|Some ribs still visible.|
So, not super successful. In terms of his overall physique, the fact that I can see some ribs is the only issue I have. He has good muscling (for our level) and minimal fat stores.
To use an objective measurement, I would rate Hemie as a 4.5 on the Body Condition Score. Darn close to the "ideal" of 5.
Download the Horse.com Equine Body Condition Score poster here and here's a great article on the scoring system and various components to consider to evaluate your horse.
This leads me to a few choices:
- Buy another bag of probiotics and give it more time to see improved results.
- Instead of probiotics, add more hay to his diet (as many readers suggested).
- Do nothing. Get over it.
On the other hand, maybe I'm just being overly sensitive to the fact I can see ribs. Most other people at the barn don't think he looks too skinny. TBs are known to stay on the leaner side of the spectrum.
As for hay, I've got a few options if I go that route, and would love opinions!
- Pay my facility an additional $50/month for 1 extra flake served at lunch. I would likely chose alfalfa (he currently gets 1 flake alf + 1 flake oat, morning and night).
- Keep hay in my car or somehow try to store it at the ranch (pretty sure that's against facility policy) and feed him an extra dinner most nights a week. Would be cheaper but could get me in trouble. Better to ask forgiveness than permission? Ethically challenging to me.
- A magical idea I have invented (maybe) and would seriously like opinions on: buying a full bale of grass or grass-alfalfa mixed hay and leaving the whole bale in his stall for him to eat free-choice. I've never seen other people do this at any boarding facility I've been at. Not even sure if this would be allowed at the facility, though I could make a case for it. Thoughts?
Another quick note - Hemie has been on the California Trace mineral supplement for about a month, and so far so good. My goal for feeding it is to provide neurological support and help support healthy hooves (healthy everything, actually). I do think it is working. He is not tripping as much as he used to and is better able to really step under himself and cross his hind legs without hesitation or awkwardness. Of course I wonder how much of that is improved balance and self-carriage from training versus the supplement. His coat and hooves look good - more time is needed to really see if his hooves are growing out with a visible difference in quality.