Monday, August 12, 2019

Weight gain and weight loss (of the equine variety)

Or, alternatively titled, "Oh lawd, he comin'"

Well, that is more for Copper, not for Fred.  I'm sure you guys are familiar with the "chonk chart"?  Someone needs to make a horse version!

from imgur
Now that my ankle is feeling (mostly) better and most of the horse shows and little trips are over for the summer, I need to get going on working with the horses.
A fine boi?
Copper has been living large the past few weeks and has gained a fair bit of weight, which is pretty easy for minis and ponies.  I had him in a grazing muzzle in the spring and then took it off when they devoured the grass and the pickings were slim.  I also had round bales out for a few weeks in July and I don't think he can eat hay with the muzzle on.  So, even with limited grass, he has blown back up and that isn't great for his joints or his wonky shoulder (old injury).
HEFTY CHONK?  

This is my good side...Copper, probably
Fred, on the other hand is still growing and is like a teenager with his lanky legs and endless appetite!  He has been getting grain and hay and a bit of grass, but he needs more.  I'm hoping to show him next year and for halter he needs to fill out more.  I need to start now and get more food into him.

Having my horses at home gives me a good chance to work on this. I've been pondering how to best get all the horses the food they need.  The other two QHs are easy keepers, so I don't want to overload them either.  I contemplated putting in some temporary fencing to separate them, but Fred has a tendency to charge through fencing and Copper is willing to take a little zap to escape to eat on the lawn.    I think my best option is to keep both of them in from when I get home from work and overnight.  They can then go out with the other two during the day.
Nom nom, Fred probably
Fred will be getting a small amount of grain, oats and oil in the morning and then more grain, oats and oil when I get home.  He'll then get a pile of 2nd cut alfalfa and likely a bedtime snack of grain and 1st cut hay overnight.  I haven't quite decided on the exact ratio, but he needs fibre and roughage as well as the protein/fat he gets from the grain.    Copper will be getting a whopping 1 flake of 1st cut to pick at while inside.  He doesn't seem to like to eat from a slow feed hay net, but I'm hoping to get him doing that so it lasts him longer. I have these cute trailer sized 1" hole nets that hold 1-2 flakes that I want to start using with him.

**edited to add:  Fred has been checked by the vet and had his teeth done, been dewormed, etc.  I think he is just growing right now still...

Both horses move around a fair bit in the pastures, but could benefit from some focused work.  I am feeling confident that my ankle is healed enough to longe and do groundwork, so Fred will be on a light program starting this week!  Copper would benefit from some walking over poles and stuff like that to strengthen his shoulder and develop some muscle.

Have you had a hard keeper that you put weight on?  Any tips?  What about a chonky boi that needed to slim down?

5 comments:

  1. omg i love that chonk chart haha! with charlie, he's in a fairly regular work routine so i have had to be considerate of making sure he's getting the right amount of fuel. tho, in his case, it actually ends up being a fairly fine line between "just right" and "too heavy." a lot of QHs i've know previously have not generally struggled in gaining weight, so your best bet is probably to go pretty slow in adding more.

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    Replies
    1. the chonk chart cracks me up now matter how often I look at it. haha Yeah the other 2 QHs are super easy to manage weight-wise so Fred is a bit of a mystery to me. He's had his teeth done, dewormed, vet checked etc, so I guess it is just that he is a big, growing lad!

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  2. I've had good luck with chopped hay to add weight, but it can be a little pricey. Last year Rio was thinner than I liked, so I added some Empower Boost to his diet and later a little ration balancer too (Empower Topline). He looks amazing this year, and his coat is gleaming too!
    I'm guessing though that Fred's being leaner has more to do with growing than anything. I probably would try adding a little oil and more hay than more grain to start.

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  3. He needs to stop growing up and grow out now! lol He is tall enough for my needs!

    I looked up the empower stuff - it looks good, especially with the low feed rate on the ration balancer. Sadly I can't get it here. :-( If what I'm trying now doesn't work, I'll try and find something with similar ingredients here or drive across the border to get some and try it!

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  4. My husband showed me the chonk chart - I had never seen it before and now I call everything a mega chonker

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