Some readers will remember my frustration with Suzie's waist-line and how I was attempting to up her weight. When I became more aware of the situation mid-July, I began trying to "fix" the problem. Initially, I assumed Suzie was becoming a hard keeper because she was getting older - heck, I even had friends comment that sometimes old horses just "sag". I wasn't convinced entirely and went ahead in deworming both horses and picked up some sunflower seed oil, beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, senior feed and went to work on graining her once a day.
By the end of August, after graining her every night, we made little to no headway and I was starting to feel as though I was losing the battle. I was frustrated with the way Suzie looked and my efforts seemed futile.
|I truly am embarrassed to be sharing this photo,|
and not because of Suzanne's facial expression.
The nutritionist asked a few questions about Suzie's living arrangements, what type of hay she was eating, what her exercise regime is like, etc. I felt as though most of the questions were answered easily - she gets fed 3-4 flakes of hay 2x a day, 1 cup of oil, 2 cups of beet pulp, 1 cup alfalfa, 2-3 cups senior... Seemed like a pretty solid plan, at least to me.
The biggest, and probably most important thing I had overlooked?
"Measuring" anything in "flakes" or "cups" is not accurate when it comes to horses. Measurements must be in the form of WEIGHT (ie. lbs) - always.
I purchased a small fish scale and as instructed, weighed the feed I normally put out for the horses. Well, imagine my shock when I came to the startling realization that her hay rations were 2lbs less than what it should've been.
Secondly, graining the crap out of my mare once a day was not beneficial, as it is equivalent to eating a rather large turkey dinner and then trying to cram down dessert. The feedings should be split throughout the day to prevent "over-stuffing".
I felt like crying in the middle of the barn aisle.
Essentially, I was not meeting my horse's daily needs and in a way, was starving her. The poor attempt to make up for this in the form of beet pulp, oil, and grain was not well received by my mare because again, I was measuring "cups" rather than by weight. In addition, the sunflower seed oil I came to find was actually quite unhealthy and didn't do much to promote weight gain.
|Starting to get somewhere mid-September.|
We have now been on the new regime for just about one month and the change is extraordinary. I am both ashamed and annoyed I even allowed her to lose weight in the first place mostly because my mare was the one who suffered in this.
|Before: July 18|
After: September 29
So yes, I am serving myself a slice of humble pie in hopes anyone else who reads this will evaluate their own feeding regime and ask for help.