Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Worry, Solution?

I've been really worried that I'm overworking my old man horse. He gets so tired compared to Scout. Usually on the second day out, and we don't go for short rides.  I hate to admit even considered selling him to my farrier for his 4 year old daughter. The idea of parting with him is really hard, he's such a love. He came to me so stoic and has become so sweet. But I hate thinking I'm making my horse miserable.

He's not lame at all, and there are no health problems. His weight is good. He's just not a spring chicken, and he pushes hard and fast on the trail until he's tired. 

So I think what I'm going to do is get off in the middle of the ride and make him take a snack break. Also, I'm going to switch him from Purina Senior to a hotter feed. I've got my eye on Omolene 500. My local feed store doesn't have a lot of options, but that looks like a good one. 

I'll let you know how it goes.


The Dancing Donkey said...

Older horses have higher protein needs, you might want to consider adding alfalfa or pea protein along with a high fat feed to meet his higher energy needs. I think if you get his nutrition where it needs to be, he will keep up just fine, but it takes some fine tuning. You also want to make sure he is getting the right amino acids so he can use all the extra feed he gets, without those he can't digest the feed properly.

If you would like some help balancing his nutrition, get in touch, I would be happy to help.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

I'd love some advice. Currently he's on lush pasture with 4 lbs of Purina Senior, a tin can of camelina (I haven't weighed), Farrier's Formula double strength, yucca saponin, and Horse Guard vitamins. He doesn't eat if I add vegetable oil to his food. I'm going to start adding Omolene 300. I could probably get pea pellets or alfalfa without too much trouble.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Actually what I bought was Omolene 200. My feed store was limited in options. 14% protein and 6% fat.

The Dancing Donkey said...

Sorry to disappear, but I have been thinking of your guy. As you've found, these older horses are worth their weight in gold, but they need some extra TLC to keep them working. Given that Sawyer's weight stays just OK on lush pasture, I would suspect that his teeth are just getting worn out. Also, older horses need more readily digested protein, ideally from a forage based source rather than grain.

I would suggest replacing both the farriers form. and the horse guard with California Trace Plus. I can't remember where exactly you are so I am unsure about your selenium levels. If low, go with the Ca Trace Plus, if high go with the no selenium version. This will give you a better balance of minerals and amino acids and should save you some money at the same time.

Mix this with soaked alfalfa cubes or soaked alfalfa/timothy pellets. The ground up alfalfa will do several things: it will be super easy to digest, will give high quality protein and offer some buffering in case of ulcers, which are very common in older horses. I would also add either fresh ground flax if possible, which can be a real pain the butt because it has to be kept fresh. Alternatively, Omega Horseshine or Renew Gold (stabilized fat product if you can’t do fresh ground flax, it’s flax, rice bran and copra with a good calcium phosphorus ratio).

The Ca trace you have to order online, but it is always free shipping, the other stuff should be readily available at TSC or most feed stores. Try these changes for 4-5 weeks and see how he does. If he still needs more of a boost, I have a couple other suggestions that won't bankrupt you and should help, but start here. Also, I would plan on blanketing him this winter so he does not use up energy staying warm. I know it is a pain, but you will spend much less on a good blanket than you will on feed to keep him fat in the cold and he will do better.

Don't give up on him just yet and keep having fun:)

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

We are selenium deficient,so I am always careful to keep up on that. I'll look for the CA Trace. Oy, I hate grinding flax. Might be willing to dish out the bucks for the other products just to avoid that. We do have renew gold and I think we have omega horseshine at my local feed store.

His teeth are wearing out. If I remember right, six to eight of them are cupping, his incisors are really damaged which leaves his molars grinding pretty hard and there are some spaces that trap food (but not too bad), a tiny bit of mobility in some teeth, and he does drop quids.

I blanketed him last year and will again this year. I just got him a new blanket for my birthday. :) It is a total pain in the butt, but totally worth it. And luckily he's really easy on his blanket.

I am going to try to find some baled alfalfa this year. Cubes are just so ridiculously expensive. But I could buy them while I wait for something better.

RoywithaT Palmer said...

Hi, regarding grinding flax-I use a $10 coffee bean grinder from Walmart for my 22 year old Treasure's flax. Makes it super quick and easy. Props to you for taking such good care of your old guy!