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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, my horse has always been a hardkeeper and I've helped rehab several skinny horses, so I can fatten a horse quite easily. But that's not my problem this time lol, the horse in question is a 7 on the BCS, he has gotten one scoop of Purina Ultium his whole life and is worked 5 days a week, and is still fat lol. Rolly polly fat! So I was thinking keep him on the same feed, but cut down to a half a scoop and add in a vitamin/mineral supplement? And a slow feeder net? I know he needs a diet, just don't have experience with putting a horse on a diet.
 

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You pretty much have the right idea. It's winter, even in nice warm TX I wouldn't cut back on hay, just put it in a slow feed net. Maybe use a ration balancer instead of the feed and a few hay pellets or soaked beet pulp so he doesn't think his throat has been cut.
 

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Agree with the above, except for cutting down on hay... not knowing how much or what type or what sort of grazing. I would be aiming for feeding about 2% of his *ideal* bwt daily in forage(grass/hay), in a 'slow feeder' so he doesn't go hungry, and if that's all he's getting & he's not losing any, would be soaking the hay to leach out some sugars. I'd also be including extra magnesium in his diet & keeping extra vigilant about his hooves & hardened fat pads(his crest for eg) that indicates IR.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So if I fed him a ration balancer would I still do the vitamin/mineral supplement? Or no because ration balancers are essentially that in a feed form? I don't have any experience with ration balancers and I can't say I completely understand how to feed one :/

ETA I had them check his blood insulin level while doing the PPE, and there was no indication of IR, and so far his crest looks like it should. So I think (& am crossing my fingers) that he is just an easy keeper and not IR
 

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'Ration Balancers' are often pelleted feed or such, but any nutritional supp that's going to balance his diet is effectively a ration balancer. Depends what's in the 'ration balancer', his feed & the other supps as to whether you need to feed more than one product. The aim is to balance the diet. **Worth researching current info on magnesium & calcium ratios, as I think magnesium should be added to diets conventionally accepted as balanced.

As the horse is already obese, I wouldn't be adding any more calories than is absolutely necessary. Therefore i'd go for a powdered suppliment, either palatable enough to be fed alone(yes, can get them) or sprinkled over wet hay, or a very low dose (say up to 100g) pelleted supp.
 

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The only thing I'll add to what Loosie is telling you is check the hay. I wouldn't feed alfalfa or timothy or any of the hays so often pushed as the best for horses. Even just a good hay can keep them fat. Good grazing will even keep them fat. I get funny looks (and even a few remarks :lol:), because I feed what most people around here use for their cows (but then I've been feeding for years since I use to have cattle and it's worked really well with my easy keepers).
Working it good for helping to burn off more so it's great that your doing that (hopefully for at least several hours each day).

I'm just glad to see that more ladies are understanding that horses shouldn't be carrying excess weight. I deal with so many that think it's bad if they can feel the ribs on their horse. They want the plump little horses looking pretty in the pasture and they might ride for a total of 2 hours a week (on a good week). Normally their horses get ridden much less when their ridden at all.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
The only thing I'll add to what Loosie is telling you is check the hay. I wouldn't feed alfalfa or timothy or any of the hays so often pushed as the best for horses. Even just a good hay can keep them fat. Good grazing will even keep them fat. I get funny looks (and even a few remarks :lol:), because I feed what most people around here use for their cows (but then I've been feeding for years since I use to have cattle and it's worked really well with my easy keepers).
Working it good for helping to burn off more so it's great that your doing that (hopefully for at least several hours each day).

I'm just glad to see that more ladies are understanding that horses shouldn't be carrying excess weight. I deal with so many that think it's bad if they can feel the ribs on their horse. They want the plump little horses looking pretty in the pasture and they might ride for a total of 2 hours a week (on a good week). Normally their horses get ridden much less when their ridden at all.
I just bought him, when I went to try him the first thing I noticed was how fat he was! I like my horses to look like athletes not puff balls lol. And it's just regular coastal, not the greatest stuff but not cow hay either, so sounds like it might work. He will be stalled 12 hrs with hay in a slow feeder net, and out to pasture 12 hrs (grass isn't great). So I'm thinking 2 lbs of Ultium per day (1 scoop total) and this supplement SmartVite Perform Pellets - Horse Multi-Vitamin Supplements from SmartPak Equine (which is supposed to have a high level of magnesium) and see how it goes? And if he's still too fat then either cut down the Ultium or do only hay and the SmartVite supplement? Sound like a good plan to y'all? Like I said I'm good at keeping hard keepers at a good weight but completely lost when it comes to easy keepers!
 

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I get funny looks (and even a few remarks :lol:), because I feed what most people around here use for their cows
:?Interesting. I thought the rich 'improved' grasses were developed for fattening cattle. Yeah, I get funny looks when I suggest their hay could be too 'good' and they should buy 'poorer' hay & save the other for fattening steers!
 

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Our cow hay in Texas consists of weedy, stalky, brown hay full of grass runners and reeds. Definitely not great stuff!
 

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Sumo athlete is he?? :) I'd avoid cooping him up if at all possible, because, among other reasons, it will reduce his ability to burn off the calories. Stress also effects metabolism & reduces a body's ability to burn calories, which may also be an issue with a new horse kept stabled. I would be also looking to feed a supp that needs feeding far less than 2lb, and while SmartPak isn't available over here so I haven't looked into it all thoroughly, it looks like one good, very low dose option & they should have one in their range that would at least come close to filling the gaps in your horse's diet without extra feed.
 

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:?Interesting. I thought the rich 'improved' grasses were developed for fattening cattle. Yeah, I get funny looks when I suggest their hay could be too 'good' and they should buy 'poorer' hay & save the other for fattening steers!
You are correct. Some certainly are. Especially a lot of the newer varieties. But I still feed what people used for cattle back in the 60's. Mostly Bahiagrass, which is still an acceptable hay, but not as rich as Bermuda, Timothy, Alfalfa, etc... (although there are varieties of Bahia now that are improved too). And yet even with that I still have to work my older mare harder then the younger to try and keep her weight down (I fret over 100 lbs beyond what I want :lol:). She just eats more of it even though they are fed in a net :lol:. I need just cut out her feed and keep her just on grazing and hay with supplements. She gets less than a lb now, but it's still calories that she doesn't need and I can always spend a few months adding it back to her diet before I start doing long trips with her.

Because we raised cattle back then our horses did a lot of things I would not recommend to 99.9% of the riders today :lol:. e.g. We use to plant areas in rye to graze the cattle on during Winter and even the horses spent some time on it periodically (everyone should know that rye grass is about off the scale for not being good for horses for the same reasons it's great for keeping the cattle's weight up), but we worked the horses and pretty hard at times which is probably the only reason we didn't have problems from it. Not something I would do today, because I'll never work these two enough to prevent all the issues that would follow.

I just wish horses could be sold with manuals that explain to people how their digestive system works and why certain foods should not be fed (and a chapter on "trouble shooting" and fixing problems). Along with proper foot care. Perhaps they should make people take a test before they're allowed to own a horse. They make use to it before we can get a license to drive. I just get so frustrated with some people at times :lol:. Still amazed that people still feed sweet feed. And I knew a farrier that I really wanted to nail a set of shoes on :lol: (he was good at shoeing, but "horses much have shoes or they'll go lame" type).
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Here's the guy in question:

And the Ultium is a complete feed, he is currently getting 4 lbs of it so I would be cutting his intake in half. And unfortunately there's no pasture board where I board but he's been stalled 12 hours a day since he was 3 (he's 11 now) so I don't see it adding extra stress, but who knows. I'm not a big believer in stalling but I'm also not against it.
 

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One of the problems with stalling is it cuts back on the amount of active hours a horse has. Look at it like someone who just spends the day doing chores around the house and yard vs someone who lays on the couch watching TV all day. Even the ability to walking around and eat is better than standing around in a stall. In this horse's case anything to burn an extra calorie is good. And as with an overweight person it can't do as much work, but will burn more calories initially with the work done than it will later after it get's in better shape.
 
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Well considering the amount of work he will be in, and starting jumper training (he's been a dressage horse his whole life but has always liked to jump) I think it would counter balance the stalling somewhat. No one seems to be commenting on the feed and supplement so I guess I'll just try it and see how it goes. Where he's at now they have rye grass so I think getting off of that will help also.
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they can eat rye with a degree of safety, it just poses risk and doesn't often take much to make a risk a fact. Here's something about rye that a vet posted that paints a nicer, but still realistic view.

"Ryegrass can be safe under certain conditions for horses but can also be toxic. The main thing to be cautious about is letting the grass go to [COLOR=green !important]seed[/COLOR], as the seeds can contain fungal toxins that can cause horses to become very ill. This ergot toxin causes a condition known as "grass staggers" and can be fatal. In some parts of the country (southern states mostly) and certain contaminated pastures the [COLOR=green !important]fungus[/COLOR] can even be in the stems and leaves. Another concern with a rich, [COLOR=green !important]fast growing[/COLOR] grass like ryegrass is a high possibility for founder (laminitis). For most of my clients I don't recommend ryegrass alone, but it is safer in a pasture mix with other grasses. So, a long story short if you want to be cautious I wouldn't recommend it. Timothy, orchard grass, and brome are much safer alternatives. If you must graze ryegrass just make sure it doesn't go to seed by [COLOR=green !important]mowing[/COLOR] or clipping and be cautious with over-eaters, ponies, or any horse prone to founder. Let me know if you have any further questions or if I can clarify anything for you! Thanks!"

Of course he left our the potential for high NSC but eludes to it with the potential for founder. Rye is popular with many people because it does make a really nice pasture for Winter grazing and then you can cut it for hay if you like (more NSC issues). As I said, we planted fields of it to put the cattle on for Winter grazing. Helped keep them fat and sassy (and "grass fed" back before it was the "craze" that it is now). Even the few pigs we had were on more than a few acres of field and woods fenced in for them to wander around eating grass, roots and acorns.

Anyway the short answer to can your horse safely and healthfully eat rye is yes. But you have to manage more closely than you do other, safer grasses. Experience has taught me that most people don't so it's safer to advice them not to.
 

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they can eat rye with a degree of safety, it just poses risk and doesn't often take much to make a risk a fact. Here's something about rye that a vet posted that paints a nicer, but still realistic view.

"Ryegrass can be safe under certain conditions for horses but can also be toxic. The main thing to be cautious about is letting the grass go to [COLOR=green !important]seed[/COLOR], as the seeds can contain fungal toxins that can cause horses to become very ill. This ergot toxin causes a condition known as "grass staggers" and can be fatal. In some parts of the country (southern states mostly) and certain contaminated pastures the [COLOR=green !important]fungus[/COLOR] can even be in the stems and leaves. Another concern with a rich, [COLOR=green !important]fast growing[/COLOR] grass like ryegrass is a high possibility for founder (laminitis). For most of my clients I don't recommend ryegrass alone, but it is safer in a pasture mix with other grasses. So, a long story short if you want to be cautious I wouldn't recommend it. Timothy, orchard grass, and brome are much safer alternatives. If you must graze ryegrass just make sure it doesn't go to seed by [COLOR=green !important]mowing[/COLOR] or clipping and be cautious with over-eaters, ponies, or any horse prone to founder. Let me know if you have any further questions or if I can clarify anything for you! Thanks!"

Of course he left our the potential for high NSC but eludes to it with the potential for founder. Rye is popular with many people because it does make a really nice pasture for Winter grazing and then you can cut it for hay if you like (more NSC issues). As I said, we planted fields of it to put the cattle on for Winter grazing. Helped keep them fat and sassy (and "grass fed" back before it was the "craze" that it is now). Even the few pigs we had were on more than a few acres of field and woods fenced in for them to wander around eating grass, roots and acorns.

Anyway the short answer to can your horse safely and healthfully eat rye is yes. But you have to manage more closely than you do other, safer grasses. Experience has taught me that most people don't so it's safer to advice them not to.
I don't want him on rye grass, he's not even at my barn yet. My barn doesn't have rye grass. The barn he's at has it planted in all their pastures, I was saying I think that may be part of his weight problem.
 

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He doesn't look so huge to me. Little chubby, very handsome. I think you have it right, more exercise, less concentrated feed and hay in a slow feed net.
 

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If you feed the SmartVite, feed a full portion (based off their website recommendation, but something like 2-4oz IIRC) and cut out the Ultium all together! Why keep feeding an energy dense feed to a horse you're trying to get to lose weight? The SmartVite is a complete vitamin/mineral supplement and there is no need to feed another supplemented feed with it especially when you're looking to cut calories. If you feed a half ration of the Ultium (per the bag directions), feed a half ration of the vitamins too so that you don't got overboard on those. Most won't cause an issue, but too much selenium and iron can cause issues.

He will get all the protein and energy he needs from him hay. Most horses like the SmartVite products well enough to eat it straight on its own as it is pelleted, but if not, mix it in a handful of the Ultium you have left or a handful of alfalfa pellets.
 

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If you feed the SmartVite, feed a full portion (based off their website recommendation, but something like 2-4oz IIRC) and cut out the Ultium all together! Why keep feeding an energy dense feed to a horse you're trying to get to lose weight? The SmartVite is a complete vitamin/mineral supplement and there is no need to feed another supplemented feed with it especially when you're looking to cut calories. If you feed a half ration of the Ultium (per the bag directions), feed a half ration of the vitamins too so that you don't got overboard on those. Most won't cause an issue, but too much selenium and iron can cause issues.

He will get all the protein and energy he needs from him hay. Most horses like the SmartVite products well enough to eat it straight on its own as it is pelleted, but if not, mix it in a handful of the Ultium you have left or a handful of alfalfa pellets.
I thought about cutting out the Ultium altogether but I'm not sure how much of an easier keeper he is, and I don't want his weight to yo-yo. Plus he's going into jumper training and being taken off of rye grass, so he may need that much Ultium, may not. Thank you for the tip about the SmartVite proportion, I wasn't sure how much to give him if he's still getting feed. So if he's getting a 25% ration of Ultium per the bag I would give him 75% of a full ration of the SmartVite correct? And you adjust it up or down that way?
 

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he's been stalled 12 hours a day since he was 3
So he may not be suffering more stress at your place, but continual low grade chronic stress.

Well considering the amount of work he will be in, and starting jumper training (he's been a dressage horse his whole life but has always liked to jump) I think it would counter balance the stalling somewhat. No one seems to be commenting on the feed and supplement so I guess I'll just try it and see
We have indeed commented on the feeding. You must have missed those bits. Cut the Ultium for starters I reckon.

Unless you're working your horse frequently over the course of the day(& night), stabling will have a negative effect. Horses are built for more free movement and studies have shown that(among other areas) fitness levels are better when they're out - which should be especially important if you're going to start something physically stressful like jumping. Studies in humans show that those who sit at a desk, on a couch, whatever relatively stationary job for many hours daily suffer more health & body issues & shorter lives than those who are more generally active, even when those office workers exercise a lot outside work time.

I thought about cutting out the Ultium altogether but I'm not sure how much of an easier keeper he is, and I don't want his weight to yo-yo.
Can't really tell from your pic but he doesn't look like an elephant in it. Certainly sounds like 'easy keeper' is a good bet, but even if not, don't pre-empt weightloss by overfeeding a fat horse! Wait until he's ideal weight before reconsidering extra calories, especially if you're wanting him to start athletic work. And to a degree, there's nothing at all wrong with 'yo-yoing' weight. It isn't that horses get fat that's so bad for them, but retaining fat long term & not having regular 'hard seasons' to use up fat stores, that is most risky for our metabolism.
 
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