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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My arab has always had issues with weight. Even when we first got him and he was pretty large his hip bones were very prominent (I should add that both his dam and sire did not have hip bones that stuck out). Over winter he lost alot of weight and is only now putting it back on. I want to know if you think it is a weight issue or a muscle issue. When we first got him he had not been ridden for 1 1/2 years, he is always on the forehand with no collection (going to a trainer in a few days) and never uses his hind end (However is building muscle on his back). He has been seen by the vet and had his teeth done, and the vet said she is happy with him and thinks he is healthy. My main problem is once he gets to a certain weight, he either stays at that or drops. His best weight so far is the ribs not visible when standing still but visible when moving. But often the next day it goes back to being a little visible. Vet said his feed is fine (Hard feed and lots of hay). I should add that I haven't been able to feed him everyday in the past but now I am and not noticing major differences, will have to move him to a full care facility for a few months.

I would also like to ask, what would you think if you saw him being ridden. I'd like to take him to some places to see how he reacts in a different environment but I'm afraid someone will comment on his weight or just assume that I don't care or am abusive.



So do you have any idea on what could be going wrong with him or if its mainly a muscle issue (I am more concerned about the hips rather than the ribs.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
4 biscuits of hay a day. Hard feed is Gumnuts (senior feed), chaff, equijewel and there was beet pulp but he eats around it so I might take it out.
 

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Well, it's a pretty basic equation.

More energy being used than being consumed = horse losing weight, skinny horse.

The food he's been on - a combination I presume of pasture grass, plus the hay and hard feed you mention - is not enough for him to keep his weight on.

The solution is pretty basic too - more care, more feed.

He needs sufficient and /or better feed to keep the weight on.
And he needs help keeping warm in the winter so that he doesn't burn it all off.

He also needs his teeth checked, and an all over check from the vet to see if anything else is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes, 24/7 pasture.

What do you mean when you say he needs more feed, a larger quantity or what? The packets on the feed and the vet say what amounts to give and I've stuck to that or given a little more. It's currently summer so I don't rug him unless its raining, but I do in winter. Vet only did his teeth a month ago and they were all there in good condition, like I said she was not concerned about his health one bit and gave the all good. He does have a growth on his neck and I did ask about this and its impossible to know without getting it tested, but i'm pretty sure (not 100%) she said something about a dropped thyroid which could be a factor so I will get her out in a week or two to get that tested - she said that unless it changes size or texture than I do not need to worry but I am quite a bit (it has been the same size and was there before I bought him from the old owners photos)!
 

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More hay, more hay and more hay.

Horses are also set up to eat constantly. The more meals you can break his feed up into the better off he is.

It's spring there, he shouldn't need a blanket. Honestly with the climate in Australia he shouldn't ever need a blanket at all. But I do understand it seems to be a more common practice there.

Dropped thyroid? Cushings? How old is this horse?

Mitavite - Scientifically Balanced Feeds

is that the feed? Obviously I have no experience with it being in the US but it looks like a nice senior feed.

He really does look like he is not getting enough food or can't utilize the food he is getting. I would up the hay so he never runs out.
 

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yes, 24/7 pasture.

What do you mean when you say he needs more feed, a larger quantity or what?
Other folk are addressing the possible underlying health issues, so I'll stick to the feed.

You need to become an expert on horse nutrition :D. Read the small print on all the sacks of feed, understand where the proteins are, what's in each feed. Talk to your feed supplier about food for weight gain. I can't recommend a brand as I don't know the Australian market but there is an enormous choice of 'new' and more traditional feeds including oats, mixed grains, beet, coconut, linseed, rice and so on.

Research everything you are currently using, and everything you have.

Is your hay good quality? Do you have hay or haylage? Have you ever tried haylage? For some it is a great weight gaining feed, for others it is unwanted rocket fuel.

Meals need to give as much benefit as possible, without making the meal so big in volume that the horse can't get it all down!

Is there anything in your feeds that's adding bulk but not nutrition?

How many meals a day are you giving? I have at times given a horse 3 or 4 meals a day as part of a weight-gain regime.

In order to solve this you need to take responsibility for the meals rather than just following what the vet and the packet recommend. Your horse probably doesn't follow the text book averages, and only YOU know if your horse is putting on weight and if he has sufficient energy. Keep adding until you are happy with his condition.
 

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Try adding two more biscuits to his daily ration and note now long it lasts him. Small mesh hay nets, stuffed full will slow him down and he will better digest what he is eating. Two nets hung well apart will have him moving from one to the other. Movement aids digestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How old is he?
20, so he isn't exactly young.

Woops, yes spring. Like I said, I only blanket him in lots of rain, however in winter I do put a rug on him but even then not all the time. I seriously doubt it is cushings, he shows no other signs of it. I will talk to my vet again and get the lump tested.Thats the feed, I can do lots of hay no problem.

I was thinking stomach ulcers, I asked the vet and she said she doesnt think so but I can get it tested and I will.

I will do research, feed is not my strong point but I will do the best I can! Our hay is good quality, and I've heard of haylage but never tried it. Nowhere around here sells it that I've seen. I'm not worried about anything else in feed but how much weight/nutrition it helps him put on, don't care if it makes him like a little rocket. Pretty sure the beet pulp was one of those that added bulk but not nutrition, maybe even the rice bran. Ever since I added them there was no difference in how much weight he put on, but if I remove them will it be to little? Gumnuts did the most for him. 1 meal a day unfortunately, like I said I will be moving him to a full care where he will be fed more, wish he was only in my backyard!

I will be adding alot more hay. I did hear about hay nets, and I will try them. I always just put each biscuit in different parts of the paddock but I like the idea about the nets.

Thanks all :)

*Just asking, do you think the hips are a muscle or weight issue. Like I said he has had them there forever. How bad does he look?*
 

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Honestly I wouldn't worry about muscle at this point. He won't be able to build good muscle when he's underweight.

Good luck! You've gotten some good advice.
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