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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 10 year old TB (never been on the track) mare is underweight. You can see her ribs pretty easily, she's not emaciated but I know she needs to put on some weight.
I've been feeding her alfalfa cubes because I haven't been able to find any hay with decent content and it's been okay but I feel like it's not enough. I give her around 5 lb dry (I soak it but I can't remember the weight soaked) in the morning and a couple lb at night along with some complete feed(am and pm). This is new so I've started slow and I can still give more of course but I'm just a totally nervous owner. I want to point out that I know in order to get her to put on weight she does need more, I'm just not going to give her that much all of a sudden.

We have another mare that is I think around 26 years old and she's underweight as well. My boyfriend's mom owns her and kind of has a "since the grass is out now they'll gain all the weight they need to on that" mentality, which I guess has worked for her all the years she's owned her but I don't really agree.

I guess my main questions are: Is there anything that I've said that sounds totally wrong? And what are your opinions on oils? And.. should I just be patient and keep slowly increasing her feed? I'm not great at being patient so that might be where my worries come from. Sorry this post is all over the place!
 

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Your only feeding 5 lbs of cubes in am ?? Then a couple more lbs at night?? Soaked weight doesn't matter, it's dry weight you go by.

You're not feeding any hay? Alfalfa cubes need to be fed at 1.5 percent to 2 percent of horses body weight,if that's all your feeding for forage.

Being horse is skinny you need to feed amount for her ideal body weight. Not for what she currently weighs.

Doesn't sound like your feeding enough forage. It takes time to see improvement. Until you have horse on proper amount of feed to gain,you won't see improvement.

Horse needs a vet check done to check for any possible health issues. Teeth need checked and a fecal egg count done. Then worm according to fecal results.

My horse is in good weight he gets free feed hay. Plus 8 to 10 lbs of feed split into 2 or 3 feedings everyday. He's in hard work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll see if we can start feeding more hay and definitely bulk up what she gets in cubes. Wondering how slowly I should go with adding more in terms of the cubes? I'm really scared of colic, honestly.

Wanted to clarify she does get hay! It just doesn't have the alfalfa content I'm looking for. And the 5 lb is dry, not soaked. She was also dewormed and had her teeth checked april.
 

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She's not eating enough calories though to gain but barely maintain it sounds like.
This is where that complete feed can be used....
Without knowing what feed brand you are using nor how much you are feeding any guess could and probably is wrong.
I bet you could double the feed amount you are feeding and do the same with the cubes fed and it will start to make a difference.
5 pounds of dry cubes fed 2x a day soaked...but you start with dry weight.
That would be about 1/2 her daily needed intake of forage, now add the complete feed...and your horse I bet will start to show improvement in looks of some flesh on the ribs.
Now realize that Thoroughbreds are not supposed to be fat, rolly-polly looking horses and it is healthy to see a ripple of rib as a horse moves, breathes and such.
We have become so accustomed to seeing fat horses that a horse who is actually in proper weight is thought to be skinny and underweight for many...wrong.
Thoroughbreds are common to require more food fed as they just have a faster working metabolism than other breeds...hence the comment of a "hard-keeper" cause they cost more to keep.

Purina Mills has a feed calculator program that although it only is for their products gives you a pretty good idea of how much food in complete versus concentrates with hay fed you need to be considering.
https://www.purinamills.com/horse-feed/tools/horse-feed-calculator
Following the bag directions of your specific feed is needed so you do feed accurate amounts to your horse for optimum looks and health.
I would guess just knowing Thoroughbreds your horse should be weighing in at at least 1000 pounds and probably closer to 1200 if she is of good size and bone.
For her to gain you need to feed enough calories so she can gain...

When figuring her feed fed amounts, feed her for what she should be weighing not the thin horse you want to put weight on.
Since you say pasture and hay is yet junk then you need to rely on the cubes fed primarily for her to flourish along with her feed.
Canola oil or cocoasoya are good products if your horse will eat oil laced food for extra calories.
You can also look at any of the major brands dry pelleted fat supplement to add to the feed in addition, to top-dress the ration adding more fat = adding pounds.
Purina has Amplify, Nutrena has Empower Boost, those I know of and have used myself on my horses when they needed help.
Feed your feed though according to bag directions for best results achieved.
To add weight is a slow process not one that happens overnight.

Since you have done all the prior of teeth, worm, health check-up that leaves just not eating enough...
Best of luck with the horse...
:runninghorse2:..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In reply to horselovinguy

Thank you for all of that information, that's awesome! Very much appreciated.
I'm terrible at explaining things when there's so much to think about. She is out in pasture 24/7. I thought I had put that in the og post but of course I didn't! Since she's out all the time and has access to grass that isn't amazing but not bad, I feel like there is maybe a big difference? I think I came off like she doesn't get much/any pasture time.
 

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Pasture constantly on does make a difference....
But...
If the pasture is not good in nutritional quality, but more like low-grade grass left-over from last years growing season and not yet started to grow this year...
Then the horses belly is full, that's it.
Feeding proper foods in nutritional content is what all animals need to thrive.


She needs quality hay or enriched pasture... now is the time to weed & feed preferably before a rain so it leaches into the roots and works magic on the growth soon to come.
If she is eating "spent" grass then she is needing that supplementing, which is not supplementing but actually giving her her needed nutrition to thrive..
So yes, pasture to keep her gut full is fine, but better would be keeping her gut full of good nutiritious grass or hay over "pasture grazing"
All the time in the world spent eating "0" calories and nutrition or eating for a few hours nutritious filled foods...
Make it a combination of both...
Up the cubes or feed her alfalfa hay every day, then let her graze to keep her busy till the fields really start to grow and produce will make a difference. Right now, no...she needs that hay/cubes desperately supplied in more quantity.
Her feed if complete is also fortified with vitamins & minerals her body must have to thrive...why it needs fed in proper amounts cause the recipe is made that xyz amount is needed for a animal weighing xyz to get their daily must-have amounts...

Its costs $$ to properly feed a horse, especially one not thriving, to bring them back to where they should be.
It also costs to keep them in that better condition, no way around it.
Maintaining though is easier $ once you find the combination of the horses must have amounts to flourish and thrive...arriving at that look though can be :-x
:runninghorse2:...
 

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TBs are not known for being easy keepers. I have had more than a handful, I was always keeping free choice hay in front of them and feeding anywhere from 7-15lbs a day of a high quality grain depending on their workload and size (triple crown senior or complete was my typical go-to) split into 2-3 meals. My pasture up here in New England is busywork, not nutritious.

Colic is a always a fear, but colic can happen to any horse at any time. keep meals small And frequent. She NEEDS serious groceries.
 

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The only way I was ever able to cover the ribs on my semi-hard keeper was Triple Crown Senior topped off with Ultimate Finish 25. This feed program was recommend to me by my horse dentist who often sees neglected animals that needed to gain weight once their teeth were fixed.

A 50 lb bag of Triple Crown Senior lasted 9 days, so he was getting fed 6 lbs/day, divided into two feedings. In the morning, he got a lb of Buckeye Gro 'n Win ration balancer to ensure he was getting all of his needed vitamins and minerals. At night, he got a lb of the Buckeye Ultimate Finish 25. If this amount of Ultimate Finish 25 didn't add the weight needed, he could have been eating up to 3 lbs/day of it.

If hay/hay cubes/forage aren't working, you will likely have to add a complete feed into the mix. I swear by Triple Crown Senior, but I also know the Sentinel products are highly recommended as well. You will want to look for an 'extruded' feed, as it breaks down and digests easier than a 'pelleted' feed.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I hope I don't say it too much haha but THANK YOU! I'm so appreciative of everyone's advice and information. It's invaluable.

So I think I will try her on 17 lb of cubes (dry) split into 3 feedings, plus 8 lb of step 4 from trouw nutrition split into 2 feedings. And of course along with the pasture she has. Does that sound ok or should I still go for more? I have a round bale of hay that is decent but it's from our neighbour and we seem to get different nutrition quality from it with each bale.
 

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I have a round bale of hay that is decent but it's from our neighbour and we seem to get different nutrition quality from it with each bale.
That is how hay is...each bale, whether square or round is going to be different as it is from a different location and place in the field.
The cubes, because they are what they are are a consistent level of nutrients offered.

I like how your plan is sounding...the more small feedings done more often the better for the digestion and absorption of the nutrients.

The only other thing I can think of that could hinder nutrient absorption is a coating of sand in the intestinal tract.
Do you do preventative sand clear treatments?
Have you ever checked her for sand in her stool?

Its simple, its easy and free to do...based on the results will also tell you if you have issue or not.
https://www.drgarfinkel.com/client-education/equine-care-and-anatomy/testing-the-horse-for-sand

I tested my horses monthly for 6 months, saw a pattern and just treat them now proactively.
I live on sand, their paddock/dry lot is sandy, their pasture is sandy grass...
When you have as much sand as I do it would be foolish to not recognize...yea, they might eat some.
So, I treat for it and have one less worry that they sicken from sand issues overload.
They may get ill, but when the vet asks when last treated...he gets a firm answer of a date.
:runninghorse2:..
 

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My 10 year old TB (never been on the track) mare is underweight. You can see her ribs pretty easily, she's not emaciated but I know she needs to put on some weight.
I've been feeding her alfalfa cubes because I haven't been able to find any hay with decent content and it's been okay but I feel like it's not enough. I give her around 5 lb dry (I soak it but I can't remember the weight soaked) in the morning and a couple lb at night along with some complete feed(am and pm). This is new so I've started slow and I can still give more of course but I'm just a totally nervous owner. I want to point out that I know in order to get her to put on weight she does need more, I'm just not going to give her that much all of a sudden.

We have another mare that is I think around 26 years old and she's underweight as well. My boyfriend's mom owns her and kind of has a "since the grass is out now they'll gain all the weight they need to on that" mentality, which I guess has worked for her all the years she's owned her but I don't really agree.

I guess my main questions are: Is there anything that I've said that sounds totally wrong? And what are your opinions on oils? And.. should I just be patient and keep slowly increasing her feed? I'm not great at being patient so that might be where my worries come from. Sorry this post is all over the place!
I would add wet beet pulp to her feed! You can give quite a bit and not worry about colic. Horses are natural forage animals, they were never naturally put on grain so beet pulp, and alfalfa cubes soaked in water makes a great feed that will help you put some weight on your horse.
 
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