OTTB and rest time, I want to change feed

This topic contains 7 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 1 year, 7 months ago.

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  • Nikkers Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    I recently got 2 ottbs, fresh off the track. They are 4 year olds.I know tracks feed for performance. I currently have them on let down time. They spend more time in stall than in the pasture. They are not comfy in pasture for any good length of time yet,they are slowly relaxing.There is no grass in pasture right now, since the drought. They are currently fed alfalfa morning and night.(thats what they were fed when I got them) Since I am only working on ground manners with them right now and the amount of time in the stalls (they do have runs on stalls) I want to cut back on alfalfa and add a feeding of oat hay. Possibly switch to oat hay only. What is the best way to go about this, so not to upset any parts of their body/systems 🙂 I want to avoid founder or colic or anything else.lol I have added a little oat hay to eve feeding, not much. Thanks

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Sounds as if you are going the right way with them. Make the change gradually with the hay. You did not mention grain – our racehorses used to get mostly straight oats (for energy, 100 years ago), and you would also want to change that some as well. Also, gradually. They are still growing babies, so check with your vet as to what they need to finish growing to be strong and healthy. You could also try using timothy hay.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Nikkers Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    The farm I got them from had grain made for them.I was not told what was in it. So I only give a little bit(less than a half of a scoop) of 4 way with a joint supplement (Glucosamine ) and Horseshoer’s Secret. 1 time a day. 1 horse had a knee injury .Which has healed.So I want to try to help her maintain a healthy knee and I believe it is important to have healthy hoofs. They were in stalls and have not been out to pasture with any grass since they were tiny babies. So after we work on ground manners and do the daily grooming. I let them take a couple bites of grass but only for a minute. I will slowly allow a bit more as time goes on. If the drought ever ends I will be able to irrigate again and have grass in the pasture. So I want them to be able to handle a bit of grass during turn out time.I am just so worried about founder with the amount of exercise they were used to and the little they get now.If I rode them I would not be so worried.We just are not at that point yet . I appreciate your reply.Thanks

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Racehorses don’t get all that much exercise. Perhaps 15 minutes on days they are galloped (and that includes the warmup prior to the galloping), longer if just jogged, and perhaps 30 minutes on days they are walked. They are (keep in mind, this is only from my own experience) hand grazed as well. The average trail or lesson horse, as well as eventers and endurance horses probably get a whole lot more exercise than the average racehorse. Not counting, of course, days when they race, but even that is usually not long at all. A short, light gallop in the morning, warm-up on the way to the gate, and about 3 minutes (intense, but short) actual racing. In 56 years, I have never seen a Thoroughbred founder or get colic, whether in training or off the track entirely.

    This doesn’t mean that you should not be careful, just don’t fret yourself too much about it. It sounds as if you are doing things with a great deal of care and concern for your horses. However, if you are not riding them nor turning them out, I do recommend that you walk them each for at least 20 minutes to 30 minutes daily. They would, normally, have been out at pasture until they started training, which varies agewise from trainer to trainer. We did not start ours until mid-way through their second year, giving them about 2.5 years just free to be horses. It wasn’t enough, but better than many.

    If you aren’t up to all that walking, they should be accustomed to being ridden at a walk, just make sure it is the opposite way of a track, even if you don’t have one. Sometimes we just rode them in the shed row. Boring, either way.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: forgot something. probably forgot a lot of things

    It is never the horse's fault

    Nikkers Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    Thank you very much! They get turned out but not as long as I would like them to be. They just are not comfortable yet. They first stood in the corner wide eyed. I have only had them a week . They are now slowly starting to explore the pasture. I also have a pond we go play in for a few, since it is over a 100 out lately.They love water. Like I said we are working on ground manners right now. 1 is very mouthy, in a curious way, not a mean way.Which he responds well to a firm no and a wiggle of the lead rope.The 1 with the knee injury is just a dream to handle.I see no reason to have a chain with them. The mouthy 1 is very tender footed right now and we are waiting for farrier to help him.Hoping new shoes and maybe pads will help.They do not like me on the right side of them.(if we were facing the same direction) So I spend a lot of time on that side.
    That amazes me, they are in such good shape, muscles wise. I honestly thought they were ridden a lot more than that.
    I guess I am overly concerned. I lost my last ottb last Christmas. He was a hard keeper. I had new neighbors move in and they fed him without my knowledge, because “he looked hungry” Anyway several colics and a severe founder, an insulin issue etc etc. I was dumbfounded as to what was going on with him. I will carry that guilt forever. It took security cameras to learn what was going on. They fed him everything he was not supposed to have and in large amounts. He became a dangerous horse to be around.It broke my heart and the guilt weighs heavy on me.It never occurred to me someone was feeding him. That is something you just do not do unless asked to. I have since fenced my pasture so they can not throw feed on my property that the horses can get.We also had a face to face chat and they agreed not to feed unless asked to do so. They had good intentions just horrible results from them.So I think maybe I am scared because of that.
    I love the new horses already they have won my heart and they deserve to be treated and taken care of the best I can.Thanks so much for your response, I do feel a lot better about the feedings and can stop holding my breath about it 🙂 Thank you for the insight into the racehorse. You have taught me some things I did not know.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I wish you the very best with your new horses. Do not carry guilt about something done by other persons – there was nothing you could have done about it, short of keeping your horse with you at all times, which is impossible.

    One of my horses is an off track Arabian. At 24, he still thinks life is a race and he should win. Thoroughbreds are much quieter. One of the things I like about former racehorses is that they are so accustomed to people asking them to do odd things that they tend to be much easier to handle than the average horse.

    Horses always pretend they are starving. Nature intended them to just eat grasses, and graze all the time, and we (all people) have interfered with that. If a horse is not working, it really doesn’t need grain at all barring some health issue (such as older horses who cannot maintain their weight).

    Post updates on your progress – there is nothing better that hearing how people progress with their horses and their accomplishments.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Nikkers Original Poster
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 4

    Update on my horses. They now eat oat hay and alfalfa. No colic or founder or anything bad happened when I added oat hay to their diet.Their time now is spent in the pasture with grass during the day and stall with run at night. They still prefer their stalls than being in the pasture when it is dark. I noticed the mares attitude is terrible when fed more alfalfa than oat hay. She is an alpha female for sure. She is still great once in a halter and on a lead rope.She does grind her teeth and pin her ears back while grooming and I get close to her knee. She is very protective of her knee. The vet said her knee looks great, so she isn’t in any pain. We just don’t get along very well. She prefers my husband over me. My mouthy gelding, is so much better now. He still tries every so often to “groom ” me ,when I groom him. But I can say it has dropped from 100% of the time , down to maybe 20% of the time. He is pretty easy to read and I can usually head him off at the pass when he is going to do it.A jiggle of the lead rope and a firm “no” seems to work just fine as long as I stop him right when he tries. I have started to work him in the round pen. He loves to work! He is lazy ,loves his food and his sleep. Once I get him in the round pen he is all business. I had to make sure he was the same horse I walked in there with! He is still an obnoxious young gelding that loves to play and really want the mare to play with him (which she does just not as much as he likes) They make me laugh daily and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I am finally seeing them be horses and relax. They are not perfect horses and I am not perfect either. When I am not making it clear to my gelding ,he shows his frustration by sticking his tongue out the side. So I stop what I am doing and talk softly to him and stoke his head. We take that time to regroup and He relaxes and i try to figure out what I am doing that is not clear. Then we try again. It may take me a couple tries but between the 2 of us we get it figured out. He now leads with all 4 feet on the ground, No more kicking and circling around me etc.The lead rope has no pressure from me on it and he is no longer walking through the halter. We are now both relaxed while walking around the property. He is a great horse and a great teacher! Thanks everyone for your input and help!

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    So happy for you and your horses!

    It is never the horse's fault

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