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  1. #1
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    Question Older Arabian - Very Hard Keeper - Typical of Breed?

    A friend of mine was given an 18 y/o bomf proof trail horse as a gift so she can enjoy trail rides without any spook.

    Problem is, unless he is kept on very lush pastures he just doesn't gain or hold his weight.

    He is vetted regularily, nothing has come up out of the ordinary...


    She was recently recommended to try Mazola oil in addition to the heaps of senior feed he gets... does this work?


    Is weight trouble typical for the breed?



  2. #2
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    No. Not typical of the breed. Horses age and they do get thinner over time it seems. Some need more feed some do not.

    Check his teeth, worm him.



  3. #3
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    18 really isn't "old" by any breed standard...

    I currently have a 20 year old Arabian mare, who last winter went thought a bad case of ulcers, lost weight, looked HORRIBLE. We treated her ulcers, put her on some Triple Crown Senior feed for a few months to put weight back on, which she did gain weight beautifully and we stopped the senior.

    She is also on grass turnout, but gets no grain whatsoever. She gets about 1 lb of alfalfa cubes soaked as a vehicle to get her to eat her flax and her previcox tablet. This amount of alfalfa is by no means responsible for ker keeping her weight up.

    If this horse is only 18 and is thin without "heaps" of senior feed, I would definitely look into why this is the case.

    What senior feed is being fed? How much in weight per day?

    Has he had his teeth checked and floated accordingly?
    Is he on a worming and/or fecal exam regularly to ensure he doesn't have a worm load?

    Honestly, it sounds like it may be that he isn't being fed enough forage while not on grass pasture. If a horse gets enough calories from grass to keep weight, but cannot keep weight on senior feed, has she tried to increase his forage/hay intake to a "free choice" level?
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  4. #4
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    Would there be any reason why a TON of fresh grass add's weight but the grain and hay won't? Is it easier to chew if teeth are bad?



  5. #5
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    Hard keepers exist in all breeds. Many arabs are easy keepers. Many are hard keepers.

    My hard keeper is a young arab and needs 2-3X the calories the easy keepers get.

    Oils can add calories in a dense form and benefit many hard keepers. The question that needs to be answered is why is he a hard keeper?

    By vetted what does this mean? Teeth checked and/or floated? Senior feed...why? Cuz the teeth are not so wonderful any more? Does the horse had access to consumable long stem forage such as soaked hay cubes also?

    Worming history?

    How many lbs are "heaps"?

    Is this horse by chance a grey?



  6. #6
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    There is no better substitute than pasture. I had an arab I bought and gelded and he was thin thin. Took a good solid year of good feed and lots of pasture to make him look good.

    Grass has lots of water. Yes, easier to chew.



  7. #7
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    I have arabs. My oldest is 25 yrs old. Still riding and lives on air - no kidding he gets 1 flake grass hay in the am and 1 flake pm. 1 cup of oats am and 1 cup of oats pm thats it and he also is ridden and lunged. Still a little over weight.

    I would try rice bran. The oil may work but can go bad quick. Rice bran will put weight on any horse. Start with 1/2 cup a day and work your way up. I bet the horse will gain weight.

    It is weird that the lush grass doesn't do anything. All my arabs would be fat on lots of grass.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pryme_thyme View Post
    Would there be any reason why a TON of fresh grass add's weight but the grain and hay won't? Is it easier to chew if teeth are bad?
    Well, if the horse is on pasture, with access to grass all the time, they are grazing most of the time, and this essentially means "free choice."

    When a horse is surviving on hay and grain, often the hay supply is not "free choice" - you throw them a half a bale and when its gone its gone.

    I would offer this horse hay, all the time.
    Perhaps try a small hole hay net to make that hay last longer when the horse is on hay and grain (I'm assuming this is in the winter, when grass isn't available).
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArabX3 View Post
    It is weird that the lush grass doesn't do anything. All my arabs would be fat on lots of grass.
    The horse the OP is talking about does keep weight on grass.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    18 really isn't "old" by any breed standard...

    I currently have a 20 year old Arabian mare, who last winter went thought a bad case of ulcers, lost weight, looked HORRIBLE. We treated her ulcers, put her on some Triple Crown Senior feed for a few months to put weight back on, which she did gain weight beautifully and we stopped the senior.

    She is also on grass turnout, but gets no grain whatsoever. She gets about 1 lb of alfalfa cubes soaked as a vehicle to get her to eat her flax and her previcox tablet. This amount of alfalfa is by no means responsible for ker keeping her weight up.

    If this horse is only 18 and is thin without "heaps" of senior feed, I would definitely look into why this is the case.

    What senior feed is being fed? How much in weight per day?

    Has he had his teeth checked and floated accordingly?
    Is he on a worming and/or fecal exam regularly to ensure he doesn't have a worm load?

    Honestly, it sounds like it may be that he isn't being fed enough forage while not on grass pasture. If a horse gets enough calories from grass to keep weight, but cannot keep weight on senior feed, has she tried to increase his forage/hay intake to a "free choice" level?
    Great point about ulcers... he is pretty irritable....!
    I am going to touch base with her, she is in tears trying to help him.

    He is on Equine Senior and I would estimate 10-12lbs day (he is about 14 hands)



  11. #11
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    I should also note, they have about 20 horses on site and every single one of them is a little on the fleshy side. Including my own... Could it be thyroid issues?



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pryme_thyme View Post
    He is on Equine Senior and I would estimate 10-12lbs day (he is about 14 hands)
    What brand of Equine Senior? There are many to choose from

    If he is irritable, you may try ulcer treatment, but keep in mind that some horses don't show improvement right off...my mare did have ulcers, and even after her 28th day of treatment, she was still irritable. I think they sometimes develop learned behaviors.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    What brand of Equine Senior? There are many to choose from

    If he is irritable, you may try ulcer treatment, but keep in mind that some horses don't show improvement right off...my mare did have ulcers, and even after her 28th day of treatment, she was still irritable. I think they sometimes develop learned behaviors.
    Oops, Purina Equine Senior.



  14. #14
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    Try soaking his feed? His teeth may be bad. Hay is harder to chew than grass. Try soaked hay cubes or pellets.

    My 7yo Arab is a relatively hard keeper. Even in the summer on grass, he gets several pounds of a high fat performance feed to maintain weight. He is definitely not an air fern. In the winter, he gets free choice hay overnight (I give him a bale) and I blanket the heck out of him or he drops weight insanely quickly.



  15. #15

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    In my experience Arabs are easy keepers, though they seem to gain and lose weight quickly.

    I would have a fecal done, possibly treat for ulcers and switch to triple crown senior.
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  16. #16
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    Is he thin or losing muscle? He's the right age and breed for Cushings---has he been tested? He doesn't necessarily have to have the long shaggy coat.

    My 27 yr. old arab was pasture boarded for many years and looked pregnant the whole time (from age 14-21). He's now full boarded and is turned out about 12 hrs./day and isn't nearly as fat as then. Most arabs I've known are air ferns.



  17. #17
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    I used to have a 19 yr old Arabian that I had a hard time keeping weight on. He was about a 3-4 body condition when he was the thinnest. I had his teeth floated, dewormed him regularly, and had a complete blood panel run to rule out any health issue. At the vet's suggestion, he even got 12lbs of grain/day, divided into 3 feedings, but was still thin. After I moved him to a new barn, known for lots of pasture and abundance of hay, he quickly gained weight, and did not get any grain. He is 28 now and still an easy keeper. It was all a matter of not getting enough forage at his former barn.

    Most Arabs I know are air ferns, including my other one, who is 18 and eats out of a small mesh hay net to stretch his hay longer. He is worked very regularly and if I am lucky I can get him to be a body score of 6, but not any lower. He gets a handful of oats just for his supplements.
    ___________________________________________
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  18. #18
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    I also suggest testing for cushings, and switching to Triple Crown Senior...it's much lower in sugars, and higher in fat.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



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