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For an old horse, the first reason they are thin is usually their teeth. Make sure he has his teeth checked by the vet to see if they need to be floated. He also may need to be wormed.
Since old horses often don't have good chewing surfaces, they may need soaked pellets or chopped hay added to their diet to help them get enough digestible calories into their system.
 

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For an old horse, the first reason they are thin is usually their teeth. Make sure he has his teeth checked by the vet to see if they need to be floated. He also may need to be wormed.
Since old horses often don't have good chewing surfaces, they may need soaked pellets or chopped hay added to their diet to help them get enough digestible calories into their system.
Are there any feeds you recommend?
 

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If he's not getting nutrition from the hay, then replacing it with pellets means you have to feed a lot of pellets. That can be difficult, usually meaning several feedings a day with pellets that weigh 5 lbs or so each time before soaking. It is the same with senior feed, but hay pellets are much cheaper to feed in large quantities.
 

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First, have his teeth checked and floated if necessary. This can go a long way to helping him be able to chew his hay.

Second, make sure he's not dealing with parasites. Have a fecal done and deworm accordingly if you haven't already.

Third, I recommend Triple Crown Senior feed for putting weight on hard-keepers. It's available at Tractor Supply or anywhere else that sells Triple Crown horse feeds.

Fourth, remember that it takes time to put weight back on a horse. It cannot happen quickly or they run the risk of getting sick. Be patient and don't give up on something just because you aren't seeing immediate results.
 

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It won't matter what you feed him if he can't chew properly because his teeth are in bad shape. He will drop food and will be unable to chew it enough to properly digest it. So that's the first thing you need to do - it's not even that expensive to have it done.

Deworm him if it's been a while.

Soaked beet pulp is a good source of extra calories. I give it 2x a day, and let it soak in my basement where it's cooler than outside. It can sit in the bucket for several hours without fermenting if it's in a cool spot, but if you leave it in the sun, it will ferment and won't be any good. You can also add a vegetable oil for fat. Flax seed (ground) is also a source of fat. But you have to add substantial amounts to see a difference.

I add Ultimate Finish 100 to my senior horse's food to keep weight on. It is dehydrated vegetable fat that comes in a powder and you just add it to wet feed. It has done wonders for him. A bag lasts me several months so it's fairly economical.
 

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I have a 28 year old who for the first time this spring looked thin and unthrifty. She needed two molars removed, and was having trouble gaining adequate nutrition from her hay. I would strongly encourage a full dental exam with an equine vet who can sedate to investigate the whole mouth to find any teeth that need to be addressed.

Having access to green grass significantly helped my mare. In addition to grass, she gets 4 lbs of Poulin Senior 2x day (this is a local New England feed company). She also thrives on SpeediBeet, a fast soaking extruded beet pulp flake. Depending on the time of year, she gets between 0.5 lbs and 1.0 lb of that added to the senior. I find the SpeediBeet much easier to feed than pellets, as it soaks much more quickly and fluffs up into a texture they really seem to like.

Also, it's probably time to have your vet run a metabolic blood panel to check for Cushings. If your horse has Cushings, adding Prascend can help get their metabolic system reset and help them regulate their bodies again. It's a balancing act to find the right dose, as too high a dose can push them off their feed and be counterproductive to adding weight.

Bottom line, sounds like your old guy needs a brainstorming session with your vet to figure out the best plan!
 

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Might I also suggest you check him for accumulated sand in his intestinal tract..
It is easy and tells you if your horse would benefit from a Sand Clear or similar product be given.
Sand accumulated in the intestinal tract can reduce the nutrients absorbed by the animal...
Removing excess sand also lessens chances of colic and diarrhea happening...

I second looking for a senior feed with as high a fat content as you can find.
Find a manufacturer of feeds who supply your area with ample supply so running out is not a issue...not every manufacturer is sold in every area...learn who is represented in your area...
Senior feeds are made differently to benefit the digestion of aging horses. When fed in appropriate amounts the horse will thrive and gain weight... Many senior feeds can be fed totally in place of forage also when fed in proper amounts.
When you are figuring out how much to feed, each manufacturer has directions on bag back to follow.
If the horse is not chewing well, quids his food {balls it up} he could benefit from being fed a feed with higher fat and fiber content...dense in calories per pound consumed.
Horses need 15,000 calories per day to survive, 25,000 for a horse to maintain in light - moderate work and up to 33,000 calories fed to a horse who needs to truly gain weight.
If your horse is not gaining, instead losing it is because he is not getting enough nutrition fed in to meet the daily basic needs of survival.
Calories also come from forage and forage type foods consumed...
I have given you links to two informative resources so you can figure what your horse is consuming and what and how to improve that so thrive better is what can occur.
https://laminitishelp.org/CalorieFeed.pdf

First though, I would be having the vet come and evaluate the horses condition as he is aged... The dentist or vet if they are good at teeth then to come and makes sure the horse eats and chews well.

I know we are in summer, but...cold weather is soon coming back.
I would suggest strongly you look into offering the horse t/o style blankets and or sheet for added protection from the elements and for the animal to not need to burn off precious calories staying warm and dry...
Blanket sales for winter weight start in July, so best price and selection is soon to begin.
A resource of good information about blankets/sheets and the cut of and weight of, along with denier are all explained in this company brochure seen on their website.
www.sstack.com

And lastly, till the insides of the horse are healed of any damages occurred while thin you will not see much on the outside.
Take pictures of and weight tape measurements to document how the horse is reacting to your feeding approached different.

When you get totally confused about diet and what, how to feed...come ask here.
Our members are knowledgeable and will offer you their opinions on how to proceed....take all of our offered information, do some research of your own and make a plan for going forward you can do and the horse can/will thrive from.
Best of luck.
🐴...
 

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I fed my old stallion mush for 5 years, not a tooth in his head. The day he died, he was slick and glossy and well rounded. Some may not be happy with what I fed him, but at his age, I fed what he would eat and he liked it.
Soaked beet pulp
Life Design Senior because it has the rice bran already in it.
Sweet feed because he liked it. At his age, that was what was most important.

he got a 3 gallon bucket every morning, and every evening. The bucket would be about 3/4 full.
 
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