Re: Looking for help getting weight on my picky eater, who is IR and PPID


Hi, Emma - yes, generally speaking, pelleted and extruded feeds can be the best bang for the buck when dealing with toothless horses; however, if they are too high in sugar, starch, or fat, they do more harm than good.  Beet pulp and soy hulls are highly digestible, and so are good choices, as are the ODTB cubes.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find another pelleted feed in Canada that cuts the mustard (sad, but true). Hi Pro Pro Fibre Crunch is supposed to be 5% starch (which is a little high, even so), but more than half a pound of that makes one of my IR horses very foot sore, so can't recommend that. That leaves us with the only 3 I have found so far: ODTB cubes, beet pulp, and soy hulls.

I would not so much gradually stop the Buckeye feeds, as totally stop them and start the others (half a pound at a time, increase every few days), and use the Buckeye in small amounts only for taste tempting.  Also, continue the free-choice hay, especially at night when she is in her stall. 25 isn't ancient, but it is getting up there, and I have found that our older horses just take a lot more time to eat. Stall time at night is the ideal time to provide the feed.

If she likes the Brooks Fibre O , you can either continue with that (not ideal, but helpful if it gets her to eat), or just switch to ground flax and see if she likes that.

Oh!  I meant to add in my last post (but forgot) the link to the Picky Eaters Checklist:   This is at the bottom of the first page of the Pulling It Together folder:   

Providing sufficient iodine, selenium, copper, and zinc (and vitamin E) are crucial to over-all immune health and hoof and coat quality; iodine is particularly crucial for metabolism.  We are so lucky in so many ways in Canada; however, the availability of acceptable ration balancers is not one of those things.  You have a few choices, most of which are short term: 1) Start with the Cheval au Naturel  2) Get some Source and use half of the enclosed scoop, while waiting for your hay analysis and balancing  3) Once you get your hay balancing info, you can mix the minerals yourself, using a variety of ingredients; or you can get Mad Barn to do a custom mix for you. My custom mix from Mad Barn at the moment costs $1.44 per day, but it has a lot of monosodium phosphate in it, which is expensive.  (it is still only $43 per month per horse, which is a lot less than many over-the-counter supplements that don't actually do much good).

I just went over (once again) all the supps available from Greenhawk, and couldn't find anything useful. I have emailed Herbs for Horses to find out their copper/zinc etc content of their HoofMaster.  

At this point in Noisette's journey, reducing the sugar and starch is key, as is getting her to eat more. You will find once you get all the other vitamins and minerals on board, she will start to bloom; for now, work on the Temporary Emergency Diet (no need to soak if your hay is lower than 10% ESC plus starch).  Just as an FYI, here is a link to commonly available ration balancers in Canada, vs what an regional Alberta mix would need (which wouldn't be wildly different from Ontario, except the selenium and maybe the manganese):  (in the Diet Balancing folder )  

I still yearn for the days at the Greenbelt Riding School when life was horses at pasture, warm bran mashes and oats, and we kids ate Twinkies and those weird pastry things from the store down the road. Sometimes it is hard to change our horse-keeping methods, but it is very much worth it.


Jaini Clougher (BSc,BVSc)

Merlin (over the bridge) ,Maggie,Gypsy, Ranger

BC 09
ECIR mod/support



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