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[RC] Sugar as an appetite stimulant - k s swigart

Angie said:

at about 90 miles Kaboot trotted out well but
suddenly had that look on his face like he just didn't feel good.
him food and he just looked at it. He wasn't interested in eating for
about the first 15 minutes, then Glenda Weeks walked over with a bag
apples and he tentatively took one....then two, then three. He stood
there and ate apples for the rest of the hold. I stayed a few minutes
over, but I had to make a decision whether I thought he was OK or not
(could he run on apple power?) when the last of the riders who knew
*minimally marked* trail were leaving and I jumped on and took off
them. Just outside camp they stopped at some good grass and he really
tore into it.

Many years ago when I was first experimenting with the "experimental
glycogen loader" that Tom Ivers had sent me, one of the things that I
found during the course of my experiments was that an ounce or two of
the stuff worked really well as an appetite stimulant.

The first time I used it for this purpose was drag riding at Death
Valley.  One of the tail end horses was crashing badly up at the top of
Pleasant Canyon and clearly "out of fuel."  The horse was uninterested
in the dead grass in the meadow, and the Enduro Gold "candy" (a great
extruded "time released" feed that Ace Hi no longer makes, much to my
chagrin) that I had along with me in my back pack.  But I told the rider
that I had some of this "Gu for horses" that I had been experimenting
with that I had found kinda perks them up and provides a bit of energy
and asked if he would like to try it on his horse?  There wasn't much
else he COULD do in that location (the top of Pleasant Canyon is not one
of the most accessible places and it was coming up on sundown as this
was the first year Death Valley had gone up Pleasant Canyon....when it
was done AFTER the lunch break).

About 15 minutes after the horse had about 1 1/2 ounces of the stuff, it
was suddenly interested in food.  It ate some of the Enduro Gold, it was
snatching at every stick it could find (as sticks was about all there is
up there), and scarfed down the alfalfa hay that was available when we
got up to Rogers pass where Sparrow was waiting with hay and water.
After which the guy took off down the canyon and left us behind :)

Since then I have had an assortment of opportunities (in my many drag
riding efforts) to offer it to horses that are a "bit off their feed"
and are unwilling to accept the other feeds that I have with me in my
back pack  Usually after about 15 minutes they will accept whatever I
have brought along with me.

So yes, long chain sugars do seem to serve as a good appetite stimulant.
So if you can get your horse to eat a few apples, it may not be very
long before it is ravenous for just about anything else.  However, I
have found that some horses aren't even interested in apples, so I carry
a dry powder that I can add water to any time I like (a little bit from
my water bottle will suffice) and shove it their throats.

I will also (especially if it has been a long time between vet checks)
give some of it either just before or just after arriving at a vet check
so that the horse will have a good appetite while AT the vet check.  I
don't wait until I notice that the horse is "off its feed" before giving
it.  I also give it immediately POST ride as it helps a great deal in
keeping the horse interested in feed during the early stages of

As an appetite stimulant is the way that I mostly use the glycogen
loader.  I rarely use it on the "every two hours" protocol, as I have
also found that if you don't follow this schedule pretty strictly that
it can lead to wide swings in blood sugar levels so if you miss a dose
the horse can "crash" badly.  And maintaining the strict schedule can
sometimes be a PITA.

I use a small amount before a vet check (and post ride) to stimulate
appetite and let the hay and grain I feed the horse perform the function
of keeping blood sugar levels up.  I don't, generally, feed beet pulp at
a ride because it, too, has too high of a PITA factor.  However, I will
use beet pulp as a way to get a horse that is "off its water" to drink.
My horses have had plenty of practice at home with eating beet pulp soup
(i.e. four or five gallons of water with about 1 pound of beet pulp
soaked in it...and hulless oats), which they will slurp up with relish.
So, if my horse is "not drinking well" at a ride, I can get it to drink
by adding a little beet pulp and grain to the water and they will
"drink" it out of habit.

So yes, you CAN use beet pulp to get a horse to eat water in that it is
otherwise unwilling to drink.

Orange County, Calif.


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