View Full Version : Sunken Flanks...Need help.
I need some help with my new horse. I have just bought a 17yo 16.2hh TB Gelding. He is in excellent health except he has very sunken in flanks/side of hind quarters under his hipbones. He is quite long in the back (he takes a 6'9 rug) so this may be contributing but his ribs are not showing, he has for all intents and purposes really no poverty lines at the back of his rump and does not have any sinking on the top of his rump or his back/wither either side of the spine (in fact he has a quite good topline for a TB) so is not underweight anywhere else. He also seems to use himself and step under himself fairly well when working (he is an ex dressage horse) so don't think this is an issue either.
I have read that dehydration can cause this but he does not appear sunken in the eyes that would go with this, but I have not done capillary refil time or skin pinch test to test for this either. I also read that sometimes worms could also produce a similar trait but again there are symptoms missing to suspect this: he has a lovely shiny coat (not dull/frizzy) and no distended stomach.
Do people think it could just be his age? Has anyone else encountered this with a TB or any other breed? Does anyone have any ideas on perhaps work or feed that would help fill this area out? Any help you suggest would be much appreciated.
Here are the pics of him the day I brought him home (last Sat 2/8/08) if those will help...
Copy and paste link into search bar.
06-08-08, 11:31 PM
Although his ribs are not showing, he still looks lean to me. Has he been out of work for a while? I think as he gains weight and regains muscle tone he would lose that sunken look. It would be worth getting the horse dentist to check his teeth which will help him utilise all his feed. He would also benefit from a steam extruded feed like Mitavite Gumnuts which are specially formulated for older horses. Rugging is important in cold weather, as horses lose condition trying to keep warm.
He looks like a sweety. :-) He looks to me like he's just dropped off maybe due to the cold & maybe lack of work, with good rugging, feeding & work he should fill out again. I agree with the above poster who suggests Gumnuts or an older horse specific feed & check his teeth. Remember feeds high in fat will help to make a horse fat, however fat will not build muscle, you need a decent level of protein to build muscle. Most older horse feeds are high in protein - I think Gumnuts is about 16%. You could try gumnuts & maybe another fibre/bulky or low energy feed such as rice bran or Speedibeet with chaff. Don't go overboard adding heaps of supplements though, chaff + fibre/fat + concentrate would be enough, maybe a vitamin supplement like Equilibrium, and hay/pasture of course.
Where in SA are you? I'm in SA too - southern hills area. :D
07-08-08, 01:54 AM
He is lovely, looks like a sweetie! Agree with the high protein feed, plus some fattener. Equilibrium is a great Vit/Min mix for all general horses.... and not as pricey as some. :)
Thanks for showing us the piccies of your lovely fellow. I do see what you mean, he's got that 'tucked up' look. Does he look less hollow in the flanks after a big drink? I read that dental problems can effect hyrdation too. Or perhaps this is just the way he is. What does the vet think?
Thanks for your suggestions :)
I didn't have a vet check as he was only $500 so not really worth it.
He is currently on grass in the paddock, about 2 biscuits of oaten hay a day and is also getting 3kg of Marlborough Park's MPS Pellets plus about 2 scoops of wheaten chaff split into 2 feeds per day (this is what the seller was feeding him.) So one feed would be 1 1/2kgs pellets and 1 scoop of wheaten chaff.
I don't think he's had any work in a little while. Oh and he is currently rugged also, in a filled (about 220-250gm fill) Saxon waterproof rug (with no neckrug). Do people think putting on a polar fleece rug on underneath would help? Im really conscious of him being too hot.
The thing is, the agistment I am taking him to (where he is now is a friends private property but he can't stay there) is basically just paddocks (with plenty of grass mind you) but because i can't get or afford anything closer to home, I can only be up at weekends and becuase the horses aren't brought in they don't get hard fed, the lady doesn't do it. They are fed meadow hay however, so am worried about whats going to happen once I get him there as I am not going to be able to hard feed him daily and he is only going to get ridden on the weekend too... and RE: the polar fleece rug, the lady doesnt unrug either... suppose it prob wouldn't matter too much at the mo though... anyway, any more thoughts would be much welcomed :)
I will look into having the dentist out though I think.
If you cant feed a horse like this each day then you are going to end up with a very thin horse. This horse has no extra on him at all. You will find that the grass at the moment has little to no goodness in it, so hard feed and heaps of hay is a must. Once October/November are around then if the pasture is of good quality most horses will thrive find but this is only for a couple of months. An old TB will need additional feeding, and a whole lot more than what you are currently feeding him. It is simply not sufficient to keep him in good weight.
He has a sunken look cos he has nothing to fill it out with!!!
I am sorry if this is harsh but I am sick and tired of all the undernourished horses due to their owners ignorance.
I'm really sorry, but I have to politely disagree the horse has sufficient top line. Top line is muscle and your horse is lacking it over his back and bottom, which is why the hips stick out. Lots of lunging encouraging your horse to stretch over the back with long and low to build correct muscle will help the problem.
I would also revisit his feeding regime. The grass may look OK, but nutrient wise, is not enough. Once you start riding you may find he will drop more weight.
Best of luck
07-08-08, 05:11 PM
He may have sand in his gut, they pick it up when grazing in dusty areas and while eating their dinner when they dump it on the ground.
It can cause the sunken flanks and many other things, not the least of which is the tucked up look your boy has.
Read this article
This recipe will fix it... My Tb had tucked up flanks like that but was putting on weight fine everywhere else. I just recently dosed him with this remedy and he cleared a fair bit of sand out... His poos are much better now and he's started filling out in the flanks nicely and is so much less cranky.
Well i myself have had 8 horses over my time, most of which have been TB's and he is not sunken over the top of his hips or back as you mention if you look at the pics of him unsaddled in the paddock and neither does the muscle drop away sharply either side of his spine or have a hollow at the base of his wither as I have seen in many TB's so therefore I would say he has decent topline. Also the only reason he has sticky out hips is because he has the sunken flanks UNDER THOSE BONES.
Anyway, I was not asking for comment on the rest of my horse and whether you agreed or disagreed with my other observations, I was simply providing photos so people could see the problem area in question and was aksing if people had suggestions for filling this area in.
07-08-08, 08:09 PM
I also think he doesnt have great topline and just looks plain hungry!
He needs more roughage and he needs to put on more weight and top line through daily balanced feeding and exercise.
Then you will see the hollow sunken flanks disappear. I think that if you are not willing to spend the money on closer and more suitable agistment you should consider finding a horse more suitable to how you can afford to keep it.
Not trying to be negative but I am also sick of seeing under nourished and starving horses suffer at the hands of ignorant people who think it is 'normal' for a TB to be thin.
I am not ignorant so please don't accuse me of being so. I have had 8 of my own horses previously, a lot of which have been TB's and none of them have suffered under my care from being skinny. Also, I have only purchased him last weekend so please don't make it sound like I have caused him to become like this. Also if I was ignorant, then I would be doing nothing about it wouldn't i instead of posting for some help on this forum.
I realise he will need extra feeding so am considering leaving where he is so this can happen. None of my horses (as I stated previously) have had a problem with being underweight and I find it odd that this is his only problem area. I am asking for help so that i can accurately identify the problem and treat it correctly first time instead of "trying this and trying that" as I wondered if it may not be just feed related so was asking if anyone else had any experience with this, in other words I am once again trying not to be "ignorant" in thinking it could just be feed when it might be something else. I would call that being responsible personally.
One of my friends who has a TB which she competes suggested pollard to help with some weight gain (she uses this), whereas my friend who's place he is at is giving him some copra...can anyone tell me about which of these would maybe be better both for the horse in general and for weight gain and which is more economical?
07-08-08, 08:23 PM
For a horse of his size and age i think that he is in good nick, i have certainly seen worse, I have owned a 17hh TB who was always skinny, it was not until i got him blood tested that i found that he had a thyroid imbalance, once we got that under control he was fine.
I agree that TB are natorius for being a lean breed, but if fed correctly and worked regurlary then they will come up really well.
I suggest that you contact a feed surpplier or kentucky institute and discuss with them what he may need, as horses need a different diet when they get older.
One feed that i would suggest is gumnuts.
07-08-08, 08:27 PM
Your new boy looks lovely and quiet, although I do agree with others that he could do with some muscle along his topline.
The issue with being sunken in at the flanks can be a sign of not enough fibre in the bowel. Something like speedi-beet would be excellent for him, fed twice a day if possible. Gumnuts or Barastoc Senior and Equi-Jewell would also be foods I'd recommend highly.
Personally, I won't use either pollard (due to possibility of creating fat around the major organs) or copra (due to colic issues).
Has his teeth been checked? I would do that immediately if they haven't and then get them done every 6 months.
I would also worm him with a good boticide wormer and then do him again in three/four weeks time. After that religiously every 6 to 8 weeks. Horses don't always have to look wormy to have a dreadful worm count.
TB's need all the help they can get, generally , to keep condition.
Best of luck
P.S. My TB gelding is now 28 and he also has the same issue - ie sunken flanks and that is what my vet told me years ago. Lack of fibre in the bowel.
07-08-08, 08:44 PM
Ok, I didnt call you ignorant or say you caused this to your horse!
I simply stated my frustration at people who dont heed advice to feed their horse more and then blame the horses state on its breed/age/temperament etc.
Your horse may have 'better' topline than other TBs but it still isnt great, I am glad you are considering finding a better place to keep your horse. :)
I am also glad you are seeking help, you asked for the forums opinion and you got it! The simplest solution is to get some more weight on your horse while he isnt 'skinny', he doesnt have any extra over the bare neccessity! He is older and needs this little bit of leeway in condition.
Now to answer your next questions, I beleive that there is heaps of more cost effective and better, safer things to feed your horse than pollard or copra.
Pollard tends to lay fat around the heart when fed for prolonged periods and you need to feed a fair bit to get results, also it isnt a balanced feed so you will need to buy additional supplements to feed with it.
Copra is the better of the two, but some horses dont like it. It also isnt a balanced feed and isnt something a horse would naturally eat and I also beleive that there are better more efficent feeds ou there.
I would feed him as much oaten/grass hay as he can eat and a feed specifically designed for older horses like Mitavite Gumnuts or Hygain Senior. Make sure you measure out the recommended amount as per the bag so your boy receives all the nutrients his body needs.
If you are finding that he still is a little light on I would slowly add some corn oil to his feed as well. Starting with 1/2 cup and increasing every week till he is getting 1-2 cups per day (will depend on how much more weight he needs to put on).
How this helps, to me he truely just looks tucked up from lack of forage (hay/grass). :-) :-)
Please see the post directed to "Blues". I do not think it is "normal" for a TB to be thin and I have not caused him to be this way, I have only just bought him last weekend and this is what he is like. I am simply asking for help to make sure nothing else may be going on that other people may have experienced if they've had this problem with their horses. GOSH!
He looks a sweetie Erin and certainly has a kind face. With his back being a bit long it could just be his 'shape'.
I have seen this in conformation books being called 'herring gutted' not a very nice term though. Ive seen a few TB's that look like this so it just may be the way he is.
East Gippsland Hoof Care
07-08-08, 08:57 PM
I still believe you should dose him for sand in the gut as this can cause lots of issues, is not expensive to do and will make every other suggestion work so much better.
Thanks yes he is a very sweet boy :)
Just thought I would say thank you to those that posted all the helpful responses. I am organising to have his teeth done very shortly (my friend who owns the property is organising it cause she will have hers done at the same time) so hopefully that won't be too far away!
Sorry, but I think he looks like he needs a decent feed.
(and unless you went through 8 horses at a rate of knots, you'd surely know better than to buy a Kincade saddle?)
You asked for help and I gave you a suggestion. Somehow I think it's your lack of willingness to listen and accept advice that is the problem.
Why don't you look at high level competition horses, do you see any of them with that sort of muscle tone? I think not! Your horse does not have great topline and this can only be produced by correct training.
Why don't you listen to what people on this forum are trying to tell you. This is why we come here, to all gain better knowledge.
p.s. you are not the only person who has owned TB's.
Hey Ezza, re your question about copra/pollard, I personally don't like copra but I've heard others rave about it. I just worry that perhaps horses are not well equipped to digest coconut. I've used it on 1 horse & had absolutely no improvement with it, however he did have liver damage so not a lot worked for him! I prefer rice bran, have used it on most of my TBs to help round them out, always had great results, it's safer than normal pollard, & does not fizz them like copra does to some (not all). You do still need another high protein feed for muscle development, please consider Gumnuts. MPS pellets are economical but not very high in protein, I've used them too.
I do think you will need to find another agistment where he can be hard fed each day, like others have said his condition will worsen if he is only fed hay/pasture, and it's better for his health that he has the same feed every day, not just a big one or two on weekends. It is hard though when you can't get there every day. Where are you located, I am in SA too & can maybe help you out with suggestions for alternative agistment.
I didnt actually say YOU caused the horse to be like this nor did I call YOU ignorant. You asked why your horse looked this way and in my opinion it is because he does not have enough condition on him and you need to feed him MORE.
I still am sick and tired of people being ignorant and horses being the ones to pay the price though, take it how you want.
08-08-08, 01:28 AM
I'd suggest to get a good quality round bale of hay and give him free access.
His hard feeds need good protein as suggested above, and should be daily. Gumnuts are great, some rolled oats (soak to get the starch out and thus avoid fizziness in behaviour, then discard the water). Lucerne chaff would be good nutritionally, and some good min/vit supplementation to help him utilise the nutrition and balance his metabolism.
Once he picks up some hill work would help muscle in the hindquarters.
Best of luck, he looks to have a willing disposition.
I think opensky has some good advice. Around here (Brisbane) you can get a 4x4 round of grassy lucerne delivered for $100. I find it a very economical way to provide roughage and energy to my horses when the winter pastures are a bit lean. As long as his teeth are ok and he's being checked daily on he could probably do quite well on hay alone (bearing in mind a horse can really only eat 2% of their body weight per day, so it has to be hay with ok nutritional value). Also keep an eye on his protein intake if you are giving grassy or barley/oaten/millet hay as they can be quite low. good luck :)
Not everyone has the financial capacity to purchase expensive equipment. There are many expenses when first purchasing a new horse, regardless of whether OP has had horses before (equipment used on previously owned horses may not be suitable or may have been sold etc).
I think it's perfectly logical to ride in cheap saddle initally provided it fits the new horse properly, particularly as it sounds as though OP will only be riding occasionally of a weekend to begin with anyway.
The way you have worded your post just comes across as being plain rude. Erin has made a polite request for good advice - Thankfully there are plenty of other people on CH who have the knowledge and tact to provide sound advice.
08-08-08, 06:53 AM
Congrats on the new horse!
He is starting to get on a bit so perhaps re-evaluating his diet would be a good idea, there are many economical ways of adding weight and filling a horse out.
All horses present with different symptoms for different things there is no hard and fast rule, sometimes a prefectly healthy looking horses can be going bonkers inside and if you are as yet unfimilar with your new boy then maybe you might want to consider some underlying issues if he doesn't get any better or worse.
Ie Stomach ulcers
I would start him on a strict worming program and I would go a non mectin based year next year(strategy T) or you could start now to clear out any underlying worms.
Consider feeding boiled barley, fullfat soyabean meal oats, copra, equi jewel. I personally stay away from brans/pollard because of the high phosphorous content.
A good vitamin and mineral supplement and HAY HAY HAY as much as you can afford is far better for digestive health long term.
He is a big boy and I don't think weekend feed and weekday hay are going to suffice so you may have to try and work out someway to get around that (could you organise with someone to feed him for you on the weekdays?)
Also remember that a horse getting hot under his rugs everyday will sweat out weight and can actually cause things like colic so if you could organise with someone to unrug during the day at the new agistment that would be far better for him.
If this continues and you are worried I would seek vet advise, perhaps you could just call the vet and ask for an opinion?
Kentucky equine research has a free hotline you can call to talk to an equine nutritionist 1800 772 198, 9 till 5 i think
Hope this helps,
08-08-08, 04:08 PM
KelJ, you took the words right out of my mouth!!
Elle, the above poster has some great sugestions for you too.
I definitely second the boiled barley. It has worked wonders on my TB. I find copra to be very good too, but I don't feed it alone. I use it as part of my diet. Rice bran is great too. To really fill out the flanks hay, hay and more hay.
Your boy is a little light on for my liking, but is certainly not as bad as some other posters have made him out to be. While his topline isn't sensational again, he's not all that bad either. Work and feed will help with his topline. By the look of him he has been out of work for some time and is just in 'paddock condition'. IMHO he will need a lot more feed than weekend feeds only, otherwise he will drop off considerably.
My suggestion would be to have a round bale of hay in his paddock for access at all times. Barley hay is fantastic. I would also be feeding him twice daily on something like Coprice NutriRice Vetran with some boiled barley and he should pick up very quickly. The NutriRice Vetran is especially formulated for senior equines and should provide him with all his daily vitamin/mineral requirements if fed according to directions.
Getting his teeth done is great. A good worming and maybe even a good drench would be of benefit to him. He is slightly pot bellied so he may a little sand or worms.
Good luck with him, he looks like a lovely boy and I'm sure you will have heaps of fun with him.:-)
You know the correct response when you have made an assumption about a poster, made negative comments and then been set straight is 'I made an assumption, I was wrong, I AM SORRY'.
The number of people on here who get on their high horse and then when shown they have made a completely wrong assumption are unable to apologise never fails to amaze me.
It isn't a kincade, it's a status so at least get your facts straight and it's fits him perfectly thank you without any riser pads or thick saddle pads etc. I used to have a Wintec 2000 but sold it a while back when I thought I was getting out of horses and cannot afford another currently, so please don't judge me just because you can afford decent tack.
If you must know I hate the status as it is cheap and squeaky and can't wait to get another wintec but money won't stretch to that at the moment and really, don't you think FEED is more important to be spending my money on for this horse rather than expensive saddles? Or perhaps you don't care about your horse being skinny or its welfare, just as long as you can have your fancy tack.
I didn't put those photos up so pretentious people could judge what I ride in so unless you have something relevant and helpful to say on the subject raised, please keep your rude and stuck up opinions to yourself.
I am quite willing to listen to what people have to say about the question I raised not debate about whether you think your opinion of my horses topline is better than mine judgement. I happen to think it is pretty good and please not I originally put "for a tb!!!"
"Or perhaps you don't care about your horse being skinny or its welfare, just as long as you can have your fancy tack."
08-08-08, 08:53 PM
Perhaps you shouldn't jump to conclusions then Sophie
Hi all :)
Thank you once agin for your helpful posts :)
I have decided to keep it simple and stay with the pellets he is currently on cause thats what he is used to but will decrease them very slightly but replace it with a lot more chaff with them then he was prevously getting. They had him it appears on a lot of pellets and not much chaff (high colic risk and not great for his gut). I may change to gumnuts or something similar in the future but for now I will try just giving him more of what he is already on. I am also going to be adding some rice bran oil (rice bran apparently has a lot of starch whereas the oil has not much or none so lower colic risk) for more calories without adding a huge grain bulk (again colic risk). I am going to have his hay upped too. Like other posters have said, I think the best thing for him is going to be as much roughage as I can fit in at the moment (more natural for the horse aswell). This worked well for my 16 y/o TBxQH so will try him on this initally and adjust as necessary.
The friends place he is at feeds morning and night and will rug and unrug too so I am really hoping she will let him stay there where I know he will be looked after properly during the week when I can't get there rather than just leaving him in the paddock at my current agistment.
Anyway, Im sure there will be plenty of people that would disagree with this (feeding thend to be like this) but I will definately keep in mind the other suggestions. I decided against using pollard or copra becuase of the things ppl had said about it and what I has read. I may have a look at using some Speedibeet if this diet doesn't do too much for him as I haven't heard anything too detrimental about this.
You have just proven the point of not listening. Don't know why I bother! Won't be posting anymore.
I think he looks very kind, and a nice boy.
i do, however think that he is lacking in condition as well, he is not skinny, but he is lean. I like my horses big fat and round :-)
ANyway, as above posters have said more feed and roughage is required. As is the right work to build up muscle. The positive posters above have pretty much summed it all up.
Did he travel far to get to your place? I recently purchased a haorse and by the the time that she got to my place, and she was a bit nervous about the trip and the new soroundings, she had dropped off a bit in condition and was looking a hollow, and did take her a few weeks to fill back out in the flanks and start to look like I want her to look. Just a thought, your horse could be simialar.
I hope all goes well and thinks work out OK. Getting the right amount of condition is a time thing as well, it wont happen over night.
08-08-08, 10:24 PM
He looks like a total sweetheart :) Although he has decent cover the sunken flanks represent a lack of feed going through :( they can also be a sign of dehydration but if he is constantly like that it is because he is not getting enough bulk roughage - He needs access to round bales 24/7 while out in pasture like what is shown in the pic as it has no guts to it :) Bottom line is although he is not thin he is not getting enough roughage through his system :(
Thanks :) No he didn't come from very far, from Woodside to Callington in Adelaide so about 1/2 hr trip and he just walked straight on the float and was not sweaty at the other end so was fine with the travel.
He was actually like this when I went to see him/try him out a few weeks before. The people that had him rescue unwanted/starved/abused etc horses but they had him for a good year before selling him as he was originally going to be the lady's daughters dressage horse but as she wants to go up the ranks decided to get something much younger. Interestingly they own a saddlery/fodder store so have ready access to feed but i guess they still have to pay for it and it he's older and not a great doer, what with their other horses to feed up aswell... He was in a paddock (rugged but) with a lot of other ex rescue horses being sold so they could make way for more.
He did go at his hay pretty hard and the bit of grain left in the bottom of a feeder and was pretty aggressive about protecting it so yeah he seems to be pretty hungry! Unfortunately whilst I can definately up his feed, riding is going to only be once a week for the foreseeable future as I cna only get to the property once a week where he is now, but I only want him for mostly trail riding with the occasional bit of very low jumping and a bit of occasional arena work anyway so's not like he's going to be competing every weekend and need to be ridden all the time.
Thanks for your comments :)
cutting down on pellets and replacing with chaff is going to cause more weight loss. How about feeding something really simple like oats along with a high quality pellet (if you must feed pellets), wont increase colic risk as oats are very easy for horses to eat them and used to be a staple diet before all these pellets came along. The horse needs more feed not less. Oil is not a natural thing for horses to eat so wouldnt think chaff and oil is a very balanced diet either.
Thanks for your comment but I don't want to feed oats as it is too heating for a TB. I am not decreasing the feed I will actually be increasing it as he will be getting a lot more chaff, the only thing I am decreasing is a little of the pellets (which will be replaced with chaff + extra) as he is currently getting 3 kgs which is rediculous and there is currently more pellets than chaff and I agree with other posters that what he needs most of is more roughage and bulk (IE: chaff and hay) not mountains of supplements and grain if he's not being worked.
Have you not read the dietary rules about feeding horses in work and out? A horse completely at grass and not being ridden is recommended either no or 10% concentrates and then it goes up from there to a horse in full hard work receiving about 50%. So seeing as I will be riding him only once per week in the foreseeable future, he needs hardly any concentrates/grain feed, however as he is underweight, I will be feeding him about 2 - 21/2 kgs of pellets still per day, so he should pick up fine with the extra chaff.
Also, if you read about fattening up skinny horses there is plenty of information that using a high fat diet is the best and safest way to fatten up and maintain weight so you don't have to increase grain feed and many different oils are suggested to help do this such as vegetable oil, rice bran oil, flaxseed oil etc. Here is some text off this very website regarding feeding up the skinny horse and the benefits of using oil in the diet.
High fat feeds or oils – High fat feeds and oils are the highest energy feedstuffs you can give a horse. Fats and oils hold two major advantages over high energy fibrous feeds and cereal grains. The first is they are energy dense – for example 1 cup of vegetable oil contains as many calories as 1.2 kg of oaten chaff. This has obvious advantages for finicky or small horses that won’t eat large meals. The second advantage of high fat feeds and oils is they don’t tend to make a horse as hyperactive as the same quantity of energy supplied in the form of cereal grains. In addition they do not carry the risks of digestive upsets that accompany cereal grains. High fat feeds include rice bran and rice bran based feeds, copra meal, and any of the full fat oilseeds such as soybean and sunflower.
Here also is the info on other types of feed from the same article. Essentially backing up what I have chosen to feed and the reasons surrounding those choices...
High energy fibres - including soybean hulls, copra meal and sugarbeet pulp. These feedstuffs are similar to pasture and hay, however the fibre they contain is more readily digested by the bacteria in the hindgut meaning they contain a similar amount of calories as cereal grains. These feeds are particularly well suited to horses who become excitable and hyperactive when fed grain based feeds.
Cereal grains and grain based feeds – Cereal grains are well known as being high energy feeds and are useful in the diet of horses that need to gain weight. However some grains and grain based feeds are more suitable than others from a weight gain perspective. When selecting grains to feed to encourage weight gain it is critical that the starch within the grain (which is the high energy component) is digested in the small intestine. Grains that are digested in the small intestine will provide your horse with more calories (and therefore more weight gain). They will also ensure your horse avoids problems with hindgut acidosis which can cause laminitis and will also reduce the amount of energy your horse can extract from its pasture and hay. To ensure the starch is digested in the small intestine, select grains or grain based feeds that have been cooked (such as via extrusion process Pryde’s use).
as I said prevously, my other older horse thrived on this diet so if it worked for one there is no harm in trying it on my new one. I will soon change it if it's not working.
09-08-08, 02:21 AM
Assuming you have decided to leave him where he is so he can get fed every day, I wouldn't be cutting back the amount of pellets, but I would be increasing the chaff, and his hay levels, to a level where he's getting as much as he can eat without wasting it. Once he reaches a satistfactory weight then gradually back off if you need to, if it looks like he's getting too fat.
To be honest, I don't think he'd get too fizzy on oats until he puts on weight, and levels out. I have always fed oats, and a hot horse is a hot horse no matter what you feed them. Give him the benefit of the doubt, oats are a great feed. you can always cut them out later.
I really wasnt going to comment because really so many ppl have given great advice, most of it not taken in or ignored, its now proceeded from:
`Why are my horses flanks sunken (gee cause hes skinny) how do i fix it??'
`Dont you guys know anything about feeding horses... ill just cut and paste info I found in a mag to try to look intelligent'
You come across like someone who is novice to the industry and feeding up horses correctly. At one point thinking that grass alone would be enough during the week at arrainged agistment to sustain him, to cutting out pellets and uping chaff???? Chaff is a filler used to mix with pellets, it is nothing. Uping chaff and cutting hard feed is a great way to make him even worse than he is... and dont quote out mags about ratios for horses in work that you just read. This horses need to GAIN WEIGHT before you can allow for maintaince feeding. Therefore energy IN must be greater than energy OUT.
And regarding oats, dont generalise that they make TB hots, thats not true, they are one of if not the safest grains to feed, less heating than barley. And im not just saying that because i have always used them without problems, do some more research, not just stuff from one source.
As for feed, as everyone has said, feed lots more, put a round bale in paddock if need be, or as much as he can eat. Dont cut pellets, 3 kg is bugger all, especailly if he needs weight on.
Dont get huffy at ppl cause they tell you how it is without hugs and kisses, bare facts are better than beating around the bush.
You do what you like but I have had far more experience than you at feeding TB, you can feed horses grain if they are not in work, they can exercise themselves in the paddock, if locked in stable 24/7 than that is completely different. You can feed TB grain, it does not cause them to get hot, unless you are feeding excesses of it.
Chaff will not put weight on, yes he needs more bulk but why dont you just add more chaff to the pellets which obviously are not sufficient at the moment. Your horse is too skinny it needs MORE food. I actually suggest you do more research yourself as maybe you are ignorant.
I feel for your horse.
To be honest, I don't think he'd get too fizzy on oats until he puts on weight, and levels out. I have always fed oats, and a hot horse is a hot horse no matter what you feed them. Give him the benefit of the doubt, oats are a great feed. you can always cut them out later.
Glad to see someone else agrees with what I have always thought and found but perhaps I was fooling myself and always had these incredibly quiet TB.
I know I really shouldnt respond to these feed questions, I get so pissed off.
First up i think your horse looks like a real sweetie.
He is a little light on but he is a BIG boy. Because he is such a big man he needs a S**T load of roughage and feed.
Skimping on his feed wont put weight on him....you are better off spending money on feeding him properly than skimping and not feeding enough...he will never look healthy if you do the latter.
Grass, although great, is not enough. There is not all that much nutritional value in the lush green stuff around at the moment.
If i could give you some advice from my own personal experience......I used to own a 16.3 hh TB who was very similar to yours. always looked very light, teeth all good, wormed etc etc but could never get his weight right.
In the end i just made the decision to spend a lot of money (and sometimes you need to with horses....) and feed him a bale of good quality hay a day plus 2 hardfeeds with all his nutritional requirements eg suplements, oil etc etc. (plus the grass in the paddock all day)
In about 1-2 weeks this horse was a different horse. Healthy, shiney, and happy. In the end the problem all along was that the horse was just hungry....he needed more feed than what i thought was right for him.
best rule of thumb is that Big horses need Big bulk. giving him a few extra dippers of chaff isnt going to be enough for a horse of his size. as others have said....get the darling a round bale so he can nibble all day. I would almost guarantee that you will see a huge change in him simply from doing this.
good luck with him...he looks adorable.
I have a 16.3hh TB mare (not in work) who I am working to put more condition on after a cold and difficult winter.
Currently she is on:
7kg oaten hay
2kg oaten chaff
1kg lucerne chaff
salt, mineral and vitamin supplement
She also has a green pick and a warm doona rug at night.
So about 10kg of roughage and 7kg of concentrate (although most of the concentrate is a 'complete mix'. She is gaining weight slowly and has not shown any tendency to fizz up.
- which I really think your not by the way - I am not a novice to owning horses but I do profess to not knowing masses of amount of knowledge about feeding as it can be such a confusing subject.
The original question was not "why are my horses flanks sunken" it was "are there any other reasons that may cause this I don't know about".
I did not copy and paste to look "intellegent" i was merely doing that to back up what I had decided and I had decided that before I even found or read that article. I can guarantee that he will gain weight on what I devise to feed. I can also tell you that I have read plenty of other articles in the past about feeding as I once again do not profess to know everything (unlike some ppl seem to think they do on this site) that have all been similar.
BTW: I cannot feed round bales as it is not my own property as the horses get moved around etc, so bales it is.
Im not getting huffy at ppl for leaving out the "hugs and kisses" as you call it but becuase ppl are just plain rude with the things they write. If you actually stopped to re-read over it and put yourself in the original readers whoes and think "gee,, how would that sound to me to be reading it" you might realise this. There is stating the facts and there is being bitchy and rude about it too.
I mean if you were having a conversation with someone about feeding and they didn't agree with what you reckoned, would you call them ignorant and stupid to their face and insult them? Unless you're an outright know it all bitch, no you wouldn't so why do you feel you can do it here? If you wouldn't do it face to face to someone, don't do it here. It is a good test to keep in mind. Everyone thinks they can just say what they like cause they're so nice and protected behind their computer screen.
Thanks for that Sil,
It was really helpful in being able to see just how much feed my boy may need by having it listed in qty's, so perhaps I might leave him on the same pellets. I might actually up them to two whole scoops (I think that should be about 3 kgs in one feed then, so would be getting 6kgs per day, not far off your 7kgs) while he's trying to gain some weight. I think one full scoop is about 1.5 kgs.
Also, thank you for not being derogatory and for trying in a practical way to help. Good luck with your girl!
Be sure to get your self some scales and weigh his food you would be surprised at how unacurate guessing in scoops can be, i have a tb gelding and i thought i was given him correct kg and it turned out i was 2 scoops out and it quickly showed by how much weight he put on in 2 weeks. I also feed the mitavite brand and he does really well on them so the gumnuts that people suggest for the older horse may suit him better.
Good luck he looks a nice kind boy.:-)
Thanks for that, yeah my friend who owns the property has weighed the pellets for me already when she found the scales but because she did it and not me and we spoke about it on the phone, I can't remmeber exactly but am pretty sure she said that 1 scoop was 1.5 kgs but will check with her again.
Also the "pasture" around the Monarto area is also quite poor to none for most of the year. This is for the people not familiar with SA. Most/all animals living in this area would need supplementation.
09-08-08, 06:46 PM
This is what I feed my 16.1h 9yr old TB in light work.
Pasture 24/7 not great but something to pick at.
As much barley hay as he will eat daily.
2kg Fibre Plus(alternative to chaff)
1kg lucerne chaff
1.2kg boiled barley(this is dry weight prior to boiling)
1.2kg rice bran
This quantity is split between two hard feeds daily. While I don't feed much chaff/fibre plus it is only a filler and is really only there to mix his pellets etc into. He does however get plenty of roughage in his hay and pasture.
I'm not suggesting you feed your boy this diet. However, the quantity of feed he's getting compared to your boy is quite different and should give you something to consider.:-)
09-08-08, 06:47 PM
I have to tell you it's an unexplained phenomenom that anyone who posts a photo on Cyberhorse inevitabley gets picked apart, their riding style criticised, their horse looked down upon, and finally lots and lots of assumptions made and a heated argument ensues.
You will get more constructive comments from posting a photo, but you will have to brace yourself for the tidal wave of judgement and unhelpful criticism that will accompany it.
Having said this there are several things that could be causing your horse to look this way.
*Teeth not being done, which you are addressing.
*Poor access to quality roughage/grass.
*Poor quality feed or lack of access to feed.
*Vitamin or mineral deficiency
I would like to stress something that books often do not point out. ANY FEED CHANGES MUST BE DONE GRADUALLY OR YOUR HORSE MAY COLIC! So rather than change his pellets, up his chaff, and start feeding him fancy products and grains... take a deep breath and first work out what you want him to be getting and then figure out a programme over 2 weeks to gradually make the changes.
Roughage is a great way of tackling both the issue of no access to quality roughage, and the problem of ulcers. Ulcers are at their worst when the horse is kept in an environment where free grazing is restricted. If you can either put a large amount of hay for the horse to eat throughout the day, or stagger feed time so that the horse is fed 3-4 times a day instead of 1-2 it can really help.
With an older horse you must consider the digestibility of what you are feeding him. Things like oats may be good for younger horse, but a senior horse may just poop them out intact without having accessed the nutrition in the oat itself. Extruded, steam rolled, or otherwise heat treated products will provide easy-to-access nutrition. Hygain MicrBarley is a good basic cereal feed, Mitavite Gumnuts and Hygain senior are good ready-mixed feeds - some feed places may also have their own "senior" mix.
Soft mushy feeds are ideal too, like copra, bran and pollard, as are oils which provide lots of calories which can be easily accessed. I prefer ricebran oil to the other alternatives.
A few other suggestions... a mineral block in his paddock would help out with any deficiencies, and a salt lick. Feeding brewers yeast (also called Diamond V) which can be purchased from most feed suppliers is a great digestive aid and calming product - it's cheap at around $7/kg and you only need to feed 1-2 tablespoons a day. Start him on a de-worming programme immediately - don't rely on textbook diagnosis, I knew of a WB gelding who looked the picture of health... right up until he colicked and died from a massive burden of strongyles.
If he doesn't put on weight 6 weeks after increasing his roughage, switching to a more "senior friendly" pellet, and supplementing his diet consider having a vet do a bloodtest to check for any major deficiencies, or possible anaemia. If nothing turns up consider having him endoscoped for ulcers.
Also, check with the dentist about the quality of his teeth. Some older horses, especially TBs or horses who have been fed grain most of their lives, will not have enough teeth to properly chew hay or grass. If this is the case you will have to replace his hay with chaff and wet down his feed. You can wet down his feed now anyway, it helps reduce dust and the extra water helps it go through the gut a little smoother if it's not chewed properly.
If all efforts fail, VERY unlikely but possible, you will probably have to make the hard decision to have him put to sleep. A horse that cannot access nutrition anymore is only going to slowly decline in health and will eventually end up in poor condition and discomfort. Far better to have him put down humanely when he starts declining rather than wait until later when he's in pain.
All the best! Nutrition is a very important part of horse ownership and it's great that you've made the effort to research a few feeds.
Oh and let the snarky comment go over your head. Honestly getting all huffy about them isn't worth your trouble!
09-08-08, 07:08 PM
good post savannah
ezza dont up the pellets, to make up the quantity of feed needed, you need to up the roughage (hay) upping pellets is like feeding hungry jacks every meal
a horse needs 2% of its body weight in feed a day, 1.8 of that should be roughage, if you up the pellets a few things will happen
A. his gut will not function properly, it is designed for pasture and hay on a 24/7 basis
B. you will end up with a horse off its tree on to many goodies
C. you might just founder the horse at some point, and thats a massive 12 month long road to come back from
D. you will create a mineral imbalance in him which will cause you other health problems ie, laminitis, bone troubles, temprement troubles and more
E. you will cause ulcers as he will have to much of what I call empty time and also too many goodies will do this as well, they are designed to have food in the digestive tract at all times pushing through
take a step back and really think about what a horse is DESIGNED TO EAT AND HOW THEY DIGEST IT
its early days with this horse you are still new to one another and its a process of elimination in getting him to full health safely for you and for him, conformation or not he is not in top condition
these are your basis and start of the process as you eliminate one or then it comes down to feed and workload
dont expect miracles in a week or two its a 2-3 month process, just as you could not if you are unfit and not at optimum health you could not go out and run a marathon same for this horse.
hay is your bulk product not only in consistency but in quantity, there is no way around this no matter how you try, if you do not have this as your bulk of his diet you are only going to cause yourself money troubles and him health troubles
hay and good pasture 24/7
small amount of goodies!!
good mineral supplement to keep minerals in balance
with this covered you cannot go wrong
09-08-08, 09:41 PM
Rather than decreasing the pellets and upping the chaff I would suggest scrapping the lot and starting again.
Chaff is really only choppd up poor quality hay (unless its lucerne).
The money spent per bag of chaff will buy you a much greater weight of higher quality hay.
Find a good quality premixed feed such as gumnuts or hygain senior (personally I have had great results from both) and I would be adding oats.
Many people are worried about feeding oats due to its reputation of causing fizzieness... the fizzy behaviour only occurs in horses that are sensitive to starch! A poster above has already mentioned how you can remove starch from oats if you find he is one of these horses. For years all I ever fed was oats and coprice pellets (and lots of hay of course!) I fed this to the mares in foal, the stallions, the competition horses and the breakers. I can think of only two horses I have had problems with in regards to oats/starch.
Oats are one of the most natural and safest ways to put weight on a horse.
And hopefully he can stay at your friends or you can find another more suitable agistment venue as the horse will need to be fed everyday, prefferable twice daily hard feed and ad lib hay.
Have fun with him, he looks sweet.
09-08-08, 10:40 PM
I have a 15.3hh, 5yo Warmblood with only a dash of TB, he's not fat but is slowly building muscle.
He has free access to hay - I put a bale every couple of days in his shelter rather than a round bale - and he gets
3kg pellets (1.5kg cool horse & pony & 1.5kg elite breed 18)
1kg rice bran
1kg lucerne chaff
So what you have been feeding your BIG horse is not a large amount at all.
10-08-08, 02:17 AM
Often at this time more feed is advisable with the change of coat-more energy needed to produce the hormones to shift the coat plus of course enough to keep/put weight on AND keep warm...hard time of year and make sure he's drinking enough quality water :)
Ezza you have my apologies that your first thread has turned out badly, i haven't read all the posts but the ones i did were enough :(
what happened to helping without criticizing?
the majority of the CH members are fantastic people, unfortunately there appear to be a few that seem to think unless you are rich or already know everything you are worthless :(
It's ok, im getting over it, lol. The thing is here that some ppl here say up roughage, other ppl say up concentrates and they're often contradicting one another which doesn't really help matters. Whilst I know the basics of feeding rules (including feeding the older horse) etc its very easy to get confused with the amount of diff feeds out there and also everyone has a diff opinion depending on what they've read or had experience with with their own horses, so again, it's hard to still get any clear defining advice out of it. So i decided to go with what I have done previously but apparently thats not "right" either *sigh*.
I am just going to take the bits from here that I think is reasonably balanced between usage, cost and practicality and if its not working then I'll come back and try some of the other suggestions here but it seems a lot of the time you can't do anything right. Unfortunately when you live by yourself out of home as I do on one wage of $30,000 a year, you don't have unlimited funds to be buying your horse a fodder store of suppliments and diff feeds.
It has been really helpful seeing what other ppl feed (as in when they've put their diff feed and qtys) to get a bit of an idea what i think may be useful and what sits right with me and mightt be useful for the horse. Im not one of these people that likes buying millions of ingredients under the sun as I don't think its heaps necessary for a horse nor finanicially practical and prefer to keep it very simple with an all round pellet, chaff and maybe one or two other supplements which will help achieve the desired outcome i am aiming for from the feed (and hay/grass of course). But it seems that if you are not feeding your horse some kind of magic million ingredient concoction you are considered to not care about your horse or be looking after it properly. Yes I understand that the older horse needs more care etc esp with feed due to their downturn in digestibility as they age but surely there is someting that doesn't cost the earth so that if you're going to be going through it in massive quantities (as Im quite obvously going to have to be) it doesn't hurt the hip pocket so much.
You can't tell me that with all the science that goes into feeds these days that you can't get a reasonably priced, all round balanced pellet which needs no topping up with this and that.
Let me guess...its called gumnuts...haha, lol :D :7 But seriously, at the end of the day, thats what I want, so...any suggestions from ppl?
The bottom line for me is I need the outcome to be simple and cost effective whilst achieving the desired result. Im am quite happy not to skimp on the essentials that he needs and/or on things that will actually work but am sick of spending money on things for horses that do not fit/work/achieve the desired result etc as it just ends up a waste of money and then there is less to use for something that will actually work.
Anyways, thanks once again. Actually if people would like to post some of the costs of their diff feeds per bag etc (such as gumnuts, ricebran, oats etc etc) that would be really helpful too. Or if you just have a straight out "this is really good, works and is reasonably priced" go right ahead and let me know :)
10-08-08, 09:25 AM
suggestion for any next time there is an option called GOOGLE www.google.com maybe instead of dismissing people here you do a google search for the info or better yet just call your vet for help
sorry hun money card dosent bounce with me Im a single mum on a pension only getting 13000 a year and Im caring for 4 horses!!!
here is some light reading for you
maybe vet articles will help you more than this post ever will
two by Dr Konke
free membership will get you to view these two articles completely below written by vets
caring for an older horse
design of a horses digestive system
gives you percentages of intake etc
excellent article on exactly what I posted above why and when you should up or reduce a horses calorie intake
sorry paups you gave my chockie away and im tired!! :-P
10-08-08, 02:06 PM
Hey isnt ur new pony cute as!!
Basically my boy looked like your boy when I first got him
- had been sitting in a paddock for 8 months(no work) off the track. He is 16.2 5yr. He was lean and had sunken flanks!
(I hope the photos work & sorry jockey bf riding him lol)
Then after plenty of lunging ( possoa) and feeding he is like this and dosnt have sunken flanks
(he is about to have a foal here lol).
And this is what I feed him:
( he gets this morning and nite)
1x scope of Barley
2x scope of white chaff
2 x shope of green chaff
1 x scope of grain
3/4 x pollard
1/2 x copra
1/2 x speedi beet
1 x biscuit of lucern
unlimted grass/pasture hay.
He is DEAD quiet on this feed.
+ he gets his supplements
Doesn't he look lovely! Good job :) Can you tell me about how long it took to get him fed up well? Unfortunately I won't be able to see my boy more than once a week as he is 40 mins - 1 hour away at present, so the work side of things is going to suffer a bit but I don't need him in show condition (like your beautiful boy!) so doesn't matter so much, but still looks like those pessoa lunge devices do a good job building all the right muscle! Maybe I will get one for when I can get down there anyway...
Do you think it would still do some good even if it was only once per week? Obviously more times would be more beneficial but at the moment it isn't possible. Also which setting did you have him on there?
Thanks for those links, I have looked at a couple already, they look to be good.
He looks Magic Tash :) (am working out of a different firm in Nowra so different email)
As for OP no need to waste time with blame or angst. You have a new cutie (I think he looks like a total sweetie) he is an elder TB who is light on...now you do everything possible to get the condition on him.
You are checking any medical reasons and if they are ruled out he was not getting enough good grub before you got him ... up to you to make that assessment, if in six weeks or so there is no external reason for the lightness and he is showing no improvement then you know you are not getting enough of the right stuff into him. It's that simple. There is a lot of good advice here not all of it will apply to you and your boy.
I tend to feed oats (have rescued and re-homed numerous OTTBs over the years) unless the indidvidual horse cannot tolerate. Have found when they are really poor (drought poor) oats are not heating but hay is the best for filling a pony belly.
My Andy x Wb came out of a serious drought paddock, when he landed with me he turned his nose up at clover and nice grass in the paddock, instead he sought out the worst roughest looking paspalum (sp?) and other grasses he could find...roughage.
Best of luck, let me know how you go
10-08-08, 05:28 PM
Great photos and great info
You have to put in the WEIGHT of the feed. Scoops is no good. What size scoops and how much does the feed in them weigh?
10-08-08, 11:07 PM
This is Monty my 18hh Thoroughbred gelding 19yrs when we first got him. Picture A.
Picture B Monty 4 weeks later. As you can see he too had sunken in flanks. What i did was to have him completely checked out head to toe, teeth checked and wormed.
4 weeks later he looks 89% better. Being an old horse i treated him a bit different from my other horses.
Morning feed consited of 2 haynets full one Lurcene, and the other meadow hay.
Evening feed the same as the morning feed but with a hard feed of GUMNUTS, EQUIJEWEL, and as much CHAFF that would fill his 40litre bucket. And he always had fresh water, as dehydration can be another sign of sunken in flanks.
11-08-08, 01:57 AM
Well done, nice transformation, kentrace. Rewarding isn't it?
Looking at your options, Ezza, the very best thing you can do, and given that your pasture nutrition due to location apparently not being so brilliant, as someone mentioned somewhere above, is:
1. GET A GOOD QUALITY HAY ROLL! Your boy needs as much ad lib roughage as he can eat firstly, for digestive health and weight gain.
No good stressing about feeding hard feeds if it can't be daily. Consistency of feed is the key with expecting weight gain.
2.Get an equine min/vit block into his paddock, Olssons, Barastoc, whatever (put in heavy plastic dish with some holes to let rainwater drain out, you can always add a real brick for weight) and get the roll of hay. One roll will do quite a few weeks for one horse. It would be far better, more consistent for his digestion and weight gain than relying on less regular hard feeds to do the job.
That would kick him off to a good start.
You just can't beat hay (good quality) if you can't feed him yourself daily. He'll never be hungry and will get regular nutrition if the hay is good quality.
11-08-08, 03:17 AM
Every little bit of the possoa can help!! I was doing it once every day when we first got him, now it is 2-4 times a week. I will find out the weight tommorow. But everything i feed ( except for the chaff & barley), expands in water so it is very econical. So when I feed it to him it weighs about 10-15kg.
Ezza this is completely off topic but what gorgeous scenery in your photos! Where abouts are you based?
Lol thats cool. Yeah it is beautiful down where he is, it is a friends property at Callington (well just out of Callington on the rd between there and Strathalbyn).
Wish I could live there!
11-08-08, 04:00 PM
"You can't tell me that with all the science that goes into feeds these days that you can't get a reasonably priced, all round balanced pellet which needs no topping up with this and that"
Ezza, you're right. You can get an all round balanced pellet which needs no topping up and at a reasonable price. Prydes feeds are brilliant, as well as lots of others. Keep it simple.
For comparisons, I have an 18hh thoroughbred/warmblood rising 10 years old, medium level, in work 5 days a week and he gets the following:
Good Quality oaten/lucerne hay - 5-6 big biscuits a day
Prydes easi-response - 5kg a day when being worked knocked back to 3kg on days off. No grass to speak of in the paddock. That's it.
Here's a piccie for you.
11-08-08, 05:52 PM
I live in Strathalbyn and I certainly agree with the need for good quality round bales, grazings not as bad here as Callington but certainly not great. Our ponies have limited hay as they have no weight problem but our 16h tb x riding pony has unlimited access to hay plus grazing plus we feed varing amounts to each (according to work) of copra, coprice m, lucerne chaff, completo plus a mineral block. Probably no point telling you the amounts as being in "show condition" they'd have more weight on than you would need. Good luck with him, I personally steer clear of thoroughbreds because thay cost too damm much to feed :)
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