At the time he was getting 5 quarts Triple Crown Complete, 5 quarts alfalfa pellets, two scoops of Cool Calories and a squirt of GutX twice daily all soaked because he has no teeth. All this in addition to all he can eat grass and hay. It seemed like a lot since Gem/Pete/Eeyore only get a tiny handful of Tribute Essential K ration balancer twice daily while still trending towards an 8 body score. Something wasn't adding up and it wasn't quantity of food or forage.
|A bit of a wonky stance but you can see how he looked at the start of rehab right before I had the phone call. Lean sure, but also has no top line, his neck is skinny, his butt is non existent.|
I learned a lot from that conversation and immediately threw all my research education out the window as I made ALL THE CHANGES ALL AT ONCE. Yes, I know that that means I have zero idea which individual change made the biggest difference, if any didn't really make a difference but was covered up by others etc....but honestly I don't really care. If it works, then I'll keep doing it.
She recommended that I change to a senior feed. Next she said to swap the pellets for cubes. According to her, the pellets are actually a short stem forage which moves through the GI track pretty fast, taking all the other feed with it thereby reducing the amount of nutrients that get absorbed. Cubes are a long stem forage that stick around the hind gut for a while enhancing absorption of nutrients. That was an easy switch to make. She then said to ditch the Cool Calories. She didn't mind the addition of fat if needed, but said that a high quantity of fat can also move everything through the GI system too quickly. Last, it was recommended that I add Purina Super Sport Amino Acids. Leonard's vet and a local friend I trust with horse care both had previously recommended this as well prior to my phone call with her, so I quickly went online to order a bag. She didn't have much to say plus or minus for the the GutX. I kept it for a while, then ran out and let it go for a month, then noted changes I didn't like in both Lenny and Hammy so I added it back in and those changes went away so GutX is going to stay.
|I don't have a ton of pics from this time because he looked poorly but you can see how he had no muscling at all|
Leonard now gets 4 quarts Tribute Senior Sport, 4 quarts alfalfa cubes, and 1 cup Purina Super Sport twice daily plus a squirt of GutX once daily all soaked because he has no teeth. Plus the grass pasture he has returned to and hay in his stall at all times. Hamilton got changed up a bit too - he gets 4 quarts Tribute Senior Sport and 1 cup Purina Super Sport twice daily plus a squirt of GutX once daily. He is fat but he is my soul mate even if I don't ride him so I don't care. He gets to be fat, shiny and happy.
The change is substantial. Like...he is now bordering on chubby even in a higher workload then ever with me and I might need to scale back the Senior Sport a bit.
|I am the worst at taking pictures but this was one month in. He was not in work at this time and still his top line and back were filling in with muscling, his neck was looking a lot nicer and his ribs were palpable but not visible|
What made the biggest difference? Who the heck knows. I think it all is working though so it stays. I'll keep an eye on him as we move through winter to see if he sheds any weight and then again as the spring grass comes in to make sure he doesn't balloon out again but for now he is perfectly where I want him. It is expensive as all hell to feed him. I went from sharing a single bag of the essential K lasting about 6 weeks for all 3 horses (Pete/Gem/Eeyore) to going through a single bag of the Senior Sport every week split with Hammy and Leonard. The Super Sport is supposed to last 52 days, but I feed both Hammy and Leonard and give them a bit extra and I think a bag is lasting a single month. A bag of cubes lasts 2 weeks and the GutX 1.5 months a bottle.
|I took this one last night as he shoved his face in his dinner mash. Look at his butt!!! It is super round, his top line looks amazing, his ribs are no longer palpable and he is about twice as wide in the front now.|
So....adding that up....
Senior Sport at $53 a bag on Chewy x 4 bags a month - $212
Super Sport at $63 a bag x 1 bag a month = $63
Alfalfa cubes at $22 a bag x 2 a month = $44
Gutx at $113 a month x 0.75 bottles a month = $85
Total: $404 a month though Hammy does get some of that so I think Leonard accounts for $224 of that.
But he is 1000000% worth every single penny it costs to feed him.
Looking at that though...a small aside here.
It costs me $225 to feed Lenny. That doesn't include hay which we admittedly go through very little each year as our pastures stay green nearly year round. That doesn't include bedding fees. That doesn't include the fact that we obviously have to pay taxes and mortgage on the land he sits in the pasture of. Also doesn't include utilities, upkeep of fences, arena maintenance, or my time doing all the chores.
For those who board and complain about the costs...if anyone is paying less than $700 a month to board consider yourself extremely lucky. Even at $700 the BO is probably breaking even maybe making a few bucks to stash away at best. Be kind to your BO's folks. Housing horses is expensive!