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QUESTION
i have a 15.2 thoroughbred mare we have just moved to a large livery yard as her weight dropped she lost 28 pounds in a month, she is now stabled every night and has hay as well as 2 feeds a day of "build up" sugarbeet and flaked barley, can u suggest any extras i can give to help with weight gain she is 9 years old?


ANSWER

For any horse that is losing weight, one should look at both dietary and non-dietary causes. You should be certain that this mare's teeth are in good shape, and that she is not parasitized. If her teeth are ok, and her general health status is good, then you can focus on her diet. You shouldn't overlook the forage component of the diet, as that should be the major source of nutrients in the diet of most horses. Switching from an overly mature hay, to one that was harvested early and has higher digestibility can make a big difference in body condition. Contrary to popular opinion, beet pulp, although it is a good feed for providing soluble fiber and some extra energy, is not a very energy dense feedstuff. Therefore, your mare should gain better on a diet of highly digestible hay, and a texturized grain mix or grain pellet that contains grains like corn and oats, supplemental vitamins and minerals. Fats and oils have 2.25 times as much energy per gram than pure starch, and much more than that when compared to a feed like beet pulp, so fat supplementation in the grain mix is something to consider if improvement in hay quality doesn't quite do the trick. You should realize that a mature horse will generally be able to consume between 2 and 2.5% of it's body weight in feed daily, and a daily ration that contains about 50% of the diet as forage and 50% as grains and other concentrates should be safe as long as this level of grain feeding is arrived at gradually.

This link will direct you to labs that can evaluate the quality of your forage Nat'l Forage Testing Association







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