Tico has always been a fussy eater and has always been underweight for his height although he is a fairly lightweight type. He is a worrier and stresses the weight off especially when travelling and competing. I've always managed him as if he’s prone to ulcers, and being unshod, I like to keep starch and sugar levels down in his feed. Saracen Re-Leve was therefore an ideal feed for him as its cereal-free and very low in sugar & starch.
Tico is very sharp with loads of natural energy, a shiny coat and he usually looks really well, just a bit underweight. This has become more obvious as he moves up the levels in dressage as he is not ‘bulking up’ as I would expect given his level of work (currently competing at medium with consistent scores over 70% and working advanced medium+). I was concerned that he was not building the muscle needed to support his body/joints at the higher levels.
Tico eats very slowly and is very easily distracted, which I think could be partly genetic as his dam is also a picky eater and difficult to keep condition on. He normally eats only a few mouthfuls of breakfast, no matter how long you leave it with him, and will eat about 3/4 of his tea overnight but only picks at it.
I have tried all sorts of feeds over the years. He won’t eat wet feed so sugar beet or similar things are out, and often picks out the chaff leaving any nuts/mix behind. When I change his feed, he will eat the new feed better for a couple of weeks and then just stop again! I had him scoped for ulcers in February this year as I was starting to get desperate and wanted to check! He was completely clear although there were signs that he may have had them in the past. His worming/ teeth/physio/vet checks are all up to date.
I had him weighed on the spillers weighbridge at the Winter Championships and he was 456kg which I was quite shocked about, I was expecting him to be light but not that light! They even put another horse on to check the it was weighing properly and then re-weighed him as they couldn’t believe how light he was either! He visibly lost weight over the 4 days we were there, and ate almost no hard feed the whole time!!
Original feeding was to offer him 1 ½ stubbs scoops Re-Leve, 1 scoop Alfa A molasses free, 1 measure Stamm 30, 1 measure Equi-Jewel split in 2 or 3 feeds (but most given overnight)
I estimate that he was probably eating about half of this!
He is out for 6-8 hrs on good grazing and currently eats about 10lb hay overnight (this goes up to 18lb in the winter).
With the NEW Blackcurrant Re-Leve, he appears to be far more enthusiastic about his feed. He is eating almost all of his night feed. He will eat more in one go and will continue to eat even if I have given him hay. If not distracted, he will eat about half of his breakfast but this is still a bit of a struggle!
After about 2 weeks on the NEW Re-Leve, my trainer commented that he was looking stronger and she thought he had put on some condition. She knows he is difficult to feed but I had not told her that I had started this new feed. I am so pleased with the results. Thank you to Lizzie at Saracen for all the advice and support.