He is no longer receiving a grain ration.
For years, he ate lots and lots of expensive, high-calorie grain (Ultium) and it kept him in weight, but I was never comfortable with the quantity he was consuming. If we tried to reduce his feed, he would lose condition and we would have to bump him up again. We tried different strategies like supplements, beet pulp, and alfalfa pellets, but all of them failed or were rejected by him. He eats very slowly and has to finish so much food that it would take forever for him to eat his meals. I am glad that he doesn't bolt his food, but I always worried about how much concentrate he was packing away.
So why the change?
Well, like many things with Harley, he initiated it himself. He has been eating haystretcher pellets with his grain since last fall and he loves them. He also loves hay. So much so that he started leaving his grain before it was finished to eat his hay. At first this was alarming, but his appetite was clearly fine and his weight didn't drop even over the winter. I have been riding him much less so his caloric requirements are less than they ever have been since I have owned him. The barn owner systematically reduced his grain over time and little by little he stopped eating it altogether. I found a sugar-free ration balancer to add to his evening meals and that was that. I have a grain-free horse.
We are keeping a close eye on his weight, but so far so good. He has been off grain completely for two weeks now. He looks great with dapples and shine. He feels good AND my board bill is considerably cheaper. I was paying extra for all that grain. I would be very happy if he stayed off grain for the rest of his life. I think that it is safest for him, given his respiratory condition, and I have a plan in my back pocket if he starts to drop weight during fly season or with the light riding I hope to do this summer.
This is a post that I never thought possible for my sweet Harley.
|The dapples are back!|
|This was how we spent part of Mother's Day.|
|Good boy, Harley|
|Pony time is awesome!|
He is looking so good!!ReplyDelete
I hope you can keep him grain free :)
That is excellent, and he is looking very good.ReplyDelete
I use Ultium for all my horses - Pie and Red get almost nothing - once cup a.m. and p.m. - just enough for their supplements. Dawn, who has trouble maintaining her weight, particularly with her dental issues, gets 5 cups a.m. and p.m. ( or about 3+ pounds daily).
Ultium did wonders for him. It is a nice high fat feed with relatively low NSC and no corn. I am glad that it helps Dawn, too.Delete
He's looking really good! Hope he continues to do well with this plan.ReplyDelete
Looks like he and Sweet Pea will be great friends. She is adorable! What a wonderful way to spend Mothers Day.
Thanks! She is finally really noticing him. He is curious about her, but not sure what to think yet.Delete
Fingers crossed that he can stay grain free. We try not to feed it also but with hard keepers, sometimes you have nothing else works.ReplyDelete
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I am delighted that it seems to be working out.Delete
That's great news! And Harv is looking awesomeReplyDelete
I'd love to take my guy off grain and have been toying w/the idea for quite a while. But my guy is not the greatest hay-eater (no matter what I do) and is a TB w/a WB build, so he requires a lot of calories, even when not in work.
Harley is a very slow eater, so the secret is in the hay pellets. These might work well for your horse too. I never thought mine could go without grain, but the hay pellets help him maximize his forage options.Delete
Maybe keeping him off the grain will help with the coughing too?ReplyDelete
The epic cuteness of your girl! She's going to be a horse girl for sure :)
That would be a wonderful surprise.Delete
I love the last smiling pic of her. :)
yay Harvey. I'm glad to hear of his progress.ReplyDelete
He looks fantastic!ReplyDelete
Yay!!! That is fantastic! I feed a ration balancer too and I love it. I will never go back to grains. The great thing about ration balancers is that even if they do start to lose weight all you have to add is fat in the form of rice bran, BOSS or even oil. :)ReplyDelete
I am happy about that and have been researching oils.Delete
He looks awesome :) Here's to hoping he stays with his great weight and can stick to no grainReplyDelete
Hi There :) I love your blog and all of your writings- especially because I am trying a buckskin horse out to maybe buy! I do have a question though- how drastic is the color change you see in Harley each year? The horse I am looking at now is really, really light with no black on his legs at all and his mane is lightening to gray- however he used to have black legs with his previous owner and a darker mane. Is this about what Harley does? ThanksReplyDelete
- Ashley <3
Harley has less black on his legs during the winter, but more black on his nose. His body color changes between light cream, grayish, dappled, and reddish cream. His stockings are much taller and jet black in the spring and summer. His mane and tail really don't change. The gray fringe at the base of his mane and tail is a buckskin characteristic.
Good luck with your prospect! Harley's best qualities go much deeper than his color, but I still love the way he looks and changes.