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Supplement for my older mare?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by donrae, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm looking for advice on supplementing my mare's feed.

    Daffy is 26 years old. She has a very easy life for the past few years. Eat, poop, sleep, repeat. She's not been used at all, is on pasture April-Oct and dry lot with grass hay the other months. She's always, always been a very easy keeper, even during peak performance when we were both younger. Give her enough good grass or grass hay and she's sleek and rounded.

    I'm just noticing a decline in condition. Her coat still looks good, she's not wormy. Her teeth are good. She's eager to eat her hay and has pretty much free choice grass hay, same as all her life. But her top line is looking a little thin to me....what do you all think?

    [​IMG]




    Not the greatest pic with the shadows, etc, but you can see she's got a little prominence to the backbone. It's been so, so long since I had a hard keeper or had to supplement I'm really not sure what's the best thing to give her. She doesn't need high energy for performance, she just needs a little extra padding. I'd give her some of mine, but I don't think it works that way lol.

    Suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  2. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    I got some bagged all-in-one feed for my old mare. It was chopped hay with some grain in it. I added a little calf manna to it and she gained weight and looked really good once I started feeding it to her. I don't remember now what it was but if you look around the feed store you can find something. Sho Glo is a good supplement for many classes of livestock. I have seen it work miracles on rough underconditioned cattle and horses.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Thanks Cassie. I'm going to see what the feed store has available today or tomorrow. I'm not sure if she really needs something or I just want to treat her a little [​IMG]
     
  4. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    How are her back teeth? Our old guy (around 30 when we finally euthanized him) didnt have any back teeth left. They begin to "run out" so to speak in horses' twenties and around 25 is when I've heard what is erupted begins to wear down. By that age, she may be beginning to have more gum than teeth!

    Our old guy was a hard keeper but we had him on a senior feed (I'm not convinced senior is any better than regular) and we supplemented with corn oil. If I had to do it again knowing what I know now, I probably would have gone with some hay cubes and maybe even the calf manna like Cassie suggested. The oil works ok but there are a lot of alternatives.

    I think at her age, you want to stick with as many easy to eat things as possible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I haven't explored her back teeth. She doesn't have any issues chewing, no dropping hay or slobbering or anything like that. She's the boss lady and gets first choice of the feed. I'll try to take a look back there and see what's going on, though. It'll be a good exercise for her if nothing else [​IMG]

    I'd forgotten about calf manna. I used that a lot in the 80s for different animals, it may be the way to go for her.
     
  6. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A little Red Cell might not hurt either. Most feed stores carry it, but most importantly, I would have her vet checked.
     
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You really can't get a visual on the molars. If you lay your arm alongside the side of her head where your elbow is at the mouth, you need to be able to see as far back even with your hand. A head lamp or flashlight helps. But, to answer the question, she needs work to improve her topline. You are fighting gravity and muscle is the only fix. Trying to put a layer of fat on her will make it worse.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Then she and I will probably both gracefully accept the effects of gravity and age [​IMG]. Physically I'm not really able to ride right now, and at 26 I don't see throwing her into a conditioning regimen. I didn't think about if being more muscle related, I just didn't want her not getting enough calories. And I didn't want the calories to come with a bunch of excess energy she might channel into chewing (a bad habit from years ago) since she's not getting worked.
    Why vet checked?
     
  9. Mini Meat

    Mini Meat Chillin' With My Peeps

    From that pic her wight looks okay to me. Looks like she is loosing top line and abdominal muscle. Not surprising for an out of work 26 year old.

    Was her tail set always that high?

    What breed(s) is she?
     
  10. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    You probably need the vet or dentist to come in and take a look with her mouth held open. Our guy didn't drop food or have any other signs other than losing weight, but it's worth having it checked out! Granted, I don't believe it's an emergency that you need to have them out ASAP, but ask about it next time the vet or dentist is out for any of your horses. I'm sure they would be more than happy to check!

    Some horses do tend to get a bit hollow backed as they age, even if they are plump to begin with! if the rest of her body seems ok (no bones sticking out, not ribby) it may very well be loss of muscle tone like another poster mentioned. I do think horses are better off on the leaner side (where you can "almost" just see the ribs, but with nice definition over the back and hind end) rather than over weight, but you know your horses best. If you are concerned about her losing weight, you can always add something to her diet and see if she improves. Of course, it never hurts to pick the brain of your vet either!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016

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