My mare was on straight alfalfa and I soon found that in Houston, it isn't as readily available as it was in Aridzona. There it was anywhere from $10-$15 a bale. Bales were 3 strings and around 100-110lbs. In Houston it was $17 at the feed stores for a 2 string bale that weighs around 60-65lbs. If you can find the 3 string 100-110lb bales, they are typically shipped in from Az and anywhere from $23-$27 a bale. *Cough*
At the barn, everyone kept telling me that feeding my mare straight alfalfa was not a good idea. She wasn't gaining any weight though. In fact watching her, it seemed as if she might actually be dropping a little more. After some poorly timed drama at the barn we were at and the upcoming trip to Az looming, I moved the horses to a new barn. Sure it is a little further away, but it is a nicer facility, Zero Drama and although my mare had begun to settle down, at the new barn she was back to her normal chill self. Since I would be driving to Az and coming back empty, I looked up alfalfa on CL, found a place selling it nearby where I was staying and loaded up the bed of the truck with 8 beautiful bales before heading home to Houston.
I am a big fan of the slow feed nets. I have 5 of them although I have loaned/given them to the one girl that I know at the barn. She had major drama at the previous barn and moved her horses a few days before I did. She rides and has minis that she drives so we have clicked pretty well. Since the barns are both self care, we had made an agreement on a feeding schedule. I fed hers in the mornings and she was feeding my horses at night. One weekend a month I would feed and one weekend she fed. That allowed us each a weekend we could sleep in or take off and go somewhere without worrying about the horses.
The coastal hay is similar to bermuda hay in Az. Not a lot of protien in it and it wasn't going to colic my two or fatten them up any either. Kat has actually slimmed down to where he should be but my mare looked like shit and riding her wasn't going to happen for a while. Since I was now well stocked with alfalfa and armed with slow feed nets, my mare was loaded up with hay in front of her at all times. She had 2 nets in her stall with healthy sized flakes in each. Once again I heard a.l.l.l.l.l. about how I could not, Should Not feed my mare straight alfalfa.... yet I know my horse. I've had her 12 years now, I damn well SHOULD know my horse by then, right?
So the alfalfa lasted me a couple months and my mare had started to gain some weight back. She looked better but not good and was certainly far from looking great.
Ribs - check.
Hip bones - check
Withers - Omg YES, check
*sigh*, eyeroll, shake my head and swear a little
Since there was another court hearing the day before thanksgiving, I drove out again for the week to take care of some things and hopefully getting to spend a few days with my girls. Again, since I was there and had the truck, I grabbed a few bags of alfalfa pellets, the kind my mare was used to eating before and brought them back with me. I had started her on Senior feed and I had also doubled what she was getting since that was more in line with how much she was getting before. She was starting to really put weight back on and coming around. Once again, I heard all about how I should not, could not possibly expect my mare to gain any weight or do well at all on these pellets because of this that and every other reason in the world since the nutritional breakdown is on the back of the bag in big, bold numbers and letters. Too much protien, not enough fat, too high this, is there any that? Where's the ____? All of a sudden it's everybody's business and they are all suddenly an expert on my horse. I let them have their say and while some things did have their merit, at the end of the day- my horse, my money, my feed and essentially-> my choice.
The other night I was able to turn her out and get a few pics. I love this one of her.
This one isn't great but it shows the fact she still has a little more gaining to do....
Of course I can't leave out the little man
My mare has turned the corner and has put on the much needed weight. I can still see and feel her ribs but her hip bones are not protruding anymore and she has put weight on up by her spine and withers again. She's getting there at least and hopefully I will be back to riding her again soon. For all the nay-sayers and their advice, for not being able to or their opinions of what I should and shouldn't do, thanks but she is doing well and still gaining. Looks like I will be driving to Austin every so often to pick up feed since its a lot closer than making the trip back to Az every couple weeks.
Better, but still room for improvement.