Saturday, April 25, 2009

So thin and frail

Annie has never been an easy keeper. She is not easily tempted by food like other horses. I always believed she'd starve to death rather than give in, unlike most of my horses that have always been 'pigs in horse bodies'.

I believe that an underweight horse is healthier, overall, than an obese horse. There are less lameness and other health issues. Horses can gain and lose weight relatively quickly. My horses are evidence of my low maintenance plan. They almost never get sick or lame. The only lameness I experience are tenderness from freshly trimmed feet on rocky roads which clears up quickly.

But now, with Annie in foal, I feel like she's even more underweight. What should I do? I have more than doubled her hay (at least 3-4 flakes per feeding) and she gets a two pound coffee can of half cracked corn and half sweet feed twice daily along with her mare supplements. I graze the horses whenever I can on fresh grass. The hay I feed is grass (AM) and alfalfa & grass (PM). I think I am going to try adding vegetable oil to her grain as of today. Also, I paste worm about 5 times a year although I have never seen any evidence of worms in the feces.
I never used to give any of my horses grain unless they were exercised. Now I give Scout and Nadia a quarter can of grain mix almost every feeding because they get so excited when I feed Annie. Nadia can use it. Scout doesn't need it.
The last two times I've ridden Scout, he has acted like a fireball. Yesterday, he bucked and bucked. And spooked. This is unusual behavior for him. It could be the wind (it was really windy yesterday!) or it could be the grain.
Whatever the cause, I really trotted him down both in the round pen and out in the field where he was so "dancy". He got all sweaty on his neck and chest but dried very quickly so it was more of a nervous sweat than a workout sweat. He's acting very studly too, prancy and dancy all the time, and having big herd separation anxiety issues. I may just pull the grain and make him mad at me. That'll fix him! ;)
Just a few days ago, I was riding him and jumping off from both sides at a walk and trot to see what he would do. He stopped as soon as I shifted my weight out of the saddle. Of course, this was in the round pen. But still, it's good to know that he stops... And he has no issues with mounting from either side.
Any suggestions on feeding Annie or any of my horses? I'd love to hear your suggestions for feeding plans and how grain affects behavior.
So thin and frail - Strangers When we Meet, artist: David Bowie, album: The Buddha of Suburbia


allhorsestuff said...

I am reasearching a product that is called "Equine Challenge".
They have done thier homework and say that it's technology will allow you to onlyu\ have to feed whole oats & good hay of your choice. It has two kinds of EC for those types. They are very nice and will talk to you or come to give you a is easily found online...they say the horses that are "Hard Keepers" are just lacking vital nutrient supplies that absorb correctly. I do understand that reasoning as there are so many ways to give a horse 1 nutrient( it's all in the processing)So theirs supposedly absorbs and allows the horse body to function much better.
I ordered and am waiting now for my initial package and will see for myself....
I will get you the phone number if you'd like to just talk tom them.
And it is online at "Equine Challenge"
be back...

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I am interested. Yes, please pass on the phone number. Also, I will do some research on it. Thanks!

cdncowgirl said...

Have a fecal count done on Annie, she may have a type of worm/parasite that your dewormer isn't effective on.
You may want to check into probiotics. I don't know anything about bred mares though so definately check the info about them.
As for Scout, I have the same "problem". I hate to leave out someone when the others get grain. You may be interested in the low carb/starch feeds. They're not supposed to make horses as hot.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Yes, I probably should get a fecal count done on all of them just to be sure. It would also be a good time to check for sand, wouldn't it?

One Red Horse said...

This winter was my first with my new older TB mare and her weight dropped so quickly I had to scramble. Shredded beet pulp was our best friend. I'd soak it for about 20 min. and mix it with Nurena's Safe Guard. Toward the end of winter I started adding a couple of cups of alfalfa pellets. Like the idea of getting a worm fecal count. I find it helpful. Another idea is to be sure Annie's teeth are ok. Good luck.

The Wades said...

You know I don't have any advice! I sure with I did. We have a new feeding program working now, but it's all trial and error at this point. Let us know if you figure it out.

Andrea said...

Okay, I have a TB mare that is just like Annie. Here is what I did for her. Fist of all, Panacur paste and Ivremectin are a prego mares best friends. You can deworm with those and not harm the foal or mare. Also, panacur is great for getting those pinworms. Those will make the horses itch their rears and make their tails all fuzzy looking at the top.

Like the lady up top mentioned, beet pulp is wonderful. I have tried it and it was fine, but a lot of work. So, the last time I bred my mare she got really down when she had her foal. All ribby and her spine was sticking out. Then I fed her Omelene 300. That is the best feed ever for my mare.

This past breeding season, I only fed her once a day, one scoop (equal to your can) of Omelene 300 and one scoop of a 12% pellet horse feed. I gave her just regular grass hay and she was fat and shiny. Omelene is formulates for pregnant and lactating mares. So, there is no need to add any vitamins.

My mare looks awesome. Now, she still looked a bit ribby like how your Annie looks. But that belly starts to hang down and pull down and some ribs to show.

But I swear by Omelene. I don't feed any supplements. And now I feed my mare twice a day since she has had her foal. I also give her all she can eat hay. Foliage is the main part of their diet. So, the more hay the better.

I also bought a Stable Lyx tub that my mares and foals lick on. The prego mares had it to lick on while they were out in the pasture. Now the mares and foals lick on it when they stay in at night. That gives extra minerals and good vitamins for the foals. I just like the tub. You don't have to use it, but is has helped my TB mare's foal to fill out a bit faster.

Now, Omelene is about 15 dollars a bag, but you feed less of it and it works. And you don't have to buy those vitamins any more. I wouldn't have believed it, but I have used it on my 16 hand super hard to keep weight on mare.

This year after foaling she kept her belly, and doesn't have any spine sticking out. She kept her weight and looks super shiny and beautiful.

You can see pictures of her on my blog. Her name is Pearl. She is the dark bay TB mare. I swear by Omelene 300 for pregnant and lactating mares. Purina knows what they are doing!

Also probiotics are wonderful for pregnant mares and foals. It is actually recommended to give it to the mare and foal right after birth. So, I wouldn't be afraid to give her any. The probiotics help with stomach ulcers, which ever horse has. Some just get them more if they are stressed or just in general nervous horses. It also puts good bacteria back into their digestive tracts. Some people will give probiotics after dewroming.

I hope this helps with Annie.

Now as far as the other guys go?

If Scout "has" to have it, just give him a handful of a 10 or 12 percent feed. I think the protein amount in the feeds affect the attitudes in horses. I give my "pleasure" riding/occasional use horses a 10% complete feed from Purina. It's call Horse Chow 100. It keeps them fat and happy with out being hyper. And a quarter of a can at each feeding really is too much. They should be doing fine with that. Maybe don't give them any sweet feed. I find sometimes that can get horses hyper. Because of the molasses. But really that is just sometimes. And probably a myth.

One more good thing about Omelene is that it has a slow time released formula, so your mare won't get all hyper and crazy!! It's wonderful.

I hope this helps. I love nutrition in horses. It was what I really wanted to to in college but I just never got to finish it.

If you have any questions, please just email me and I would love to help out, if you need it.

We have a ton of different horses and they all need different stuff. From the 20 year old gelding to the yearling filly.

Sorry about the novel!!

I am so super excited to see Annie's foal!!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Andrea- Thank you for your "novel!"

I appreciate all the wonderful advice from everyone.

I do think the foal is pulling down on her some because her belly is so HUGE! This is contributing to the ribby and bony topline in the picture. She still has a good supply of fat/muscle between her hind legs, for example.

I do have sugar beet pulp and have used it in the past, but it is troublesome, having to soak it for a while before feeding. I have heard that you don't need to soak it first. Is this true?

I am cutting Scout off unless he's worked, back to the way he used to be fed. Hopefully, he'll go back to his good 'ol boy self soon.

Annie is not at all hyper from the sweet feed. She doesn't even want to run around much anymore, probably because of that enormous belly.

Right now, Annie is getting a two pound can of half cracked corn, half 12% sweet feed, and MarePlus vitamins. I have started giving her about 1/4 cup corn oil every feeding as well. I still have a big supply of MarePlus vitamin supplement. When that runs out, I will check into those Stable Lyx tubs. Is that instead of mineral blocks? Annie loves mineral blocks so much that I often wonder if she does have a mineral imbalance.

What does anyone think about Calf Manna for mares and foals? In the "dark ages" past I believe it was recommended as a supplemental feed.

allhorsestuff said...

I actually am feeding my Wa- "mare's match" "Milk Pellots" now! I like the20- 30% protien. She went to a grass hay that is less than satisfactory to me and she dropped some nice muscle arrrggg! So I was giving her Lysine as well for the absorbson.

So Equine Challenge" came in and I will e talking to the fellow soon too...but his name is:
Jerry Huntsinger
His info I have for you on an e-mail...but My computor is weirdo about getting tom yout e-mail from my E-mail is:

Just mail me and I will forward the contact info plus some question answer he already did for a local barn here.
Thanks Val!

Andrea said...

My father in law swears by Calf Manna. He says that will put the weight on any animal! And I would soak the beat pulp over night. Then in the am when I fed, I would make more and let it soak until the evening feeding and so on......beet pulp got expensive here.

Bran works great too. I am not a huge fan of cracked corn. I was also told that corn was for cows. But it was for fattening up cows!!

I do have a mineral block out in our pasture. I used a trace mineral block. Then I offer the Stable Lyx tub too. They will only lick on the mineral block if they need it.

The oil will make Annie's hair coat really beautiful!! It's always good to add a little oil.

I think you are doing a great job with Annie. And as you can tell, everyone feeds different things. Just one thing, that you probably already know, a mare will give all her nutrients to her foal first, then she will get what's left over. So, the foal will look great and healthy. But if the mare isn't getting enough nutrients then she will look poor.

After the foal is about 3 months of age, the mare's milk production decreases and the foal will eat more grain then. So, then you can cut back your mare a bit.

I am sure you already knew all that, but I just wanted to let ya know just in case.

Here's my sale's pitch: Omelene 300 costs a bit more, but then you don't have to feed as much feed to keep your horse and foal up. Also, you don't have to add vitamins or oil. It's 16% protein, which lactating mares need for milk and foals need for growth. It already has all the minerals and vitamins a mare and foal will need. Plus, it gives your mare a super shiny coat.

Okay, that was it. I am sure there is more. :)

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Thanks for the great suggestions!

CTG Ponies said...

My TWH gelding Montero came to us very skinny. At the recommendation of a friend and agreement by the vet, we came up with a game plan. We wormed him with Ivermectin, waited a couple of days, and then followed up with 4 days of Probiotics. He gets a horse grain plus toasted soybeans and he was put on ulcer meds. He also gets all the grass/timothy hay that he can eat. The soybeans work wonders - high fat, high protein, no sugar so no craziness. He's gained almost 100 pounds since March 21st. At almost 15.2 hands he was 916 pounds. He's over 1000 now.

Good luck with her!