In late May/early June I started giving Hemie some probiotics to help put some flesh over his ribs. I’ve gone through the whole bag (he got it ~5 days a week for about 7 weeks), and here’s how he looks:
|Some ribs still visible.|
So, not super successful. In terms of his overall physique, the fact that I can see some ribs is the only issue I have. He has good muscling (for our level) and minimal fat stores.
To use an objective measurement, I would rate Hemie as a 4.5 on the Body Condition Score. Darn close to the “ideal” of 5.
This leads me to a few choices:
- Buy another bag of probiotics and give it more time to see improved results.
- Instead of probiotics, add more hay to his diet (as many readers suggested).
- Do nothing. Get over it.
Probiotics helped my first horse gain weight, but to be honest that was so long ago I can’t remember how long it took before I started seeing results. So it’s possible I just need to give it more time.
On the other hand, maybe I’m just being overly sensitive to the fact I can see ribs. Most other people at the barn don’t think he looks too skinny. TBs are known to stay on the leaner side of the spectrum.
As for hay, I’ve got a few options if I go that route, and would love opinions!
- Pay my facility an additional $50/month for 1 extra flake served at lunch. I would likely chose alfalfa (he currently gets 1 flake alf + 1 flake oat, morning and night).
- Keep hay in my car or somehow try to store it at the ranch (pretty sure that’s against facility policy) and feed him an extra dinner most nights a week. Would be cheaper but could get me in trouble. Better to ask forgiveness than permission? Ethically challenging to me.
- A magical idea I have invented (maybe) and would seriously like opinions on: buying a full bale of grass or grass-alfalfa mixed hay and leaving the whole bale in his stall for him to eat free-choice. I’ve never seen other people do this at any boarding facility I’ve been at. Not even sure if this would be allowed at the facility, though I could make a case for it. Thoughts?