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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a new 5yo OTTB coming to me that is underweight and needs to put on fat and muscle and improve his topline. He is 1200lbs 16.2hh.

He is coming from a place with no turnout and bad forage. I have great lush grass, so i will be starting him slowly on that increasing till he is turned out all day (6hrs).

we have timothy and alfalfa hay available at the barn.


please give me some feed recommendations and how much feed/hay to give him.
 

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Is it 6 hours or all day? Big difference in the amount he can eat in those two time frames. If he ate without stopping he could consume roughly 8-12 pounds of grass in 6 hours. He won't eat that whole time though so I would go with the low end. He might get 2000 calories from that. He probably needs 23 to 25k in calories to put on weight especially if you are riding him during this time. At 1200 pounds if that is actual weight and not a tape he should be close to ideal. To build topline you need quality protein. The alfalfa is a good source but you may want something specifically targeted for building topline and there are several good supplements that can be added to a diet. I'd say start with about 20 pounds and mix the grass and alfalfa. You'll want to know the nutritional values of the hay for your area so that you avoid deficiencies or put him on a vitamin & mineral supplement targeted for your area. Weigh your hay. Don't guess. Do you have pictures? That could help with recommendations.
 

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If it were me I would be offering the timothy 'round the clock, then add in a few feedings of alfalfa throughout the day. I might also throw in alfalfa pellets/cubes as well. In addition to some multivitamin supplements, I might do an oil like cocosoya at the start, that's all I'd do, but I don't mess around with fancy grains and feeds anymore.

If he's 1,200 lbs then you want to offer him around 20lbs of hay per day to gain weight. 2% of his body weight would be 24lbs per day, which is on track to gain weight.

I'm sure that there will be many more suggestions headed your way!
 

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Some sound advice already shared...
All the hay he can eat without wasting it...
For a horse who should be weighing in near 1300 pounds {big horse, bigger weight} to gain weight he can be offered 2% or more of his optimum body weight.
2 x 13 = 26 pounds of hay a day minimum...
Feed him hay, if he eats all of it feed him some more so he has the ability to eat all day long and not stand for hours with nothing to occupy his mouth and belly from trickle feeding.

Actual feed, what he might need is going to be based on his work load and how he responds to quality hay fed to him nearly unlimited.
How much "feed" will also depend upon what manufacturer and actual style it is...bag directions on back are your posted guideline to work from and off of so if fortified feed with vit/min he is fed appropriate amounts needed for a daily requirement met.
I'm not into pushing supplements unless really necessary.
A horse should derive as much of his calories needed from pasture/hay fed first, then if not thriving you add feed and supplements only as/when needed.

Today's commercially made feeds are enriched and fortified so caution you also not upset the delicate balances needed in digestion giving added this or that...it is not beneficial to upset the delicate balance of digestion and vit/min and amino acids without there being a detrimental occurrence potential to your horse...be careful!!

Now, that said...most Thoroughbreds do not get round and stocky looking like a Quarter Horse, they just don't.
They get covered properly in a layer of flesh but do not ever make them fat appearing as it is horrible unhealthy.
Learn the Henneke scoring system so you know the major areas to look at and evaluate at a glance for to thin, to fat or just right in looks.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henneke_horse_body_condition_scoring_system
There are several charts, some better some worse at description and picture so looking at a few different ones will give a good feel for where you want to get to. Google Henneke Scoring Charts to see choices offered from many agencies.
On the above one linked, a 5 is where you want to be.
Remember though fitness of a animal has a lot to do with appearance.
A true fit racehorse is solid muscle not fat or flab and he would look very different in person that the backyard riding horse who is ridden several days a week...fitness must be part of the evaluation done.

So, I have a older {21} OTTB myself who I had a terrible time getting to put weight on top and keep it their...
Alfalfa cubes, soaked alfalfa cubes did the trick. 2 - 3 large handfuls put in a flat-back water-bucket and fill 3/4 full of water...let soak a few hours and feed it water and all to him. In 10 days time you will have a noticeable difference seen and a work in progress.
I do not have access to alfalfa hay @ $25+ per bale...You may be good depending upon the ratio of your T&A hay fed because of the alfalfa content.
Otherwise, cubes, not pellets...cubes and soaked so minimum of choke hazard.
My OTTB weighs in @1225 now and he is slightly lean, my Quarter Horse weighs in @ 1265 just a tad light from summer sweating it off and bugs pestering them no end...both horses are just shy of 16 hands...pasture puffs right now with temps in high 90's and terrible humidity I am not riding for heat stroke or worse. :|

Without saying, teeth floated/checked recently, worm load test done and treated accordingly, workload vs. calories burned evaluated, no ulcers {racehorses & ulcers are common} or being pro-actively treated and just realizing each horse is a individual and need fed as a individual not one size fits all.
Quality of work done with the horse so he moves correctly to build muscle also evaluated.
He is pain-free in body, hooves and mind so he can heal and gain as his life evolves to a new place now.
And lastly...he is 5 years old he is still maturing and burning calories just with that.

If he is recently from the track{as much as a year off the track}...he is still acclimating and letting down from his training schedule and routine..
He will change shape and look a lot different as this takes place.
Take pictures, same pose, same location, same time of day and do tape measurements so your eye is not tricked and small changes are indeed seen not overlooked.
Keep a written log of changes noted.

We need pictures shared please...we love to ooh and aah over each others horses.
The very best with your new friend...enjoy the journey just begun.
And... WELCOME to the Forum!! :wave:
:runninghorse2:...
 

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@horselovinguy curious as to how tall ?your quarter horse is. My boy is 15.2 and weighs in at 1,018 lbs hauled to truck scale. He's real lean as is ribs starting to show.

Op lots of hay and a good feed with high fat could be a ration balancer or a feed like tc senior,whatever you feed don't go with sweet feed. Alfalfa hay is also a good choice for hay. Pictures are helpful.:smile:
 

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@horselovinguy curious as to how tall ?your quarter horse is. My boy is 15.2 and weighs in at 1,018 lbs hauled to truck scale. He's real lean as is ribs starting to show.

Real lean and ribs showing is going to be at least 100 pounds underweight..possibly more
If you are referring to your Palomino he is significantly smaller a frame than mine are.

My 2 horses are just under 16 hands and heavy bone and build.
Deep heartgirth.
They both wear 81" Weatherbeeta winter blankets and sheets.
The vet measured and weighed them 2 months ago when yearlies were done at his office on scale.
If I could figure out to resize my pictures I would show you their size...
working on those resizing now.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Real lean and ribs showing is going to be at least 100 pounds underweight..possibly more
If you are referring to your Palomino he is significantly smaller a frame than mine are.

My 2 horses are just under 16 hands and heavy bone and build.
Deep heartgirth.
They both wear 81" Weatherbeeta winter blankets and sheets.
The vet measured and weighed them 2 months ago when yearlies were done at his office on scale.
If I could figure out to resize my pictures I would show you their size...
working on those resizing now.
:runninghorse2:...
Yes my palomino yep sounds like your horses are bigger boned an just bigger,with blanket sizes at 81. My boy wears a 78 size blanket ,he looks a lot like his dam did leaner build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I dont know his actual weight im guessing he's below that. That is just the weight the lady im getting him from has said. All day at my barn would be 6 hours of turnout.
 

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No mistaking he is TB. He really isn't as I underweight as I expected. For a TB he looks pretty typical. A little filling out but not much needed. I'm on my phone so that may mean I am missing something but I'd say free choice hay. The alfalfa for quality protein. Give that time along with the pasture keeping hay out for him to choose and unless he is loosing see if he start gradually gaining.
 

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He looks fit yeah a little bit of ribs showing but certainly not skinny. A little more weight and he'll look great. Free choice hay add some alfalfa in with it.
 

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You can assume he might have ulcers, based on history and appearance, so if you give him ulcer medication for several weeks you'll have a good head start on getting muscle and weight on him.
 

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He looks to me he hasn't been off the track very long yet.
His shoulders are still heavily muscled, neck muscled but lean, still drawn up and butt appears muscled lean.
He is no where thin like I expected, but still racing lean and fit...just starting to come down hence his back & sacroiliac looking "thin".
Racehorses often appear thin/skinny to those not accustomed to a racing fit body physique.
We are accustomed to seeing fat horses and moderate muscle if that...this horse is no fat and all muscle.

Does he still wear racing plates or transitioned to regular shoes..he looks to have plates yet and they need removed soon.
There is a difference to putting on flesh and putting on fat...he needs flesh cause that is what muscle builds off of. Fat is much harder for the horse to convert to muscle.
Protein fed, amino acids maintained, and take good care to supply the hooves with the nutrients they will require to build strong and healthy tissue to handle the excess weight you intend to pad his body with.
Consult your vet, but it is often a OTTB comes off the track with or develops soon after leaving track life ulcers. They are easily treated with products from the vet or bought by prescription from pharmacy houses for animal meds...but quality and dosage can be different in strength of OTC to Rx quality hence difference in prices and results delivered.
Alfalfa cubes soaked, fed 1x daily with him having hay to eat when he is not on pasture.
Watch him closely as he may not tolerate turnout well at first...if he paces get him in or he will walk and fret off his weight.
He probably will not do well with flies either as these horses live with fans, barn misters for fly reduction and heat dissipated as part of their daily life.
Go slow on a food changeover and if you need feed fed, slow again adding that to the diet.
He's a nice looking horse...enjoy.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 
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