I have 4 Quarter Horses and seem to have the same problem with three of them. I used to work for a horse vet and I'm taking him a fecal sample to see if there is some sort of worm issue I'm fighting. I rotate worming on a regular basis and feed Stradegy. They get feed from a round coastal bale all day and a large scope of the Stradegy. I also added some alfalfa but it's not helping. They aren't dropping their feed because I've watched and teeth have been floated. I tried the beet pulp for 6 months and that didn't work either. I'm pulling my hair out, trying to figure this out. One mare is plump and beautiful but the rest are just losing weight. My sister said the Texas drought is effecting them worse than any other animal. I don't know.....
Rulling out any medical issues, I would say that upping the hay intake would be your best bet, as opposed to adding more grain. Free choice of a good quality grass hay or a grass/alfalfa mix would be appropriate. As mentioned, a regular de-worming schedule as well as annual floating of the teeth is recommended. One other consideration....is the horse fed his hay in a group? If so, it is possible that the others may be running him off, so that he does not get enough of the hay to keep or up his weight. Are you feeding round or square bales?
p.s. If there is no pasture to speak of, and usually this time of year it is rather picked over....consider feeding hay in the field. Some square bales divided placed all over the pasture...more piles than horses. For example, if you have 4 horses, put out 6 piles, well spaced apart, so that each gets a pile and one or two horses don't hog the area, running off others.
I just got back the fecal samples from all 4 horses and they came back negative. In addition, my husband built a barn to separate them and keep them out of rain, cold, etc.; this includes each a run so that they are able to get out of their stalls if desired. Now their diet consists of 3/4 scoop of Stradegy, 1/2 scoop of beet pulp (saturaded with water), 1 flake of coastal, and 1/2 flake of alfalfa. They are in their individual stalls in the evening when fed and the outside door is left open so they can go to their individual runs. They get let out in the morning around 7:30am to 100 acres and a coastal round bale. I've noticed they are gaining weight but it appears to be more in their guts because I still see some ribs. Could this because they are not being ridden? I had a tibia plataeu fracture (severe knee and leg break) back in February 2011 and cannot ride for another 3 months from complications after a fall. Or is my food combination wrong? Also, how long should the beet pulp be saturated in water and then mixed with Stradegy before fed? One last thing: What vaccines do you recommend? and how often. We live in Central Texas with water: sometimes none and sometimes alot.
I forgot to mention the total weight of the beet pulp (with water) and Stradegy is 6 pounds. This seems like alot but with some research; this is a maximum.
Thanks for your reply. Is the Strategy and Beet Pulp and the Hay you mentioned a once-a-day ration? Or is he getting that a couple-few times a day? Well, here is a good guideline about feeding: For a The amount of food you feed him in a day should be about 2.5 percent of his body weight (the weight you want him to be). For a 1200 pound horse , that would be about 8.2kg (18.0lbs) of forage per day, and 5.5kg (12.0lbs) of concentrates per day. Your forage would be hay or good quality pasture and your concentrates would be your grain (Strategy). You will need to divide all that into 3 or 4 servings a day (don't feed that all at once). For example, my horses get the grain portion divided into 2 feedings per day and the hay divided into 4 servings per day. PLUS, they are on pasture. You really do need to weigh this all out, especially the hay, as some bales/flakes are heavier than others. I would recommend, again, a good quality grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix.
If you are no longer riding, and he is down in weight, he is most likely losing muscle, which will present itself mostly in the back/spine area giving a "bloated" look to the belly (given that there are no parasites). It will look like he is "sinking". When he is being ridden again, you will have to adjust his feed to up the content to compensate for what is lost during exercise.
Here is a good website (British, so they talk in kilograms..) that will give you more information about feeding requirements.
As for the vaccines....I am in Ohio so I could tell you what I vaccinate for, but your horses in TX will have only some of the same requirements, not the same of the others. Please check with your vet on this.
My boy doesnt care for alfalfa i bought a bag of it all cubed up and he just turned his lip and spit it out. he is with one other horse on about 4-6 acres of land *including whats outside the pasture* im not 100% sure what the exect amount of acerage is. their hay is giving twice a day once at 6 in the morning and again at night but latley we have been adding more to that and giving them some in the afternoon.
Beet pulp has been hard to get our hands on for some reason but he seems to have gained a fair bit of weight its almost like over night he ballooned but i also have noticed its most;y in his barrel that he is gaining and the odd few ribs are still showing. he is on Charger and is due for a worming once again.
I have watched for him dropping his food and he hasnt in fact i noticed he more less pushes half of it aside and forces himself to eat so we cut it back by half a scoop. when we do get our hands on some beet pulp we are planing on doing 1 scoop of beet pulp to one scoop of charger. and if its to much cutting it in half. in the summer we are also planing on doing this were he will be on a far amount of green grass as we have our pasture cut off in half in the spring.
We rotate the stalls with them as the mare we have is more a pig then our gelding and shes a lot smaller then him.and he doesnt always eat his hay in the stall hed rather stick his head over and eat it out of the round bale thats stored close to his stall. by switching them we discovered we now have a garbage disposel horse and a waster lol. Caras being the waster and the mare being the pig that goes behind him and finishes what he has left in the stall. He has seemed to gain some weight but a lot of it is musscel from working him (more like fighting with him to go anywhere, very barn sour but making some progress)
Try rice bran high in fat and alot safer then adding more grain. You will see a big difference in your horses all the way around.