My Canadian Sport Horse mare foaled 10 weeks ago. She has always been an easy keeper, and now she is parlaying plenty of energy into milk production, where she could rival a dairy cow. Even though she is lactating and her pasture is stressed due to drought, the mare is gaining weight on a diet of pasture and a ration balancer (2 lb or 0.9 kg). The colt is a chunky-monkey and he’s growing fast, so I was thinking of weaning him early to try to temper growth a little. How early can I wean him?
I own a six-year-old Quarter Horse mare—1,200 lb (545 kg) with a body condition score of 4. I ride her five days a week, but I work her only moderately. She is kept stalled 12 hours a day and is turned out the remainder of the day. She tested positive (N/H) for hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP) and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM1). Her current ration includes 2 lb (0.9 kg) of a low-starch feed, 4 lb (1.8kg) timothy pellets, free-choice alfalfa/grass hay during turnout, 6-9 lb (2.7-4.1 kg) alfalfa/grass hay in stall, and vitamin E and ulcer supplements. I have tried other diets for my mare, but I cannot seem to find the right combination to return her to "normal." My mare is losing weight and no longer has a shiny coat. She seems very stiff and unwilling to collect and drive from behind. She does not refuse work but is less energetic. She also seems touchy or sensitive. What are your thoughts?
I own a 17-year-old, 14-hand (142 cm) Paso Fino gelding that’s in moderate body condition. Pete is ridden three days a week at a distance of 6-10 miles. Right now, he’s fed grass hay and a ration balancer. In the past, Pete’s had laminitis and gut problems, which makes spring a worrisome time for me. Is there anything else I can do for him as spring approaches?
About six months ago, our family purchased an 11-year-old Quarter Horse mare (14.2 hands or 147 cm; 950-1,000 or 430-450 kg) to be shown as a cowhorse. She was in moderate body condition, a score of 5, when we bought her, but she had poor muscle tone. She has bulked up to a body condition score (BCS) of 7+, and she has improved muscle tone. She’s ridden three or four times a week. She is fed a quality alfalfa/grass mix hay, 0.5 lb (0.23 kg) of a four-in-one supplement, 0.5 (0.23 kg) of a sweet feed, 1 oz of biotin with added vitamin C, and one-third cup (80 ml) of soybean oil per day. Here’s the rub: she is easily spooked, whether in the arena, on the trail, or just tied. Her sire is the same way, as well as several of his offspring, so I guess you could say she comes by it honestly. We give her an injectable joint product monthly. How could I adjust her feed to help calm her yet still meet her nutritional needs as I work to get her ready for the show season?
On a recent hay-buying trip with a friend, we found some clean, though mature, grass hay at a great price. The hay contained a fair amount of timothy, which was well headed out. I was just getting ready to purchase the hay when my friend pulled me aside and said, “You’ve heard the adage, ‘When you see the head, the quality is dead,” right?” I own two retired Standardbred geldings, Grover and Cleveland, both easy keepers and equally lethargic, and I think the hay would have been fine for them. Your thoughts?
My pony jumper is a firecracker. He’s a nervous type, but he’s fast and exciting to ride. Because he’s so high-strung, it’s difficult to keep weight on him. He sure doesn’t look like the pony hunters in the barn, all of which are round and chubby. What can I do to address his excitability and his thinness?
I own a 12-year-old Oldenburg-Thoroughbred gelding that I show in the adult-amateur hunter division. He consumes a typical diet of textured feed and mixed grass hay, and he holds his weight well except when he’s worked especially hard, and then he tends to lose condition. He has had on-again, off-again problems with gastric ulcers over the past few years, and I want to be sure I am doing the most I can for him. The ulcers were treated with omeprazole. Can you recommend any changes to his diet that might help with keeping ulcers at bay?
Foxy-Loxy, my 17-year-old Warmblood mare, has had frequent episodes of diarrhea over the past two years, despite a healthy appetite and moderate fleshy body condition. We’ve tried metronidazole, dexamethasone, probiotics, and prescription ulcer medication, and nothing works. The vet is stumped but thinks she could have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She’s fed free-choice grass hay, 2 lb (0.9 kg) of feed, and a digestive supplement. Do you have any thoughts?
My 35-year-old Arabian gelding weighs about 750 lb (340 kg) and is moderately thin, so he needs to gain some weight. He is fed free-choice grass hay, as well as one gallon twice per day of this mixture: one part soaked beet pulp, one part senior pellets, and one part alfalfa pellets. Can I add 2 cups of canola oil daily to this? Can I purchase it from the grocery store?
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