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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before anyone asks, this isn't my horse....we are looking at buying him as a trail mount for my boyfriend.

Yesterday we wen't and checked out a 15/16 year old Belgian gelding that is for sale as a safe reliable trail mount for my boyfriend.

The horse is 17hh and the BIGGEST mush ever! It was literally blizzarding out when my boyfriend rode him and he was a bit stubborn at first being as he was in his stall since noon because it was obviously snowing like crazy..(we arrived at 3:30pm)

The horse was a dream to ride being the conditions outside and definitely what we are looking for- BUT a few things concerned me a bit..

This one isn't the one that really concerned me being I'm almost sure of my assumption..
1. He has an old eye injury from when he was a baby and they said it does NOT effect his riding abilities at all. (which it doesn't) BUT I am about 90% sure he is blind or is going blind in that eye. He isn't spooky at all on that side..(not a really big deal..)
Also, When we were riding him in the snow (it was pretty deep, as well as super windy and we were on a hill -.-) he would cross his front legs once in awhile but usually when he did it my boyfriend was walking him up the hill and I think he was slipping and he crossed his other leg to catch his balence. (who knows, I'm a worrier!)
2. He is skinny for a Draft...They give him 1 flake of hay at feeding time (am and pm) and I'm almost positive that there is no round bail in the pasture that they can freely eat. Also, he gets about a half a scoop of Senior Feed and a Half scoop of cracked corn because it is winter. I definitely feel like that is not enough feed for a animal his size. My appy gets more then that...but maybe I'm wrong and someone could correct me on this? But I feel this is not enough food for a boy of his size..
His spine sticks out and it is all sunkin in around his spine from his wither to his tail bone. I can also see his ribs (not bad) but they are there and I can see them. I can also see the bone in his chest (as well as promenetly feel it) and can see all of his shoulder bones.

His owners care and in no way are abusing him. (His feet are taken care of regularly and look great, etc) I just don't think they realize how much a draft really needs to eat!

My assumptions about the skinniness lead to a) teeth and b) lack of food.

But does anyone think this sounds like a serious health issue or just the lack of food to anyone? They willingly gave us the number to the vet that has seen him before and told us to call and chat with them about his eye and other issues we may have, and If they were lying about anything of his health I dont think they would have willingly gave us the vets number and told us to call him...

We are going to call the vet tomorrow but thought it could do me good asking for some advice on here...thanks!

**and please don't bash me or the current owners, I just want advice and no BS!**
 

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1 flake in am and pm? That's is? For a draft?

I'll bet that he's not getting enough to eat. With proper diet, I think that he would gain weight. My vet recommends 4 flakes/day for my 1000 horses, each. 5-6 flakes for my harder keeper. I'd bet that he would need 6-8 flakes of good quality hay per day, or 24/7 access to a round bale.

For the grain, I'd do a Senior feed and some extra beet pulp.

As for his eye, I don't know. I'd have a vet take a look at him and see what they think. If he's not in pain, I don't see a problem. I've known quite a few horses that are blind in 1 eye without issues. One was 100% blind in one eye, and 80% blind in the other and still ran competitive barrel times. (And WON!) He was around 20 years old.

You can also have the vet check out his teeth while they are there incase that's is part of the problem.

He might have a belly of worms too that are sucking any nutrition that he's getting. So if you take him home, deworm him and start feeding him more and go from there. :)

I saw pictures of him and he sure is a nice looking boy. (at full weight)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1 flake in am and pm? That's is? For a draft?

I'll bet that he's not getting enough to eat. With proper diet, I think that he would gain weight. My vet recommends 4 flakes/day for my 1000 horses, each. 5-6 flakes for my harder keeper. I'd bet that he would need 6-8 flakes of good quality hay per day, or 24/7 access to a round bale.

For the grain, I'd do a Senior feed and some extra beet pulp.

As for his eye, I don't know. I'd have a vet take a look at him and see what they think. If he's not in pain, I don't see a problem. I've known quite a few horses that are blind in 1 eye without issues. One was 100% blind in one eye, and 80% blind in the other and still ran competitive barrel times. (And WON!) He was around 20 years old.

You can also have the vet check out his teeth while they are there incase that's is part of the problem.

He might have a belly of worms too that are sucking any nutrition that he's getting. So if you take him home, deworm him and start feeding him more and go from there. :)

I saw pictures of him and he sure is a nice looking boy. (at full weight)
yes..1 flake 2x a day...we were there for the evening feeding so I saw it right infront of my eyes...

I give my guy (appaloosa) 1/2 a scoop of pellet and like 5 flakes of hay (even if he doesn't finish he gets turned out again and gets to finish the rest in the am)

His eye didn't even bother him at all. I ran my hand over it and wanted to see if he would blink but he only did it sometimes..

the other thing as well, is that in pics (because of his winter wollies i presume) he looks completely healthy and not skinny at all and when i even took pix of him he didnt look badly underweight..just when we were right there infront of him is when you could really notice it..he is getting fed but i just believe it isnt enough..but maybe others could of pointed out a serious health issue if it seemed there was one:D
 

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I think there may well be a combination of issues here. He may have a wormy belly, he may have teeth issues, and it is winter, and he needs more hay. I am guessing that he lives outside 24/7, and even if he is only out 12 hr a day, even with this mild winter, the wind has been biting, and it is still cold. He is probably burning more calories to stay warm than the hay that he is getting provides. I would guess that he will fatten up really easily, once you have these issues resolved.

As for the eye-no idea. sorry.
 

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How much is the flake? How much does the horse weigh, or at least how tall is the horse? Flakes can weigh anywhere from 2-10 pounds. I know some draft breeds that can get below 16 hands (like the not-so-common Suffolk Punch) and if it was 10 lb flake, two of those a day would be 20 lbs. Which may not be enough for a 16 hand horse, depending on how much their ideal weight is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
How much is the flake? How much does the horse weigh, or at least how tall is the horse? Flakes can weigh anywhere from 2-10 pounds. I know some draft breeds that can get below 16 hands (like the not-so-common Suffolk Punch) and if it was 10 lb flake, two of those a day would be 20 lbs. Which may not be enough for a 16 hand horse, depending on how much their ideal weight is.
He is 17 hands and the flake weighed about 2 pounds. It was a normal old' square bail flake. My Appaloosa gets 5/6 of those so I definitely know 1 flake isn't enough. My goats only get one flake 2x a day ;)
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No, it's not enough. However, if it's not a teeth issue and it's just how much they are feeding him, I don't think it's really right to bash on them about it. They might be selling him because they don't have the money to care for him, can't find any more hay/afford any more, so they're trying to stretch it. I'm not saying that it's ok, just that they might be aware he needs to eat more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No, it's not enough. However, if it's not a teeth issue and it's just how much they are feeding him, I don't think it's really right to bash on them about it. They might be selling him because they don't have the money to care for him, can't find any more hay/afford any more, so they're trying to stretch it. I'm not saying that it's ok, just that they might be aware he needs to eat more.
I am in no way bashing these people at all. In my OP I stated that I don't want anyone bashing them. I just wanted to make sure that was the issue and see if maybe anyone else thought it was a serious health issue. No bashing :) I dint personally know these people but I know they care for there horses..
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I am in no way bashing these people at all. In my OP I stated that I don't want anyone bashing them. I just wanted to make sure that was the issue and see if maybe anyone else thought it was a serious health issue. No bashing :) I dint personally know these people but I know they care for there horses..
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I didn't mean you! :) I just meant for anyone reading the thread in general :)

But as a general rule of thumb, I would have a vet, trainer and dentist check the horse before you buy it. Admittedly that isn't always possible, but it's the best for you and the horse so you know ahead of time if there are any issues down the road that could pop up.
 
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We all can agree that it isn't enough hay and feed. That's a simple fix. Just like farriers with draft feet, vet's don't always have the tools to properly do a draft mouth. The strap on the speculum needs to be longer and the tools need to have about 6 inch extensions on them.

The blind eye? I don't see that as a problem.

The stumbling? Is it only in the front? Have you only seen it when you rode? Have your BF lead him away from you. Watch his footfalls. Does he know where he puts each foot down or does he have a little studder? Send him through a gate, turn him around to face you. Could he do it or was it like turning an old tractor around with no power steering? If you've got a gut feeling that something is wrong here, it probably is. He probably has a mild case of EPSM. Not enough to make him wobbly but enough to alter his gait (most noticable behind). It can also explain his hohum attitude. You can confirm this with a muscle biopsy or just put him on an EPSM diet (4 C oil/day) and in a month you will see dramatic changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We all can agree that it isn't enough hay and feed. That's a simple fix. Just like farriers with draft feet, vet's don't always have the tools to properly do a draft mouth. The strap on the speculum needs to be longer and the tools need to have about 6 inch extensions on them.

The blind eye? I don't see that as a problem.

The stumbling? Is it only in the front? Have you only seen it when you rode? Have your BF lead him away from you. Watch his footfalls. Does he know where he puts each foot down or does he have a little studder? Send him through a gate, turn him around to face you. Could he do it or was it like turning an old tractor around with no power steering? If you've got a gut feeling that something is wrong here, it probably is. He probably has a mild case of EPSM. Not enough to make him wobbly but enough to alter his gait (most noticable behind). It can also explain his hohum attitude. You can confirm this with a muscle biopsy or just put him on an EPSM diet (4 C oil/day) and in a month you will see dramatic changes.
It wasn't so much of a stumble he would place his front feet normally and when my boyfriend rode him in the snow he would've cross his front legs. It looked like he was trying to Catch himself from falling in the deep snow. He only did it when my boyfriend rode him up the hill. It was also deep snow, super windy, as well as slippery.

He didn't do it at all in his pasture. The current owner called him down from his field and he came trotting right to the gate-no issues. The people had him in a small stall since noon and we got there at 3:30 pm so he didn't seem too thrilled about that and I think he was a bit uncomfortable from standing in the same place since noon instead of being able to run and stretch his legs.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That could just be lack of strength and muscletone.
He has no muscle. You can see all the bones in his chest, butt, and a few ribs. The barn was an old garage converted into 6 standing stalls and a small stall for him which isnt big enough for him IMO. The isle was so narrow it was literally 4 feet wide so it was super hard for him to turn around and i had to brush him in his stall because he basically didn't fit in the isle. I feel like the only problem here is a lack of food and muscle. I didnt see Much wrong with him and he was a total dream considering the horrible weather we were riding him in.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The owners gave me there vets # and told me to call and talk to them about any questions about his health I may have. So i called and the vet is in surgery so he will be giving me a call back soon.
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Cowgirl, if you do a prepurchase exam, don't, do not use their vet. He is loyal to his customers. Perhaps this horse is older than what they say. That might account for his weight and perhaps how he was walking. A 17hh draft needs a big trailer with extra height. He sounds a bit arthritic, or old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just spoke with the vet and the horse had a 4 way shot, rabies, and is completely blind in his one eye.
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4 pounds a day. Most likely that horse would need around 30 lbs of hay. And, if it has been fed that much for more than 6 months, he would be severely emaciated and possibly dead..
 
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