I have an 18 year old Thoroughbred gelding. I have him at school currently, and he's been dropping weight.
When he's at home, he gets 2 1/2 scoops of Pennfield Signature Plus 10/10 morning and night and 1 scoop at lunch (scoops are the 2 qt kind). And he gets very nice quality Timothy hay, 1 flake 5 times a day. About an hour or two of turnout.
At school, he's on the same amount of grain, but it's Triple Crown Complete. (and I'm never sure if he gets his lunch or not). He's out longer, about 4-6 hours, but there's no grass, and he doesn't really like to be outside (which is why we don't leave him out long at home). The hay is pretty crappy, it's sold to the school as timothy hay, but it's really terrible, and looks more like straight fescue to most of us. He does not eat it well.
I'm looking for suggestions here. Should I try and find a provider close by for the Pennfield grain? Or should I try and find a better hay provider and buy my own? I don't know if that would work with him at the school facility. Is there some sort of supplement, or additional type of feed that I should be substituting for the lack of good hay? He's always lost a little weight while he's at school, but gains it right back once he goes home, but this is pretty drastic and he won't be going home for a couple of months. I hate to add something to the grain unnecessarily, but if I have to I will. Any suggestions are welcome - I'm not super well educated about feed, even though I should be.
If he's not eating the hay, you need to get some forage into him. Either by getting him another kind of hay, some sort of hay cubes, or you could feed him beet pulp to add to his roughage. I would bet the hay is the issue, not the grain.Are you able to get out to him a few times a day to make sure he gets what you're going to add to his feedings? If he's losing quickly, I'd go ahead and start adding soaked beet pulp and alfalfa cubes-you can pick them up at most any feed store today and get him started. That will give you time to check into your hay options. You want to have his teeth checked to, there may be another issue going on making it so he can't eat that hay.
He needs hay he will eat. I would add hay-stretcher, as well as Dengie to his diet. Then, you need to be sure he's getting a 3rd meal. Pacing, or otherwise acting worried, in t/o leads to ulcers & weight loss. A better t/o situation is probably in order. If possible, you mine as well treat him for ulcers, I find the Canadian tubes work just as well as the real stuff.
I agree with everyone on a better hay for weight- it is certainly your best option. You never want to add more grain than you can help to a horse's diet. Since I got my Thoroughbred, I have always fed her alfalfa cubes in addition to her grain and free choice of forage/hay. They're not expensive and can be picked up at almost all local feed stores, including Tractor Supply. While she's not a terrible keeper, she tends to lose weight in the winter months so I increase the cubes a little and it always seems to work in balancing her weight. I always fill a bucket a little less than half way and add water so it just covers the top. It only needs to soak for a couple of minutes and then it's ready to eat. I never feed cubes dry as it can cause choking. You can mix it with your guy's feed or give it to him separate. It's also a great choice of protein and I haven't met a horse that doesn't like it- I usually feed it to my girl while I'm grooming or tacking up and it makes for a good, healthy treat.
If more/better hay is not an option, I would second the beet pulp, it isn't a perfect substitute but would give him some more forage. One thing I would be concerned about it maybe developing ulcers from not eating enough hay and therefore not having things that are slow to digest in the stomach as much of the day. If you add some beet pulp I would think that the slower digestion of the forage type material might make (or at least keep) his stomach a little happier, which might make him more inclined to eat some more hay too. I don't have a huge nutrition background but have gone through needing to put more weight back on and not wanting to feed a bunch of grain, and the beet pulp shreds (soaked) work great for my horse. I did talk to one of my friends who has taken several nutrition classes and she was the one that helped me come up with the plan.
Beet pulp puts weight back on well without a bunch of energy changes, and I don't think I've met a horse that doesn't tolerate it well. They all seem to like it, ours does have a little molasses flavoring so that could be why.
I started my horse on Empower Boost (just about 1/2-1 cup daily) for a little extra fat and vitamins and she seems to be doing well on that, and I've seen some pretty skinny horses really benefit from the combination of beet pulp and empower
How does he look as far as coat quality, energy levels, etc?