Eat Already, Horse!!

I’ve posted about this subject before I’m sure, but once again, Subi has decided that eating is optional. This time however, it’s not not both meals, but simply breakfast.

Huh.

Really. Really. Frustrating.

Now, he does get different combinations for breakfast vs dinner. Breakfast he usually gets beet pulp and grain (omolene, soaked senior) and dinner he gets soaked cubes (timothy alfalfa as he’d NEVER eat plain alfalfa or plain timothy) and beet pulp plus grain (omolene, soaked senior, and fat). He takes a good 3 hours to eat the cube/grain mix so that is NOT an option in the morning. Sorry. I feed at 6:20 and he has until 7:40 to eat. He usually walks away by 7 on a good day now. 6:45 on most days. He’s just NOT interested. Dinner? He’s interested. Breakfast? No. He’s hungry for dinner because he doesn’t eat breakfast…

I’ve tried a partial grain reset (omolene plus beet pulp). I’ve tried a full grain reset (just omolene. I’ve tried mixing omolenes (200 plus 500). I’ve tried cutting his chopped hay (he had been getting a bucket of chopped hay in the morning). I’ve tried adding a flake of hay next to his grain so he doesn’t bother to wonder off to the hay when he decides he’d rather eat hay vs grain.

The only thing I haven’t bothered with is a small version of his dinner. Some soaked cubes (1/2 scoop) mixed with his morning ration of omolenes (I’m adding in the 500 as it’s higher fat so maybe that’ll help keep weight… Might be worth a try. He does better on weekends when I can give him 3 hours with breakfast. I’m just not willing to get up 2 hours earlier to make that happen during the week.

At this point, I don’t care WHAT he eats, just THAT he eats. He now gets his MSM in his dinner vs breakfast. No other supplements. I can’t risk him not eating.

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He still looks good weight wise and he’s eating a crazy amount of hay. He just is being finicky about grain. Stupid horse. Vet doesn’t care what he eats either. The best grain in the world is no good if he won’t eat. I’m tempted to buy a massive vat of molasses and add that too. I just worry about not eating heading into winter. Granted it’s been super hot and he’s had his winter coat… Maybe that’s played a role? Who knows…

I’m open to suggestions. He’s been like this his entire life. The older he gets, the pickier… Vet warned me that some TBs are like this and I have one… I’ve met people who have heard stories of picky thoroughbreds but haven’t met one. I have one. Lucky me. Yay.

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I’m NOT the biggest Purina fan AT ALL. But, this horse is BEYOND picky. Subi will not eat: Buckeye senior (both their seniors), will NOT eat nutrena senior, nutrena safe choice, will not eat nutrena proforce fuel, not eat purina ultium, strategy, etc. picks at TC Senior (he’s always sort of eaten it, but wastes half of it so we’re at a 50% waste rate and can never keep his weight with it), Purina Senior and Senior Active (“new” formula — at Active until they adjusted the formula. He ate regular senior for a while a few times), several others that I don’t feel like listing… Too tired. He currently gets Blue Seal Sentinel Senior now mixed with his dinner. Won’t eat it solo now, but it makes a good mash. His favorite feed has been Progressive Senior Sweet, but the local Progressive Dealer stopped dealing and I decided after 3 or 4 trips (directly from the garage of a vet who served as the next closest distributor in the area–he put feed aside for me, I left him a check and loaded my feed in my car), I wasn’t driving 70 miles to buy this feed for Subi. It’s a shame because the close Progressive dealer served ALL my feed stores. I boycotted them for about a year… They claimed Subi would eat the Buckeye and it was the same. Nope. Wouldn’t eat it. They guaranteed it. Promised me. Not that they refunded my money when he wouldn’t touch it. Batty enjoyed that bag of feed.

13 thoughts on “Eat Already, Horse!!

  1. Super frustrating. If he is keeping his weight is there a reason he has to have grain and not just high quality forage? If you add a high protein ration balancer (I use Tribute at the moment) and mix with some molasses to tempt him would he do ok?

  2. We have a 26 year old Oldenburg and board a 27 year old Arab. Both have teeth worn down to the gum line. They get hay all day, but like you, that’s not nearly enough. They get soaked food throughout the day, basically the same things you’ve tried – alfalfa cubes, senior, beet pulp, alfalfa pellets. The only thing I didn’t see on your list is rice bran, which they absolutely love. It has a high fat content and really helps keep the weight on, as well as a shiny coat. You could try mixing your grain in rice bran and see if it makes it more palatable. I feel your pain. It’s a lot harder taking good care of these guys than most people realize.

    • He hasn’t liked rice bran in the past, though maybe he’d eat it now? He gets the buckeye ultimate finish at night which has rice bran but won’t eat straight rice bran. Used to do the envision for the same reason.

      He has GREAT teeth thankfully. He hasn’t been floated yet but the vet checked him last month and he’s still good.

  3. So he sounds a lot Irish (who’s an Appendix but with a lot of TB in his QH lines too). What you describe is EXACTLY like Irish. I tried everything over the years. He would eat it for a bit and then stop. The Purina feeds he would eat but they went right through him and he lost weight. She I brought him home I was able to experiment. And I decided to experiment with oats (I did a whole post on this a few years ago and can try to find it for you). I know oats have a bad name but honestly Irish never ever got hot on them. I started him on just crushed oats with a vitamin to balance out the feed. He began to thrive. But he didn’t always finish his meals. On advice from another blogger I started to give him lysine for his top line. There was a side benefit of him beginning to eat everything. So now he’s on a diet of crushed oats mixed with a fat n fibre pellet and lysine. At night I give him a feed of soaked alfalfa (and am experimenting with fibre nuggets soaked. He seems to like those). I know that some thought I was crazy but Irish does not do well on highly processed foods.

    • Subi isn’t that hot of a horse and since he’s 100% retired… honestly if he ate regularly, he’d be fat. Top line, he has none, but he’s also been retired for 2+ years so… I’m not against oats — my Hayley was on them— just not sure he’ll eat them and I’m so sick of wasting money! But I’ll try everything once or three times… lysine is interesting too. Eating stuff is the problem!

      I laugh because I’ve stumped feed reps. They’ve given up. Just make him. Um? You try. Then they started telling me to mix feeds and I knew we hit a whole new realm! Maybe I’ll buy some oats. Worth a try…

  4. I don’t know if you have access to it, but have you tried haylage/chaffhay? We got some samples at one point and ours liked it (though they generally aren’t picky). Does he like treats? I wonder if you could make his feed into little muffins with chopped carrots and molasses mixed in and feed it like treats?

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