Sunday, October 26, 2008

It is Only Mid Autumn and Lyra is Losing Weight

It is early in the year for the general pasture horses to be losing weight, but the pasture is overgrazed, and grass is currently knee high to an ant. The arabs and thoroughbreds are starting to look gaunt. I am horrified that Lyra is one of the horses with ribs showing through their fuzzy coats. Here is my sweetie with her new Davis soaking boots. I've been feeding her 5 nights a week, obviously this is not working. She gets a small flake of hay and 8 pounds LMF Equine Senior. She is recently wormed and two weeks ago her fecal count was negative. Her teeth do not need any work. She just isn't getting the calories she needs to keep her weight stable. This sucks. Here is what the entire 40 acres looks like. So far, this is not a problem for Red, though he is looking a bit leaner than a few weeks ago.

Keeping my horses' weight up in the winter is my number two challenge in keeping them in the general pasture. (Number one is Red getting kicked on occasion.) Last winter, when I only had Red, I would put him in his stall at night so he could munch down on a substantial flake of hay and a bucket of Safe Choice. This worked beautifully. This winter I had planned to have my two horses trade off nights in the stall. Unfortunately, I have not made the progress I had hoped for with Lyra feeling safe in the stall. I don't know that will be a workable option. All facilities are full at Freshwater Stables.

Hmmmmm, as of tonight I am not sure just how I am going to solve this challenge. A short term solution might be adding rice bran to Lyra's bucket. My feeding routines definitely need work. The real issue isn't what to feed her, it is where to feed her so she feels safe and has the time to eat without having to be moved or returned to the GP when I leave for home

Edit: Since I have two senior horses with hoof pathologies and diet issues, I have got to improve my level of information about the equine diet. I just enrolled in Dr. Kellon's online course about nutritional requirements of the horse. Thie course is being promoted by Pete Ramey who, as most of you probably know, is emphasizing that diet AND a barefoot trim go hand in hand for healthy feet (read his article "Feeding the Hoof")

Here is her website with enrollment info. The course is a little pricey at $210.00, but should be well worth it.

Meanwhile, some of the critters at Freshwater are still enjoying the bounty of summer.


Latigo Liz said...

Hang in there. I would have your hay tested if you can (if it’s going to be the same hay all winter) and then have LMF give you some recommendations since you are already feeding their product. I have the e-mail address for a rep here if you need it. You may just need to feed MORE. Free choice. And that may not be an option in the GP. If it’s not, then LMF can recommend a concentrate or additional products. Corn oil can help. As can the rice bran. But if the Ca:P ratios aren’t right, then any tinkering you do will be for naught. Test that hay and KNOW what you ware feeding and then you can do more.

Lori Skoog said...

In looking at your pasture (and not knowing a whole lot about your situation) why is it not possible to feed your horses more grass hay? Did you ever feed beet pulp?....soaked and mixed with the feed. I have 6 horses and in June had to put down a 36 year old. As they age, they can't process their food as well and most often need more. Currently, the horses are 31, 29, 27, 25, 23 and 10. Three of them need to be supplemented with soaked alfalfa cubes. How old are your horses?
Lori Skoog