Earlier this week we had a visit from a Nutritionist from Saracens Horse Feed. Usually this visit includes using a weighbridge, but unfortunately, for our visit the weighbridge wouldn’t work properly. But I still found the visit really helpful.
If you read a lot of our posts, you will know that Scottie has dropped off quite a bit of weight this winter. He doesn’t look awful and I think a lot of it is losing muscle. I noticed he really dropped off behind just before he was diagnosed with arthritis. I kept umming and ahhing about whether to up his feed or not. But I decided not to, thinking the weight would come back as soon as the spring grass came through.
During the visit, the nutritionist Body Condition Scored Scottie, explaining exactly what she was seeing. She explained that she would score him a light 5, 5 being the perfect score. She explained that his neck and hind end was a 5, just lacking muscle, not fat. She said his middle, especially over his rib cage was a bit light. She wouldn’t want him to lose any more over his ribs. Despite this, she said she would probably still score his middle a 4.5 as the ribs aren’t too prominent and he still has a deep belly.
She agreed with me that he just needed to build his muscle back up after being off work. She said the lack of fat would most likely come back with the spring grass but the muscle is the most important thing. Based on this and hearing what I am currently feeding him, she said we are doing the right things. He has pretty much adlib hay, about 7-8kg of hay overnight and is out all day. So he should be getting his minimum of 15kg of forage a day. The only change she suggested was changing his balancer.
Scottie is currently on Baileys Low Calorie balancer, which she said was great for when he was out of work. But now he is coming back into work he could do with a balancer with more protein. She suggested either going back to Baileys Performance Balancer he has been on in the past, or trying Saracens Essential Balancer. Both are low calorie as despite being a little bit light, he doesn’t need more calories, especially heading into summer.
Annoyingly I probably have about 2 months of Low Calorie Balancer left. But in a few weeks I will need to get some more Chaff. So I might pick up a performance balancer when I am there and feed 2 cups low calorie and 1 cup performance balancer until I have run out of low calorie.
Scottie was also weigh taped. The tape put him at 555kg, which she thinks is fairly accurate. Interestingly, for others on the yard she estimated their true weight to be different to the results of the weigh tape. We all know that weigh tapes aren’t that accurate but also weight isn’t always important. It is good to know how much your horse weighs when you have to worm them. But when it comes to feeding them, their body condition score is more important.
If any of you get a chance to have a nutritionist out to see your horse, I highly recommend it. We are planning to have her back again in the summer, hopefully with the weighbridge working that time.
Last Updated on 16/04/2022