Thursday, April 13, 2017

this + that

Things continue chugging right on along in Charlieland, tho I've got a couple fun updates coming soon! (once I can edit the media and whatnot, that is!)

In the meantime, it feels like a good time to update on the latest in small tweaks that we've been making to Charlie's day to day lifestyle to help him eventually thrive.

snake oil or the real deal?
First up, my next planned modification to Charlie's regular diet was adding an oil. At the recommendation of a few trusted folks, I opted to go with CocoSoya oil.

Charlie has lately begun filling in a little bit around his ribs (it's subtle but I promise it's real!) and it'll be impossible to say whether it's just the spring grass or whether this oil is helping. But I think we're gonna roll with it for a little while. When it runs out I might reevaluate or consider trying a different oil (maybe rice oil?) just to see what, if anything, changes. We'll see.

free sample size
I've also changed Charlie's daily gastric supplement to this liquid U Shield stuff, a proprietary formula of calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide. Or. Basically, liquid tums.

Again, it's hard to tell what, if any, difference it's having on the horse. But I personally prefer to have my horses on some sort of magnesium/calcium gastric supp simply bc of the frequency with which they travel in the trailer. This particular formula appeals to me bc it's easy to measure, doesn't add a lot of powder to the feed, and additionally is easy to administer extra doses on show day, for instance.

It's also fairly cost effective, tho maybe not as much so as ranitidine, so I think we'll go with it for a little while. I'll also eventually treat for ulcers again anyway, tho there was no difference shown when I did a couple months ago.... so again, we'll see.

y'all already know what this is
Moving beyond the regular diet stuff, Charlie has proven to be a little playful with things. He's not super duper mouthy, but he'll pick up and toss his feed tub. He'll grab and hold onto the hoof pick. He's been known to carry around a pitchfork or broom too. Actually I'd like to teach him to paint lol...

But he also gets a little bored in his stall and will weave or chew on the wood (not exactly cribbing tho), so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try some toys.

yum?
I kinda hate buying lots of horse toys bc in my experience they usually sit ignored in a back corner getting dusty. But it seemed like maybe worth a shot for Charlie.... maybe.

Verdict? Well. It's hard to tell haha (maybe that should have been the title of this post?). I have yet to see him play with either. It's possible that he doesn't understand what the snack toy thingy above is yet, that he just hasn't really 'discovered' it. Or... maybe they're just not appealing to him. Oh well. We'll see I guess!

TIP ribbon + sparkle hat
Other odds and ends include finally grabbing a shot of the Thoroughbred Incentive Program reserve champion ribbon Charlie won at Loch Moy that recently arrived in the mail. Man, I <3 these ribbons. So pretty! So for those satin addicts out there, go adopt yourself an ottb haha. Or, if you already have an ottb but don't have a TIP number yet, follow this link to set up a free account. It only takes a few moments!

And speaking of pretty - I mentioned that Charlie wore his DIY up-cycled bonnet to the xc schooling at Tranquility a couple weeks ago, but that I failed to get a picture. This bonnet started out as one of those frilly monstrosities, but with a few judicious snips and the application of some pretty sparkles and matching cord, it's transformed into something quite passable!

I'm going to be making some similar up-cycled bonnets for Brita in her and Bella's colors soon, so will maybe post more of a how-to for that. Or maybe, if I don't find the process overly annoying after repeating it a few times in a row, maybe I'll consider taking orders for other folks? Maybe? Idk...

fun times
We'll see haha. That's the name of the game right now I guess. There's more to come, as always, including a recap of Charlie's first official-actually-jumped-jumps-and-only-nearly-killed-us-once cross country schooling. And a discussion of our upcoming plans through the end of the month and beginning of May. Good times all around.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences with any of the above - whether that be the supplements or oils or top dressings you've used on your skinny horse. Or whether you've found stall toys that actually are interesting to the horse (or if you also tend to think they mostly end up as wasted space haha). Or even if you want to know more about making DIY up-cycled fly bonnets (or, for the less crafts-inclined, whether you'd be interested in opportunities to order one?).

39 comments:

  1. William gets flax seed added to his grain to add oil to his diet because I've had really good luck with it on other horses. He's still on the skinny side though, so I feel your pain (he eats more than the other 3 combined). Also, I really need to figure out a show name so I can register him for a TIP number. That ribbon is gorgeous.

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    1. oooh yea, we added platinum performance (basically fancy flax) a while back and i've been quite happy with that too. but yes you must get a show name and stat!!!! William needs his TIP ribbons!!!!

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  2. I have a lot of toys laying around the paddock that maybe never get used? The most loved addition seems to be willow tree branches. Once in a while I will cut a large branch off and throw it in the paddock. They all love chewing on it and draging it around. It is kind of a natural anti-inflammatory so have used it in the past when needed.

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    1. ha that's actually awesome!! and sounds about right, as always. why would they ever be interested in the (costly) toys we buy them when nature has so much of its own stuff to play with?!?

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  3. Up cycled horse ware. That should be a whole series

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    1. i mean, i can totally do that ;)

      some ppl call me a hoarder. i call it creatively thinking outside the box haha

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  4. Rice bran pellets are my go to to put on the chubs, and doesn't make either of the girls hot or fizzy.

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    1. that's definitely still an option we have on the table. at present he's getting beet pulp but we may continue to experiment

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  5. Duke has only had to be stalled once in the time I've had him and that was when he broke his leg. I got him of the of the Likit things with the apple jolly ball attached thinking it may help. It may have - if he hadn't figured out how to jam the Likit part of the toy in between the bars on the stall. This allowed him to snack on it like it was a lollipop and he had devoured it within 1 day. Once we un-wedged the thing (quite the feat), he lost toy privileges :D

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    1. ha omg, somehow that doesn't surprise me! i suspect charlie could possibly do something along those lines too, we shall see tho!

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  6. I've had no luck with rice bran. Subi doesn't eat oil... or wet food (until recently where he'll ONLY eat his feed mixed with soupy beet pulp... I have no idea). But, I've had the most luck putting weight on with senior feed and a fat supplement like buckeye ultimate finish or progressive envision classic (not purina amplify) at 1 1/2 cups AM and PM. I've gone up to 2 cups when necessary (I believe you can feed up to a pound? I haven't read the bag recently). I also have really good luck with whole flax seed in addition to everything else though Subi's not willing to eat it at the moment. But, it's dramatically improved Batts feet and did wonders for Hayley both hoof and weight (she also needed the buckeye fat plus a good senior feed for weight).

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    1. it's so amazing how picky they all can be haha, and how independent. luckily charlie hasn't proved picky in the slightest with any of his food (and he gets basically everything soaked bc his various meals all contain either alfalfa pellets or beet pulp... tho he's a bit of a jerk about his hay sometimes ugh.

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  7. Hmmm let me know how the CocoSoya works! I've been thinking about adding something to Quest's diet too since I want her with a bit more weight going into conditioning. I totally have up cycled some tack as well haha I did the fly bonnet one (butt ugly tassels begone) and also added some paracord to color coordinate to my rope halters. Gotta matchy matchy

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    1. definitely gotta matchy matchy! plus it's fun to make our own custom stuff!

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  8. I have an fat thoroughbred. Grateful every day.

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  9. Man oh man do I have a lot of different opinions on fattening horses.... I've owned several skinny thoroughbred types over the years. Oil is really a fantastic way to pack the calories in, and I literally buy the​ giant containers meant for restaurants of soybean oil in order to feed one or two cups of it a day. Sure, it's a disastrous mess, but for Tango, beet pulp + safe choice + tri amino + an inhuman amount of oil seems the only way to put weight on him without him going psycho. The psychosis might be different if we had more substantial turnout.

    Kat is more tolerant of rice bran, I feed the pellets. But I still opted for a more complete feed with beet pulp and oil, because I like the idea of the added minerals and whatnot.

    I had an ottb that we used to feed this crazy amalgamation of three brands of grain and alfalfa pellets and whatnot, but he too turned a corner when we finally added oil.

    And if we're talking ulcer supplements, I should probably just write a post on my blog about it hahaha --

    So probably not anything you didn't know, NOR did you really need any advice, but it's my story.

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    1. all this stuff is super interesting to me! i like hearing what everyone else does for their horses bc each horse is so different and different combinations appear to have different impacts. i'd love to read your perspective on the various supplements for your horses too!

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  10. I've actually recently just started Annie on oïl as well - it is similar to Cocosoya as well. It is called Canpressco.

    When I first got Suzie I had some success adding rice bran to her diet.

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    1. oooh i've also heard of that oil!

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    2. I believe it's primarily manufactured in Canada, so I don't know how feasible it would be for you to get. A friend of mine had incredible results with her OTTB mare, but it is tough to say if the Canpressco was a huge help since she was also on a large list of other things!

      Right now, Annie is just on a free-fed brome/Timothy round bale with 2-3lbs of alfalfa pellets, 1-2lbs of mash, and 1 squirt of the Canpressco oïl.

      I do know that when I was putting more weight on Suzie last year, one of the biggest things that I thinked helped was feeding her grains 2x a day vs 1x. I don't know if that is something you are able to do, but it helps break up A LOT of grain from one feeding.

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    3. yea charlie gets two meals a day from his board, and a third on days when i see him bc..... honestly he could probably eat 3-4 meals a day and be doing a little better than he is now. he's a big guy and we're up against the limits of what you can safely feed at once. homeboy can eat tho!

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  11. I am curious how the oil goes for you. Penn is getting a little lean and I'm hoping spring grass fattens him back up, because he's already on a lot of senior feed, a fat food, a ration balancer, and alfalfa pellets (getting all of that twice a day, plus I give him additional alfalfa when I'm there!).

    I just got Penn a round of ulcer treatment because he's a grump, lol.

    My horses don't like toys or salt blocks. #fail

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    1. charlie does actually like his salt block! which is why i thought this lick candy thingy might be a winner. we'll see tho. i'll let you know about the oil too. so far i like it, but can't really tell if it's making any kind of difference.

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  12. Stampede is a picky eater so cocosoya (in oil or the powder form) are off his list. Uckele is local to me though and makes great products. P has been on cocosoya before successfully back when he used to have weight issues.
    With Stampede we tried ulcer supplements, ultimate finish, beet pulp (wouldn't eat), rice bran, and pretty much everything else under the sun. What ended up working for him was an alfalfa pellet snack (don't mix with the grain, big no no, lol) and just lots of a high calorie, high fat, middle range nsc (22% currently) grain. Really the answer was to make things simple, I think his body just doesn't handle variety well.
    He is still getting over 8 lbs of grain per day (around 1,400 calories per lb) even in retirement split in three feedings and hay pellets in the afternoon.
    I did have him on Bioflax 20 and it plumped him further and made him so shiny but in retirement now I'm cheaping out in favor of keeping him on his adequan and previcox. Hopefully he can come off those once he's home and moving around more regularly outside.
    Some horses like to keep it interesting!

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    1. ha somehow that doesn't surprise me at all about stampede! i feel lucky that charlie isn't that picky right now, but i'm also trying to balance out making it overly complicated for barn staff since they tend to not do super well with lots of changes. we'll see!

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  13. Gem was petrified of the jolly ball I got her. She stood in a corner of her stall quivering. I've not added anything for her supplement wise and currently I'm fighting the opposite problem- she has gotten fat this year. Diet time for the mare.

    In endurance they use a lot of Pro CMC for ulcer prevention since everything else is basically illegal. I have no personal experience with it but if you are looking for a change it is a liquid and easily doses like your current product and comes endurance vet approved in our sport.

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    1. ha what a goof, Gem! and thanks - tho i'm not looking for a change, as i just introduced a new daily supplement (detailed above) that i'll be sticking with for the foreseeable future

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  14. Mae is on her fifth jug of plain ol' canola oil (brand does not matter, whichever is the cheapest) and she's gaining weight like a champ. It also helped that she got her teeth done in the first time ever. Plus we use CoolCals as well

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  15. interested about the oil. I am trying to figure out ways to pump Remus up but not withstanding the grass might do it. They feed alfalfa at my barn to the older guys and i eyeballed that the other day and slapped my head like WHAT AM I THINKING he should not need Alfalfa. But i like the idea of the oil. Very cool ribbon and custom bonnets if you are doing i want a purple one ;) HA keep on trucking Charlie!!

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    1. ha i'm pretty sure those bonnets do in fact come in purple ;)

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  16. Cocosoya is my bitch lover. I'd recommend it to everyone. Bobby ignores his lickit, too. He's orally fixated until I buy him things to amuse him and then he can't be bothered.

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  17. Irish gets some canola oil and (in winter) he gets beet pulp and soaked alfalfa cubes at night.

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  18. My experience with ulcers was also with an OTTB that I rehabbed for 6 months. I always tested for ulcers before stuffing that gelding full of ulcer meds. Mostly because it was more wallet friendly to do it that way. I'm pretty sure you can purchase ulcer tests at a local feed store now.
    I only have experience with flax oil and I've seen good results for coat but not so much weight. The barn where Catalina's sire is uses chia seeds and swears by it for weight gain. Those horses are major chunks.
    One thing I will mention, since you said you keep Charlie on some kind of ulcer meds all the time, studies show that consistent use of omepriozle or other acid equalizers causes a reduction in absorption of nutrients. It's possible that Charlie isn't gaining weight as quickly as he could because of this. An easy fix is adding a multi-vitamin supplement or a nutrient dense feed to make up for what he may be lacking.
    Personally I use rice bran and alfalfa pellets but think a probiotic is what really helps horses use all that food efficiently.
    It can be tough to put weight on horses that live on rocket fuel in their youth. My vet said to stay away from high starch foods for those horses. I haven't really been able to test that on a skinny horse but it might be information that helps you and Charlie. :)

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  19. My favorite weight gain supplement was rice bran when I did dressage. I've used the oil (I like McCauley's) and the pellets (Legends). I would serve my grain ration mixed with a couple pounds of soaked beet pulp and add the rice bran oil. This was fed twice a day. I've also used ground flax: 1 cup twice a day, and it also really makes their coats shine. The most cost effective is Triple Crown's Omega Max, which you can find at Southern States here in MD. I've seen horses do amazingly on Cocosoya but my hard keeper won't touch it.

    As mentioned in a previous post, my favorite supplement for weight gain now for my Thoroughbred is Triple Crown's 30% supplement. I add 1-2 lbs a day and suddenly Lily has a topline. I took this tip from Austen and Pig.

    I go for low starch, high fat, high protein feeds for my mare, as high starch increases production of stomach acid.

    I agree with SpanishWalk re: constant ulcer meds. They are not meant to be fed long-term and can cause a slew of other issues in the long run, from reduced nutrient absorption to gastric acid rebound if discontinued suddenly at any point. In terms of ulcer meds, I would talk with your vet or get a second opinion: I was always told by my vets, both my barn vets and ride vets, that ranitidine, while less expensive, is nowhere near as effective as omeprazole.

    When my hard keeper is showing signs of being ulcery, she gets a 28-day round of generic omeprazole paste (Ulcergard; it's exactly the same thing as Gastrogard) at the *maintenance* dose (1/4 tube once a day) followed by a 2-week taper. I might follow that with a month of UGard pellets or SmartGut, and then taper her off of that too. Gastric protectants are a huge, huge deal in my sport, more so than in any other equestrian sport, so ride vets are constantly updating their studies on equine nutrition and performance. I was always told that the maintenance dose is enough; that's what I use, and for my mare it really does work without having to majorly break the bank. :) Another option is AbGard (http://www.abler.com/abgard) It is omeprazole that can be bought over the counter overseas and comes in a variety of forms: pill, powder, paste. It was recommended to me by one of my vets during one of Lily's stall rest episodes. The stuff works great; it just takes a while to arrive (around 2 weeks.)

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    1. I forgot: I currently also use Pro CMC. I give one dose before trailer rides, both coming and going. I also give another dose at the trail head (conditioning ride, not competition).

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  20. You can always put rocks in a milk jug and give him that. World's cheapest horse toy.

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  21. I've seen the most interesting horse toys are something my friend made. She took a dog toy rope thing that has holes to stick treats (or carrots) and strung a few together. They hang and her horse amused himself trying to eat the carrots. Another toy is that one ball thing that they roll around and treats come out.

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