino acids that meet the needs necessary for muscle development. Not all proteins are created equal. Not all proteins supply the limiting amino acids or even the amounts of amino acids necessary. There are conditions and other influencing factors that can cause a lack of development or loss of topline. Feeding excess trace minerals (copper, iron, zinc or iodine) can interfere with absorption and metabolism of other minerals as well as affect muscle development. So can having an inadequate supply of the proper gut flora necessary to produce enzymes that digest the fiber making it available. Diet influences the species of gut bacteria present which in turn determines usability of food stuffs provided. Digestion and absorption of necessary building blocks occurs in specific places along the digestive tract. Mess with the system and you impact the health of the animal. Horses are made to thrive on forage. Forage is high in fiber, provides protein and carbs as well as fat. Add in concentrates and you could throw the system off. Overfeeding concentrates can have a dramatic affect as well. Amounts fed at any one time need to be kept to a minimum so their digestive system is not overloaded. Several small meals a day even when feeding cubes or pelleted forage is better than them gorging then having nothing.

You may want to have him evaluated and tested for genetic or metabolic issues that impact topline development. The genetic factors can be breed specific so knowing the breed could give us a direction to point you in.


I'm curious to know the source that claims fiber interferes with protein digestion. Can you provide a link or c/p the source with credits.
 

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False. Fiber slows down protein digestion, which can actually help with absorbing essential amino acids. Any source that says to reduce fiber for horses should be viewed with skepticism. Horses need their primary diet to be roughage.

To help with the topline, I suggest changing the primary hay from average to high quality. You can also add essential amino acids with a supplement such as tri-amino. If you're not feeding a multivitamin and vitamin e, adding those could help also. A diet of hay and beet pulp is often lacking trace minerals and vitamins needed for muscle development such as e, magnesium and selenium.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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Agreed that a ration balancer of some kind, with at least the three most important amino acids, would likely help with the topline issues. It certainly can't hurt.

My horse is 24 years old and still in full work. She is fed:

Free choice local hay
Gets some pasture time (seasonally, of course)
Alfalfa pellets
Unsweetened beet pulp
(Which sounds more or less like what your horse gets?)

But I also add:
Amino Trace+ by Mad Barn (super thorough and complete vitamin, mineral, and amino acid supplement that is low NSC. Complete levels of zinc, copper, magnesium, biotin, and a lot of the things that people often have to add separately.)
W3 Oil by Mad Barn (easily absorbable oil with high omega 3 content, for its anti-inflammatory effect on my slightly-ancient horse. Also has great vitamin E levels.)
Tablespoon of plain table salt
Access to plain white salt lick

Here's a photo of her in late May this year:

1117374


Her topline isn't as good as it was in her younger years, but it's pretty great for an old lady with a long back, ex-broodmare tummy, and high withers. We also do a lot of raised poles, and I've started doing lots of hand-walking up hills with her, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This statement was said by a “specialist” in one of our equine food companies 😳 she recommended to reduce his forage to 12 kg or even 9 (his weight is appx 620 kg) omg!
thank you all, I thought I’m wrong.
She tried to sell me their balancer and now I will think twice am I needed something from this company 😁
I definitely will add vit min supplement and some amino supplement as well.
This is our topline:
1117385
 

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No matter how much I have worked with him, either on the long line or just walking, he has not gotten rid of his D-shape topline. I have tried to massage his muscles, but nothing seems to help. He is pretty muscled, so I'm not sure if this is the reason. I've read on druggenius.com that the sea moss is helping in such a case. Also, you can find a lot of helpful information that will help you gain the shape you want. I think it's very vital to be well informed about how your body works.
 

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Find him a supplement like Tri-Amino and mix it in his soaked beet pulp. I, personally, would add some type of oil for extra calories, or if you prefer a complete senior feed in addition to his hay. The one thing I absolutely would not do is cut back his forage. That's absolutely the wrong thing to do. If he's not gaining weight, then he needs more groceries of some type, high calorie would be good. How are his teeth? When was the last time he had them done? When was he dewormed last ?
 
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