I own a 30-year-old Thoroughbred mare that weighs about 1,100 lb (500 kg) with a body condition score of 4. Historically, she has been an easy keeper, but now she needs to gain weight. She is ridden three days a week, though the work is not intense. Her ration includes unlimited timothy hay (which appeals to her only slightly), 8 lb (3.6 kg) timothy hay pellets, 2 cups beet pulp, and 2 cups of stabilized rice bran. She has limited turnout. While she is bright and energetic, she has trouble maintaining her weight on this diet. I purchased some soybean meal to try to up the protein content of her ration, but I don’t know how much to safely add to her diet. At one point, I took her off of a senior feed I had been feeding because we thought it might be contributing to diarrhea that she was experiencing. Anything with wheat or alfalfa seems to cause hindgut upset, and alfalfa hay also makes her legs swell. What can I do to help this mare gain weight?
I have a seven-year-old Thoroughbred gelding named Soldier that I am returning to light work. The goal is to be able to ride him five days a week. Right now, he’s in moderate body weight, at about 1,200 lb (545 kg), so I’d like to keep his condition about the same. He has unlimited access to a round bale of grass hay, 5 lb (2.2 kg) of oats morning and night, and a joint supplement. Soldier will soon be moving to new barn and transitioning to pasture turnout. He’ll have high-quality grass hay, rather than a round bale. I will start with whole oats but may gradually decrease the amount and introduce a ration balancer depending on how he copes with the pasture and hay. Questions: (1) Should I bother with the ration balancer? (2) Are oats OK as a feed for a horse in regular work? (3) Do I need to worry about the new hay stressing his system?
My pony (330 lb or 150 kg) was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism. He is thin with swollen facial bones. To counteract this, I recently changed his to diet to 8 lb (3.6 kg) of feed daily, which includes alfalfa pellets, senior grain, and corn oil. I need to feed calcium-rich feeds, according to my vet. Do you have other suggestions?
I own a 10-year-old Quarter Horse gelding currently in occasional work with the thought of ramping up to moderate work in the coming weeks. He weighs about 1,200 lb (545 kg) and is in fleshy body condition (a score of 7). I feed him 1 lb (0.45) of soybean meal, 2 oz of a commercial mineral supplement, and 700 IU of vitamin E. He has free-choice grass hay that contains some timothy and a salt block. He has all-day, year-round access to pasture, and it is plentiful during the growing season. Am I feeding him enough protein? Are his calcium and phosphorus intakes sufficient? He is overweight, especially fleshy over the ribs and tailhead, but he has a hay belly. He is not muscular or filled out over the topline. Is this just due to lack of exercise or is this a dietary deficiency?
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?
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