I retire my own, so I am pretty familiar with the issues involved. I have a question: did you test for Cushings Disease? Because unless it is involved, things don’t seem to be adding up here to me.
I fed my draft a mix of Triple Crown Senior, Blue Seal Haystretcher, canola oil, and grass hay. TC senior weighs .8 pounds per quart/coffee can, so if that is the measure someone was using, and they fed 8 scoops a day, your horse was receiving 6 pounds of feed per day. I don’t remember the calorie count, but it is one of the highest calorie senior feeds on the market. That would mean that the remaining balance of the diet had to met in fiber.
For comparison, my 17 hand, 1500 pound draft ate 10.5-11 pounds of the TC/HS 50:50 mix per day during the coldest months. He also consumed one 45 pound bale of grass hay per day. He went into the winter a 5 or a 6, and came out of it a 5.5 or a 6. On field board, or field board/and stalled only in bad weather, unblanketed. He had no trouble getting into the hay.
If your horse really was fed 8 pounds of TC Senior, which would be 10 quarts per day, then there may have been a problem getting into the hay. If he got 6.4 pounds per day (8 quarts), then both problems probably contributed to the result. Or there is another underlying issue. Either way, I would try to try to make some changes before looking into retirement board. It can be expensive, and some places do not consider a 16 year old retirement material. Some of the good places charge a few thousand dollars up front before accepting the horse. Good luck with your horse.
ETA I use the TC/HS mix to lower my feed bills. You could probably do the same with TC/Alfalfa cubes, etc. TC Senior = $22 a bag Blue Seal Haystretcher = $14.95. You could up the weight of what you are feeding without breaking the bank. Oil = 2,000 calories per cup.[/QUOTE]
I concur with this^, 100%. OP’s horse is a little young to be having major-league dentition issues; that’s normally seen more between the ages of 22 and 26. It’s possible he’s been OVER-floated, seen that too! But my gut feeling here is the horse just isn’t getting enough private time to clean up the amount of feed he really needs.
My vet won’t even THINK of testing for Cushing’s unless the horse doesn’t shed; that’s the last thing she looks for in a case like this unless you’ve got a long-wiry-and-curly. And he’s pretty young for that, too.
Having eliminated teeth, worms, pushy neighbors, meds and supps he doesn’t like in the feed, I’d say it’s your basic Needs Groceries Problem–and perhaps a better blanket.