Last Autumn Chesney suddenly lost a lot of weight (see my blog here) which was obviously a worrying time. It has taken almost a year to get him back to a good weight but I think we are finally there :)
Chesney is now 21 years old and is a BIG horse at about 17.1hh. He has always eaten huge amounts of hay and not needed much hard feed. He has also always had some sugarbeet with his alfalfa feed during the winter just to help keep the weight on him.
When he started losing weight last year I obviously increased his feed and sugarbeet and following the blood test results put him on a supplement. After his follow up blood test the vet advised stopping the supplement because everything had balanced out.
Putting weight back on him however has proved much more difficult than I had imagined and has taken much, much longer than I expected. Chesney has had sugarbeet and oil in his feed nearly constantly since last Autumn (except for about 8 weeks in June/July) . I also started him on some concentrates at the end of last year. He has only been fed an alfalfa based feed for many years now but this no longer seemed to be keeping the weight on him. After looking into this more and writing my 'Caring for the Older Horse' blog I decided that he may not be digesting and utilising his feed so well as he used to. So I decided that he needed to have a cube or mix to get the Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals into his system more easily. He has been having a cube designed for older horses and this is, I think, what has really made the difference. It has been slow but he has gradually rebuilt the muscle and replaced the fat that he lost this time last year.
I did not expect it to be so difficult to replace his weight, considering how quickly he lost it. The summer grass has helped but not made as rapid a weight increase as I had hoped. When everyone else is trying to keep their horses from becoming too fat (as I am with Basil and Tommy) I have been trying to get Chesney to eat as much grass as possible! I just have to hope that the same thing won't happen this year.
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Until next time!