Dieting Horse - which weight?

sychnant

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When you are dieting your horse, and giving them 2% of their bodyweight in total feed per day - is this current or desired bodyweight??

Having a discussion with a friend, and we are disagreeing!
 

Casey76

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2% dry weight of *forage* If you include hard/cereal feed, a conversion needs to be done regarding the amount of energy it contains.

Generally you would feed 2% of desired weight or 1.5% of current weight (whichever is greater) - but this refers to forage only.
 
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I believe it is supposed to be their target weight.

My horse dropped 110kg (520kg to 408kg on the weigh tape) by having her diet restricted to 7.5kg a day. I based that on the weigh tape being about 100kg out v her actual weight based on when we had some horses actually weighed v what the tape said. In any event, it worked. Took a few months but that was 3 years ago. I have maintained the lower weight since then and now she is on 4kg hay at night, plus half a scoop of hifi lite and unlimited straw chop. She goes out in the field from 8 to 5 every day, but can wander around a small chippings paddock from her stable at night. Hope this helps if your horse is about to embark on a diet!
 

sychnant

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Thanks both!

Mine are on hardcore turnout overnight and in during the day, as our clay soil is terrible at the moment.

They have all lost a bit over the last week, but are getting through their rations too quickly even with small holed nets. I will work out 1.5% of current weights and see if they can have a little bit more.
 
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I too am trying to burn off pony's weight but really am at a loss how any pony survives on 1.5% to 2% of their bodyweight - say your ponys around 400kg that equates to 8kg all day which is not even half a bale of hay - I just cant see how this can be done when balanced with also keeping them constantly trickle fed for their digestion etc - I am currently doing double net, trickle net, oat straw, but know she still gets through all her daily allowance & is then stood for hours not eating! I think its impossible to keep a pony stabled for 12 hours & give them such a small measure of forage when taking out the allowance for daytime! Its really niggling me now!!!
 

Brownmare

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I too am trying to burn off pony's weight but really am at a loss how any pony survives on 1.5% to 2% of their bodyweight - say your ponys around 400kg that equates to 8kg all day which is not even half a bale of hay - I just cant see how this can be done when balanced with also keeping them constantly trickle fed for their digestion etc - I am currently doing double net, trickle net, oat straw, but know she still gets through all her daily allowance & is then stood for hours not eating! I think its impossible to keep a pony stabled for 12 hours & give them such a small measure of forage when taking out the allowance for daytime! Its really niggling me now!!!
The 1.5 or 2% is Dry Matter Intake, so if your hay is 80% dry matter you need to take account of that and to feed 8kg DM you need to feed 10kg of hay
 

Brownmare

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Oh that makes it so much more doable - do you know how much the average DM is for hay please?
Anywhere from 70 - 90%! But last summer was so hot most would be towards the 90% end. The best way to be sure is to get some tested. A basic nutritional forage analysis is not much more than a tenner and you then know exactly what you are feeding
 
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Thank you that's most helpful as Ive been puzzling over this for a while! I spoke to my hay supplier about testing & the trouble is every delivery of hay (21 bales a time) will come from such a wide area of different fields it would be different every time but yes I might just do it as it would give me a better starting point - thank you
 
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Im also feeding part haylage to vary - this has even lower dry matter doesn't it so I assume I can feed more of it - quite puzzling at times isn't it?!?
 

Brownmare

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Im also feeding part haylage to vary - this has even lower dry matter doesn't it so I assume I can feed more of it - quite puzzling at times isn't it?!?
Yes, haylage is generally lower DM but the stuff we made last year was still over 70%! There is a really good diet guide on the Blue Cross website called Fat Horse Slim which I found very helpful
 

Cortez

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I too am trying to burn off pony's weight but really am at a loss how any pony survives on 1.5% to 2% of their bodyweight - say your ponys around 400kg that equates to 8kg all day which is not even half a bale of hay - I just cant see how this can be done when balanced with also keeping them constantly trickle fed for their digestion etc - I am currently doing double net, trickle net, oat straw, but know she still gets through all her daily allowance & is then stood for hours not eating! I think its impossible to keep a pony stabled for 12 hours & give them such a small measure of forage when taking out the allowance for daytime! Its really niggling me now!!!
My 15.1 (500kg) and 15.2 hand (480kg) horses get 8.5kg of hay each per day as their normal ration, no hard feed, and half a day or so out at pasture. They are fit and in good condition on this regime (in light work), any more and they would be overweight. This is not ad lib hay, they empty their nets and are without hay between feeds (4 X per day), but can nibble at their straw beds when in.
 

Brownmare

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Are you soaking hay too? My fatty is getting 50% straw and 50% soaked hay with a feed of Topchop Zero to mix his supplements in. Soaking the hay means he can have a bit more bulk for the same calorific value
 
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I wasn't soaking but am going to from today & then steaming it - I cannot find any oat straw locally so have bought oat straw chaff to leave her to nibble on, I've also just bought a no fill rug to replace the 100 shes currently in as she is fully clipped. Hopefully now the evenings are drawing out we can exercise her more, currently shes ridden 5 times a week.
Operation fat bust under way!!!
 

Cortez

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I wasn't soaking but am going to from today & then steaming it - I cannot find any oat straw locally so have bought oat straw chaff to leave her to nibble on, I've also just bought a no fill rug to replace the 100 shes currently in as she is fully clipped. Hopefully now the evenings are drawing out we can exercise her more, currently shes ridden 5 times a week.
Operation fat bust under way!!!
Why are you steaming soaked hay? No need to do that at all.
 
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I guess it depends how long you soak the hay for because the water becomes affluent doesn't it? & because I was going to soak in our sink next to the back door where the steamer is located I was going to bung the haynet on top of the other one being steamed for other pony with COPD - we've not completed our yard set up & have problems getting rid of waste water in the winter - just easier to soak in butler sink & water then goes down the drain!
 

Brownmare

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Why are you steaming soaked hay? No need to do that at all.
The current thinking is that long soaking periods result in bacterial build up in the hay, so steaming kills the bacteria. Personally I wouldn't bother in the winter but when the weather warms up it is probably worth doing
 

Cortez

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I guess it depends how long you soak the hay for because the water becomes affluent doesn't it? & because I was going to soak in our sink next to the back door where the steamer is located I was going to bung the haynet on top of the other one being steamed for other pony with COPD - we've not completed our yard set up & have problems getting rid of waste water in the winter - just easier to soak in butler sink & water then goes down the drain!
I think you'll find that all the draining water will "kill" the steam....
 
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I need to get my head around how best to soak due to our stable logistics but as the steamers on I was planning on bunging in the soaked haynet as well, yes to kill any bacteria - might seem like overkill but as its within arms reach thought it worth doing - bah horses!
 
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