I am always so tickled when I see the horses in my care just sort of bloom here. I could brag and say it's the quiet location, the attention to details, the lazy days of sunning themselves, or any number of things-but the real truth is, I feed enough.
Enough high quality hays that have excellent TDN, protiens, RFV, etc. The best that can be had in the state, in fact. A horse that arrives underweight, I feed to gain, not maintain. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? But while it may not be rocket science, it does require some acquaintance with a knowledge of the horses' digestive system, balancing the ration as close as possible, and feed feed feed.
Lots of folks think it should take up to six months to get a horse back up to decent weight if they are currently at a CS 3. Barring underlying issues, I just don't think that is true. But a person must understand that rebuilding wasted muscle requires adequate protiens and fats, coupled with careful exercise to help rebuild them. Every element must be provided in the right form for the horse to utilize appropriately, and in sufficient quantities for gain.
Keeping in mind the ca:ph ratio, I know that I might have an unbalanced diet for two horses in my care just now. They are approaching CS5, nearly where I would like to see them for normal weight, but are still needing to replace lost muscle. Today my chore is to locate the correct item to "plug the hole" in the diet that alfalfa could bring. In this particular case, alfalfa cannot be fed, due to allergy issues. So I need an alternate source of bio appropriate calcium. The orchard grass that I am feeding now is very high in phos, like most grass hays. However, I am also feeding beet pulp (higher in calcium) and I think it's time to break out the calculator and see how the ration stacks up, before I wander off to the feed store in search of yet another item for the feed room.