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?
I own a 10-year-old, 17-hand (172 cm) Warmblood mare that works moderately, three or four days each week. She’s an easy keeper, and her weight has been maintained at a steady 5 on the body condition scorecard for the last year. She spends about 8 hours at pasture and the remainder of the time in a stall. Her current ration includes grass hay, less than 1 lb (0.45 kg) of a senior feed, 1.5 lb (0.68 kg) of a ration balancer, and a supplement containing magnesium, selenium, and chromium. The mare experiences some muscle tightness and soreness in her lower back, as well as reluctance to move, as the show season progresses. She has been tested for PSSM, and the test came back negative. In addition to that, I would like to manage her transition from pasture to hay better to decrease these problems.
I am feeding barren and lactating mares a “competition cube” feed at the rate of 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) a day along with 3 lb (1.3 kg) of soy hulls for filler, along with free-fed haylage. The mares were hard to get in foal last year, and I am wondering if the soy hulls were the cause of that. Could this be a problem?
I am employed at a local feed store. When a customer inquires about this feed or that, one of the first questions she will ask is how much protein it contains. When I ask the customer to describe the horse for which the feed is intended, it invariably turns out to be an adult horse in light work. Can you refresh my memory as to why protein content shouldn’t be the primary consideration when selecting a feed for such a horse?
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