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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I purchased a kill pen Appendix gelding two years ago. We name him Navajo. He was slightly thin when I bought him. Although we have tried different things during the past two years, he looks the best now with my current feeding program. He gets oats, Renew Gold, soaked Alfalfa pellets and 24 access to grass, mineral block and Bermuda Hay. I recently purchased a 6 year old TB. The name Joey was on his coggins so we decided the name fit him. I currently have him on the same feeding program as Navajo although in very small amounts until he gets used to being fed. I am wondering if he needs more. I have never purchased a horse this thin and I don't want him to colic. Does anyone have any advice, suggestions for a very thin horse? I am posting pics of Navajo before with his tag no. now in his stall. The bay is a current picture of Joey.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!!


Joey doesn't look terrible, lacking a bit of weight but far from "thin" , as in skinny by that one picture.
A picture from the side would tell more, but enough is seen..some groceries are needed..
He needs about 100 pounds or so.
Thoroughbreds are not supposed to resemble fat, round rolly-polly horses.
It is healthy for a horse to show a bit of rib when they move, breathe...a rippling under the skin.
A slow steady increase of weight on the frame is best so the horses organs and structural things like tendon and ligament also acclimate to needing to support more.
If the horse is gaining with what you are doing, just keep at it till you reach your goal.
Grass is just really coming in to being nutritious food for the horses to eat.
Allowing grazing will add weight and all the extra fed is going to help reach that goal faster.
Thoroughbreds are known to have a faster, higher metabolism so require more food fed = calories consumed than many other breeds of horse.
Make sure the horse has had a recent worming, with fecal check and do Navajo at the same time so if one had a worm-load it not be passed to the other and infestation take place again...
Teeth check for sharp points and edges can make a animal not chew well and not thrive...need a dentist or vet for that.
Check the intestinal tract for sand accumulation as that if present reduces food absorption and utilization.
https://www.drgarfinkel.com/client-education/equine-care-and-anatomy/testing-the-horse-for-sand
The lessening chance of sand colic is a plus, this test costs nothing but some time from you and results are known in 1/2 hour so treating if needed can be started.
Fresh water, white salt block or loose given so consuming of enough water happens as necessary.
Any food products you feed such as feed/grain need fed according to bag directions for the animal to benefit the most from the products chosen. That is true of feed or supplements...follow directions.
Most average Thoroughbreds weigh between 1000 - 1300 pounds for decent boned 15.2 - 16.2 hand animals.
A weight tape would tell you where you are and also will assist you in knowing if you are seeing a loss or gain, available for a few dollars in most feed store locations.
Best of luck.
So glad you joined us at HF and even better you have two lovely animals that call you their human. :cool:
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for all of your advice. I really appreciate it. I wormed Joey the 2nd day I had him and Navajo was wormed at the same time. I will get the weight measurement tape and the sand accumulation test. My vet is coming to check his teeth. I am so glad I joined The Horse Forum!
 

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Hi & welcome Kim,

While it's hard to say much from that angle pic, he is by no means skinny - there is some rounding to his shoulders and also to his rump. He may well be light on(appears you can make out ribs from that angle slightly), and the look of his hips may be also partly due to lack of weight, but it appears he also has a very angular hind end & his spine protrudes, which IME is more about injury than weight. I'd have a good bodyworker, such as a chiropractic vet, to come assess/treat him.

In addition to just feeding & having his teeth attended, horses commonly 'fail to thrive' on a good diet due to gut probs & also nutritional imbalance. So I'd be including a 'gut support' type supp, such as Kelato Gastro Aid for eg, and analysing their diets, to work out what are appropriate nutritional supps to include - assuming the generic mineral block isn't doing well enough(they usually don't).

Re feed & putting on weight, Navajo doesn't look obviously too thin in that one early pic, but he's obviously packed it on since - looks overweight in the stable pic. But check out the coat colour - he's obviously doing better nutritionally than the washed out look when you got him! I note the bucket attached high in the stable - if this is his feed bin, you need to lower it significantly. It's not good for horses to eat from above wither height and it can cause 'choke'. They should be fed at a more natural level, if not off the ground.

You don't say how much, or how frequently you feed what you do, which is very relevant, so no way to say whether it's appropriate for Joey. That Renew Gold looks like good stuff, from Googling it - a high fat, low sugar/starch supp. While oats are the best cereal grain for horses, being lower in starch/sugar and easier to digest than other grain, it's still high starch & not the best option. Obviously Navajo doesn't need the high energy/fat feed any more anyway, but I'd hesitate to feed any cereal grain to horses, if there were any better alternative, so I'd just feed the Renew Gold with alfalfa to Joey.

Always add new feeds in small amounts, building up to a 'maintenance ration' over a week or 2 at least. Always feed rich/supplementary feeds in small, frequent meals - over at least a couple of meals daily. The richer/higher starch/harder to digest the meal, the smaller & more frequently should be the meals, to avoid/minimise gut probs such as acidosis, ulcers, colic, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, Thank you for all of your advice. I agree, Navajo is getting a little overweight and I definitely want to avoid that. I have cut back on his feed since this picture which was about a week ago. I used to feed him in the bucket in the stall but he is now eating out of a very large tub bucket on the ground. Mainly because he kept knocking the green bucket off the stall. I will get my vet to look Joey over very well. Joey is getting 1 lb. of oats, 1/2 pound of Renew Gold, 2 lbs. of Alfalfa pellets. He gets this twice a day along with unlimited Bermuda hay and grass. I heard Soy was not good for horses so I am trying to avoid feed with Soy in it. This is the reason I feed oats. I tried a feed by Triple Crown that did not have Soy but Navajo would not eat it. Do you know of something I could try other than oats? Thank you
 

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An general idea of where you live would help members suggest feed manufacturers who are available in your region.
A state, country...we have members world-wide so what is here may not be their. :|
:runninghorse2:...
 

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As said, I'd just stick with the alfalfa & the Renew Gold. And perhaps add a gut support supp, as gut probs may be the cause of failure to thrive, and just a good diet of free choice hay/grass should be fine if he's healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I live in Middle Georgia. I have access to several feed stores and a TS is right down the road from where I live. Thanks
 

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Prepare for a crash course of nutrition information shared as I've learned it.
I am no expert, but have yet to kill or hurt a horse in my feeding plans and way of doing.
There are better educated for sure but I tried to make this basic and understandable without writing multiple chapter and verse books...so here we go.

So forage is always the first ingredient in healthy food fed and greatest quantity.
When a horse needs more than forage can provide is when we then add feed/grain, then if that is not enough you add supplements and specific items if a problem surfaces apparent.

I'm not sure what smaller local companies may be nearby, so will stick to what TS carries.
The stores now carry several good brands.
You mentioned Triple Crown, your horse did not like nor eat so will count them out {my horses will not eat TC either}
So, Safechoice, Purina, Nutrena and Blue Seal are all reputable horse feed manufacturers and carried by TS near me.
Dumor is store brand and decent food but not packing the same nutrient denseness as the other brands do so needing to feed more with less good results is my findings.
Sometimes spending a bit more $ but feeding less quantity actually saves $ and is better for the animal.

So, any horse can be fed Senior feed if the animal is over 5 years of age...remember that as it opens more food choices for you.
Most horse feeds today use beet pulp or a derivative of that for the main base ingredient they start with.
Same as human food labels, in order of amounts found is how a label reads ingredients listed.

Beet pulp processed into horse feed recipes helps to push nutrients in. There are also other products used as "base" with good results. Soy processed is a well-known reliable source of protein, but as with some foods some have reactions to it, so watch if in the ingredient list.
Do not feed raw soybeans, processed is safe and fine a food product fed.
You want to find a feed with as high a fat content as possible, between 12 - 14% protein and fiber again as high a number as possible as fiber is what keeps a gut active healthy.
Fat content of any decent food will never be less than 5% and the higher the number the better.
A starch/sugar content, when you see NSC on a label that is sugar/starch combined numbers.
Most healthy horses, those without IR {aka Diabetes}, EMS {Equine Metabolic Syndrome} are able to digest feeds with NSC levels in the teens to mid 20's numbers well.
All horses need carbs.... It is the kinds of combinations achieved and what those actual food products are that make differences in how a horse is able to digest and utilize their foods consumed.
Horses with gut issues processing/digesting their food are those who "need" special diets and consideration.
A underweight horse does not immediately mean issues but to me more is not enough food fed and offered.

This is where you need to start doing research using recognized, factual base of information from nutrition professionals and respected leaders educating the horse owners.
I have found www.thehorse.com and www.KentuckyEquineResearch.com are two of the easiest understood for the novice learning nutrition and fact filled with explanation shared. Both are free websites that will send you weekly/daily/monthly articles on nutrition findings.
Large manufacturers such as Purina have experts on staff and great tutorials but promote their line of food products of course. Tutorials are often on company websites to investigate and explain that companies food offerings.

So of all of the cereal grains, oats are the safest to feed and digest by the horse.
By reading those articles written by industry recognized experts I have learned that...today there are better options to try. Oats fed to animals are appropriate and warranted in certain situations
Foods that are processed so digestion is faster started, utilized in the foregut as much as possible are safest...overloading of the gut in digestion is where spilling of undigested foods reach the hindgut and create issue for some.

So, the bottom line is you want a food product that is dense in calories with daily needed vitamin and mineral amounts added in.
This allows you to feed less quantity with more achieved in results while not over-loading the small stomach the horse stuffs with food. Food is only in the stomach for about 20 minutes then starts further down the digestive tract of small intestine so important that food is easily and well chewed and digestion starts in the mouth first..
Calories from higher fat content are called cool calories and those are the ones most easily digested and beneficial to put weight on and also give lasting energy for a harder working horse.
Here is a list of commercially made feeds with number of calories per pound of food fed for a reference...as you can see there is quite a difference in what is available to feed. https://laminitishelp.org/CalorieFeed.pdf
The list is older and not UTD on all offerings today, but is the only "all-in-one-spot" readily available I know of.
You need to dig a bit deeper to find the NSC amounts in a listed form but most feed labels report those numbers in their claims of what their food provides.
This is a list from Purina of how they classify their line of foods with sugar/starch and calories.
https://www.purinamills.com/horse-feed/education/detail/starch-sugars-fat-and-calories-in-diets
Other companies should also provide something similar.

Personally, I happen to feed Purina Ultium Competition to my horse who is a hard-keeper and needs as many calories from fat as possible with a moderate NSC level. Ultium packs the biggest punch in a feed from any competitor. Today with a revamped recipe it is 1900 calories per pound.

It reads as 11.7% protein, 12.4% fat and 18.5% fiber. NSC is 15%.
I would also strongly consider some of their other products including Omolene 500 as results I've seen are very impressive at several rescues where emaciated turns to thriving in a few months time with not ridiculous amounts fed.
I have not fed with great success Nutrena or Safechoice brands...many people feed with nice results, my horses seem to just do better with Purina products.

Make sure you feed feed not just supplements as primary building blocks of nutrition are not always provided...read labels carefully if it says "supplement" as this is in addition to feed fed not in place of it.
Quality hay and pasture provided are fantastic, giving extra feed/grain to help the hurdle of gaining weight.
Once a desired weight level is achieved, then back off the calories fed but offer a vitamin/mineral product so daily levels are maintained for health.
Always keep a vigilant eye and watch for changes, gains or losses in either direction. A balancing act of providing what is needed for thrive without being a fatty. :smile:

OK...enough information to make your head ache...the quest for information and understanding begins.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Alfalfa cubes and the renew gold but I'd look into a good vit/min. Don't think renew gold has all required vit/mins a horse needs.

I've been doing the alfalfa cubes along with a vit/min fat supplement made up by horse Tech. Feeding 4 lbs of the cubes twice a day,soaked with supplement mixed in.

No soy no bagged feed so no unwanted ingredients in what I feed.

My horses are much healthier since off commercial bagged feeds. Supplement has what horses need nothing else no soy no iron.

I give another 2 pounds of alfalfa cubes after our ride. My horses work hard and this diet works along with free feed grass hay. An 2 hours on pasture a day. No commercial feed fed ever in the last 11 months.

I'll get pictures of my 2 later on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thank you all for taking the time to give me your suggestions. I will post some pictures of Joey as he gains weight. He is the sweetest boy! I can see why he was named Joey. He actually favors the horse "Joey" on War Horse.
 

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Here's how my two look on a forage only diet. With a vit/min with added fat, alfalfa cubes 10 lbs per day per horse. The 10 lbs is split into 3 feedings a day. My horses are in my backyard,so very doable. plus free choice grass hay and pasture time.
 
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