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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

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Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

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All the best,

 Dr. Getty 

 



Forum: Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Old feller

First, thankyou so much for all the help you give, I learned a ton just by reading through the forums.
I have a 34 year old half welsh gelding who thinks he's big. Last winter wasn't so great for him, he suddenly lost weight quite drastically, even though all I saw was horse bum sticking out of the hay bale. I gave him beet pulp and 'step 6' for the elderly, put on a blanket (another first, but he liked the blue one) and saw improvement.
He's actually looks fit right now, but I would like more weight on him for this winter.
Had his first ever vet visit, "healthy as a horse" but no molars.
So currently he is getting 4 cups of beet pulp, 4 cups of step 6, 4 cups of sweet feed mixed with oats, and a handful of alphalpha cubes, all soaked and fed over 4 feedings a day. Free access to grass and hay, which he chews and it goes down. As of today..no more sweet feed or oats! (Was the first time in his life he's had it anyway, being so paranoid of pony founder). Will also be adding vitamin C right away.
What I would like to know, how much more beet pulp can I give, and can I free feed alphalpha cubes even though they will freeze? What else should I add to his meals? (keeping in mind I don't have access to all the goodies you can get in the U.S.)
This is my saddle horse (raised him), my kids rode him, grandkids too, now my great grandson is starting. He's paid his dues for sure, and is loved by all the above. I expect a couple more years out of him even though he's deaf. (Knows sign language though. See bucket..Food!!) He does have free access to a barn/shelter and wears a blanket in winter.

Where are you from? Fort St John, northern B.C., Canada

How did you locate this forum? Google search

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Re: Old feller

Hello Debbie,

Thank you for writing and for your very kind words.

Yes, you can feed hay cubes free choice, but I would provide a mixture of alfalfa along with a grass hay cube. Sometimes you can find a timothy/alfalfa cube. Or a chopped hay product may be available in your area. Triple Crown feeds makes several chopped forages and you may be able to get them shipped to you.

I'm glad you discontinued the high starch/high sugar diet. Beet pulp is a good choice. If you can access soybean hulls, that, too would be good to feed.

But there are two things missing to help him gain weight -- first is more calories, and second, feeding the hindgut microbial population. Give him oil -- canola oil is good, or rice bran oil. Start with 2 tablespoons and build up to one cup per day. Also add some flaxseed meal/oil if you can find it locally. I can have Nutra Flax shipped to you but the shipping costs can be high.

For his hindgut, give him a good pro/prebiotic at a double dose. These microbes are responsible for digesting fiber and therefore, are necessary for him to derive calories from his hay cubes.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Quote: Debbie Mosser
First, thankyou so much for all the help you give, I learned a ton just by reading through the forums.
I have a 34 year old half welsh gelding who thinks he's big. Last winter wasn't so great for him, he suddenly lost weight quite drastically, even though all I saw was horse bum sticking out of the hay bale. I gave him beet pulp and 'step 6' for the elderly, put on a blanket (another first, but he liked the blue one) and saw improvement.
He's actually looks fit right now, but I would like more weight on him for this winter.
Had his first ever vet visit, "healthy as a horse" but no molars.
So currently he is getting 4 cups of beet pulp, 4 cups of step 6, 4 cups of sweet feed mixed with oats, and a handful of alphalpha cubes, all soaked and fed over 4 feedings a day. Free access to grass and hay, which he chews and it goes down. As of today..no more sweet feed or oats! (Was the first time in his life he's had it anyway, being so paranoid of pony founder). Will also be adding vitamin C right away.
What I would like to know, how much more beet pulp can I give, and can I free feed alphalpha cubes even though they will freeze? What else should I add to his meals? (keeping in mind I don't have access to all the goodies you can get in the U.S.)
This is my saddle horse (raised him), my kids rode him, grandkids too, now my great grandson is starting. He's paid his dues for sure, and is loved by all the above. I expect a couple more years out of him even though he's deaf. (Knows sign language though. See bucket..Food!!) He does have free access to a barn/shelter and wears a blanket in winter.

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio

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Re: Old feller

Debbie, Congrats on owning a pet for 34 years. Clearly you are doing a lot of things right!! My 31 year old TWH was always thin and the last few winters had diarrhea until I started him on LMF's Digest 911-a probiotic/prebiotic/vitamin blend. It is in a small bag and is powdered and I sprinkle it over feed daily. All 3 of mine eat it readily so must be tasty. AND inexpensive. I get it at the regular feed store so any place that carries LMF feed could get it for you. It really put the weight on and he is keeping it on. He also has "old" teeth, but can eat hay. There are other prebiotic/probiotic blends on Dr.Getty's supplement (free shipping to you!!) site.

Where are you from? Sedro-Woolley, WA

How did you locate this forum? newsletter

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Re: Old feller

Hi Cristine,

Thank you for your suggestion. I don't know if this product will overlap with other vitamin and minerals offered in the diet.

An excellent preparation for older horses is Equine Gold because it not only has pro/prebiotics but also digestive enzymes (which are diminished as horses age).

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Quote: Cristine Cameron
Debbie, Congrats on owning a pet for 34 years. Clearly you are doing a lot of things right!! My 31 year old TWH was always thin and the last few winters had diarrhea until I started him on LMF's Digest 911-a probiotic/prebiotic/vitamin blend. It is in a small bag and is powdered and I sprinkle it over feed daily. All 3 of mine eat it readily so must be tasty. AND inexpensive. I get it at the regular feed store so any place that carries LMF feed could get it for you. It really put the weight on and he is keeping it on. He also has "old" teeth, but can eat hay. There are other prebiotic/probiotic blends on Dr.Getty's supplement (free shipping to you!!) site.

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio

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