TB Nutrition

April 19, 2009 | By Terry B. | 2 comments

I am having MAJOR problems convincing the owners of the barn where I board my 17 hh, should-be-1300-lb TB, that he needs to have more feed, in addition to the large amount of hay he's getting. He's already been moved twice before because of this (and other issues) and I really am tired of trying to convince people that a TB can't thrive and maintain weight on 6lbs and less of feed. I'm in Missouri now and the barn he's in now is a H/J barn with "experienced" owner/trainer. I never had this problem in Indiana. My vet wants his feed upped to 14 lbs of cool cal feed to put on weight quickly. In 2 wks he will go from the winter dry lot to 10 hr+ t/o on good grass pasture. A big stumbling block is that the BO and most of the other boarders use a different vet clinic and 2 of the boarders are a vet and a vet tech for that clinic, so I'm being ganged up on. This is not my first TB and at a good weight I have never fed less than 10 lbs of feed plus all the grass/hay they could eat. When rehabbing a super skinny OTTB, I worked him up to 16 lbs until he reached ideal weight. My vet is with me and my other vets and barn experiences have used similar feed amts for their TBs. How do I convince these people that what I am asking is normal for the breed and that TBs should NOT be equated with wild horses/QH/paints and other easy keepers?
Comments (2)

5 years ago

Does your boarding contract say they will feed what the horse needs to maintain condition, or does it just specify up to a certain amount? At my barn, for example, they will provide up to 4 flakes of timothy, alfalfa or a combination (a flake to me means 7 lbs, seems to mean slightly less to them) and either oats or COB. Anything else my horse needs I have to buy and mix myself, and they will feed what I provide according to my directions. Fortunately, my WB/Arab is an easy keeper and I knew he would do fine with a few supplements plus what the boarding contract specified.
When I had my senior stallion who was ill and dropping weight, they gave me a break--I had been paying an extra $50 stallion fee for years, even though he was easier to handle than 90% of the mares and geldings, so they provided soaked beet pulp and hay pellets for him without charging me any extra.
Reread the fine print in your boarding contract-you have every right to expect what they say they will provide.

Ellen-Cathryn N.

Ellen-Cathryn N.
6 years ago

Hi Terry,

You may be having problems with your barn manager and the vets because I will bet there are not too many off track TBs there. All of my TB rescues were off track and in some cases it takes years for them to get the weight back on.

You are a paying customer so put your foot down and demand they feed your horse properly. They DO need a lot more grain and hay than other horses. My Quarterhorse has to wear a grazing muzzle or he will 'hoover' that pasture until he becomes laminitic! He gets 2 quarts in the morning and night. He gets fat on air!

I know it is stressful for both of you, if you are uncomfortable do you have a male friend, husband, or brother etc. who can talk to these people? Usually, they think we are just dumb and worry over nothing. They probably don't want to feed your horse more because it will cost them more money!

Some people just suck!

Good luck, and keep well,


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