IR horse losing weigh

Kathy Hurd Hollister

Due to the death of my husband, I had to sell my farm and move my remaining 2 horses to a boarding facility.

My IR mare is not doing well. She has lost weight and I am questimating her body score is down to a 4. She is on free choice grass hay and I am about to see if I can weigh the hay and determine exactly how much she is consuming daily. She is also on Stabl 1 (currently 2.5 pounds/day). She refuses to eat any of her custom mineral mix anymore and is just eating the 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 capsules of Vit E. We are doing bloodwork next week and sending to Cornell.

My questions right now are should I be increasing her Stabl 1 (manufacture states can feed 2#/body wt/day) or switch to  their Stabl 1Plus which is higher in protein but also is 5%fat.
Are there any over the counter pelleted mineral mix that would work to get some minerals into her as a better OTC than none at all?

Kathy-Joined 5-/2016
Mia Case History: 
Kearney, NE


Sorry to hear all you are going through, Kathy.

I assume your hay is tested and OK for sugar and starch, since you have a custom mineral mix. I'd also make sure it contains sufficient protein and is sufficiently digestible, otherwise you may need to find additional hay. If she were mine, I'd increase her Stabul 1 and see if she responds. That will also help supply vitamins and minerals that she doesn't want to eat in her VM mix. If she is eating the full recommended ration of that per day (at least 5 lbs for a 1000 lb horse), she may not need the additional VM supplement (depending on your hay's unique profile). If If she will eat beet pulp, that is something else you could try.

I think a lot of us that own IR horses that tend to be fat get concerned when we have to feed them much at all, but as a lifelong TB owner I can also say that what your mare is eating is basically nothing (I mean that in a nice way!). My senior TB mare gets 12 lbs of corn-oats-barley with molasses a day with 3 lbs of a ration balancer, free choice teff and alfalfa, and 2 fat supplements to maintain a BCS of 4.5. 
May 2018
San Diego, CA
Buster's case history:  .

Maxine McArthur

Hi Kathy
Weighing what she eats is a good idea. With the change in management, is she having to compete with other horses for hay access? Or are there any other potentially stressful issues? Is she still getting exercise? Is her deworming up to date? You mentioned you had bloodwork scheduled. Does that include insulin, glucose, acth? I see in your CH that you haven’t run an acth since 2014, so it might be a good idea to do that again. Although Mia is fairly young, PPID is still a possibility (my mare was diagnosed at 12). 

Personally, I’d wait to see what her insulin is doing before adding a feed with higher fat. Will she eat beet pulp or soyhull pellets? They are a safe option. 

And ... this may sound a bit la-la, but I have found that if I am emotionally troubled, my mare in particular will know it and reflect this in her behaviour and demeanor. Take care of yourself and if you haven't already, spend some time with her and let her know how you're going.

Maxine and Indy (PPID) and Dangles (PPID)

Canberra, Australia 2010
ECIR Primary Response


Sherry Morse

Hi Kathy,

Before you make any diet changes it would be a good idea to get bloodwork (insulin and glucose and vitamin E and selenium at the very least).  How long ago was the move?  What is the hay like compared to what they were eating?  Has it been tested?  Is she being fed individually or is she being fed in a herd setting?  How does this compare to how she was being fed prior to the move?

You can do a search of the archives but we do not recommend Stabul 1 Plus for IR horses.  You could add extra Stabul 1 in but I would again not do that until you have bloodwork completed and you know exactly how much she is eating now vs. what she should be eating for her ideal weight.