My 15-hand, 900-lb (410-kg) gelding is an easy keeper, so I manage his grass intake and exercise him 3-4 times a week for about an hour. He’s outside half the day and inside the remainder of the day. His diet includes forage (pasture or hay), coconut meal, flax, chia, Micro-Max, a hoof supplement (biotin, silicon, amino acids), and a salt-magnesium product. I have thoroughly researched his feeds, so I am not looking to change his diet, but I’m wondering what else I can do for him to help his shelly, crumbly hooves. He is barefoot, trimmed every six weeks, and has trouble with chronic abscesses and white-line infections. He has chronic rings on all four hooves, yet both the farrier and the vet have ruled out laminitis. Any thoughts?
My two-year-old Standardbred racing filly is 15.2 hands (157 cm) and weighs 975 lb (445 kg). At this weight, she’s in moderate body condition. Right now, she’s on 12 hours of turnout daily. Her current ration includes 40% whole oats, 20% steamed rolled barley, 20% coarse-cracked corn, 20% balancer pellet, 2 oz of a vitamin and mineral supplement, 8 oz coconut-soy oil, 5 lb (2.3 kg) chopped alfalfa, and free-choice timothy hay. Last year when I took her to Florida to train, she had allergy issues and fits of anhidrosis, which precluded her from racing. This summer, she seemed to sweat normally with no allergies. Could her allergy medications induce the sweating problem? Maybe it’s her diet?
My 30-year-old Connemara pony has had recurrent bouts of laminitis. With good hoof care and careful grazing management, she hasn’t had a flare-up in over a year. I’ve heard laminitis-prone horses should be removed from grass after the first frost. At what point after the first frost is it safe to resume her normal turnout schedule? Do I need to wait a couple weeks? Does the type of grass matter?
My 12-year-old appendix Quarter Horse gelding, Henry, needs to gain weight. He’s in his stall half the day, and out to pasture the other half. Both the pasture and the hay are good quality. He gets 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) of high-fat, high-fiber feed a day. I don’t like feeding this much grain, but the increase in grain over the past month has helped him gain weight. I feed him a probiotic, too. Henry is worked 5-6 days a week in dressage. How can continue the weight gain without pouring so much grain to him?
My 19-year-old gelding, Mel, weighs about 1,000 lb (450 kg). Mel is worked six days a week, and the type of work varies (longeing, dressage arena work, trail riding). He is turned out in a large pen for a 4-6 hours daily but otherwise stalled. His daily ration includes 2 lb (0.9 kg) of senior feed, 4 flakes of timothy hay, probiotics, electrolytes, and 1 oz flaxseed. Relevant medical history includes colic surgery for colon twist three years ago; continued colic episodes; laminitis scare seven years ago; loss of muscle over topline; and fat pads near his tailhead. The last episode of recurrent colic involved impaction and 15 liters of bloody reflux, though no ulcers were detected on gastroscopy. I am interested in omega-3 and -6 balance, thinking omega-3s might help inflammation. Thank you for any suggestions.
My five-year-old Quarter Horse mare is too thin (BCS: 4). She stands only 15 hands (152 cm) and weighs about 900 lb (410 kg). I use her for barrel racing, exercising her 5-10 hours per week and then competing on the weekends. I feed her three quarts of feed each morning and evening—two quarts of that is typical concentrate and one quart is low-starch concentrate. She gets 6-8 hours of turnout each day. I’ve tried rice bran and that didn’t work. What else can I do to support weight gain?
Tommy, my seven-year-old barrel-racing gelding (1,100 lb or 500 kg; BCS of 6), was diagnosed with a mild case of recurrent airway obstruction (RAO) several months ago. He generally has a “start-up” cough but limited coughing during exercise. He has loud breathing and mild discharge after exercise. In addition to hay and pasture, Tommy is fed 1 lb of a low-starch feed, 1 cup ground flaxseed, ¼ cup rice bran oil, a natural vitamin E powder, and an expectorant powder before and after competition. I am happy with Tommy’s weight but would like advice on nutritional solutions to his RAO. Would an omega-3 supplement such as EO•3 help him?
Tuck is my 18.1-hand (185 cm), 2,400-lb (1,100-kg) Belgian gelding that I compete in pulling competitions. He gets several hours of exercise 5-6 days a week, including both aerobic and anaerobic work. Tuck’s current ration includes free-range hay, and I would guess he’s eating a small bale of hay each day. I feed him an oats-pellet mixture three times a day. The pelleted feed is high in fat and moderate in starch. Tuck’s work requires a lot of strength, and I want to be sure I am feeding him as well as I can.
I have a nine-year-old draft-cross gelding. He stands 16.2 hands and weighs about 1,200 lb (545 kg). I ride him a couple of times a week. He is on pasture all day and receives one-half scoop of a senior feed twice daily. He stays in moderate condition on this diet through all seasons except winter. Even on increasing feed, he loses weight during the winter. He looks healthy year-round with a shiny coat and sound hooves. What can I do to avoid the winter weight loss this year?
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