Welcome to my forum.
Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information.
Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you.
I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.
And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.
All the best,
I took on a 23-24yr old thoroughbred gelding (not off the track), 15.2 hands, who weighed between 880 and 902 (tape measure) when he arrived mid-August, and is now after two and a half months, 945 (tape measure). I believe he was up higher than this when he had two weeks of lush grass (which he did fine with). Then when he came off the grass for the winter (mid-September) he lost weight. He is getting his teeth floated this Friday, which I imagine will help a lot, and another different “family” of worming as per vet’s recommendation. We just gave him a steroid shot, which seems to have helped already. In particular, he has some life force which was waning, prior to the shot, as was his wieght. Other than the weight and lack of pizzaz, he seems to be very sound and in good health, building muscle back with light working out. However, I live in the northeast and am very concerned to get more weight on him quickly, as the winter is upon us. I would like to post below his current regimen and get your feedback as I have never owned a horse and am trying to make sure the barn manager who is responsible for feeding him, is doing everything possible to help him along.
7:30 AM – 2 flakes alfalfa hay, 1 lb 10 oz Vintage Senior, 6 Hay Stretcher, 8oz Rice Bran.
9:00 AM – 2 flakes grass hay, 6oz Hay Stretcher, 8oz Rice Bran
11:00 AM – 1 lb 10oz Vintage Senior, 6oz Hay Stretcher, 8oz Rice Bran
3:00 PM – 2 flakes grass Hay, 1 lb 10oz Vintage Senior, 6oz Hay Stretcher, 8oz Rice Bran
*supplements = Corn Oil (3-4 oz), Fat Cat (2 scoops), Finish Line Joint (1-2oz).
9PM – 1 lb 10oz Vintage Senior, 6oz Hay Stretcher, 8oz Rice Bran
This is the adjusted Regimen: prior to this he was only getting the hay stretcher and rice bran at 9 and 3, I believe. I could check. We added in the alfalfa, and 11am and 9pm feedings following the vet visit. I have requested we add in beet pulp.
Where are you from? Cold Spring, NY
How did you locate this forum? My friend Caroline told me of your site, she consulted with you in the past
Hope, as the owner of several twenty-something horses, I can understand your concerns. I'm sure Dr Getty will give you sound, practical advice on the nutrition part. I want to share a few other things with you. First, it can be risky to put a lot of weight on any horse quickly. Look more at whether your gelding is steadily gaining weight and condition, not so much as how fast the weight goes on. Too much too soon can result in worse problems than being skinny. Second, getting old horses back into good condition can be very difficult, sometimes impossible if they have gone very far downhill. At some point, you may have to be satisfied with less than an idea body condition score. They just don't metabolize their food like younger horses do. Third, be sure to put your hands on his body and feel his ribs, backbone, and hips. Be familiar with what he feels like now, then feel again every couple of weeks. If he gets a good winter coat, it will be difficult to monitor his progress with a visual scan. A good hands-on exam can be as beneficial as the weight tape. And last, invest in at least two good winter blankets. Your old fella may need to wear a coat, and he'll need a spare in case the first one gets wet. Your barn manager should be able to help you measure for size. She can also advise you on what types and insulation factors work well in your part of the country. Good luck. Pam S
Where are you from? Poolville TX
How did you locate this forum? equine DDS
Two very important suggestions:
First, make sure he does not run out of hay. It appears as though he's getting a sufficient amount on a regular basis, but he may run out during the night. Horse's stomachs secrete acid continuously and therefore, they are designed to have forage flowing through their digestive tracts at all times. This will prevent an ulcer, and weight loss. So, be sure he's getting enough hay at night so there is some left over in the morning. And that he doesn't run out of hay during the day. He will eat only what he needs to self regulate his intake, if given the chance.
Alfalfa is great and should be continued -- 30 to 40 percent of the overall hay ration. And beet pulp is a safe way to increase calories without the hormonal response that cereal grains create.
The second thing is
Ration Plus. Give him 1 teaspoon per feeding. This prebiotic will boost the health of the bacterial flora living in the hindgut, helping them derive more calories from hay.
You may find getting together over the phone for a personal phone consultation to be very helpful. That way I can go over everything with you and answer all your concerns. But in the meantime, keep feeding they way you are, along with my suggestions.
One last thing... make sure his feed contains flaxseed meal. This extra fat is high in omega-3 fatty acids which will not only help him gain weight, but keep him healthy in a number of ways. If not, consider Nutra Flax.
All the best,
Where are you from? Bayfield, CO
Excellent advice! And I especially like your hands-on approach because change can be slow and subtle, where it is more accurately evaluated by running your hands over the horse to detect small increments of progress.
I tend to be optimistic about some illness being reversible. Not that there aren't cases that are beyond help, but in my experience, this is hardly ever the case. I especially enjoy taking on "hopeless" cases and bringing these horses back to health and enjoying life again. Seeing the joy in their owners' faces is beyond description. :) So, where there's life, there's hope and the chance for improvement. Nutrition can be used for maintenance, but when applied aggressively, it can make significant turnarounds in overall health -- I've seen this time and time again.
You're right -- slow is good and preferable. And respecting the way horse's are innately designed is the best way we can honor them and heal them.
All the best,
Where are you from? Bayfield, CO