Underweight Oldies

This topic contains 8 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  panache 4 years ago.

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  • jumper4ever Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    My ancient hackney pony (she’s somewhere in her mid thirties) has an incredibly hard time keeping weight on. She’s been on 6-8 quarts of sentinal senior a day since she was about 10 years old. I noticed her losing weight towards the end of the summer so we put her on a weight gain and on soaked beet pulp. She loves the beet pulp and clearly gets the weight gain supplement but I am not seeing any difference in her weight and if anything, she’s losing it. As winter fast approaches I am starting to worry about her health. Does anyone have any suggestions that could possibly help her? thank you in advance.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Could she be cold? Try a blanket? As much as I am not a blanket fan, they have their place. Sometimes, the weight loss is simply from generating heat and a blanket will definitely help. My guys, the ones that I cover, will start to loose weight in the fall when the temps get consistently below 30F if I don’t cover them with something. I have a few elders (3 of 6 are over 25) in my yard as well and as much as they CAN look right, it is a totally different ballgame to maintain them. Elders do not absorb anything dietary as well as the younger ones, harder to get the nutrients into their system and they get colder easier.

    I tend to up the grain a bit (Triple Crown Senior here) early fall, then after the first real frost and if weight is up, I back off the grain and feed free choice hay for the entire winter. Grain is still fed but back to summer amounts (the difference being less than a 1/2 lb per horse). IF weight is still lost or not gained after an increase in grain, THAT horse gets covered.

    With the beet pulp, I am sure your girl is getting a good amount of water but there really is no such thing as too much in winter. A little more water, hot if possible, plenty of hay and BP, maybe reconsider your grain, look for a higher fat, lower NSC, lower sugar content to give her a chance to absorb them before she spends them. Note the status of her teeth, too.

    Nothing was mentioned in your post but I will offer this anyway: Be sure she is physically comfortable. Pain/stress can drop weight faster than anything.

    The elders can certainly put grey hair on your head but they CAN rally and maintain. You might have to try different combinations and different components to get her needs met.

    Good luck to both of you and don’t forget: She didn’t make it to her 30’s by being poorly kept. GOOD on YOU!!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Has she ever been floated?? We see it a lot in old horses that they will loose weight and the owner wonders why and than we open there mouths and they have no grinding surface left, so they cant get the nutrition out of the food.

    NinaJD NinaJD
    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 139

    teeth and worming come to mind first.
    Secondly how much hay are you giving her?
    if you can get grass hay or if you feed her this anyway, you can always give her extra.
    My friend has a hard keeper in the winter and we just give him 2-4 flakes of extra hay in the colder months.

    Have you tried changing her grain? I’ve never heard of that brand of grain, so I don’t know how much “good stuff” it has in it.

    "Take the time it takes, so that it takes less time."
    "Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often."
    Pat Parelli

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    My retired event/dressage horse will be 36 in January and he impresses the vets and all that know him with his amazing prescence. He has lost some teeth and cannot eat hay nor gain enough nutrients from grass. Therefore, I suggest the following: Add rice bran to the grain which should have very wrm water added to it so that mastication is easier. Add rice bran to the beet pulp(softened with the same temp. of water). Allow your horse to eat at his/her liesure; these geriatric souls need time without pressure to enable them to enjoy their mealtime!

    laneyloulou laneyloulou
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I would put your horse on a slow feeder bin which is where your horse would have hay all the time and would not burn fat so quickley i have had old throughbreds on it and it works

    horses are smarter than you think !

    ksuzn ksuzn
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 3

    I hope you have found a solution for your cute senior mare. They really do need the xtra protection of a good blanket to keep them from having to burn those precious calories to keep warm. mid-weight turn-outs work great for our barn and climate. My oldster is quite furry but appreciates being covered when it gets below 32. The teeth are a biggie as well. My boy has very little surface to chew with so he gets 6lbs purina senior, moistened with warm water 2x a day, mixture of soft and timothy hay free choice to keep him busy. some days he’s able to eat the hay fine, others he leaves a few quids. Choke is something I always watch for, but at the same time to be happy he needs to be a horse and forage. He doesn’t require a weight supplement and by weight/comfirmation alone you can’t tell he’s as old as he is (mid to late 20’s)

    As mentioned, It is a problem with the teeth though, that they cannot grind the feedstuff efficiently to release the nutrients so thank goodness that we can supplement those and give them a complete feed but foraging is what keeps the gut healthy so there is a point in time where all we can do is keep them as comfortable as possible as nature takes its course.


    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 8

    Wow! I really, truly hope I get that many years with my horse! Anyway, just keep trying the weight gain supplements. I feel your pain. My 15 year old mare is a really hard keeper, but I have to keep her on grass hay because alfalfa makes her colic. I started giving her Cocosoya. It worked really well for her. She gained weight steadily, not too fast, not too slow. It makes their skin and coat look great too. Maybe try that? As for the winter season, make sure to keep your pony warm so that she doesn’t have to spend her calories keeping her body temperature up. You could try increasing her feed amount or switching to something really rich in fat and calories.

    Also, try to give her a digestive supplement. Seniors, because of their age, have trouble using the food that they eat. Even if she’s eating a lot of feed, her digestive tract may not be absorbing everything it can from that food. The supplement can help her get more out of what she eats.

    Topics Started: 8Replies Posted: 30

    some one at my barn mixed flax seed in with a mare at my barns food and she kept weight on pretty well, and her coat became really shiny

    Life is not about waiting for the clouds to pass, its about learning to ride in the rain

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