First off, S/O to everyone for the huge outpouring of support in my last post.
Secondly, I got a massive response on my FB to my most recent progress pic of Mr. RedBaby and his eating habits. Quite a few asked how I did it.
No but really
Ok, but really. It is really expensive and not for the faint of heart to try and fatten up an OTTB. Let alone a five year old. Notoriously difficult, renounced for their ability to eat everything in sight and not gain a pound, the thoroughbred, IMO, is one of the toughest keepers out there, in general.
Yankee was my guinea pig. He wasn't exactly skinny, but he wasn't in excellent condition either. I got him about 3 weeks off the track and he looked like a greyhound. OTTBs come right off the track with tight bellies and huge muscles. Transforming their bodies around into riding horses takes a massive amount of calories. Lets not even mention winter. I spent about 6 years finding the right mix of grain, hay and supps for Yanks and now he's fat as a fiddle.
Lets start with this picture of B, the day I brought him home.
|NOMNOM EAT ALL THE THINGS|
That being said. I wanted another 100# at least on him. Ribs gone, hips filled in and hulk out those muscles. This would not be cheap or easy.
Since the diet Yankee was on kept him slick and fat, I decided to go with that for B as well. I'd played around for years with different nutritional information and finally found one that worked. Why mess with a good thing? The key to success is READ THE LABELS.
The boys get TWO types of grain NOT pre-mixed, hand mixed at every feeding. This ensures exact proportions everytime! The first grain is SafeChoice Perform by Nutrena & the other is Omelene 200 by Purina. Both available at TSC for about $17/bag.
Click the link for more info. At a glance though,
SCP has 14% protein, 9% fat, 15% fiber + array of other nutrients
Omelene 14% protein, 6% fat, 7.5% fiber + amplify fat nuggets
I chose this particular blend for the high fat, high protein in each. 9% fat is A MUST for my boys. Anything less, and they drop weight. I mix grain to balance out the nutrients in each, and cut back on the sweet feed component in Omelene.
Bacardi gets an entire scoop of each at each feeding. Twice a day. Thats 6 lbs @ AM/PM, for 12 lbs A DAY!
At first, I was also giving him 2 lbs of beet pulp in the AM. but he got picky and quit eating it after 4 weeks. I also did not see much of a difference with it. So, I have an entire unopened bag just chillen in my barn if anyone wants it.
What REALLY made the difference was getting his skinny ass on Smartpaks. I know there are a lot of you out there skeptical of the benefits of feeding supplements. I swear by it though! I actually did a post a while back on what I give Yankee (also took years to perfect) if you're curious.
Bacardi gets Cool Calories 100 (2 sc in AM, 1 in PM), SmartDigest, SmartShine and SmartFlex II Support. CC100 provides essential fatty acids for skin and hair condition, calories for weight gain and exercise performance. Contains 5 times the fat of an equal amount of high fat, stabilized rice bran, which is bangin' when it comes to a fat supp. SD is designed to support healthy digestion by providing probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes. The key to sups? SHOP AROUND. Use that handy "compare" button SmartPak gives you to find what exactly benefits you and your horse!
SmartDigest and CoolCals obviously related to digestion. Click links for more info!
Another BIG thing to remember is Roughage/forage! "They" say 2lbs of roughage per 100lbs of body weight is appropriate, PER DAY. So, a 1,100 horse would require approx. 22lbs/day through grass or hay. This is a guesstimate though and EVERY horse is different!
People tend to measure by FLAKES, but this is not as accurate as actually weighing the hay out as flake and bale size can differ greatly.
To be honest, I just gave Bacardi as much hay as he would eat, without bothering to weight it. I'm trying to get him to gain weight so I wanted him to stuff his face! (This is the most important key aspect in getting weight on an OTTB, besides providing clean water at all times.) Which attunes to half a bale a day PLUS 12 hours turnout on good quality pasture. With Yankee, he also required alfalfa hay in addition to the grass hay/pasture. (In winter, the boys will get 3lbs of alfalfa cubes/day.) This amounted to a shitload of hay and I've been through about 100 bales in 3 months....and @ $5/bale....
Along with allllll of that, Bacardi (and Yankee) get stalled half the day. In summer, its during daylight, with fans, because they are princess ponies who loathe bugs. In winter, it will be at night. If they had choices, they'd never go out. This is essential to weight gain as well! Horses outside will expend MORE calories by walking around, stomping, etc etc than those inside, sedentary.I TRIED having Yankee on full turnout and not only did he hate it, bu I basically was dumping money down his throat and nothing ever stuck to his ribs.
They also get free choice Himalayan salt licks, as well as access to fresh, clean water at ALL times. They drink so much, its insane. Once I start work, I will have to equip Bacardi with three buckets in his stall.
To sum up a very lengthy post, 12lbs of grain a day, unlmited good quality hay, 12 hours turnout, 12 hours stall, salt, water, and supplements!
Pictorial evidence that it works
|Week 1 on far right, week 4 on bottom left, week 6 on top left|
|Week 8 on top, week 12 on bottom|
In just 12 weeks he's gained probs 10#, and his topline and loins have filled in nicely as well! HILLWORK people! Hillwork, trails and dressage!