- Lower his BCS with a low starch/low sugar/high fiber concentrate. The digestibility of the hay was very low so this would help the digestibility of the hay, too.
- Not lower his busy-work feeding - he was stalled too much - he had begun cribbing out of boredom and frustration.
- Somewhat affordable because there was no discount on board if I stopped feeding the 12% barn grain - so the feed costs were additional. AND I had to pay for any hay over the 4 thin flakes/day. This was MY goal, TJ did not factor in cost, only suitability.
The whole "Plan" is HERE, but due to some questionable grain storage practices I ended up switching entirely to the Safe N Lite instead of the 50/50 mixture I had listed.
We seemingly met our goals in the Spring. The barn move greatly helped with a number of things including increased pasture access (from random less than 5 hours to up to 12 hours/day.)
However, as the winter began we noticed weight loss and I believe some energy loss as well. I don't mind having this calm, collected guy, but his BCS is too low. So it's back to the math.
I can't (thankfully) make this Rocket Surgery type science this time because I'm estimating the DE in the hay rather than having it analyzed. I think we were, in fact, underfeeding him this fall. When he was getting all that grazing (1.5 lbs/hour estimated) he was fine. The BM thinks he currently gets an estimated 18-25lbs grass hay per day. He gets a good 18-20 in his stall, but some hay is fed in the pasture so it's hard to accurately guess how much he's getting of that. I can't really do math with 18-25lbs, so I'm using 20. He had been getting 2lbs Safe N Lite each day. Then in fall it was upped to 3lbs/day. With that ration he SHOULD have been fine on DE of 21.48 Mcal/day, but apparently not. NRC guidelines list 20 Mcal/Day for adult horses in light work.
He is currently getting 5lbs S&L/day bringing him up to 23.4 Mcal/Day. This SHOULD be enough... wasn't he an easy keeper!?!?!
A new puzzle piece to this problem is that I will now be going through 1 BAG EVERY 10 DAYS!!! That is a lovely $52/month for 3 bags. When I made the choice to move him to S&L it was cheaper per bag than now and we were feeding so very little. I get an $18 discount on my board for providing my own grain. If I switch to one of the barn grains: Strategy or Kalm N EZ, I can pay only $18/month for grain AND not have to make trips to the feed store.
So what next? Some more math and research. Kalm N EZ was one of the grains TJ analyzed for me. She was looking for low starch low sugar feeds so she did not analyze Strategy. Max is on Strategy Healthy Edge, but that has to be bought by the owner.
A possible switch to KNEZ will be feeding him 2lbs/day giving him 21.44 Mcal/day. I just bought 3 bags of S&L, so when she's at the last bag I'll probably start switching him over. If the 23.4 Mcal/day seems to be helping over the next few weeks (he's been on that a few weeks now) I might do 3 lbs/day which ups it to closer to the DE he's on right now.
On a side note: I missed two days at the barn due to long work days and crappy winter snow. It's amazing how quickly 3" of snow can cripple a city that doesn't have enough plows. Anyway, I rode last night with the help of the BM telling me when he was "round" like Monet told me to make him. I'm much more of a visual thinker than a tactile one. I would LOVE mirrors in the arena! His neck was not solid but the two hard bumps were definitely there. Before and after the ride I did stretches. I broke down and did it with treats - need to go buy carrots. I was reading an article and it said to do the stretches in a special location to help prevent the horse from being grabby. His annoying grabbiness has been the reason he doesn't get treats. Can I train him to know the difference? He certainly stretched further and longer with the food reward than with the pat/verbal praise award. Hopefully we can keep him from being like this: