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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2004
    Location
    Out West
    Posts
    84

    Default I failed my horse...best way to get weight back on?

    Without going into too much detail:

    In the fall I moved my horse to a new barn, and at the same time transitioned into a new, very busy job with a lot of traveling.

    Long story short, I've basically been an absentee boarder.

    Well, I'm sure you know where this is heading...I went to go see him today and he's lost A LOT of weight. He looks like crap, to be honest. Not quite rescue status but definitely a little embarrassed to take him in public status.

    Ugh...this is totally my fault. I'm so bummed at myself that I let my boy down. I should have been there and I should have noticed he was losing weight.

    But unfortunately, what's done is done. I found a new barn and I'd like to get him back to him old self ASAP. I'm definitely going to get him scoped/treated for ulcers because I have a feeling that it's a contributor to his weight loss. I will be talking to the vet about a good action plan to get his weight back up but I'm also looking for some COTH wisdom so I can go into the conversation prepared.

    Thanks in advance...and please don't be too harsh, I know I messed up and I feel bad enough already.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2010
    Posts
    7,064

    Default

    Lots of good hay. That's it. I just almost left my barn because they decided to cut back on hay. All three of my horses dropped weight, a lot. Now they're feeding enough and they all look fabulous, within two weeks. They get all of the hay they need and aren't hungry.

    It's a simple solution.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2011
    Posts
    209

    Default

    I know with my older retired horses I always tried to give them some work, even pay someone to lunge a little if you can't, plus supplements like rice bran oil plus. Good luck! :-)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2010
    Posts
    6,028

    Default

    Lots of hay!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    20,997

    Default

    I agree with the hay part but we need more info to go beyond that. How old is he? What if anything were they feeding him? What is the new barn feeding him?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 30, 2010
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    4,441

    Default

    Do you think it was that the barn wasn't feeding him or is it possible there is an other issue?

    I am assuming the other horses there looked ok, or you wouldn't have left your horse at that stable.

    There are health issues that can cause sudden weight loss through no fault of the care (although the BO should have said something to you!).
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2004
    Location
    Out West
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Thank you everyone!

    To answer questions: He is a middle aged TB gelding and while I've never been able to get him "plump" he has always been in good, healthy weight. He was supposed to be getting about 2 qts 12% protein/12% fat feed plus beet pulp 2x a day, plus I offered to pay extra for extra hay, which was declined because he was already "getting as much as he could eat".

    I have a sneaking suspicion that he at least wasn't getting the beet pulp, and probably not the "all you can eat" hay either.

    That is correct that the other horses look decent - but they are also draft crosses and quarter horses, so by nature a little easier to keep weight on.

    I will talk to the vet about this when he comes out next week, to see if we can rule out any health issues (like I said in my OP, I do think that there are ulcers at play here) but I have a feeling he won't come up with much.

    Thanks all!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2014
    Posts
    553

    Default

    The cheap "generic" sweet feed bags you buy nowdays suck. More filler than anything. I don't know how they meet AFCO standards to tell you the truth. Anything that isn't an airfern seems to lose weight on it.
    I think many people who have been in the horses for a while don't honestly realize how poor some feeds are....because it hasnt always been that way. That coupled with easy keepers. They get one in that loses weight and they don't even realize how much difference a good feed will make.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    22,833

    Default

    So is the new barn on board with making sure he gets what he needs?
    Join the Clinton 2016 campaign...Hillary For America. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    2,867

    Default

    But he was in full board. Aren't they responsible to keep him at a healthy weight and to call you if he something seems wrong? You may feel bad about being absent, but THEY were in charge of keeping him fed, and they didn't.

    I would probably not feel comfortable with them going forward. I mean, what do they have to say for themselves?
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


    2 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2003
    Posts
    5,777

    Default

    I took on a big framed warmblood who was rather poor, about 6 weeks ago. He's really starting to pick up weight and condition now with good hay (grass/alfalfa mix) and a breakfast of a pound of Renew Gold, and dinner of 3lbs of alfalfa pellets plus a pound of rice bran. I've just started him on TriAmino and magnesium, so I'm hoping that will help him rebuild his top line and regain his former splendor.

    Lots of turnout on spring grass and regular exercise are also making a big difference.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    3,051

    Default

    What's his appetite like normally? Could it be that he was getting sufficient hay, and just not eating it?

    My mare loses interest in food if she's not worked several times a week. She's never, ever without hay and yet she will drop significant weight if she's not worked, if it gets cold, if ... the list is endless. We struggle with ulcer symptoms and she's been treated several times. And even if she's eating well, she needs concentrates, pellets, oil, etc. to keep in good flesh through the winter. Gotta love that Appendix DNA.

    I hope more or better quality hay will do it for your guy. But if not, adding pellets or beet pulp, perhaps a little oil, will add weight. It won't happen overnight and if he's lost significant weight, he'll spend some time adding it internally before it starts to show.

    Good luck.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 5, 1999
    Location
    A place called vertigo
    Posts
    13,260

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by myalter View Post
    Thank you everyone!

    To answer questions: He is a middle aged TB gelding and while I've never been able to get him "plump" he has always been in good, healthy weight. He was supposed to be getting about 2 qts 12% protein/12% fat feed plus beet pulp 2x a day, plus I offered to pay extra for extra hay, which was declined because he was already "getting as much as he could eat".

    I have a sneaking suspicion that he at least wasn't getting the beet pulp, and probably not the "all you can eat" hay either.

    That is correct that the other horses look decent - but they are also draft crosses and quarter horses, so by nature a little easier to keep weight on.

    I will talk to the vet about this when he comes out next week, to see if we can rule out any health issues (like I said in my OP, I do think that there are ulcers at play here) but I have a feeling he won't come up with much.

    Thanks all!
    Free choice hay plus Triple Crown Senior - at least 5-6 lbs per day.

    https://www.triplecrownfeed.com/prod...niorhorsefeed/

    It's a great feed at putting weight on even though it was originally formulated for senior horses. Because it has beet pulp, is high in fat and has a good bit of quality protein, you usually do not need to feed anything else other than hay/pasture. I first used it on an older Appy who had gone white with age, had crappy crappy feet and was underweight. In 60 days she gained good weight through her topline, her feet had visibly improved and she had dapples - first time I had ever seen dapples on a white horse. And I was feeding 6 lbs a day, so wasn't packing it into her either. I then started using it on my race horses, ranging in age from 2 - 8, and they responded likewise. Gained good weight through the topline, improvement in hoof quality, and fed only 6-9 lbs a day.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 1999
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA USA
    Posts
    6,706

    Default

    Purina Equine Senior did the job for my horse when she was in a similar predicament. She was a senior (past 20yo), and my vet recommended I go with Equine Senior and not the feed store's "it's just like P.E.S. but much cheaper."

    Of course the good hay helped as well.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,236

    Default

    First, don't beat yourself up. It happens. He wasn't left to starve, he's just lost some condition and it will come right back in caring hands and the right food. I have been in your shoes before personally, and I promise he will be no worse for the ware.

    I would definitely have the vet take a peak as you already are. As you know, and underlying issue that is preventing weight gain, well you may as well burn your money rather than spend it on feed.

    I'd probably put him on a good quality senior feed, 3 meals per day (2 big meals a day will not help as his digestive system will be overloaded and just send it on through without properly obtaining the nutrients) and maybe a little rice bran supplementation for some added fat. Other than that, grass and hay. He should have access to some form of forage for a minimum of 18-20 hours per day.

    Keep it simple. Don't go crazy with weight supplements and oils and magic fairy dust. Good quality forage and good quality grain in appropriate amounts will do the trick. He should be getting .5% of his ideal body weight in grain each day, and 2% of his ideal body weight in hay. That will get him there.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    22,833

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FindersKeepers View Post
    First, don't beat yourself up. It happens. He wasn't left to starve, he's just lost some condition and it will come right back in caring hands and the right food. I have been in your shoes before personally, and I promise he will be no worse for the ware.

    I would definitely have the vet take a peak as you already are. As you know, and underlying issue that is preventing weight gain, well you may as well burn your money rather than spend it on feed.

    I'd probably put him on a good quality senior feed, 3 meals per day (2 big meals a day will not help as his digestive system will be overloaded and just send it on through without properly obtaining the nutrients) and maybe a little rice bran supplementation for some added fat. Other than that, grass and hay. He should have access to some form of forage for a minimum of 18-20 hours per day.

    Keep it simple. Don't go crazy with weight supplements and oils and magic fairy dust. Good quality forage and good quality grain in appropriate amounts will do the trick. He should be getting .5% of his ideal body weight in grain each day, and 2% of his ideal body weight in hay. That will get him there.
    What she said. I really like TC Senior, but there are other really good senior feeds out there.
    Join the Clinton 2016 campaign...Hillary For America. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2009
    Location
    CA to Costa Rica to WI
    Posts
    1,132

    Default

    Lots of good hay (although, as someone mentioned, some will not eat enough hay to keep their weight up), and triple crown senior. I usually start with 1lb 3x per day for a week or so and work up from there. I've had a few "hard keepers" gain too quickly on it, so I'm more conservative now.

    In one month, reevaluate. Pictures/weight will help. It's hard, but don't start feeding him everything under the sun. Hay, one quality feed, and warm weather will do most of the work for you.

    And obviously whatever the vet recommends.

    Also don't beat yourself up. Even some of our horses have some to gain this spring. It happens, and you're doing everything you need to take care of it.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Fourteen Months Living and Working in Costa Rica


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2007
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    2,036

    Default

    I agree with the suggestion of Triple Crown Senior (or another high-quality senior feed that is available to you) and free choice alfalfa or alfalfa/grass mix hay. I'd also add in about 6-10 pounds (pre-soaked weight) of soaked alfalfa or timothy pellets. Personally, I prefer the pellets to cubes because the horses seem to consider them more of a "treat" and they are easier for me to manage. If he doesn't tolerate alfalfa well, I'd substitute timothy instead. Then, if I needed to increase anything, it'd be the pellets before the grain.

    Best wishes!
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2013
    Location
    U.K.
    Posts
    1,295

    Default

    My horse has suddenly dropped weight. He's never been thin before (he is a GREEDY tb) but I thought you know, it's winter, he's a tb, and really upped my game on the feeding front.

    But he has been getting three very high calorie feeds a day, 12 hours of turnout on good grazing, and unlimited haylage (which usually makes him fat) for two months and I haven't noticed any improvement. Got the vet who has said he should be scoped for ulcers. So that might be something to rule out, especially because moving can be stressful and trigger them.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2010
    Posts
    858

    Default

    Treat for ulcers and get a good dentist to spend some quality time assessing his teeth. You already said you were getting the vet.

    Then feed 24/7 hay and an appropriate senior feed.

    He should be able to bounce back if he's healthy & fed well going forward.
    “At first everything is hard, next it becomes easier, then habitual, and only now does it have a chance to become beautiful. George H. Morris



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