Winter feed

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Anna.C

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Apr 7, 2000
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Hi,
I'm after some advice about good feed to keep weight on. The situation is this:

I have 2 horses sharing a field- 1 is a welsh cob and a good doer (read tub of lard!) and the other a tb x type - 16.2 and not a bad doer just not as fatty as the cob. The cob is the boss so gets his fair share of hay and grass. At the moment I'm feeding mollichaff with a multivit & min. supplement as they both looking well on it and I'm planning to add sugarbeet to this as the weather worsens and the grass gets less.

Can anyone suggest what else I could feed the tb x just to make sure he keeps the weight on? I don't want to give much in the way of hard feed as they only get ridden gently at weekends. They both live out 24/7 until I save enough to build a stable ;)
 

Lucy J

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Dec 5, 2001
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Barley rings or bruised barley would be good, barley puts on weight really well but doesn't have the heating effect oats have. Also Alfalfa rather than mollichaff may help if you want to avoid concentrates. I would suggest bruised barley, chaff/alfalfa and sugarbeet would be effective, both sugarbeet and barley will put weight on while the chaff adds fibre.
 

ros

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Jun 9, 2001
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If the TBX is actually looking OK it doesn't sound as though you have too much to worry about - your main problem is keeping weight off the cob! Be objective, don't be fooled into thinking the TBX is too thin just because he isn't a pudding like his mate.

If they're getting plenty of hay between them that's the fibre sorted; presumably you're able to feed them their "tub" separately, so if you want to give the cob less, or a "light" feed you can? I suppose he has to have SOMETHING to keep him quiet!

You don't say if the horses are clipped. Keeping the TBX well-rugged will obvously help to prevent weight loss, while keeping the cob unrugged or lightly rugged will mean he has to burn a little lard to keep warm!

Barley isn't a great favourite of mine, although I know some people swear by it. I just tend to think horses who aren't working very hard don't need them, and high fibre feeds are what keep horses warm anyway, rather than cereals. Some horses react badly to barley, and too much of it can affect the kidneys. Alfalfa and sugar beet for the TBX are probably a good idea f you're at all worried.
 

Piaffe

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Dec 20, 2001
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How old is your TBx? And when you say lightly ridden at weekends - for how long and what does it involve, i.e. fair bit of trotting, a little canter, or just walking etc?
 

Anna.C

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Apr 7, 2000
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The tbx is 14, the cob is 9. Neither are clipped (and very woolly they are too!). Because I don't get to ride them much, they're not very fit - so when I do its just walking and the odd trot. The hills round here are work enough at walk - let alone any faster!

I didn't realise Alfalfa was better for keeping weight on than standard Molli - I'll look at getting some next time I'm at the feed merchants - how does it compare price-wise?

I think you might be right that some of this is in my mind - compared to Harry (also known as fat-boy) anyone would look skinny, and I think those long legs make Ivor look more slender too!
 

Piaffe

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In that case, to be honest they should need very little hard feed. Just give them as much of the best hay that you can when there is little grass - or haylage/horsehage which has a higher nutrient value. Pasture mix should be enough to make sure they both get the right minerals and vitamins during the winter.

My pure TB is stabled during the night in winter but is out all day with a good thick rug, part clipped. I feed him half scoop Show Chaff, half Scoop sugar beet, half scoop 16 plus, plenty of carrots, and a good dollop of vegetable oil - this is his morning feed. in the evening he gets a whole scoop of everything, plus 4-6 sections of hay (one to two sections of hay often replaced with horsage/haylage). He is excercised saturday and sunday, sometimes during the week and this is at an average pace. He always drops off in the winter, particularly around his quarters. This is quite normal when there is very little grass!!

As your TBx gets a bit older, you could try switching to 16 plus or a veterans mix - it contains more vits and mins and oil and helps keep them healthy without the fizz!

Hope this helps a bit.
 

FOLLYFOOT

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Aug 18, 2001
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Winter Feeding

I too have similar situation. I own a 16.3hh 10 yr old TB gelding and a 12hh Welsh SectionA and as you say, one is like a barrel and the other the opposite. When we first bought my horse, he was like a hat rack and in a terrible way. We saw a huge difference in him by using Alpha-A and Sugar Beet and in the early days a cereal mix and together with hay and 24hr turn out, he seemed to really put the weight on really well. We also rug him well now the weather is not so good. He is fed three fair sized meals a day as opposed to two big ones and I think this is important when maintaining a healthy diet. Little and often is better than stuffing them silly as this can cause all sorts of gut problems and upsets. 8 weeks on he is looking incredible considering we are going into winter.

My daughters pony is fat as butter and seems to live off fresh air! He survives on plenty of carrots and apples together with hay in the winter and also a couple of handfuls (small ones!) of a low cal chaff mix so he doesnt feel left out at tea time!!:D
 

skye

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Dec 2, 2001
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not fair

you all seem to have problems with your natives being over weight,Mine currently resembles a hatrack and he is pure welsh cob! yet the tb /arab and id are all over weight! mind you my native is 30yrs old so suppose he has and excuse.Can anyone suggest anything to help him? He is still in average work and thoroughly enjoying it! i did speak to the vet about retiring him because of his weight ,he said he would be worse as he would be burning all the extra calouries trying to get out of the field and joining the other horses!He can't be fed veteran mixes as these make him very bolshy ,and its like riding a case of dynamite! He is currently fed 400gms of equimins feed balancer,0.5kgs of alfa-a unlimited haylage but will normally consme about 10kg.He is 14.1hh and weighs 325kgs,he has had his teeth done and a worm count,both of which were fine.I've ordered him some dengie alfa-beet which i will be introducing to him next week.Help please!
 

FOLLYFOOT

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I understand the worry of having an underweight horsey through winter as I said in my previous reply, my thoroughbred was as you say like a hat rack and I was so worried about what I had taken on, but he looks fantastic at the moment. He too is fed Alpha-beet which is excellent for adding calories without heating up. This was also a consideration for me when putting weight on him as he could get rather silly on most weight-gain products. However he doesnt seem too bad (obviously doesnt realise he is a thoroughbred!!)
One thing I would suggest trying is oil. I personally have not tried this but I am assured it is an excellent non heating way of putting on weight. Most feed merchants have supplies of oils in larger (less expensive) quantities. One of the best for adding calories is soya. This can be gradually introduced a tablespoon at a time and built up to a cup full a day in a daily feed.

I hope this might help.
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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Feed by eye and common sense. If they are fat or well covered don't worry, if they are actually loosing weight then up the feed.

Winter was designed to get the excess weight off horses that they have put on in the summer. Problems start when they put fat on year in and year out. FAt on fat is bad news.

I like to see ours looking leaner than normal beacuse I know at the first sniff of summer grass they will balloon.

Horses are designed to live on fibre, lots of it. It keeps them warmer in winter than hard feed.

Ours are out now, up to their bellies in snow on nothing more than hay and silage and what they can find in the hill. All are fat as butter....some a little too fat! Hákon shall remain nameless!!!
 

Anna.C

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Apr 7, 2000
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Hi Wally,
I completely agree with you, and I long for the day that Harry loses a bit of that excess fat. Unfortunately this is my first winter looking after the tbx and I'm not completely sure how much grub he needs to get through the winter. Harry will survive quite happily on grass and some hay as top up, but I'm not sure that Ivor will. I've started feeding him a scoop of Alfa A and sugar beet in the evenings now - which goes down very well! I think if I fed Ivor enough hay to keep him going Harry would end up the size of a bus and I'd have to roll him round the field!!! ( I can't split the 2 up as they don't particularly like being in a field on their own).
 

Dizzy

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Jan 11, 2001
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Skye, you didn't mention if your horse comes in at night or is rugged. If he's not rugged, a rug will help him to convert his food to body weight.

He sounds a real character, I know there a few veteran mixes on the market, but I don't know much about them. Most of the big Feed makers have a help line you can call, I'm sure they'll be able to advise you.

Good luck

Lesley
 

skye

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Dec 2, 2001
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Thanks

I will be starting him on alfa-beet next week.I have treid soya oil to help improve his weight but unfortunately no success.He is clipped right out ,he is well rugged and is at grass during the day with access to man made and natural shelter and stabled at night or in extreme weather conditions ,Thanks for all your help!
 
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