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For horses, calories equal energy. Oats provide calories, but horses eating plenty of calories through roughage/hay will also have enough energy to do hard work. The problem is again that if you feed too much grain, the amount of calories fed to the horse are much more than the calories the horse is able to digest and use. You feed more calories than the horse needs on paper, yet the horse does not get enough calories to use.

Many people attempt to feed poor hay and make up for this with adding grain. This is similar to a person trying to get most of their diet from chips and ramen and then trying to create good health by eating an energy bar or two each day.
Quality hay is the staple of a horse's diet.

In the top two pictures, my mare was getting 6 kg of oats per day. A telltale sign of the acidosis she was experiencing in her hindgut is that her flank is tucked up. Depth through the horse's flank area and a larger belly are signs that the horse is holding onto hay and fermenting it. If the flank is tucked up, either the horse is not being fed enough hay and is starving, or else the horse is eating a lot of hay but passing it through too quickly because the large intestine is not able to digest it. With very poor hay, horses hold onto the hay too long to try to get calories from it, and get a distended belly.

In the bottom two pictures, my mare was getting just hay and hay pellets with vitamins. She was doing hard work, and had plenty of energy, but was able to use the hay better.

Probiotics will not work if the horse continues to be fed grain. The grain requires acid-loving bacteria to digest it. The horse's intestinal PH will adjust to create the environment where those bacteria can live and digest the grain. Adding probiotics will only help if the diet has changed, which will allow the PH to change, and then the good bacteria you add will be able to survive and help balance the digestion. Equishure can help too. I did feed that for a short time. It is sodium bicarbonate pelleted to survive digestion into the hindgut. This can help make the hindgut less acidic. But again, the grain will be constantly keeping it acidic.


After getting rid of grain:

My mare is on the right.


Adding:

I learned my lesson with that mare and now don't feed any grain. The big TB I have now had ulcers when I got him. I took him off hard feed and put him on good quality hay and vitamins. He has turned into an easy keeper.

 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Yes, we have a lot of different senior feeds but they also sometimes contain micronised corn\barley\wheat in a muesli or pelleted form. Or I need to avoid all possible grains? I always wondered why there are so tiny portions on the labels :LOL: and thought that it 100% wouldn't be enough for us))
No, we don't have alfalfa hay - only pellets of chaff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
For horses, calories equal energy. Oats provide calories, but horses eating plenty of calories through roughage/hay will also have enough energy to do hard work. The problem is again that if you feed too much grain, the amount of calories fed to the horse are much more than the calories the horse is able to digest and use. You feed more calories than the horse needs on paper, yet the horse does not get enough calories to use.

Many people attempt to feed poor hay and make up for this with adding grain. This is similar to a person trying to get most of their diet from chips and ramen and then trying to create good health by eating an energy bar or two each day.
Quality hay is the staple of a horse's diet.

In the top two pictures, my mare was getting 6 kg of oats per day. A telltale sign of the acidosis she was experiencing in her hindgut is that her flank is tucked up. Depth through the horse's flank area and a larger belly are signs that the horse is holding onto hay and fermenting it. If the flank is tucked up, either the horse is not being fed enough hay and is starving, or else the horse is eating a lot of hay but passing it through too quickly because the large intestine is not able to digest it. With very poor hay, horses hold onto the hay too long to try to get calories from it, and get a distended belly.

In the bottom two pictures, my mare was getting just hay and hay pellets with vitamins. She was doing hard work, and had plenty of energy, but was able to use the hay better.

Probiotics will not work if the horse continues to be fed grain. The grain requires acid-loving bacteria to digest it. The horse's intestinal PH will adjust to create the environment where those bacteria can live and digest the grain. Adding probiotics will only help if the diet has changed, which will allow the PH to change, and then the good bacteria you add will be able to survive and help balance the digestion. Equishure can help too. I did feed that for a short time. It is sodium bicarbonate pelleted to survive digestion into the hindgut. This can help make the hindgut less acidic. But again, the grain will be constantly keeping it acidic.


After getting rid of grain:

My mare is on the right.


Adding:

I learned my lesson with that mare and now don't feed any grain. The big TB I have now had ulcers when I got him. I took him off hard feed and put him on good quality hay and vitamins. He has turned into an easy keeper.

Wow! all of your stories give me hope)
Yes we have 90% same butt with that flank area as on the photo far above except a bit more angular.
 

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Yes, we have a lot of different senior feeds but they also sometimes contain micronised corn\barley\wheat in a muesli or pelleted form. Or I need to avoid all possible grains? I always wondered why there are so tiny portions on the labels :LOL: and thought that it 100% wouldn't be enough for us))
No, we don't have alfalfa hay - only pellets of chaff.
If your horse is having such issues I'd avoid any grain products at least until the digestion gets straightened out - a few months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Hello again, new info though. I found that he has always had ribbiness since younger ages (the photo below found in the net, but he has quite unusual name so I know for sure it's he) - appx 2 yo here.
1114550


During grown times he got a lot of oats with relatively poor hay. He were more round on oats maybe because he couldn't take nutrients properly from hay. The result is broken digestion (how to fix?)

Also when I started to design his new diet I found out a thing that made me hate myself :mad: I always knew the golden rule "hay first", so thought that it is known for everyone and found the stable schedule:

7:00 oats (OMG! where on earth is hay?)
10:00 hay
13:00 oats+mash
16:00 hay
22:00 hay
23:00 oats

Really I didn't ask exact timetable because knew from the previous ownership and stables that in the morning first goes hay.
 

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Hi, First, from your pics, he looks light-on in 2 of them, quite a bit. I'm not one to be adverse to seeing a bit of rib, but that's a LOT. But in the one of him running, he doesn't look at all underweight there.

The last pic shows a significant 'hunters bump' that I would not be jumping to say 'it doesn't bother him'. It is probably exacerbated in appearance from his 'lack of groceries' but he's likely atrophied because of the damage there & won't be able to grow good HQ muscle without help. The pic from behind, while he's probably standing on a skewed angle, not square, he looks very uneven & if he looks at all like that when standing square, sighting from directly behind, then he's go spinal probs that DO need to be seen to, if you want him continuing to perform for you.

I'd also question your assumption he doesn't have ulcers. On the feeding regime you've told, esp as you've fed things like corn & barley in the past, I'd say ulcers are likely, even if he didn't have them before.

Horses need around 2% of their (ideal) bodyweight in forage daily, so guessing he should be something like 650kg @ 17hh, seems he's getting enough hay. Ensure though that he doesn't eat it all quickly & then go hungry for periods - that's not good for horses. Net it or feed little & often, so it lasts thru the day.

Horses don't do well on cereal grain or other high starch, hard to digest feeds generally, so I wouldn't be feeding oats unless there was no healthier alternative(tho oats are the lowest starch, easiest to digest if you must) and 3.5kg is a lot, esp over only 3 meals daily. If you must feed oats/grain/rich ingredients, it's important that it's fed little & often, mixed with easily digested 'low carb' ingredients. Horses have pretty small stomachs which empty quickly, especially if meals are large. Starch can only be broken down in the foregut, so if it's not digested there, a mass of starch flushes into the hindgut & causes acidosis' which causes a mass die off of the gut flora needed to digest the rest. It can also cause ulcers, 'leaky gut', and of course, out of that, 'failure to thrive' - so it could well be you're 'killing him with kindness' feeding so much rich feed, esp in large meals.

Grain is also high in phosphorus, and bran is very high phosphorus(& has nothing much else worthwhile in it) so I'm guessing he's very phosphorus deficient for some reason, if you're feeding this? If not, I'd quit the bran all together, you're doing him no favours with that. I'd assume that unless you've done a diet analysis & are supping whatever nutrients are necessary to balance his diet, that there are other imbalances which may, among other things, also effect his 'failure to thrive'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
wouldn't be feeding oats unless there was no healthier alternative
Well I have a lot of alternatives (chaff, alfalfa pellets, no grain feed, beet pulp, oils etc) but now I'm overwhelmed with all the varieties and how to tailor it to gain weight
he pic from behind, while he's probably standing on a skewed angle, not square, he looks very uneven
no he is not square there) the photo was done unproperly for the saddle fitter
because of the damage there & won't be able to grow good HQ muscle without help.
yes, however I saw some hunters bump a bit in the photos of 2 yo (I suppose it's to early to be broken in)
 

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Hay first just means the primary source for calories comes from hay or pasture (forage as in forage first). If the horse cannot maintain weight on a good forage and perhaps a vitamin/mineral supplement then you add in an appropriate amount of calories from a source that does not disrupt digestion or imbalance the horse - this ideally fed in multiple small meals. The smaller the better.

There is nothing wrong with that schedule if someone is truly up feeding at that time and the amount of hay given at 22 is enough that there is plenty left to munch on after the oats at 23.
 

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Yes, my young horse(now 19yo) was only 3mo when I got him & his mother was unhandled too. They both had 'hunters bumps'. Unfortunately I had to part with his mother, and despite me consulting a few bodyworkers, was told that was just his 'conformation' & nothing to be done. He was about 7yo when I found a chiro vet who fixed it! He told me it's not unusual for horses to sustain injuries to hip & shoulder when birthing & if he had attended my horse before maturity it would probably be an easy & permanent fix Unfortunately, with it having been so chronic by then, he had some ongoing stiffness, and as he got older it has come back.
 

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I haven't seen this mentioned but maybe I missed it. I've know 3 horses (2 were Arabs), attended by 3 different vets in 3 different states with the same treatment for chronic under weight. 8 days in a row of Panacur. I know some people do this every other year but I don't think I would.
 

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^Yep if the horse was suspected of being wormy, but I'd just worm normally and start off with a healthy diet & ulcer treatment(Inc herbal, as meds don't work for hind gut). If horse doesn't improve, then I'd pull out the heavy guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Today I decided to see a big deeper in the poo... you know what else to do at the stable 😄. And I found a LOT of oats there.... 👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Hi! Our updates:
We gradually changed our AM and PM feeding.
AM - 500g chaff (more like oldie mix with mixed chaff and a bit of nuts and herbs) + 700g (1 scoop) of mix (alfalfa pellets+beetpulp+sunflower meal)
lunch - keeping oats+bran mash (will replace either more hay or some veteran mix)
PM - 1,4 kg (2 sc) of mix the same as AM + E\selenium + electrolytes (it's hot like hell here now)

The figure is still lean - but there are not enough time yet, I think
He became a bit less stressed. He is eating calmer.
And looks like he has now more slow energy.
 

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WHY?
Why are you still feeding bran? Why are you still feeding oats? Esp why if only once daily? Esp when you already established they werent being digested.

What made you choose sunflower meal as a fat source? It's typically high in omega 6(tho if meal, that will mostly be destroyed) & it's omega 3 that horses typically don't get enough of.

Have you had a diet/hay analysis done? If not, why are you supping only selenium & E? And why/what 'electrolytes'? Theyre generally not needed & can also do more harm, esp if, as many do, they have added iron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Dear loosie, I absolutely agree with you however I could not just change all diet at once. I firstly changed AM feeding 50/50, then all, then PM 50/50, then all. Lunch is left. I’m still in a process of designing the diet and the current one is not final.

I chose sunflower meal because I already fed it, but I think of changing it to ground flax and/or oil.
Also during this period I made my search and this is it: rice bran is unavailable for me because it grows far south (as all products) and it’s unusual to feed rice bran to horses so nobody brings it to our region. However I found (quite hardly) soybean meal. Any ideas what to feed instead of sunflower meal as a fat source?

I will feed balancer at the end, but I’m supporting selenium because of soil is lacking in selenium and E because of muscle wastage and not enough grass.
Electrolytes are ended so no more buying this stuff 😁
 

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Oh I see. The idea of changing feed gradually is so that they adjust to the new ingredients. There is no reason to keep feeding ingredients which aren't good for him, and feeding the oats only once a day is potentially more problematic too.
 

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A fat source is mainly needed for horses with one of two problems. If they can't use carbohydrates for energy because of PSSM, fats can be an alternative energy source.
Or if they are unable to eat enough calories, due to bad dentition or ill health, fats are more concentrated in calories per pound.

Most horses do not need fats. They need access to high quality forage and the time to eat as many calories as they need. This is the optimim way to feed horses.

Yes, if your forage is dried and lacking in selenium, E, A, etc, be sure to add a vitamin and mineral supplement. Other than that, lots of good hay and grass, and possibly hay cubes or pellets.
 

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What type of hay are you feeding ? What is the protein level ? Have you tried free feeding the forage/hay ? This way the horse has something to eat all day long . You can still divide the supplemental feed such as soaked alfalfa pellets or cubes with some veggy corn canola oils added. Or even rice bran if you are feeding bran . You can find a senior feed that is ncs but with a higher fat content. Even coconut oil should help to add the fat needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Dear all, I know that in 2.5% of ideal bodyweight, so he should get 15 kg of hay. However today I calculated that he eats around 2 kg of hay per hour (from the slow feeder!) and if I will take out 3 hours of paddock - 21 hour*2 kg per hour = 38 kg of hay??? he will explode 😄. Is 2 kg per hour a lot or norm?
 

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I would think since this is a thin horse, he is eating extra calories to put on weight. That is ideal, having the drive to eat enough hay for weight gain. I would feed him all he can eat until he is at a good weight or slightly over.

Just think, for a horse to gain 1 kg he has to eat 20,000 extra calories. 1 kg of hay has about 2,000 calories. So a horse will have to eat an extra 10 kg of hay to gain 1 kg.

To go up one number on the body condition score, a horse may have to eat 400,000 extra calories. So if your horse somehow ate an extra 20 kg of hay a day, it would help him go up a number on the score in about ten days. But he won't eat that much extra. More likely it would take a month or so of free feeding to get him from a BCS of 4 to 5 for example.
 
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