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Archive - Feeding TBs in Winter



-- Posted by WelshFox on Nov. 10, 2001

During the summer months I bought a TB gelding who was in extremely poor condition.  He is now doing well, although still slightly ribby.

He has been fed on 3KG of Horse & Pony Cubes with Hi Fi Good Doer (to bulk out the feed - my other two eat this so I give him some too as he likes it).  He also has soya oil added to help with condition.

He is now being stabled at night (from last night).  He has a large haynet at night (hadn't finished it all this morning) and he will be being fed morning and night.  He has just had a trace clip as he was getting sweaty whilst being ridden and is rugged up the eyeballs - literally (he's got a lightweight stable rug, a heavy weight stable rug, an under rug, a full quilted hood, a belly warmer pad thingy, a medium weight turnout and a heavy weight turnout with full neck)!

Hopefully I should be able to keep him warm during the winter but I was wondering how much he should be fed.  My other ponies are both native or native x and extremely good doers and I have never had a TB before (and didn't mean to buy this one but he was soooo thin).

Any ideas.  I need to put a bit more weight on him and help him maintain it during the winter months.

-- Posted by WelshFox on Nov. 10, 2001

Forgot to add that he is the type of horse who would become quite fizzy, so I need something non heating.

He is also only in light work (approx. 3 days a week for about 1 - 2 hours of either hacking or schooling, with lunging or long reining on another day).

-- Posted by DunPony on Nov. 10, 2001

If he is looking well on what he is getting I wouldn't change it.  If he starts to lose weight you could give him extra H&P nuts and / or replace a Kg or 2 with a conditioning feed

-- Posted by romanlodge on Nov. 10, 2001

My tb does well on 16+, Alfa-a & sugar beet.  Coming up to the colder weather I replace the 16+ with build-up.  He also gets 3 or 4 sections of hay at night, carrots, biotin (worth adding for most tb's poor hooves) and veg oil.  He doesn't get silly either thank god !!!!!
What height /weight is your tb?
Mine is 15.3 and weighs around 540kg and is the tender young age of 23 !!(someone should tell him that !)
Just now he gets 1 scoop of alfa-a, 1 scoop 16+ and 1/2 scoop of sugar beet.  I will probably add around 1/3 of this again when it turns really cold.  He is in light work and we don't compete.

-- Posted by JanetGeorge on Nov. 10, 2001

If he's doing well on what he's getting at present (and not jumping out of his skin) I would keep him on it with perhaps some soaked sugar beet pulp and extra hay as the weather gets colder.

But I'm honestly surprised he can move with quite so much rugging - I'd be a bit worried about what you do when it gets cold. 

Henry (our TB) is still out in the field with a medium weight NZ (although he'll be coming in next week).  He's getting two biscuits of hay in the morning and 3 in the evening (he's on 5 acres of grass that was rested for 8 weeks until 2 weeks ago.) and he gets one feed a day - about 3 kg non-heating coarse mix.  He's not in work yet - but judging by the galloping and bucking he does around the field he's NOT short of energy.

-- Posted by PollyDolly on Nov. 10, 2001

Just wondered why he is on Good Doer if he isn't one (if you see what I mean).  Is there such a thing as Bad Doer?  To put on weight, mine went on to Dengie HiFi, Cool Mix (or Pasture Mix) Pure Corn Oil, Cod Liver Oil and Garlic.  Have heard that Barley is excellent for weight gain.  

-- Posted by Sharon H on Nov. 10, 2001

I'd be inclined to swap the h&p nuts for a conditioning mix or cube. There are lots of weight gain/non-heating things out there. You could also try ringing the feed companies for advice or e-mailing them. How old is he? Have you had his teeth checked?

-- Posted by Pippa K on Nov. 11, 2001

Why don't you try haylage instead of hay? Most horses prefer it to hay and it has a higher protein content so should help him with the weight.

-- Posted by Sue Jeggo on Nov. 11, 2001

I've a 7/8 tb -19yrs ex hunter with mild COPD & crib bites - lives out as long as poss as he box walks when in. There's still grass in his field but I'm putting hay (damped for 5 mins) out as well. His normal diet in winter is hay to appetite, s- beet, 16+ mix and redi grass. I'm afraid I don't wiegh anything, but judge by eye. At the moment he's nice and round but as it gets colder he'll start to loose condition so it's more feed and thicker rugs.

Older horses need feeding earlier in the winter than the younger ones - I think.

-- Posted by WelshFox on Nov. 11, 2001

OK, where to start?

For Janet - Don't worry he's not wearing all of those rugs yet but I've got plenty for when the weather turns colder!  As he has just been clipped he is currently wearing his 200g stable rug with the quilted hood.  As it gets a bit colder he will go into his 350g rug and if really, really cold he can have his under rug.

For the last two days he was out in the day in his 850g rug but is now back into his 600g turnout as the weather has improved.

For Polly Dolly.  He is mainly on the Good Doer as my other two eat it and it bulks out his food making him eat it slower (tends to bolt his munchies).  Also Good Doer has all the recommended vits and mins in it so I know he is getting the right amounts of everything.

With regard to height and weight.  He is 15.3 and currently weighs just over 450KG.  When I bought him he was 370KG - poor sod.

He is looking OK on what he is eating although is still a bit ribby.  I would like him to be carrying a bit more weight.  I've been trying to build it up slowly not just try to get it all on in one go.  I've had him 2.5 months.

For Sharon H.  Yes his teeth have been checked and rasped.  They were done the weekend I bought him along with a health check and vaccination.

-- Posted by TF1 oon Nov. 12, 2001

Welsh Fox I had exactly the same prob with my 12yo 16.2hh TB.
He had put on a bit of weight but not condition (if you see what I mean). So he had a big belly but was still ribby and angular and always drops condition in the winter. He was looking quite weak and not exactly blooming.
He was previously on 1 sc Pasture Nuts and chaff twice a day with ad lib hay at night and turned out for as long as poss during the day.
He is inclined to get very fizzy so I gradually changed his feed over to Baileys No 4 Topline. What a difference. He started rounding out (first time since i've known him in 8 yrs to have a covering over his ribs) his hips have filled out, he's putting condition on over his back and neck, he's stayed quite calm and he looks so fantastic. His coat is also really shiny and people keep commenting on the change. He's also on Dengie Alfa A instead of the chaff and he's never looked better, it looks like I might have a horse that can hold his condition for once over winter.
I would really recommend you change him onto a build up/conditioning feed. You can pour as much quantity of feed down his neck as you like but if it's not putting condition on him you're wasting your money. The Baileys costs exactly the same for a bag as other feeds but I think you get more for your money. No need for sugar beet to bulk it out (more expense) etc etc.
Please try it as there are now 3 TBs on the yard on it and the difference in each of them after about 2 weeks was incredible.
Sorry to rant on so much but I really think you should change over to a conditioning feed.
I seem to remember you posted a similar thread a couple of months ago and obviously he's not gained the weight or condition you wanted since then...maybe time for a change.
If it doesn't work you can always revert back.
Could be worth putting him on a probiotic as well them he'll be able to get the most out of his feed, if he has previously been very underweight his guts might not be working to their full potential.
Let us know what you decide.

-- Posted by Roo am on Nov. 12, 2001

I have a TB too who was looking too ribby for my liking and I seem to have found a combination that works for me - not without a bit of trial and error though !
I feed the following split between two feeds:

1.5 Scoops Barley Conditioner (Agree it is excellent for weight gain)
2.5 Scoops Pasture Mix (All vits required are in this)
1.5 Scoops Alfa A
2 Mugs Dry Sugar Beet - Then Soaked!
Good Slosh of Corn Oil in each feed (Excellent source of  calories without the bulk - D&H Feed line recommended 1/2 pint per day would be about the most that should be fed)

He has Ad-Lib Hay 24 hrs a day - Stabled at night.

I haven't used rugs much yet this year as every time I do he seems to cook ! Even in the light weight ones, I live in the IOM though and we have very mild winters.

He hasn't gone silly on me yet so I don't think it is too heating, I also was told that Oil whilst lots of calories was good slow release energy hence non-heating.

-- Posted by TF1 on Nov. 12, 2001

Blimey - Roo mine would be climbing the walls on that.
Mix and barley....I wouldn't stay on for more than 5 secs.
Goes to show that each horse reacts differently to different feeds, although  I have to say that that must cost you a fortune....
A build up /conditioning feed would hold the same weight gain qualities with less mass of feed (therefore less expensive) and in a non heating form. Guess it depends whether your TB is a potentially hyper one like mine. Robin'd get so hyper on a mix and barley he'd lose any condition it should put on him by behaving like an idiot.

-- Posted by WelshFox on Nov. 12, 2001

I think my TB must be quite similar to yours TF1.
I rode him out on Sunday without having turned him out first.  He is stabled at night and out during the day.
The route which normally takes about 50 minutes was completed in 30 minutes as when I asked for a trot he completely exploded.  That'll teach me to turn him out for half hour first!!!

If he was on mixes etc. I honestly don't think I'd stay on.  He's a lovely chap and a really responsive ride but he has the potential to be a complete fruitcake if given half the chance.
I am ordering feed for my lot next weekend and am going to get a bag of the Alfa A just for him (the others stay on the Good Doer as they are natives) and will probably try a bag of the Baileys No 4 Topline.  I've still got the Good Doer and the Pasture Nuts / Pony Nuts for my other two so I can introduce the new feed slowly.

Thanks for the advice, it's nice to know someone else has the same kind of horse.  He has increased weight since I bought him and he does look better but there is something I am just not happy about.

I'll let you know in about a month if there has been a change.

-- Posted by HL on Nov. 14, 2001

I have a TB who was in real bad condition when I got him last winter.
I fed him Baileys No4 conditioning cubes with chaff, certainly did wonders for him. He is a different horse to look at now and I feel so proud.
I also feed him adlib haylage through the night in winter when he is stabled.

-- Posted by Indianna on Nov. 14, 2001

I had a TB  that was hard to keep weight on.  One of yards I was livered at used a feed called "Improver".  Not  sure of the make but it was non-heating, absolutely yummy (I wanted to taste it cos it smelt so good) and all the bad doers did really, really well on it very quickly.  I know that its a "fresh" feed and the bag needs to be used up within a certain time frame before it goes off but it was bloody good stuff.

Before that yard, my TB was on 3 huge feeds a day which also helped.  Loads of sugar beet and boiled barley in winter plus a mix (pasture mix) and linseed oil seemed to do the trick.  However back to my original thought (!) it was the Improver which really impressed me.

-- Posted by Roo on Nov. 15, 2001

My TB is sooooooo laid back - that's why he never made it as a racehorse ! 

I only use the barley in winter but I have another horse who is quite happy on a small amount of pasture mix and Alfa A alone (not TB and yes I think he would absolutely explode on what I feed the other chap). I must admit I don't think I need the sugarbeet but my boy loves it and is still sensible when he gets it so it is more to wet the feed than anything else.

-- Posted by Tanya on Nov. 15, 2001

Linseed is good for weight gain too - cooks well in the slow cooker.
I'd agree with the suggestions above - swop Good Doer for HiFi or Alfa-A and maybe swop the nuts for a higher energy one?

I feed Spillers nuts which all have "energy levels" on the bag, I feed High Fibre Nuts which is a "3", so if I need to up my mare's feed I will swop onto Horse and Pony nuts which is a "4".  From what everyone else is suggesting, I think you would be looking at at least a "5".  

Why not get a ration evaluation done by one of the feed suppliers ? has lots of handy hints, including one for "winter condition" at  There is also a directory of the helplines (I asked Spillers and Dengie - Spillers were excellent.  Dengie were fairly helpful too).

-- Posted by ammatthews on Nov. 15, 2001

Beware of sugar beet - it causes some horses to hot up a bit. But I don't think Alfa-A does - it's fantastic for improving the condition of horses. In the past, I've seen it transform rescued horses.

-- Posted by Bollinger on Nov. 15, 2001

Since I also have a thoroughbred I thought I would do some investigating on the feed sights and found that Baileys have now  brought out Top Line Conditioning Mix No 17 which is a non heating mix which quickly puts on weight gain but doesn't have to be fed in vast quantities.  Have a look at their site

I am currently feeding my tb on

1/2 scoop of Dodson and Horrell Build up.
1/4 scoop cool mix
1 Double handfull of Dengi Hi Fi Chaff
Double Handful of dry sugar beet (soaked)
Garlic and Oil
In the evening he just has 1/2 scoop of build up and some chaff and 3 sections of hay when he is in.

Danny has been on build up since I brought him in May he wasn't thin but a bit ribby for my liking, since then he has put on good weight and managed to keep it on. (at one point in the summer he was actually waddling across the field).


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