“Unwanted” horse does not mean undeserving

The plight of the unwanted horse is something on every horse owner’s mind these days. No matter the opinion on how the horse industry got here, one thing is for sure – these horses need proper care.

If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to take in a neglected horse, but haven’t ever had to rehabilitate one before, it can be a challenging opportunity. Care needs to be taken to bring a starving horse back to health in a slow and steady manner.

To help you in your mission, the Nutrena team partenered with the Unwanted Horse Coalition, as well as Intervet Schering-Plough and the American Farrier’s Association, to develop the Caregiver’s Guide to Rehabilitating a Neglected Horse.

Click here to download your free copy of the “Caregiver’s Guide to Rehabilitating a Neglected Horse”.

2 Replies to ““Unwanted” horse does not mean undeserving”

  1. I bought an emaciated mare(literally skin and bone) and a very skinny mare both with rain rot about 20 years ago. The emaciated mare ate grass almost 24 hours a day for 2 straight days. I started giving them a little 14% protein horse feed from day 1 and increased a little every day until they started getting fat. When the grass got low then they started getting all they could eat of grass hay. In less than 3 months I started cutting back on the horse feed. They were fat and shiny and did not look like the same animals. The emaciated mare lived to be almost 34 years old. She was a very sweet gentle creature who was well broke for riding and had no bad habits. I think it can be dangerous to bring feed levels up too gradually. I believe that an emaciated animal needs almost immediate nutrition for survival and doing things too gradually is likely to be fatal. Someone on a chat board got a mare in poor condition and pictures taken 3 months later the poor animals rib were still sticking out and next thing they reported she had died of a heart attack. If necessary IV feeding to get the nutirents into the horse that they need. Mine had all they wanted to eat of grass and clover as soon as they arrived. None of my horses have ever had colic. One short bout of laminitis with a gelding years later was cured in a matter of hours by soaking his hooves in ice cold water.

    1. Hi Kincsem, Great comment. Yes, it is possible to take the “gradual” introduction too far and go to slow. However, the introduction of feed does need to have some method to it – much like you described, starting with a little each day and adding on to that daily. Most starved horses should be up to eating a “normal” diet within 2-3 weeks. It’s just important not to shock their system in the first couple days with a sudden implementation of regular full grain meals. Sounds like your system worked great, and that’s definitely the results we hope for in any rescue case! Thanks! Gina T.

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