More Help Requested - Feed suggestions for a bit more weight and topline

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by tlkidding, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. tlkidding

    tlkidding Senior Member

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    17.2 hand, 12 year old WB/TB gelding that should weigh about 1500 lbs. He is in work 5 days/week doing upper level dressage.

    I spend all summer and part of the winter trying to keep him trim or getting weight off. However, he's come into spring the last 3 years with a dropped topline. He seems to loose topline at the same rate as the fat padding over his ribs - and it happens fast. I have about 2 weeks where I think he's almost at the weight I want and then the next week he doesn't look so good. This winter I had him on a RB instead of just a vitamin/mineral like previous years hoping that would help with this issue.

    Current feed is:
    Minimum 25 lbs hay per day - all grass hay currently (was 20 lbs grass and 5 lbs alfalfa until about 3 weeks ago)
    3 lbs Gro-N-Win Grass RB
    Salt, MSM, Vitamin E, Biotin

    Things I have tried previously to put weight on:
    Rice bran
    Oil
    Sweet feed (for years I used to be able to throw him a handful of 12% sweet feed and he'd puff back up within a few weeks)

    I don't want to completely switch over his feed to something different (like a senior feed) as I'll likely have to switch him back to the RB within 2 months once he gains the weight back and the grass comes in. Also, I have a hard time getting him to eat powdered supplements and the barn won't wet/soak feed.

    Can anyone think of something else to add to his diet that might help with his weight and topline?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  2. prairiesongks

    prairiesongks Senior Member

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    Why not just add back in the alfalfa? It's nutrient dense so will provide the extra calories he needs till the pasture greens up.
     
  3. tlkidding

    tlkidding Senior Member

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    Thank you prairiesongks.

    I think the barn is out of alfalfa hay (they grown their own hay).

    I did pick up some alfalfa pellets but I'm not sure that was the best choice (and how much of that I can feed).
     
  4. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member

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    What about this changed? A bit more grass, less hay? For a 1500lb goal he should be getting at least 30lb of hay. Is 25lb about all he'll eat?

    Curious why you went the route of fewer calories from a RB knowing he needed some help. Or, did you just think this amount over just a v/m would be enough?

    Add a few pounds of alfalfa pellets. 4-5-6lb even. Calories and protein, both of which he might need.
     
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  5. ofauxaffliction

    ofauxaffliction Senior Member

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    If it was me I'd gradually swap the ration balancer for a higher fat feed. I'm a huge Tribute fan and don't know many horses who don't do well on Kalm Ultra.
     
  6. tlkidding

    tlkidding Senior Member

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    Thank you everyone.

    I've got the alfalfa pellets so I'll work him up to a few pounds of that. Do I need to split it up in 2 feedings or can he eat it all at once since it is "forage"? Do I need to increase the quantity slowly like a grain?

    JB
    He's getting 20-25 lbs hay in his stall at night and then some hay out in the pasture as well as a tiny bit of grass. I have no way of knowing how many lbs of hay he's eating in turnout though. I think this time of year the barn decreases the hay they feed in turnout. I increased the amount of hay he has in his stall but he doesn't always eat all of it.

    The ration balancer was suggested last year when he came out of winter not looking great. I had hoped the RB would be enough through the winter to prevent this weight/topline loss. I kept him on the RB all summer of 2014, however I struggled with him being a bit overweight and may switch back to the vit/min just for the summer.

    ofauxaffliction
    I don't want to switch his feed completely because he will get fat once the grass comes in and I'll have to switch him back off - this seems like too much variation in feed within a short of time and possibly set him up for ulcers. Even with just the ration balancer and a grazing muzzle last summer he was a little bit overweight.
     
  7. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    I've been at three different barns since I took my horses out of training in 2011. Have found hay can really vary on quality of vitamins. First barn my horses did well, next barn they did not, skipped feedings didn't help, but the quality of it at times also wasn't good. My horses actually sometimes wouldn't eat the hay well they put out. They were even feed more and more often, four times a day, but still they didn't do well, lost their topines for the first time.. And now my new barn, my gelding's tail has finally started growing, have owned him seven and a half years. Mine are fed half grass and half alfalfa. And their toplines are almost back to what they were two years ago.
     
  8. JBandRio

    JBandRio Senior Member

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    Ok, he's probably getting at least 10lb of hay outside, so that's good.

    A RB is a good way to keep things more or less the same and just vary the amount of food, with the addition or subtraction of something like alf pellets, for these guys who fluctuate through the year. That said, I have one who I now put on TC Sr or Growth (pretty interchangeable) for the latter part of the Winter, then as the grass comes in and I'm on my last bag of the feed, I go to a half serving of the feed and add a half serving of the v/m product and the carriers - 3c beet pulp, 1/4c alf pellets - until the feed is about gone at which point I taper off the (very yummy) feed so it's not a total taste shock to go cold turkey.

    So, if you struggle with his weight when he's on grass, and especially since this year (though it WAS a lot colder) that's something you can do - regular fortified feed during the Winter, or maybe starting in Jan or Feb depending on when you see him starting to look a little lean, or when he's trimmed down to a good weight but is probably still losing a bit, then wean him off it as the grass comes in.

    That sort of twice a year change isn't going to cause ulcers if you're using a low NSC feed.

    If he was overweight last year with a RB and muzzle, then he doesn't need a RB.
     
  9. prairiesongks

    prairiesongks Senior Member

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    What JB described is the normal schedule here as the grass comes on so the horses will get approximately the same number of calories year around. We reduce and eventually eliminate alfalfa as the pasture greens up, and the horses will be on the minimum amount of concentrate for their weight during the warm months. I also check our horses' body condition weekly so if one is getting too thin or too heavy, I can adjust his/her feed before it becomes really noticeable. It's easier to add or subtract a few pounds of feed than to try to fatten one up or drastically cut feed if one is changing weight and healthier for the horse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
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  10. tlkidding

    tlkidding Senior Member

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    Help again please!!!!!!

    My horse ate alfalfa pellets for almost 2 weeks and now turns his nose up. He seemed very enthusiastic about the pellets at first, so I don't know what happened.

    He's eating his gro-n-win, but if I try to mix the two together he won't eat anything.

    He's been eating his hay ok - it's in a slow feed hay net and he's not finishing the last 3 lbs or so. Our grass did come in late last week and he's on grass for about 10 hours.

    I can get TC Complete and Senior. Should I get a bag of that and pull him off the GnW and alfalfa pellets? What do I do with the 25 lbs or so of pellets that he won't eat?

    If he weren't eating at all, I'd definitely have the vet out this week to pull blood, but he cleaned up plain GnW last night and is happily munching on hay the rest of the time. His temperature is normal and gut is active. His weight and topline are looking even a little worse. He had his hocks injected on Friday, April 10 but I don't see any side effects from that. I think the reluctance to eat the alfalfa pellets started around April 7 but I just thought he wasn't getting enough time to eat his meal before turnout.

    His pasture friend and stall neighbor left a few weeks ago; he is alone in a row of 3 stalls but the rest of the barn is full. He seemed to have gotten over the separation anxiety before he stopped eating the pellets. I have some Abler omeprazole I can give him, but it's hard to get him to eat all of the granules in the best conditions, let alone when he's decided to be super picky. I would be amenable to picking up a few tubes of Gastro/UlcerGuard to see if that helps - if you advise this, what dosing protocol should I use?


    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This horse drives me crazy sometimes. He's very food motivated, but once he's decided you've contaminated his feed, it's so hard to get him to eat anything. Trying to get SMZ tablets in him when he had cellulitis was like trying to feed a picky toddler throwing a tantrum, 2x per day. :bawling:
     

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