I managed to figure out (roughly) the caloric content of the feeding regimen....and it's astounding. It exceeds the typical requirements in hay alone, never mind the two mashes a day. Figuring the grass hay at about 800 calories a pound, and the legume at just 1000, that works out to nearly 20,000 calories a day just in roughage! Wow! Then at least half again in the mashes-it's quite a bit. If the average mostly idle horse needs between 10 and 16,000 calories a day....it's safe to say that this exceeds the minimums, haha
I was informed last night that during the day yesterday, the mare was observed to be breathing rather hard. No one thought it worth calling me, of course >rolls eyes< I checked her over carefully last night and did not see any signs of anything amiss. Heart rate, respirations, gut sounds, gums, etc, all within normal range and she appeared to be breathing normally. Manure is a little soft, but not so bad that I am overly concerned about it either. It's firming up now that I have backed off the oil and alfie just a little bit. She's bright and eagerly awaiting her meals, so I am not entirely sure what that was about-other than: She had been standing in the sun and has come into season. I am not entirely positive what happens when horses with no body fat stand around and absorb solar energy. Do they get overheated? I don't know. I did not think to take her temperature last night or this morning, so will do that this evening, just to be safe. She's consuming a normal amount of water, eating well, and is chipper over all.
I have to say that it's a little hard to wait for the results to be seen on the outside of the horse. I do know that it can take several weeks for outward weight gain to be noticeable. She needs to replenish the inside before the extra can go anywhere else-as a horse loses weight from the outside in, so they regain from inside out. Sounds weird, but it's true for the emaciated.
This morning she was very eager for breakfast. It consisted of two pounds of alfalfa hay, 5 pounds of orchard grass hay. Two pounds senior, one pound Nutrena. 1 and a half cups beet pulp (soaked with hot water) 1/2 cup of oil, and Fast Track which is a probiotic. That is as large a meal as I am comfortable feeding at one time-both volume and weight. In the evenings I add to that BOSS and flax seed for additional fats. It takes her about 15 minutes to get down the majority of the mash....then she eats hay, and eventually licks the feed pan clean within about two hours. Midday snack consists of another 2 pounds alfie and five pounds grass hay-which is the same amount she gets four times a day now. Just 28 pounds of hay a day, which is barely over what she would normally consume when healthy.
Today I contact the owner, we need to have the vet out for a once over. I am sure the vet will say I am going overboard on the diet, but in my experience, it does work quite well. I base the hay on how much is left when the next meal is due-if I add any addtional hay, it will be grass from here on out.
I am open to thoughts or comments on the heavy breathing episode. The very experienced barn help I have commented that "she smells sick" and I agree....nothing smells quite right and it probably won't until such time as her digestive tract is finally balanced and working correctly.