I have a young horse (turning 3) that is going to be starting under saddle. She is small, and since a yearling has always been very level in her growth (no major growth spurts). She has already started ground work (driving etc) and will be doing light under saddle work in the next month or two.
She is a little on the thin side, but just mildly so. I would like to put her on a concentrate to allow her to gain weight while in training.
I was thinking a 14% fat, 14% fibre and 14% protein feed. They also will be on an alflafa/grass hay mix. Does this sound like an appropriate feed program for a just mildly underweight (and no muscle) young horse?
Edited to add, before she moved to the training farm she was on 12% protein 8% fat general sweet feed only during winter months, otherwise she was on hay only.
Well... Take it for what it's worth, but I like a higher fat than 14 percent. I'm switching my 4yo to Amplify because top dressing his current ration balancer + alfalfa pellets with oil just isn't cutting it, especially with him going through ANOTHER growing stage.
And you don't mention WHAT this feed is, that 14/14/14 could be loaded with sugar, which no one here will recommend for a growing horse about to go into training.
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Absolutely, add fat...starting with 1/4 cup a day until you reach 2 cups/day. Cut back as you see fit.
Once my homebreds started in work and needed extra calories, I have always gone to the oil first, rather than grain.
BTW, all of my youngsters (including weanlings) were raised on a high fat diet. A minimal amount of low carb feed, good quality hay, ration balancer and oil (canola).
Most are in their late teens and 20's now and doing great. Fat served them well for extra calories, rather than grain overloading.
That said, since she's not at home, her caregivers may not to mess with adding oil. I'd go with the 14% fat feed for sure. I like the fiber level of the feed you describe as well. I'd prefer 12% protein, but 14% should be no problem. Going on the feed you describe, I'd cut the alfalfa forage and give her a high quality, straight grass hay.
I can always add ultimate finish to increase fat if thats suggested.
The hay is excellent quality, alfalfa/timothy grass in the winter and more of a timothy grass in the summer. They get free choice. I have no concerns that in time with the good hay she will gain weight (she has not been on the best hay this year at the old place). However I would like to give her a head start with the concentrates now that she is in some work. They prefer not to do oil as its messy and doesnt keep well in the warmer weather.
I really don't like the NSC levels. Hmm...don't they have a low carb, high fat feed?
What other feed manufacturedo you have access to and that can be delivered?
Pennfield makes an outstanding feed that I have used for horses of all ages over the last 15 years. "Fibergized". Low carb, beet pulp based, high fat. Now that make it with even higher fat...called Fibergized Omega.
Now that mine are older they are all on Pennfield Senior Energized Choice (beet pulp based with high fat).
But for your girl at this stage of life I'd try to find something comprable to Fibergized Omega. I've used many feeds over the last 25 years but I always come back to Pennfield for horses of all ages and in various stages of growth and work.
Personally, I'd go with Brooks (KER) Fibre Omega Plus. When I looked at Brooks (KER) feed line, personally I'd go with their Fibre Omega Plus (low carb, high fiber, high fat.)
Sounds very close to Pennfield Fibergized Omega, which was also formulated by KER years ago, and was the product I fed all my young horses throughout their lives (until switching to their Senior, which most of them are now). Terrific feed.