Won't gain weight

This topic contains 26 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  tarese_bradbury 1 year, 11 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 16 through 27 (of 27 total)
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  • annelear
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Have you checked for ulcers yet? The majority of OTTBs have ulcers,and you won’t see improvement until you treat them. If your pasture is good and he has no other underlying metabolic issues,then it’s a good bet he suffers from gastric ulcers. Good luck!

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Just read an article in a vet magazine that recommended feeding a senior feed to hard keepers – especially thoroughbreds. This feed has more calories, mostly from fat, so it won’t make your horse hot. Also, most have antioxidants, and are easier to digest. We have had great success at our barn using this strategy.

    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 3

    Blanket your horse in cold weather. Try adding a senior pelleted feed to your tbred’s diet of good quality hay. I use 1 large scoop a.m. & p.m. Also alfalfa cubes at night. Soak cubes to avoid choking. Stabled my tbred’s mare at night. Took some time to get extra weight but worked well.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 11

    The first thing you should do is to have a worm count done on his fecal matter. This can be done for a low price by most vets. If your horse has a lot of worms, that can cause him to struggle with gaining wait, and a fecal test can help determine how much and of what worms your horse has. To gain weight, I suggest feeding either beet pulp or rice bran. Both will help your horse gain weight. Rice bran especially will not give your horse a ton of energy, which I know can be a problem with thoroughbreds.

    Piaffe_Girl Piaffe_Girl
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    Your message suggests that your guy only receives hay in *winter*, but is on straight pasture the rest of the year. This likely isn’t enough calories for your horse — especially an OTTB (high metabolism) who’s relatively young. As others have mentioned, not all pasture is the same: unless you’ve had your pasture tested, and do so regularly, you don’t *really* know if your horse is getting enough calories per day, and if what he’s taking in is nutritionally correct. I strongly suggest using a feed calculator to ensure he’s on the right track: there are several online (see below). Also, most feed companies have nutritionists on staff; call your feed manufacturer to have a free assessment. I breed, train, and show dressage horses, and have also adopted and retrained several OTTBs, and can tell you that after 35 years in the business, my equine nutritionist is the best resource I’ve got! My horses look fabulous and perform well, but only because I double check their rations / caloric needs every 6 weeks.

    Using the info you posted (estimating weight at approx 1000lbs), I ran the calculation and it suggests +12 lbs forage per day plus 3.25lbs concentrate per day, for a minimum 13,800 calories per day. I don’t feed Purina to my horses, but I use their calculator because it’s quicker and simpler than many of the others. Triple Crown has one too, I believe.


    No amount of supplements will make up for a deficit in calories. Start there — amount and quality of food. Call your vet or the feed maker’s nutritionist, and ask for advice / guidance to ensure you’re on the right track. Finally, get a weight tape and use it monthly to track gains or losses. As I tell my students: start with the simple, most obvious answer first and move forward from there.

    Good luck, and good riding.

    dmaequestrian dmaequestrian
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 10

    I think the best thing you can do is try a weight gain supplement or a different type of feed to fit his lifestyle. if you do decide to change his feed it would probably have less calories though. With a weight gain supplement, I have never heard of it dramatically increasing a horses’ energy level. if you find that is does try turning him out with some more of his buddies that will encourage him to run an play.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Please have him checked for an infected heart valve. 50% of horses have heart murmurs and its’t a problem at all. But they can pick up bacteria and get an infection in that valve, especially when they have dental work. And that is easily fixed. But untreated… It is damaging and deadly. In OTTB horses that are skinny it is usually a very good bet. Our current vet caught it in my mare after 5 other vets had checked and declared her healthy and just “lazy”. She is a drafty morgan and so didn’t look thin and therfore cause those vets to consider it. But, I knew something was wrong! It is an easy test. Lounging at a canter and checking for heart sounds while monitoring how quickly the rate of beats return to normal. I think it cost us $33? But it is diffcult to hear so you may need to repeat the test. Well, unless like my girl’s… It was a stage 3, we didn’t know if she would make it back. But antibotics for 30 days and she is fine. Just a word of caution. The vet said that raising the heart rate made pain in her chest. My girl tossed me on my head (yep, brain bleeding) out of the blue one day. She is Very sweet and would have never done that normally!!! So if your horse acts like he doesn’t want to work…. Listen.

    Bob&Herd Bob&Herd
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 8

    Dillon&Jake,it’s time for you to acknowledge all of the thoughtful comments from concerned horse people here in the long time since your original post. Otherwise I suggest the moderators delete your post so we can get on with helping horse people who are willing to participate in this forum because they sincerely care about their horse. There is so much good advice here, where are you?

    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 16

    My first question is has the vet been out to see him? Was blood work done? Thorough exam?
    Next: what is his activity level, i.e. what are you using him for? Is he an eventer? Jumper? How many times a week are you riding him and what are you doing during your ride?

    If he’s not getting any exercise at all or moderate use and the vet has been out and hos NOT made a recommendation of their own, I would ask the vet for ideas.

    Enjoy your ride,

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 11

    Even if you de wormed your horse, if you did not do a decal test you should because you may have missed worms or given the wrong amour of deepened.
    You probably do not want to give your horse flax seeds. They make them very shiny but tend to give them a ton of energy as well. The bast feed for gaining weight is barley, although barley is high in proteins, which gives a lot of energy. Rice bran is my personal preference for underweight horse that have a lot of energy. Beet pulp works too.
    You should also watch your horse eat. You want to make sure he is eating all of his food. You should also look for signs like dribbling, which can indicate a problem with his teeth. Thoroughbreds tend to be harder to keep weight on due to personality, so you probably just need to feed more, making sure you feed effective foods

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    The best feed that is out there is Total Equine. My horses are fed hay most of the time to give the pasture a break and I give them Total to help them get the nutrients they need. When we get a rescue type horse, they gain weight much more faster than any other higher quality feed I have tried. I’m sure that any horse will love this feed, so give this a try. The website is http://www.totalfeeds.com
    This feed is not in many stores so this website will help.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I have had great luck with beet pulp. I have a 7 y.o. QH gelding that is N/H for HYPP and is a hard keeper. Because I live in the desert where pasture is non-existent and grass hay is unreliable, I have him on meds so I can better manage his diet with the alfalfa hay that is readily available in my area without the concerns for the higher potassium content. However, the meds are a diuretic so I feel like it depletes him of some essential nutrients. Before, we struggled with a dull hair coat. Besides the weight gain, the beep pulp has a high fat content so the condition of his hair coat has improved dramatically as well. He is now shiny and chunky and happy. I also love it because it is all cool calories that don’t add anything that I have to regulate or worry about. I can give him as much as I want. Added bonus? It’s cheap!

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