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Good feeds to keep/put weight on skinny sporthorses

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  • Good feeds to keep/put weight on skinny sporthorses

    Hi, a friend has a horse, a chestnut thoroughbred gelding, who we can not seem to keep weight on. He is narrowly built, but eats 2 full scoops of fibergized by pennfield with fat cat and other weight related supplements. Any one have ideas of how to keep weight on this guy? Thanks

    By the way, the horse is on beautiful lush pastures and eating great hay, in an all you can eat fashion and he get four scoops overall during the day, and sometimes an extra scoop for lunch if he's actually eating the grain!
    Last edited by Irishodyssey; May. 12, 2013, 12:38 PM.

  • #2
    "Scoops" really means nothing in this context.

    How much hay is he getting? Has he been scoped/treated for ulcers?


    • #3
      Well, I can tell you what works for my guy. He's an off the track TB, not a particularly easy keeper. When he starts dropping weight on me, he gets the good rice bran- either Nutrena's Empower, or more recently the Purina Amplify which is a higher fat percentage- added to his feed, and a flake of alfalfa at each meal. He's typically been on the Nutrena Safe Choice as a base feed, but he often needs some rice bran on top of that to maintain his weight.

      I've been putting weight back on him over the last two after the leassee couldn't keep it on him. He's been eating a scoop and a half of the Purina Senior on my vet's recommendation, gets free choice bermuda in his stall with a flake of alfalfa in the morning, and is turned out on grass overnight. In two months, he's gained about 130 pounds

      Of course, always rule out the physical issues- when I got my guy back, we had the vet out for thorough physical, drew blood, checked his teeth, and dewormed him to rule out any physical reason for him not holding his weight.


      • #4
        What is a scoop and he gets two scoops per day or per meal? It's important to know the weight of what you're feeding. If you're feeding more than 4-5 pounds of concentrates at one time, the horse will not digest it all efficiently.

        Most "weight related supplements" are useless. Fat Cat, Cool Calories, Weight Builder, etc. are not fed in quantities large enough to appreciably affect a horse's weight.

        Fibregized is good stuff, so I doubt a feed change is needed. Look to the hay - amount and quality.

        What's his workload like?
        "Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense!"


        • #5
          I completely disagree about Cool Calories -- it turned the corner for my OTTB. He did get 8 scoops of that a day, but it ABSOLUTELY made a difference.

          I've scaled him back a bit now, but he still gets 10 lbs of TC Complete a day with 4 scoops of CC for maintenance fat, and ~2 lbs of alfalfa pellets. A lot of food, but he burns every calorie. He could stand to go back on rice bran in addition, but for now, he's doing fine.
          Life doesn't have perfect footing.

          Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
          We Are Flying Solo


          • Original Poster

            Thanks you and a scoop is about 2 quarts I believe, when I last checked our scooper


            • #7
              I'll echo a previous poster, you really need to weigh your feed to know how much they are getting as some feeds weigh more per quart them others.

              I have had luck with supplements like Amplify or Legends Omega Plus. Also soaked alfalfa cubes.


              • #8
                I think I posted on another thread that I feel the Pennfields quality is not the same since they ended their relationship with KER. If you can get KER sport horse feeds in your area, that would be my choice-- they have some beet-pulp based feeds. Even if you can't get it where you are, you can research feeding practices on their website and find a feed that will help him based on that info. My next choice of manufacturer would be Triple Crown.

                That said, my horse is not only on KER Re-Leve but also on Ultimate Finish 40 by Buckeye-- adding it in has kept him more easily in the right weight, especially through the winter. That plus as much good hay as he will eat.
                Taco Blog
                *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                • #9
                  I'm using Seminole Ultra Bloom and it's made a world of difference for my hard keeper.
                  Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.


                  • #10
                    Grass. Lots of grass.


                    • #11
                      We feed TC Senior to everybody and augment with Flax Seed. Lots of high fat.
                      A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
                        Grass. Lots of grass.

                        Nothing better! Also rice bran.


                        • #13
                          If he's getting 4 qts of Fibergized a day, you could still give him QUITE a bit more. That's only about 4lbs a day. My hardest keepers (including my prelim horse) get 9lbs of Fibergized a day (over three meals), and they look good.

                          On top of that (actually, not on top of that. This should be what your whole diet is based on!), lots of quality forage (grass IS good, but good hay is good too). FWIW, the two I have right now (my guy and another TB) are both HORRIBLE hay eaters, which may explain why they need 9lbs of feed a day

                          If you want to add more fat, my personal preference is Cocosoya oil. But realizing not every horse loves oil, I've had good luck with Cool Calories.


                          • #14
                            All the high-quality hay and grass they can eat. I use TC Senior for the rest. My TB gets 4-8 quarts a day, depending on how much grass I have at that time of year. Right now he is fat on 4 qts., in winter in takes twice that to keep him in condition (also free choice hay and out 24/7 on 10 acres with 3 other horses). Like YB's horse, he is not a great hay consumer. He gets bored, whereas the QHs will eat hay all day.

                            I have not had any luck with fat supplements UNLESS they are already getting the above. If they need more, I like a rice bran-based supplement. Mine won't eat Cool Calories.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
                              Grass. Lots of grass.
                              Sigh. I wish we had that option. Sadly, nope.
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                              We Are Flying Solo


                              • #16
                                And still no mention on the hay.

                                Hay is where it is, or grass if you can get it. But weigh it! Honestly. A luggage scale (you hook the luggage to it and then pick it up) hooked to a pan or something (hay net is what I used), knowing the empty weight of the pan or hay net, weigh the hay.

                                Weigh the feed.

                                Weigh weigh weigh!


                                In all seriousness, I'm not familiar with that feed, but as long as you are familiar with the feeds you should be able to balance a meal plan for a horse fairly easily; it's a little bit of math and some Googling or COTHing. And of course start with a healthy horse. A horse with ulcers or a metabolic issue isn't going to respond as well. I personally try to feed as if everything possibly as PSSM, so I start with alfalfa pellets and a general supp, and add fat from there. My WB gets alfalfa pellets, Empower Boost, and a supp, plus nearly two cups of oil a day. And about, hmmm, I'd say 20-30 pounds of hay a day. Maybe more. I haven't weighed this hay. I'm going to back off this a little bit in the fat department because it's summer and he's going to plump up.
                                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by wildlifer View Post
                                  I completely disagree about Cool Calories -- it turned the corner for my OTTB.
                                  Yes. I have a mare that is very athletic and has a great topline but gets a bit thin for my taste. The only thing that builds that little extra layer of fat is Cool Calories or something like that. Cocosoya Oil also worked. Having said that, I realize that what I'm going for is a look, and that she was probably just as healthy without the added fat.


                                  • #18
                                    I'd say 20-30 pounds of hay a day. Maybe more.
                                    The problem with hay is that they have to EAT the hay. I have lovely hay, but I'm lucky if I can convince Toby to eat 15lbs a day...maybe. Thankfully, he's on great pasture. I agree with you have to start with the forage, but some horses just don't participate like they should!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                      The problem with hay is that they have to EAT the hay. I have lovely hay, but I'm lucky if I can convince Toby to eat 15lbs a day...maybe. Thankfully, he's on great pasture. I agree with you have to start with the forage, but some horses just don't participate like they should!
                                      I know exactly what you're saying. What we find works is putting a whole bale in a hay net, hang it, cut the strings. Over time (a few months to six months) they will increase their hay intake. I have had TBs who eat a few flakes a day increase their intake to a bale a day. Usually when we start a horse on this program they also get a probiotic and pretty large quantities of hard feed (up to 15lbs per day). Once they get on to eating hay we back off the hard feed.

                                      You're on grass so this isn't as big a deal but at my farm we have almost no grass so they have to learn to eat hay. I think this works because the hay stays really fresh in the net as opposed to on the floor.


                                      • #20
                                        I still consider my Ottb mare a hard keeper, and she does not have access to grass other than when I hand-graze her. She is also very picky and will NOT eat most supplements. *sigh*
                                        But I am able to maintain a good weight on her with:

                                        1) free choice good quality hay. She has a hay net hanging just outside her stall door, so no waste - whatever falls out of it can be collected.

                                        2) TC Senior and crimped oats.

                                        3) U-Gard digestive supplement (probably more for my peace of mind!)

                                        Regular de-worming, and making sure Horse does not have ulcers.
                                        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!