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Discussion Starter #1
I have looked through some old threads, but have not really seen my question answered, so thought I would go ahead and start a new one. I have a 3 year old mare, appendix qh, that needs to gain a little weight. Not a lot, but some as she is in one of her growing spurts and is getting a little thin over the top line. She is boarded out, and it's not the easiest thing in the world to change how they do things over there. Right now she is being fed twice daily with pelleted grain and grass hay, while being kept in the stall. They are on a weird feeding schedule, at 5am and 3pm. I ride in the evening, and can add in an extra feed after I am done. Currently, I think she receives more grain than hay in the ratio, and when I add in more feed, I think it needs to be based on forage.

When she went through a growth spurt the end of her two year old year, I put her a little extra oil, but she had 3 colic episodes in 3 months. Took her off, put her on an ulcer supplement, and all problems went away. She is still on an ulcer supplement, and her attitude toward work and life in general is 10 x better than it was when we were having problems last year. At the end of the colic spell I tried her on soaked alfalfa cubes, which she loved, but soaking them and breaking them apart was a pain for me. I can do this again, but if there is a better method I am all for it.

Right now, I am looking at either alfalfa cubes, alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, or that TNT timmothy alfalfa hay mixture. Anything I soak would need to be done soaking in about an hour, the amount of time it takes me to ride. There seems to be a blister beetle problem in my area with local alfalfa and most people avoid using any local alfalfa for this reason. I am already paying extra to have some extra grass hay fed to my mare at the barn, but the price seems a little out of place to me. I am currently adding another flake of grass hay every night from my own small supply I have to take to shows, but I can't do very much with this as I just don't have a place to store a large amount of hay. Thanks in advance for any ideas you guys have.
 

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I feed my hard keeper a scoop and a half of soaked beetpulp with 2scoops of soaked grass pellets with a full cup of oil. This combination is the only thing i can find to keep her nice and plump. I chose this as she always did great in summer so i figured grass nuts are taking the best of summer grass and pelleting it and it worked great.
I also have her at home though so i can increase hay as i feel she is over stuffed wiht it.
HAs she any rugs on? IS she feeling the cold? UTD on everything?
 

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What feed is she currently getting and how much??

I like alfalfa pellets for a bit of added calories and lysine which helps to improve the topline
 

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Discussion Starter #5
She is up to date on worming and vaccinations. She is blanketed when it gets below 40 at night. She is on a locally made pelleted feed ( not a name brand) that if I remember correctly is about 14% protein. Cannot remember how much fat, but I was comparing it to Strategy (what I used to feed when horses where at home before moving), the values were very similar % wise for fat, protein, and fiber. They do not feed by weight, so I cannot say how much she gets in lbs, but it is about one coffee can in size twice a day. She gets two flakes of grass hay twice a day, and I am adding in another at night. The ulcer supplement she is on is Ulc-R-Aid by Animed. Once again, I cannot add in free amounts/large amounts of hay due to a supply issue, which is what I would like to do, and I am going to stay away from the oils since that is when she developed the couple of colic episodes and when I reasearched it, there are ties between ulcers and feeding added oils. Plus, when I removed it from the diet the minor colic episodes stopped and her attitude about working/saddling all improved.

If you use beet pulp, how long does it need to be soaked? The one barn I was at that used it soaked it from one feeding to the next, which is something I can not do, unfortunately. Right now I am leaning towards the alfalfa pellets, but I'm not definite.
 

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big coffe can or little one??

Beet pulp can soak as short as time as needed I noramlly would soak it about half hour just long enough for it to soak up the water... beet pulp shreds can be fed dry ... you could also add in a supplement like Tri Amino

Proteins are topline and neck
fats are butt
and fiber is gut
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is coming from a non coffee drinker, but I believe one of the smaller coffee cans. I know my old trainer used a larger sized one for my hard keeper in the past, and she is getting a little less.

Her weight issues are mainly along the topline. You get the impression that she is a little low, but it is really evident when you run your hands along her withers. I unfortunately don't have a recent picture of her to show, though (I hate taking photos of hair horses). She does not have any ribs showing, but you can feel them under your hands.

She is a big, tall, LEGGY mare. She is very huntery, and if your ride English, this will give you an idea. She alternates, based on her weight and if she is in a growth spurt, between a 48 and 46" girth at 16.1hh currently. When she is in a growth spurt, as she is currently, she is in the 46" girth. When her weight evens out, she will go back to the other. I think it is the growth spurts that are doing us in, and my in ability to easily alter what I am feeding her. Would something with added protein, (thinking alfalfa but correct me if I am wrong) be the best option to help even this out. Luckily, she is about as calm as they come and waking her up a bit wouldn't hurt some.
 

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OK getting that amount of feed she is most likely lacking nutritionally so....

hmmm not sure what feed dealers you have near you ...

Look for Tri Amino or a amino acid supplement add that to the beet pulp while it soaks .. without knowing more about the feed i am scared to have you add much more then that.

Tri-Amino - Equine Metabolic Supplements from SmartPak Equine
 

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I would go with alfalfa pellets or the timothy/alfalfa cubes. The pellets only take about 5 minutes to soak, and very little water. The cubes take about 20-30 minutes. I would add to your mix 1 cup of either flax meal or rice bran. Both are easy to digest, but high in fat. Alfalfa is high in calcium, which should help with her ulcer issues. It's also high in quality protein, for good muscle building.

I would ask the barn to reduce her grain intake by half and increase her hay by 50-100%. They should not charge you extra as the hay is usually cheaper by the pound than the grain. If they do try to charge you extra, point that out to them.
 

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At the barn I work at we have a very very old mare that can't eat grass anymore. She does well on senior feed and alfalfa or grass pellets. If she can keep weight on with this regimen, I would think that either alfalfa or grass pellets soaked and fed once daily would be good for your mare. We use the equivalent of a small coffee can of pellets, then put in another bucket and fill with water about 2" above the pellets. It will soak in the water in a few minutes. If she still is not gaining weight you could try twice daily feedings. I will also note that this mare can get a touch colicky/choke if the pellets are fed dry.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for your help so far guys. I have a couple of other questions. I am going ahead and starting her on beet pulp. Would there be any advantage or disadvantages to going ahead and giving her some alfalfa with it (neither in large amounts - starting out small here)?

Also, she is currently on the pellets but I do have the option to switching to oats. Is there any benefits for a young horse that is in work to being on oats instead of pellets? I have always used the pellets, so oats are not something I am familiar with. Thanks in advance

I will look into the amino acid supplements some more. Is this something that is not usually in the horses diet? If not, is there a way to put it in through the feed, or does it have to be through the supplement? Thanks.
 

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Thanks for your help so far guys. I have a couple of other questions. I am going ahead and starting her on beet pulp. Would there be any advantage or disadvantages to going ahead and giving her some alfalfa with it (neither in large amounts - starting out small here)?
Alfalfa is high in protein and has Lysine, an important amino acid. Alfalfa will aid in muscle development and her overall growth. It is also high in calcium. Personally, I would try just the alfalfa and only use beet pulp if she seems start acting more hyper than usual.

Also, she is currently on the pellets but I do have the option to switching to oats. Is there any benefits for a young horse that is in work to being on oats instead of pellets? I have always used the pellets, so oats are not something I am familiar with. Thanks in advance
Oats are a great simple feed that provide a lot of carbs for quick energy. If you feed only oats, you'll need to add a vit/min supplement though as they are not a complete feed. That said, they would be my choice over feed pellets. ;-)

I will look into the amino acid supplements some more. Is this something that is not usually in the horses diet? If not, is there a way to put it in through the feed, or does it have to be through the supplement? Thanks.
Grass hay is usually deficeint in amino acids. Alfalfa has some, but not a ton. Horses will get most of the aminos they need if they have quality pasture grazing that is more than just one type of grass. If your horse doesn't have grazing time, then added amino acids are beneficial.

You might consider using a supplement from horsetech.com or Uckele Equine Nutrition. Horsetech has one called High Point that is high in aminos. Uckele will add extra aminos to their Equi-Base Grass supplement (it has some, but not a lot).

I get a custom vit/min from Uckele with added aminos. I needed custom as we are on well water that is high in iron, so I needed something with no added iron. I also wanted extra Vit C, Vit E, copper, zinc, and magnesium for overall health and better attitude (magnesium is good for moody horses). My horses are also turned out all day, so I removed the Vit D from the mix. Here's my breakdown, values per-serving. It costs me $0.41 a day. The last three are amino acids.

Vitamin A 25,000 IU
Vitamin E 1,000 IU
Vitamin C 1,000 mg
Thiamine, B1 100 mg
Riboflavin, B2 75 mg
Niacin, B3 125 mg
Vitamin B12 300 mcg
Pantothenic Acid, B5 50 mg
Folic Acid, B9 15 mg
Biotin 10 mg
Choline 75 mg
Iodine (I) 2 mg
Copper (Cu) 200 mg
Zinc (Zn) 400 mg
Selenium (Se) 1.5 mg
Cobalt (Co) 1 mg
Magnesium (Mg) 1 g
Manganese (Mn) 150 mg
DL-Methionine 2.5 g
L-Lysine 4 g
L-Threonine 1 g
 
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