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ExtraHannah

More than Hay/Grass for a Fatty?

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I'm very interested to hear opinions (and I'm sure they will vary hugely!) on what my over weight horse should be getting. Things are a little more complicated, since I will be changing barns Saturday, but here are the basics. Gulliver is a very easy keeper and due to a variety of issues has gotten too heavy. We are working on it with more exercise and his pasture will be restricted to about 10 hours a day at the new barn, he has been out from 12 to 20 hours a day. The pasture grass is mostly fescue in both places I believe, though not nearly as lush where he will be going. I believe the new place feeds an orchard grass/fescue mix - I will double check these things. He is currently only getting a small bit of sweet feed, twice a day, just so he doesn't have a fit when everyone else gets fed. Standard feed at the new farm is a 12% pellet, though I wasn't planning on having him get more than a mouthful. So FINALLY to my question! Do you all think he can get everything he needs just from the hay and grass? I've never had this easy of a keeper. If he nutritionally needs more, how do I add that without adding weight? Looking forward to your replies. I've added a couple pics of him from a week or so ago to give you an idea of how pudgy he is. -

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I'm very interested to hear opinions (and I'm sure they will vary hugely!) on what my over weight horse should be getting. Things are a little more complicated, since I will be changing barns Saturday, but here are the basics. Gulliver is a very easy keeper and due to a variety of issues has gotten too heavy. We are working on it with more exercise and his pasture will be restricted to about 10 hours a day at the new barn, he has been out from 12 to 20 hours a day. The pasture grass is mostly fescue in both places I believe, though not nearly as lush where he will be going. I believe the new place feeds an orchard grass/fescue mix - I will double check these things. He is currently only getting a small bit of sweet feed, twice a day, just so he doesn't have a fit when everyone else gets fed. Standard feed at the new farm is a 12% pellet, though I wasn't planning on having him get more than a mouthful. So FINALLY to my question! Do you all think he can get everything he needs just from the hay and grass? I've never had this easy of a keeper. If he nutritionally needs more, how do I add that without adding weight? Looking forward to your replies. I've added a couple pics of him from a week or so ago to give you an idea of how pudgy he is. -

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Hi there~ There's nothing wrong with a healthy horse being only on pasture/hay, and many horses thrive that way, I've had many horses only on hay/pasture and they've done wonderfully. Just be sure that he has access to both a salt block and a trace mineral block and he should be just fine. If he was only getting a smitch of grain at the old barn, he wasn't really gettind enough to be any significant source of vitamins/minerals, ect. anyways. If possible, try to avoid the alfalfa/alfalfa mixes and have him on grass mixes only if you're looking to help him lose some weight. In my opinion, most of the time, the best thing to try is to cut out hay and leave him on pasture only(of course only if it's high quality pasture and ample and his teeth are fine, ect.). Sorry if I forgot, but if he was on alfalfa or alfalfa mix hay that would be what I would cut out and try only pasture 24/7 or pasture and only grass hay, if he's still having an issue, limit his turnout and then limit the hay he's getting. A good excercise program is as important as diet in keeping a horse fit. [smile]

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Hi there~ There's nothing wrong with a healthy horse being only on pasture/hay, and many horses thrive that way, I've had many horses only on hay/pasture and they've done wonderfully. Just be sure that he has access to both a salt block and a trace mineral block and he should be just fine. If he was only getting a smitch of grain at the old barn, he wasn't really gettind enough to be any significant source of vitamins/minerals, ect. anyways. If possible, try to avoid the alfalfa/alfalfa mixes and have him on grass mixes only if you're looking to help him lose some weight. In my opinion, most of the time, the best thing to try is to cut out hay and leave him on pasture only(of course only if it's high quality pasture and ample and his teeth are fine, ect.). Sorry if I forgot, but if he was on alfalfa or alfalfa mix hay that would be what I would cut out and try only pasture 24/7 or pasture and only grass hay, if he's still having an issue, limit his turnout and then limit the hay he's getting. A good excercise program is as important as diet in keeping a horse fit. [smile]

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Thanks Java! No, he has not gotten anything other than grass hay mixes as long as I have had him. Definitely no alfalfa! He does have free choice grass hay when he is in the stall, but eats almost none of it. Basically, the fat comes from pasture grass and lack of excercise due to some personal issues I was dealing with! Obviously even his current 12-20 hours of pasture (varies with the weather) is too much for him, so he'll be going down to 10 - 12 hours. I'm am starting him on an excercise program that should really help (thanks to everyone who made suggestions on how to go about that!). Although this has been really challanging these last few weeks - it was 96 degrees today with humidity in the 90's and since he is so out of shape, I'm going to have to take it slow until the weather breaks. I'm glad to hear that you think he can get all the nutrition he needs from just pasture and some grass hay. Nutrition is so complicated and I've been trying to learn for 25 years , but you read so many conflicting things. and everyone is so into supplements, etc. that I wanted some opinions. Obviously he's getting enough calories! I just don't want him to be missing out on anything important nutrition wise. He does have free access to minerals and salt and water at all times. No, I don't think any of his teeny bit of current grain or future pellets is enough to have much impact. He just gets really upset if everyone else is getting "yummies" and he gets nothing. So that's for his mental health - not physical. What are opinions on preventative joint supplements - the commercial ones or the flax seed I saw mentioned? Worth it in a horse that shows no problems yet? Course I'm not sure how I would get supplements into him, without adding grain or such. I plan on having this horse for the rest of his life and would like to make sure I am doing what is best for his short and long term health. I think the most important thing RIGHT NOW is just to get his weight down, but also think it probably isn't healthy to drop it too fast?? Sorry I wrote a book again - I've always talked too much and I guess I've discovered I type too much too!

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Thanks Java! No, he has not gotten anything other than grass hay mixes as long as I have had him. Definitely no alfalfa! He does have free choice grass hay when he is in the stall, but eats almost none of it. Basically, the fat comes from pasture grass and lack of excercise due to some personal issues I was dealing with! Obviously even his current 12-20 hours of pasture (varies with the weather) is too much for him, so he'll be going down to 10 - 12 hours. I'm am starting him on an excercise program that should really help (thanks to everyone who made suggestions on how to go about that!). Although this has been really challanging these last few weeks - it was 96 degrees today with humidity in the 90's and since he is so out of shape, I'm going to have to take it slow until the weather breaks. I'm glad to hear that you think he can get all the nutrition he needs from just pasture and some grass hay. Nutrition is so complicated and I've been trying to learn for 25 years , but you read so many conflicting things. and everyone is so into supplements, etc. that I wanted some opinions. Obviously he's getting enough calories! I just don't want him to be missing out on anything important nutrition wise. He does have free access to minerals and salt and water at all times. No, I don't think any of his teeny bit of current grain or future pellets is enough to have much impact. He just gets really upset if everyone else is getting "yummies" and he gets nothing. So that's for his mental health - not physical. What are opinions on preventative joint supplements - the commercial ones or the flax seed I saw mentioned? Worth it in a horse that shows no problems yet? Course I'm not sure how I would get supplements into him, without adding grain or such. I plan on having this horse for the rest of his life and would like to make sure I am doing what is best for his short and long term health. I think the most important thing RIGHT NOW is just to get his weight down, but also think it probably isn't healthy to drop it too fast?? Sorry I wrote a book again - I've always talked too much and I guess I've discovered I type too much too!

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From the pictures, I don't think your horse looks that bad. I've seen a lot worse! Yes, a horse like yours can do very well on pasture alone (Lucky you!). It's good to have the hay available for him though. They do have pelletted supplements. I use a glucosamine and biotin supplement. The glucosamine has been scientifically shown to have a positive effect on joints.

If your horse has a good coat and hooves, sheds out well, then you probably don't have anything to worry about. Of course, you could always have blood work done just to ease your worries.

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From the pictures, I don't think your horse looks that bad. I've seen a lot worse! Yes, a horse like yours can do very well on pasture alone (Lucky you!). It's good to have the hay available for him though. They do have pelletted supplements. I use a glucosamine and biotin supplement. The glucosamine has been scientifically shown to have a positive effect on joints.

If your horse has a good coat and hooves, sheds out well, then you probably don't have anything to worry about. Of course, you could always have blood work done just to ease your worries.

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Yep, forget the grain and give him an apple or carrot instead, if you must give him something. Salt and minerals will provide the rest.

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Yep, forget the grain and give him an apple or carrot instead, if you must give him something. Salt and minerals will provide the rest.

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Thanks guys, that's what I had always thought, but after reading through the Health boards, I really thought people would give me opinions that horses must have all these other things. Thanks again!

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Thanks guys, that's what I had always thought, but after reading through the Health boards, I really thought people would give me opinions that horses must have all these other things. Thanks again!

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