Thursday, August 24, 2017

good eats: OTTB edition

I've written a few times now about the slow (sloowwww) evolution of Charlie's nutrition plan. And I've always been pretty vague about the details bc I wanted to sort it out with the professionals in my world who know Charlie and our circumstances intimately.

But I think we're finally to a place of stasis. Managed maintenance - especially now that I'm 100% responsible for every aspect of Charlie's feed program outside of hay and grazing.

only the best for sir!
First some history: A month after bringing Charlie home, I wrote about how we had been taking it slowly with adjusting his diet.

He changed to a new feed after coming home to our previous h/j barn and letting down off the high octane track diet. A brief bout of colic his first week with us kept us conservative in shaking up his world. Plus, knowing he'd go through extreme adjustments and transformations, I sought to stagger the introduction of any supplements or treatments.

After about six months it felt like Charlie had plateaued. That he'd reached a point where he wasn't necessarily 'crashing' post track any more, but he also wasn't really rebounding either. He was thin and in a state that definitely would not be considered "thriving."

For example, the first picture in this post from March is one of my most favorite with Charlie bc it so perfectly captures my emotional state in taking him to our first event together. And yet.... It's hard for me to look at bc even now I'm so ashamed of his body condition.

legit the most recent pic i have of his full body lol
With the input of barn mgmt (who were surprisingly resistant to any change, #frustrating) and a vet, we decided to transition Charlie to the feed he remains on to this day: Nutrena Pro Force Fuel (12% protein, 10% fiber, 13% fat). This is supplemented by alfalfa pellets at every meal.

Following that feed switch, we slowly but surely began creating his supplement program - which included adding a gastric supplement U-Shield and a general wellness top dressing Cocosoya.

Those are both currently still part of Charlie's program. I like the U-Shield (calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide) since trailering is a normal part of Charlie's life (not lately tho!! wooo!!!). Not sure I'll refill the Cocosoya once it's empty, honestly.

Platinum Performance Equine
The rest of Charlie's current supplement regimen is actually pretty simple - mostly bc damn, it's f*ing expensive. Charlie's body carries the baggage of a lengthy career on the track. And his feet are exactly what you would expect in a size giant OTTB.

Therefore I've relied heavily on the professionals in my world to give me the straight poop on what's worth investing in supplement-wise. Trainer P told me early on: She's a big believer in Platinum Performance in horses, and many of those same ingredients in people. She credits this specific supplement in particular with the recovery and wellness of a few horses in her life. Charlie's vet and farrier added their votes of confidence as well.

Charlie has been on this supplement since January - starting with a lengthy period on the loading dose, tho now he's on the maintenance dose (1/2cup daily). The introduction of Platinum Performance into Charlie's diet coincided with the point at which he came reliably sound, after months of intermittent body and hoof soreness.

Farrier's Formula by Life Data Labs
That was all well and fine for a while - right up until Charlie started walking out of his shoes earlier this summer. My farrier explicitly said he preferred Platinum Performance to Farrier's Formula... But we all know that old adage: ask two horse people, get three answers.

I have known many, many success stories with Farrier's Formula - and clearly if I want to avoid dealing with 2.5wk shoeing cycles next summer, I should probably be working on building out that new hoof now.

So Charlie started the loading dose of Farrier's Formula in June. And damn but he eats a lot of this stuff (1 1/3cups daily). I order it 44lbs at a time. Sheesh. The idea here is that this is very much a long game supplement - it's affecting the new hoof at the point of growth. Already tho (and I really hope this is not my mind playing tricks on me), I'm liking the look of Charlie's hoof as it grows out. And in the meantime, there's always Keratex.....

Farmnam Apple Elite Electrolytes
For the sake of completeness, the final ingredient in Charlie's current supp baggies is an electrolyte. I chose the first one on Amazon that looked vaguely familiar and reasonably priced.

Our last barn simply included e-lytes free of charge for all horses on the property, so I felt compelled to add it to Charlie's regimen after the move for the rest of summer. He's a great sweater and it's hot and muggy here. The stuff is cheap too. Good 'nuff reasoning for me.

the whole mixture is the size of my hand
I had to adjust the dosages and balance of all of Charlie's supplements after the move since the new place strongly encourages pre-measured packs or baggies rather than measuring out themselves. Therefore it behooved me to have interchangeable AM and PM supp bags.

So all of the above (plus the squirts of U-Shield and Cocosoya) are split between morning and evening feeds of Fuel and alfalfa pellets, soaked and fed on the ground naturally bc #specialsnowflake #tiebacksurgery #helikestoplaywithhisfoodokay

he gets a baggie at each meal, so twice a day
And christ it's a lot of food. The new barn has one specific type of feed that it'll provide with board - some sweet feed variation that's totally reasonable but also not really what Charlie needs. So now I'm ordering my own feed tacked on to the barn's standing weekly shipment.

Still haven't really figured out the exactly optimum delivery schedule for Charlie's Fuel (he eats approx 85% of a 50lb bag each week and I have enough space for two bags), and am just kinda ordering the alfalfa as needed (typically a bag every 4ish weeks). It's a lot tho!

unlimited snax 4eva tho bc #spoiled
It's also meant that I could increase his feed on my own terms with the move, which was nice. We were basically at the limit of what my last barn wanted to feed Charlie anyway (and not even bc they wanted to charge me extra, obvi I would have paid) but it still felt a little insufficient.

obvi he could have nothing less while still being expected to work under such rainy circumstances!
In fact, at the last place I would often supplement Charlie's diet with an extra beet pulp pellet mash on days when I rode. That's gone a bit by the wayside at the new place, just bc of how the feed schedule plays out with my time at the barn - I'd be basically adding a third meal right on top of his second, instead of spreading them out more. So not quite ideal.

like crossing "streams" -- tis hard work!!
Plus Charlie's new pasture situation might actually be a little bit better. He was on a GIANT pasture at the last place but it never seemed to get much rest and the grass was thin in places.

And it's worth noting here: the #1 difference maker all along in Charlie's physical condition has been access to grass. Not even hay - we threw all the hay in the world at him. Hay is good. It's super important. I continue to throw extra flakes at him whenever possible. But grasssss, man. That's the good stuff apparently!

(even if the wet dew and sugars from grass have wreaked havoc on his feetsies, wtf nature why can't we ever just have one solid win with horses ever, c'mon!)

naturally the broad grassy pasture on the other side of those trees helps too
of course charlie doesn't gallop off up the hill after turnout. no, no - sir must sniff the roses poop on his way out!
So all that to say: Charlie's diet has changed slowly but substantially during his year with me. As has his physical condition. I'm of the opinion that the two are related. Tho, as is always the case, it's possible that some of the changes in his condition would have occurred with or without my interference or supplementation.

I'm pleased with his current condition tho. He lost a little weight with the move, but appears to be making that ground right back up again. His muscling isn't fantastic right now, but again that can be attributed to some inconsistencies over the past month bc if nothing else, OTTBs reflect work in real time haha. Seems tho like his nutrition is finally balanced enough that he's able to build up the muscle in pace with his work load.

It's been interesting for me to actually dig in and educate myself about all this stuff. Lots of trial and error. Lots of observing how other people (including all you!) handle the horses. And lots of general research. Who knew it could be so complicated?! While also being so simple! lol...

I know LOTS of you have taken horses through similar transformations - did your process look similar? Or actually quite different? Maybe your horse was more particular about tastes, or had pressing health issues requiring more purposeful care or treatment? Or maybe you're blessed with one of those horses that thrives on abject neglect??? (Isabel sometimes I miss you!! lol...)

57 comments:

  1. It can drive you a little nutty trying to figure it all out and sometimes I wonder if I obsess too much. I sometimes feel like a mad scientist trying to sort out what they need. Irish and Carmen are so vastly different in body type and response to feed that it adds a layer.

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    1. Oh yea I can totally see that - and feel similarly about the differences in type between Isabel and Charlie. But yea. Definitely feel like a mad scientist too sometimes. Hopefully tho all our efforts do in fact contribute to the horse's wellness!

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  2. that is great (well not for your wallet) that you get to buy Charlie's exact food you need and supplement and he also has so much grass. He looks great in my mind. I am so lucky to have an easy keeper I realize but the current barn I am at is so good about being flexible. I think the old ponies at the barn have alfalfa and senior diets then the midrange (tbreds and the like) get more grain and more supps and more hay and the fatties (cough cough) like Remus get their 10 percent pellet in minute amounts and their supplements. The barn owner is rigid about hay so he gets 2 flakes (IF i want him to have more all I have to do is ask but it is kind of nice to know that is what he gets each day. no more no less). I will probably bump his hay up this winter since he lost weight over last winter but I do love how flexible they are. She also feeds electrolytes and garlic over the summer and doesn't charge us for it.

    But again I don't have special needs charlie do i? :) glad you figured it all out...and he does look happy!

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    1. Gotta love that flexibility - sometimes I think that's more important than anything else in good mgmt! We fed garlic one summer many years ago at my first ever barn. the place smelled AMAZING but we were never convinced it did much for the the flies.

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  3. Wait....did you say he goes through 80% of a 50lb bag a week?!?!?! Holy crap!!! A 50 lb bag lasts Gem a little over a month.

    I went nutty with research once I became responsible for Gem's diet with our move to the last boarding barn. It was really eye opening. Now that I've been in charge of her diet for nearly 2 years, I can't see going back to a general board feed again.

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    1. Yea we had a lot of options at Isabel's barn - it was the most complicated feed room I had ever seen but I learned a lot about what helped different types of horses thrive. Which.... Obvi is useful now bc omg yes Charlie eats so goddamn much food holy crap

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  4. This is fascinating. And makes me cross my fingers and knock on all knockables that I never have a hard keeper. You're a wizard having figured everything out and putting all these pieces together in what sounds a very complex puzzle. Dang, man. I'm so impressed and will be bookmarking this post for the day I bring my horses to a property of my own that will inevitably have less pasture. #becausemoney

    I'm with you on grass...it's probably why mine are all so plump when not in any work (ahem, Q). They've got 28 acres of some of the best pasture in the county according to my vet and the horses prefer it to the hay they have as long as the weather allows.

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    1. dude grass is the TRUTH. solid grazing has done more for charlie than legit anything else - in such a way that i'm actually starting to get a little nervous about winter and hope to have him FAT going into the cold months lol.

      the subject really is fascinating tho! i still feel like there's so much i *don't* know about nutrition for horses and how to really truly keep them balanced. hopefully tho we've got a system that'll work for charlie for a while!

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  5. I love using baggies. It is a pain for the owner, but like in a Smartpak, you know EXACTLY what the horse is getting. I have dealt with way too many over whelmed/under trained barn staff to have confidence my supplements would be doled out properly.
    Congrats with finally finding a solution that works for good ol Charlie. I like Cool Calories for that little extra, App has been on it for 3 or 4 years now. I can bump it up a scoop and I do see a difference. I can bump it down and again, see a difference. No lie though, grass is 100% the best for putting weight on horses.

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    1. at isabel's barn we had kinda a broad range of feeders (including me), but everyone seemed pretty good and even tho that was legit the most complicated feed room i'd ever seen, it was a well organized system with pretty clear processes that were nimble when changes or tweaks were needed. i made little tupperwares for izzy anyway - but that had more to do with saving space than feeling like the feed room wouldn't be able to handle the feeding instructions.

      the new barn tho is a whole different story. not that the folks aren't knowledgeable or capable, but the system is quite different and actually a little discouraging of super nitpicky individualized feed routines. so... baggies to the rescue!

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  6. Have I mentioned recently how jealous I am of the fact that you have a horse that, well, eats? Well, I am. I mean, I have 2 that eat, but not my thoroughbred... When Subi eats, we go through at least 50lbs/week of grain. 7-10lbs/day depending on the time of year plus free choice hay plus alfalfa timothy cubes plus chopped hay plus sometimes beet pulp. Senior thoroughbreds are even more fun to feed... RIP my bank account. All of that said, I'm glad you seem to have found stuff that work for Charlie. He's looking great!

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    1. ugh yea i am SO GRATEFUL that charlie eats. and he eats well! even tho he paws at his feed and dumps it all across his stall floor, he still goes back to hunt and peck around eating up every single last scrap and then some. it's super helpful, considering how often he ends up with SMZs or bute or some other bitter pill mixed in with his meals LOL!

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  7. Rice bran pellets are what packed on the pounds with our OTTB, Porsche - wasn't rocket fuel for her (but can be for some) - and I hear you on the feet!! I tried two different supplements: Farriers formula and horseshoers secret - and horseshoer's secret was the ticket for her - Charlie is looking amazing :D

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    1. someone was just talking to me about horseshoer's secret - seems like great stuff! and agreed about rice bran - i've seen a lot of ottbs do really well with that in their diet too

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  8. Just looking at all the baggies makes my eyes cross haha. Glad you've something that's working for you.

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    1. omg yea it's a LOT of baggies lol

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  9. I had exclusively hard keepers before I got into Spanish horses, so being a mad scientist about feed was a way of life lol. And I still have that balancing act to perform with my geriatric retiree, but at least it's a bit offset by the fact that Ruby only needs a ration balancer and Cinna basically gets a handful of pellets so she'll eat her supplements. A little bit of tinkering is kind of inevitable, but it's such a nice feeling when you hit on the magic combo that helps your individual horse thrive. Sounds like you're in a pretty sweet spot with Charlie at his new facility!

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    1. lol "mad scientist" indeed! it definitely feels that way sometimes lol. sometimes i definitely miss isabel's easy keeping nature - she did just fine with ration balancer most of the time unless she was in heavy work, at which point we'd just add a couple pounds of a higher protein feed. whatever works tho, right?

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  10. His body condition has been an impressive transformation. You are definitely doing an amazing job filling in all the gaps and giving him what he needs. It will be interesting to see how the hoof growth goes. It is such a long waiting game to see. I am feeling fortunate (OMGiamsosorrytosay) that my fat ponies basically survive on air, small pasture and hay. I give them a scoop of complete feed once a day mostly just to feel like I am doing something...:P

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    1. haha it sounds like you've got it made!! isabel would have fit right in with your herd, methinks lol! i got kinda spoiled with her for the most part (struggles with ulcers aside) so maybe now charlie has me making up for lost time? in any case tho, thanks and i'm also really eager to see how his feet continue developing, as that's clearly the slowest cog in this whole machine lol

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  11. Don't beat yourself up over the pic from your first event. I'll have to send you a pic of Mikey from HIS first H/J show. You thought Charlie looked bad? Mikey looked emaciated and his crest actually had a downward U shape. And there I am sitting on him grinning with our firsts and seconds and champ ribbon. So no worries :) OTTBs have a very ugly/please rescue me phase when they transition to a new life.

    I love farrier's formula, and it's def a long game solution. I've also only heard good things about Platinum Performance, but I remember looking at the ingredients and going "I can't show on this" because at least half their products have banned substances. Not that it's a concern for you though- if Penn had bigger problems I'd probably give it a whirl and pull it for shows! I've heard a couple stories now of better hoof and body soundness.

    And woot on the baggies- I am a big fan of scooping myself because you never know how other people see "one scoop"- is it slightly overfull, or not quite? Plus I was at one place that would scoop everyone's cosequin into a single cup (they'd walk supplements around with the feed cart), and they'd take a little extra out of everyone's so one of their lesson horses could get 2 scoops instead of 1. I thought that was despicable.

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    1. ugh yea the "ugly/rescue me" phase was excruciating, esp as it was sooooo long omg haha. poor ponies! in reality charlie wasn't even really that bad - but his long lanky frame lost all muscle and just became a see of angles and ribs and bony prominences bleh.

      good about about banned substances tho - that's legit not something i ever really think about bc i have yet to ever do anything recognized and it's not something that seems immediately likely. but definitely worth being aware of what's in what! oh and also agreed that that's SUPER SHADY of those barn mgrs for mooching off everyone else's (expensive omg!) supplements!

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    2. Regular PP and PP CJ are both show legal, as well as all of their performance label. They're really, REALLY good about clearly labeling what's legal and not and are super vigilant about their QC and being in contact with the USEF.

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    3. oooh good to know, thanks!

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    4. I must not have been looking at their performance line then- the items I was looking at wouldn't have been legal.

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  12. I'm more of a less is more person, pasture and high quality hay are always my biggest want and of course fresh water. My horses get the most basic form of high quality roughage grain with loose salt, and in the winter I add beet pulp. They've always been fat, shiny and healthy. Never had any issues with them, ever. Farriers formula I recommend a lot for hoof issues, otherwise I find most supplements are a cash grab, however there are a few that do actually do something. I studied Equine nutrition and the best takeaway from it was that horses thrive on roughage like grass and hay.

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    1. agreed that simplicity is valuable in feeding programs! and there's exactly zero doubt about it: the biggest change maker in charlie's body condition was spring grass. hands down. hay has not made as much of a difference for him bc he can be a little picky about it (esp if it's been in his stall for "too long" -- at which point i'd net it up for the trailer and suddenly it became acceptable again. go figure). but grass? definitely critical.

      i did personally notice a difference in the horse's soundness with the platinum performance (basically glorified flax with some vitamins and minerals) and am hopeful that the farrier's formula will help him grow better feet. we'll see!

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  13. You already know this, but I'm such a Platinum Performance believer, like swear-by-on-my-life, so that makes me so happy to hear you've noticed a difference! My mares have been on it for 13+ years and it's been the best. I'm glad you've finally found something that works - dealing with feed is no fun. When Lucy was first diagnosed with her hay allergies, going through everything trying to figure out what she could eat was enough to make me crazy.

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    1. omg i can't even imagine what i would do in the face of a hay allergy! like, c'mon horse - don't make it that hard just to keep you alive and eating!!! seriously tho yea i feel really good about the role platinum performance plays in charlie's diet and don't plan on making any changes there any time soon. hearing so much praise from the professionals i trust as well as hearing so many success stories from fellow horse ppl was obvi a big selling point, but seeing how much it helped charlie convinced me for sure!

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  14. Farrier's Formula is working wonders on Mae's hooves. They're actually growing almost too fast, if you can believe it. She's on Cool Cals AND canola oil. I also have her on joint maintenance, electrolytes, and we've recently put her on SmartGut as well. The SmartGut is actually pretty good for her but it's pricey - the U Shield looks WAY more affordable. I'm going to have to look into that one...

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    1. i honestly like the u-shield a lot - it's basically liquid tums haha, and the liquid formula makes it pretty easy to feed. also i hear ya on fast growing hooves. charlie has (*knocking furiously on wood*) made it to his farrier appointments without losing a show lately, but he's still getting done every 3-3.5 weeks. crazy.

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  15. OTTBs reflect work in real time = best OTTB quote of all time. You nailed it!

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    1. ha i'm glad i'm not the only one who experiences that! it's like they tell all our secrets in their muscling lol

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  16. Mine was a little different but similarly straightforward. There's a local mining company that makes a great pellet around here that is an easy base for any feed program. It's not terribly calorie dense, but it doesn't have any added sugars or weird fillers, and every horse on the planet likes it, so it's a no brainier of a place to start. My Dressage trainer suggested adding rolled barley because in her experience it doesn't make horses hot, and then I've played around with oil and a few other things as needed. I've settled on the basics though: calorific base that I can adjust up or down as work, weather, and seasons require, magnesium because #murray, electrolytes, Omega horse shine for flax and fat. It's much nicer than when I was scooping piles and piles of stuff!!

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    1. yea that definitely sounds like a solid formulation! i like it when things are simple and make sense - tho i also kinda fall prey to feeling like something is reasonable just bc it's familiar. like when i moved charlie to the new barn and was trying to write out and explain his diet and was met with these shocked, glazed over expressions like "uhhh wut?" haha.... it was kinda an indicator that i needed to reevaluate and simplify!

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  17. I feel like this should be a bloghop. I admit that nutrition is something I really didn't think much of in the past for horses or people. But when I started delving into the nutritional side of my own training, it only makes sense that what we feed our horses is of equal importance. Thanks for giving me some blog material :) Charlie has come a long way- it's hard when dealing with barn management. I can see how it could be hard to individualize every single horse, but at the same time, board ain't cheap, and every horse IS an individual.

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    1. ooooh you should definitely do a post! i'm pretty sure there actually WAS a more formal blog hop going around but i can't remember who started it. and ugh yea for real about the individualized nature of all horse nutrition and care while trying to not drive mgmt crazy.

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  18. Individualized nutrition is definitely a balance lol. Poor Sir Charles needs all the things! I've had luck with Farrier's Formula when it's been needed, too. Takes a while to see the results (of course) but it's good stuff! Pasture really is so important! I actually think one of the reasons Amber has trimmed down much quicker than I was expecting is the fact that in a way she has "pasture". The barn where I used to be never had a set feed schedule, and though lunch was fed, they could go around 12-14 hours without food in the evening - not ideal. So I've put her on a "diet" but that diet is spread out - she almost always has food in front of her. And I think that's taken a lot of stress off of her since she's not worried about when that food is coming. I've noticed that she's inclined to eat less and will actually leave food. Before she used to bolt her food - could eat a 5-10 pound flake of alfalfa in 20 minutes. So while we don't have pasture, I think like with Charlie just that presence of food, the natural instinct of grazing here and there is something that really helps them feel better :)

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    1. that's so good to hear that Amber's new situation is helping with managing her care more easily and in such a way that she seems so much happier! it's always tricky figuring that out, esp when the objective is to lose rather than put on weight! and yea i know what you mean about pasture too. pretty sure that's not the case for charlie tho since he's been out on pasture for the entirety of the time i've owned him - but the biggest difference came when the actual spring grass came up (as opposed to winter grass). the actual grass quality was what help him turn the corner.

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  19. Oh man. One day I'll share some of Justice's baby pictures - I swear to god, he spent all last year in this awkward stage between "put together by committee" and "what the hell happened," between baby draft awkwards and legit need for calories - which every freaking time he went from fine to too thin practically overnight. My generous BOs are feeding the babies grain three times a day and leaving them in front of their own hay bale now, and they're all FINALLY looking good.

    Cessa, on the other hand... Oof. Thanks to a rainy summer making the pasture green for way longer than normal, bay mare *jiggles* when you pat her vigorously right now.

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    1. ha that's how izzy was, she'd get really jiggly but then drop. then add, then drop. glad to hear all the babies are finally looking really well now!

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  20. He's definitely looking more like a grown up riding horse now than a sad racehorse. So dreamy, Charlie!

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    1. lol i'm pretty sure charlie will always be a sad racehorse at heart tho <3

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  21. I love all this type of stuff - I've never boarded somewhere where I had control over these details and I find it fascinating! Also, I vote for a month by month (or whatever you have) of body conditioning of how his body changed in the first year or so. :)

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    1. ha actually i would really like to do something like that, but seriously fail at getting reasonable confo shots. gonna try to enlist someone's help in standing him up soon - esp for the one year mark, but i honestly don't have really good photos for the purposes of evaluation, esp when he kinda looked like crap. there have been a ton of changes tho!

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  22. I don't even want to think about what the cost of those supplements comes to! Glad you've gotten him to a diet that works for him, something it's quite the challenge!
    When I was taking the boys home everyone said Stampede would become fat for the first time ever. Jokes on them, he has lost weight because he walks around all day and is still eating almost the same amount of grain he did in work. Special needs horse for the win.
    I should write a post on how I have changed their diets since they came home. Can I just say I love having complete control of everything to do with my ponies!

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    1. sometimes i feel a little overwhelmed by having full control and autonomy over my horse's life and diet - like maybe it would be more reassuring to have someone else's seal of approval. but actually i also really appreciate being able to make snap decisions at will, esp with regard to any treatments or medication. if i wanna do it? i do it! haha.

      also tho - yea would love to read about how your care programs have changed for the boys since they moved!

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  23. I love Nutrena Pro Force Fuel. If Aria could eat it, she would have been on it when I needed her to gain weight (now she could stand to lose 50lbs. Haha).
    I feed her Nutrena Empower Boost instead and it does a great job.
    I do enjoy (and get frustrated) researching feed options for weight management. Sometimes it seems there is no science to it! Haha.

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    1. the fuel really does seem like good stuff. i'm legit biased towards it now after seeing a wide variety of horses in work do well with it. and yea i know what you mean about the 'no science' thing - it can be so challenging to distinguish between the psuedo science marketing gimmicky nonsense and the real deal!

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  24. He's looking really good! It's amazing what good nutrition will do for them. Both of our Mustangs had complete changes in their coat once we brought them home. Nilla too since she was living in a cattle pasture before. Give them good food and good vitamins, and oh the changes. I've thought about doing Platinum Performance, but the cost for 3 horses is just too painful.

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    1. it definitely ain't cheap, that's for sure, bleh! but like you say - the good nutrition makes such a difference!! the transformations of your own horses is no joke either!

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  25. If you ever have some spare cash I recommend FeedXL as far as like a nutrition building website. I know you like data like me which is why I am recommending it for analysis purposes (SCIENCE!!) I ran so many scenarios through that thing when my friend and I shared an account

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    1. Oooooooh I <3 science! And data! That sounds like a great tool for really developing a deeper understanding of how all the various fat proteins fibers vitamins and minerals all interact together to create a balanced diet. Something I'm still kinda trying to piece together.

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  26. Nice work Emma! I love all the things you mentioned. Pro Force Fuel is awesome stuff! I'm a big believer in FF for feet. Isn't is awesome being in charge of what your horse eats???

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  27. I really found this interesting. I've always had traditionally easy keepers (thanks draft lineage!) but I am fascinated by supplements and health. I have heard great things about Platinum Performance and had Georgie on it for a bit. It's expensive though. Ugh. Maybe the price will come down some day...

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  28. Farriers Formula basically saved Pig's feet when he was in Ohio. I solidly put my faith behind it. That said, once he was on full pasture he didn't need it anymore. What he did need was a basic multi-vitamin, though. He had a huge hay belly and just didn't seem to be as radiantly healthy as he could have been. When I added in ration balancer (initially for the multivitamin aspect, not necessarily for the protein) he really took off! Vitamins and mineral balance is definitely key, just like with people. Grass helps a ton, though. I think that's really the best source of goodies for ponies. :)

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  29. yay! Glad you are finding waht is working best for him.

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