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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I'm pretty much categorized as a lurker on the forum, though I've posted a few times. I currently have two horses, but I just got two more as a sort of impulse decision.

Meet Ellie and Basil!
Ellie - 7 year old QH/Standardbred mare, probably around 15 hands. She was used as a pack and saddle horse for a trail outfitter in Kentucky from 3-5 years, then was sent to auction here in Colorado at 5 years old once her previous owner found out she was bred.

Basil - 9 month old Friesian/QH/Standie cross filly, should mature to 16 hands. She was born in July of last year.

Ellie was bought pregnant from auction by a family who didn't know much about horses, if anything. They intended for her to be a riding horse for their kids, but after finding out she was bred, they never rode and barely handled her. Once she foaled, they put a foal sized halter on baby Basil and it hasn't come off since then. Ellie hasn't had her nylon halter (that she came with from the auction) taken off in two years. Both have been dewormed on a regular schedule, but neither have been vaccinated since Ellie went to auction. Neither have seen the farrier, though Ellie is very good with her hooves being handled.

Ellie is only a 2.5 on the body scale, and Basil's hooves are badly outgrown. They only had a 20 by 30 foot pen plus an 8 by 8 stall as their entire living space, plus "occasional walks around the block". It's so hard to be civil with their previous owners for allowing them to get in such a state, but I understand that they never had bad intentions. They just didn't take the time to learn about horse care before buying, which unfortunately many people do.

Now I have a few questions. First off, what is the best way to get some weight on Ellie? She'll have access to good quality hay (grass/alfalfa mix) 24/7 and will be getting a weight building supplement, but I was wondering if there is more I should do. It's difficult to see her spine, ribs, and sunken in hips, so I would like to get weight on her quickly.
Second, Ellie and Basil have never been separated, and Basil is still not weaned. What is the best way to go about the weaning and separation process without causing extreme stress for the two of them? Basil has never even seen another horse that isn't her mom and never been out of eyesight.
Third, I've never had a horse this young before. I currently have a 2yo that I got when he was a yearling, but he could already halter, lead tie, pick up his hooves, and load in a trailer with no issues when I bought him. What is the best way to go about training a weanling, especially for getting a trim which she desperately needs?

Thank you so much for any/all advice! (sorry for the bad pics, that's all I have of them at the moment)
 

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Oh my. What a sad, sad story for these two. Thank you for taking them on!

I can't give you much advice, but wanted to follow this thread. All I know is that weight must be put on very slowly. You're doing the right thing by giving the mare lots of hay and water. I wouldn't change much else for now. Give her time to adjust. As hard as it is to see her so skinny, overfeeding is worse right now because she could so easily colic. Take it slow. Let her metabolism adjust. When she starts to gain, maybe try some soaked hay cubes and beet pulp for weight gain.

Same applies to the foal. I wouldn't be weaning him just yet. In an ideal situation, yes, it would be nice, but let them relax, gain weight and get used to their new home first. Maybe when the mare is eating, you could start leading him away just a few feet so they can still see each other. Anything you do now should be done gradually as they have both suffered a lot.

As for trimming his hooves, get a rasp (your trimmer may be able to give you an old one, or just go buy one), and start picking up his hooves daily. Rasp a little bit - like a few strokes for each hoof. You won't be putting a dent in his hooves, just getting him used to the feeling. I'd do this next to his mom. Build on this slowly so that in a few weeks, he won't think it's a big deal to get a trim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm happy for them. I hope you'll post more "before" photos and progress photos. I just love seeing animals go from neglected to healthy! Is Ellie very protective of Basil?
I will absolutely take more "before" photos! Ellie is extremely protective of Basil, but not to the point that she will hurt people over it. Who knows what she'll be like when it comes to other horses though.
 

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I'd see about getting a couple of larger halters and work on putting them on. Then get the old ones off. From the pictures it looks like they are embedded.
 

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For feeding up an extremely starved horse, start with hay. If you feed up to quickly you can damage their kidneys and livers. Plus founder etc. Start with small meals multiple times a day. Fresh clean water. Shavings for a soft spot to lie down. Free choice salt. You can even add a mash with a small amt of rice bran and hay pellets and even a few electrolytes. Do not get in a rush and put a bunch of hard feed in front of her. Take your time. Its to easy to over feed them. As for the younger horse with bad feet, start trimming. If the feet are full of thrush get some durasole or some life data labs hoof clay. Give them turn out. Room to walk around .
 

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Hello all! I'm pretty much categorized as a lurker on the forum, though I've posted a few times. I currently have two horses, but I just got two more as a sort of impulse decision.

Meet Ellie and Basil!
Ellie - 7 year old QH/Standardbred mare, probably around 15 hands. She was used as a pack and saddle horse for a trail outfitter in Kentucky from 3-5 years, then was sent to auction here in Colorado at 5 years old once her previous owner found out she was bred.

Basil - 9 month old Friesian/QH/Standie cross filly, should mature to 16 hands. She was born in July of last year.

Ellie was bought pregnant from auction by a family who didn't know much about horses, if anything. They intended for her to be a riding horse for their kids, but after finding out she was bred, they never rode and barely handled her. Once she foaled, they put a foal sized halter on baby Basil and it hasn't come off since then. Ellie hasn't had her nylon halter (that she came with from the auction) taken off in two years. Both have been dewormed on a regular schedule, but neither have been vaccinated since Ellie went to auction. Neither have seen the farrier, though Ellie is very good with her hooves being handled.

Ellie is only a 2.5 on the body scale, and Basil's hooves are badly outgrown. They only had a 20 by 30 foot pen plus an 8 by 8 stall as their entire living space, plus "occasional walks around the block". It's so hard to be civil with their previous owners for allowing them to get in such a state, but I understand that they never had bad intentions. They just didn't take the time to learn about horse care before buying, which unfortunately many people do.

Now I have a few questions. First off, what is the best way to get some weight on Ellie? She'll have access to good quality hay (grass/alfalfa mix) 24/7 and will be getting a weight building supplement, but I was wondering if there is more I should do. It's difficult to see her spine, ribs, and sunken in hips, so I would like to get weight on her quickly.
Second, Ellie and Basil have never been separated, and Basil is still not weaned. What is the best way to go about the weaning and separation process without causing extreme stress for the two of them? Basil has never even seen another horse that isn't her mom and never been out of eyesight.
Third, I've never had a horse this young before. I currently have a 2yo that I got when he was a yearling, but he could already halter, lead tie, pick up his hooves, and load in a trailer with no issues when I bought him. What is the best way to go about training a weanling, especially for getting a trim which she desperately needs?

Thank you so much for any/all advice! (sorry for the bad pics, that's all I have of them at the moment)
I'm not an experienced horse person. I got a starved horse from a rescue a year ago. He had been at the rescue for a month, so he was at a point where I could give him all the hay he could eat and I didn't need to be concerned about spacing out small meals. I kept him separate from my mare at first because he was very weak and couldn't defend himself.
What I found, if this is any help to you, was that he slept a lot, so yes a soft place to lie down is good. He could also lose weight again alarmingly fast, if for example, the temperature dropped, so I made sure he was blanketed. He gradually changed from being a quiet calm horse to being spirited and playful as he gained strength and felt better, so your mare might change too.
It took much longer than I expected for him to hold his weight. It's been a year and he's at a good weight now but still needs to eat all the hay he can, and is a wonderful cheeky happy horse. I totally adore him. (So does my mare!)
Good luck to you and please keep us updated, I'd love to hear how things are going.
 

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Hi, along with the other good advice... Feeding mum - agree thoroughly with doing it slowly. Because of the situation, I wouldn't wean the foal just yet either, but that will be working against her gaining, sucking the goodness out of her - my standy mare took a lot of feed when lactating to keep from being too thin & she was fat when she foaled. Her nutrition, not just calories will be sorely lacking, so I'd look at appropriate supplementation, without adding rich feed too. I'd ask your vet, who may or may not know about that, or if you can, get onto an equine nutritionist.

Best way to wean - no expert by far but from my looking at pros & cons, seemed that 'cold Turkey' separating them is the best. Yes, they will both stress for a couple of days, and you'll need to check mum regularly for the first week to ensure she doesn't get mastitis. Alternative is 'slow weaning', get them used to being on opposite sides of a (very safe) fence for periods of the day, then gradually longer then gradually further away. More difficult depending on your setup & it seems generally while less 'acutely' stressful, it's still quite a bit, but goes on for a lot longer.

I would want them to be with other horses they know when separated though, so ideally, they need friends now, esp as the foal may take a while to warm to other horses if she's never met any yet. My latest filly lived with her 'uncles' for 2 months until she was weaned - she was still trying to get a drink from uncle Zac & when allowed with her mother while supervised to see, at 6 weeks separated.

Feets & general training. If you don't know what you're doing/not experienced, I'd suggest at least a few lessons - for both the horses & you - with a good trainer. The main thing with babies is to keep it short & sweet, lots of rewards (babies seem to all love scratches) to teach her doing as you ask is easy & Good for her. Get her good at being handled generally before 'going for the feet'. Babies can't handle being 'manhandled' or tied hard or such, without serious risk to immature bones & joints, so don't try to just do it & hang on until she gives in & don't tie her up(or leave a halter on). When you get to calling the farrier, if he's a good horse handler/trainer too(not a given by far), I'd ask him if you can employ him to help train her, pay him for his time, even if it takes a few sessions to actually get her feet trimmed. And she & the mare will need super frequent trims for at least a handful of times, to get them into shape.
 

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Alfalfa is great for starved horses and recommended by quite a few vets. I have a thin rescue right now and am feeding mostly grass hay along with alfalfa. My last rescue I fed alfalfa to also. The best thing to do is feed free choice hay and allow them to gain slowly.
A very good book on foal handling is "Bringing Up Baby" by John Lyons.
John Lyons' Bringing Up Baby: 20 Progressive Ground-Work Lessons to Develop Your Young Horse into a Reliable, Accepting Partner: Lyons, John, Denison, Jennifer: 9781929164127: Amazon.com: Books
 

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^Meant to say that, feed some alfalfa too, but not too much to begin with if she was actually starving.

I say actually because just looked at the pic(couldn't see it before) & she may well be thin(can't tell from those pics) but she does appear filled out, relatively rounded in front, so maybe not the fire state we're imagining
 

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I would recommend putting the mare and foal in a paddock with other horse you know are pretty friendly. If the baby takes a licking to one of them then it would be good to wean her from her mother and have the other horse as someone like a grandparent or close family member. AS for the weight on the mare I am having a similar problem. She needs exercise to build her hips and hindquarter muscling and the supplements are a great idea. Mainly just give it time !
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would recommend putting the mare and foal in a paddock with other horse you know are pretty friendly. If the baby takes a licking to one of them then it would be good to wean her from her mother and have the other horse as someone like a grandparent or close family member. AS for the weight on the mare I am having a similar problem. She needs exercise to build her hips and hindquarter muscling and the supplements are a great idea. Mainly just give it time !
Once they go through quarantine and get health checked by our vet, I'm planning on putting my two year old in with them for that reason. He's super chill and at the bottom of the pecking order, but young enough to play and run with Basil. I'm going to start Ellie on very small amounts of exercise once she's settled, probably 10 minutes of hand walking twice a day, and work up from there.
They're still not at the barn, we've been going through some trouble with the brand inspector scheduling, but hopefully in the next few days. I can hardly stand still!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alright, we finally have a time for Ellie and Basil to come to my barn. However, it's going to be very cold - low of 17 and snowing all night. I know I'm going to blanket Ellie as she is so thin and doesn't have much of a winter coat, but I'm not sure which blanket to use. I have a 150g, a 250g, and a 400g, each with an optional neck cover. I'm leaning towards the 400g, but would that be too hot for her overnight? I don't want her to burn calories that she doesn't have trying to stay warm.
 

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If the foal isn't weaned I would not rug her. Or at least be very cautious & don't use a rug with back straps.

Yeah, if she isn't acclimatised to having a rug, use a light one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If the foal isn't weaned I would not rug her. Or at least be very cautious & don't use a rug with back straps.

Yeah, if she isn't acclimatised to having a rug, use a light one.
I totally didn't think about the implications of the back straps with a foal. Thank you! We'll be putting them inside for the night. Nice big stall with shavings to lie down on, just for this cold first night. Tomorrow they'll be outside 24/7 and we'll take some good "before" pictures!
 

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Hello all! I'm pretty much categorized as a lurker on the forum, though I've posted a few times. I currently have two horses, but I just got two more as a sort of impulse decision.

Meet Ellie and Basil!
Ellie - 7 year old QH/Standardbred mare, probably around 15 hands. She was used as a pack and saddle horse for a trail outfitter in Kentucky from 3-5 years, then was sent to auction here in Colorado at 5 years old once her previous owner found out she was bred.

Basil - 9 month old Friesian/QH/Standie cross filly, should mature to 16 hands. She was born in July of last year.

Ellie was bought pregnant from auction by a family who didn't know much about horses, if anything. They intended for her to be a riding horse for their kids, but after finding out she was bred, they never rode and barely handled her. Once she foaled, they put a foal sized halter on baby Basil and it hasn't come off since then. Ellie hasn't had her nylon halter (that she came with from the auction) taken off in two years. Both have been dewormed on a regular schedule, but neither have been vaccinated since Ellie went to auction. Neither have seen the farrier, though Ellie is very good with her hooves being handled.

Ellie is only a 2.5 on the body scale, and Basil's hooves are badly outgrown. They only had a 20 by 30 foot pen plus an 8 by 8 stall as their entire living space, plus "occasional walks around the block". It's so hard to be civil with their previous owners for allowing them to get in such a state, but I understand that they never had bad intentions. They just didn't take the time to learn about horse care before buying, which unfortunately many people do.

Now I have a few questions. First off, what is the best way to get some weight on Ellie? She'll have access to good quality hay (grass/alfalfa mix) 24/7 and will be getting a weight building supplement, but I was wondering if there is more I should do. It's difficult to see her spine, ribs, and sunken in hips, so I would like to get weight on her quickly.
Second, Ellie and Basil have never been separated, and Basil is still not weaned. What is the best way to go about the weaning and separation process without causing extreme stress for the two of them? Basil has never even seen another horse that isn't her mom and never been out of eyesight.
Third, I've never had a horse this young before. I currently have a 2yo that I got when he was a yearling, but he could already halter, lead tie, pick up his hooves, and load in a trailer with no issues when I bought him. What is the best way to go about training a weanling, especially for getting a trim which she desperately needs?

Thank you so much for any/all advice! (sorry for the bad pics, that's all I have of them at the moment)
As for the best way to get weight up.... I rescued a mare and 3 month old filly and wormed them both as they had a heavy load shed.... Be careful worming, something you should discuss with your vet. I used senior feed three/four times a day and all the hay they could eat. This was for the first two/three weeks. Then took it down to two/three times a day for another couple of weeks. I wish I had before and after pics.. They look great. And I am letting mom wean baby when she sees fit. They were sharing a stall and now have their own stalls, mom goes right to her own stall. I still have them share a stall if they stay in at night. Hope this helps! And it took my mare a little more time for her hips to fill in...
 
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