putting weight on an old horse

Andrea and Rocky

August 11, 2020

Our story starts out 2.5 years ago. Rocky is a black 13 year old TWH! Here is how it all began. I've had multiple surgeries on my left ankle and it was becoming quite clear that if I wanted to continue endurance riding, I would need to get a gaited horse as posting was not going to work for 50 miles. At the time I owned 2 horses one of which is my heart horse and the other I have raised since birth but we were not best buds. My best friend and him were best buds and she was starting to ask if she could buy him. Once I realized that I was only riding him because I should and not because I wanted to, I sold him. That opened the door for me to start my search for a gaited horse. My first step was to post an ad on Facebook explaining what I was looking for and what I was able to spend. By the grace of God someone answered my ad with almost exactly what I was looking for. He wasn't to far away and I was able to go meet and ride him out on the trail. It was love at first sight! He was level headed, smooth and just plain beautiful. I asked if I could try him out for 2 weeks and then make a final decision. Although I knew in my heart that he would not be going back. I rode him for a lot of miles and decided that he was going to be staying with me.

This is where things started to get interesting in terms of his weight. He went from being ridden 1-5 times a year to being ridden 1-2 times a week. He was on the skinny side of things when I bought him and his previous owner was very upfront about the fact that he was a hard keeper and that with limited riding she was having a hard time keeping weight on him. I'm an endurance rider I know how to feed a horse, I didn't think to much about it. I told here what I feed and it was almost exactly what she feeds so it was a match made in heaven. About 4 months later it became quite clear that I needed help. One of my friends is very good at reading labels and was feeling up to the task of taking him in and getting him back on track.We moved him form the pasture board (more about that later) to her house and in 4months she had him back up to weight and happy.

This is what we were feeding:

- 1 flake alfalfa

- 2 flakes timothy

- all the local hay and grass he wanted

- 1 qt rice bran

- 1 qt haystack

- 2 qt horse guard simplete essentials

At the end of 4 months he was back up to weight and I was back to riding him consistently and he was maintaining weight.We felt confident that he could go back to where the other horses were.They were on a 5 acre pasture and we sectioned of a 1.5 acre area for him due to his special diet. The owner of the pasture was supposed to feed every night. After about a month he decided he did not want to do this anymore and that I needed to find another place for them. This actually because a godsend in the long-run although I didn't see it at the time. They were currently 45 min from my home and so I got on craigslist in hopes to find something in the right price range closer to home. On the first search I found a place that was $25 more amonth per horse and it was 10 min from my house. Each horse would have a 1/2 acre paddock to themselves and I was going to be in complete control of their food because I would have to feed everyday. It became quite clear that in their other environment they were not being fed everyday because I was going through the food was faster than before. This was going to be in the best interest of the horses! The horses have been in their new place for a about 1.5 years now and I couldn't be happier. It still remained that Rocky was having a hard time maintaining his topline. he was holding weight while being worked but he was still lacking something and I couldn't put my finger on it. This horse is the pickiest eater I have ever met. If the hay is to steamy, he won't eat it, if his mash is not sloppy enough he won't eat it, if it's to hot outside, he won't finish his mash. He just seemed like he was stuck in a rut and he didn't have the drive to go more that 11 miles happily. We haven't done any endurance rides this year because I just felt he wasn't up to the task. I poseted this in one of my facebook groups and Ann private messaged me about this product called Equsani X-Fit and told me how it was working for her horses.My first thought was "great something else to pour down the drain". I voiced my concerns and she agreed to sell me 2 weeks worth to see if I noticed any difference. If I did great, I could buy my own bucket, and if I didn't then I was only out $20. I two weeks time I noticed that he was eagerly awaiting feeding time and he would talk to me until I gave him his food. We have a system and he is second in line. He now marches into his stall and attacks his mash and finishes it 98% of the time. He is eating more grass and more hay as well. I have never seen this horse so happy to eat.

This is what he is eating now:

- 2-3 flakes of timothy

- All the grass he wants

- 1 qt haystack

- 2 qt triple crown complete

- 3 oz Equsani X-Fit

- northwest horse supplement

Rocky's coat has changed in 2 weeks, his is picking up weight in his topline and he just seems to have more energy that he can draw from. So happy that Ann told me about this product. I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm now thinking he just might make and endurance horse. I have been absolutely amazed by all the coat color changes this horse has gone through in 2.5 years. He is truly an amazing black.