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