Weight Gain for Older Horse?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by jettgirl24, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Hi All - I've got a 28 yo. QH gelding who is looking thin. He was in my mom's care until July and we've gone through this with him before but my mom was able to get a handle on it fairly easily. I've started noticing that he looks a little thinner this week though so I weight taped him this morning and sure enough he's dropped about 20 lbs since the last time I taped him. He's been looking fine since I took charge of him so I didn't change anything but since he's dropped a bit of weight I feel like I could probably get him on a better regimen now. Here's what he gets now:

    Hay:
    Two flakes of very high quality grass hay in the a.m. & in the p.m. I work all day so I'm not home to do a lunch feeding. Instead I've been tossing him another flake around 10 or 11 before I head to bed. I essentially try to allow him access to food 24 hours a day but he doesn't necessarily eat everything I put out for him in the day. He's got all of his teeth still by some miracle and they have been checked and floated recently. Everything was just fine.

    Grain:
    1.5lbs LMF senior + 1lb Dry Cob + approx 2lbs beet pulp in a.m. & p.m. He also gets 2 scoops of Cool Calories 100 mixed in the beet pulp at each feeding. He eats his grain just fine, never leaves any behind.

    Pasture:
    8 - 10 hours per day in a 2 acre grass pasture on most days. The grass didn't get very long this year but there's plenty for him to graze on all day.


    Here are the suggestions I've come across and am thinking about ordering or picking up from the feed store this week:

    - SmartGain 4 & SmartDigest Ultra (For those who have used these products, are these best used in conjunction with each other? If not is one better than the other? Also, do you think I should add this to the Cool Calories or use these instead?)

    - Calf Manna or Horse Manna (I've heard several people say they swear by calf manna but I checked out the website and see that they also have a product specifically for horses. Has anyone use either of these? If they were effective which one is the better choice? Also, do they have it at most feed stores? I don't recall seeing it on the list at my feed store but I also can't say I've looked for it so maybe I just didn't notice)

    Also, does anyone have any additional suggestions to the ones I've listed above?
     
  2. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Before you go to any great expense with other supplements, try increasing his senior feed. I'm not sure what "LMF" stands for; I use Nutrena Senior for my senior horses which is designed to be used as a supplement to hay OR a complete feed. 3 pounds of senior per day really isn't that much. I would increase the amount slowly until you notice him gaining weight, then maintain at that amount until he is at the weight you desire.

    I have used Calf Manna. It's a protein supplement. But if you're looking to get more weight on a senior horse, you are going to want a fat supplement either in place of or with a protein supplement - if you require supplementation at all after increasing his senior feed.

    As they get older, horses' digestive systems get less efficient, so they need more feed to maintain the same body weight.
     
  3. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    As they get older, horses' digestive systems get less efficient, so they need more feed to maintain the same body weight.

    Tell me about it! This horse was a freakin' air fern for most of the 20 years I've owned him... He'd gain 50 lbs even looking at a bag of grain [​IMG] LOL. I'll try upping the Senior (LMF is just the brand) and see how that goes. I'm giving him the max recommended amount on the Cool Calories right now but I'm going to look into whether it's ok to up that as well.​
     
  4. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    I know just how you feel. I have a 33yo QH right now who did stunt doubles as a hot air balloon most of his life. Now I pour the food into him and he is still very thin (he has some other health issues going on too). It's a hard thing to deal with - I'd rather have a horse that was too easy a keeper ANY day.
     
  5. 2pinkmom

    2pinkmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2010
    What about rice bran pellets? I use that for my old Percheron gelding on the advice of the vet. High fat, lower carb. It is expensive and not available in all areas, though.
     
  6. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    what about a hay mush? Some soaked pellets along with his senior feed....make sure that he is getting the bulk into him. I bought a very thin horse once and she got beet pulp, ultium, rice bran and soybean meal.....then I switched her to beet pulp and alfalfa pellets (soaked) just to get her vitamins in. She LOVED it.
     
  7. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    - Calf Manna or Horse Manna (I've heard several people say they swear by calf manna but I checked out the website and see that they also have a product specifically for horses. Has anyone use either of these? If they were effective which one is the better choice? Also, do they have it at most feed stores? I don't recall seeing it on the list at my feed store but I also can't say I've looked for it so maybe I just didn't notice)

    Calf Manna is very high protein. Too much protein can give you some serious problems (think founder), so I'd be looking for high calories instead of high protein.

    FWIW


    Rusty​
     
  8. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Thanks for the info on Calf Manna. I've never seen it in the feed stores here (although I've never looked) but a couple of people on another horse forum I frequent mentioned it. I think I'll stay away from it with the older guy. It doesn't sound like it's quite what he would need right now so I probably won't go that direction. I might pick up a month's supply of SmartGain 4 from Smart Pak just to see how it goes but I will try upping the beet pulp and senior first.
     
  9. chaseB2

    chaseB2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 2, 2011
    Missouri
    we feed all of our hard keepers TNT forage , i think it is great for our show horses that we have trouble keeping the lbs on , and our 28 yr old mare that has hardly any teeth does great on it when we add water to it
     
  10. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2011
    Virginia
    I really feel for you! Best of luck with your challenging baby. It's a frustrating game of trial and error - but when you see that 'bloom' again, it's all worth it.

    Maybe there's some help here for my old girl... I have a 31 year old TB who is driving me NUTS!!! I've had her since she was 8 and she has always been a VERY picky eater and a HARD keeper. I swear that sometimes she can loose inches between the pasture and her stall!
    I'm at my whits end with her. She has lost several teeth so hay is nearly impossible for her. Her teeth get checked and floated (if necessary) several times a year - they're good right now.
    She has zero interest in hay replacer pellets or hay cubes. Seriously - I bought a bag of the cubes and put a couple of pounds of them in a big tote next to her feeder and she had barely made a dent in them after a month. The same with the pellets. And adding water to either of them is a sure way to end up adding them to the compost pile. 2 bags wasted.
    After a mysterious period of almost 4 months where she refused to eat more than a couple of mouthfulls of ANYTHING, She finally started eating oats.. ONLY oats and nothing but oats. Add an envelope of instant apple oatmeal as a treat - she won' t even stick her nose in the feeder. Add an apple or a carrot - she MIGHT sniff - then snort and start drooling and wait at the door as if I'd tried to poison her. (she will happily eat apples, carrots, watermellon, and just about any other treats as long as they are NOWHERE near her feed.) Add a little sweetfeed... no go. Add vita pellets or powders - not a chance. Add corn oil - give me a break, not happening. And don't even get me started on the drama after adding a teaspoon of apple flavored pain releiver.
    None of these was a one-time suprise to her. Each one (and several I've probably left out) was added slowly over several days and each one was tossed without being eaten. I've given up adding water to her feed... At least if it's dry, I can offer it several times.
    Currently she eats 1 1/2 coffee cans of oats two times a day - most days. It often takes her 2 hours to snack and nibble her way through it so sometimes I just don't have the time to wait and have to send her out before she's finished. And sometimes she just stops eating and leaves it.
    She has recently allowed me to add up to a couple of handsfull of beat pulp. Which I'm THRILLED about. I'm hoping that we might be able to up that to half her ration over a couple of months..... we'll see.
     

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