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Putting weight on a horse without making them hot

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  • Putting weight on a horse without making them hot

    Would prefer to stay away from alfalfa (makes her mother crazy) and oil (too messy.)

    What is your favorite way to put weight on a horse without making them hot?

    7-yr-old Oldenburg mare that can be tricky to manage her weight. However, she was FAT at my house. I don't think she is getting worked more but probably has less grass to eat now.

    Horse is getting standard barn ration of coastal hay PLUS I am providing as much timothy hay as she will eat. However, she is not a big hay eater.

    She is currently getting 6 pounds (2 "standard" scoops) of 12% pellets 2x per day. This is twice as much grain as I ever had to feed her at home. I am going to try buying Ultium and doing 1 scoop Ultium and 1 scoop pellets.

    My first thought was to add rice bran but thought I'd try Ultium first.

    Would love to hear what has worked for others!

  • #2
    Sounds like she needs more fat. Adding something high in fat rather than high in sugar or protein should help her add weight without being hotter.

    I really like the Nutrena Empower "Boost". I have seen horses have good results with that, it is expensive for a bag but you do not feed much at a time so a bag lasts quite a while.

    Another thing I would try is adding some soaked beet pulp shreds, my horse loves them, it gets her to eat better, and also is great at putting on some weight without making her hot.

    Since she has had a change in scenery, if she seems to be acting different as well as dropping weight you may want to talk to your vet about possible ulcers. Especially if she isn't a big hay eater that is a possibility.


    • Original Poster

      Ultium is high fat, which is why I chose it and why I was thinking of rice bran.

      I should have clarified that she has been at the trainer's for a year. Her weight dropped a while back so we upped her grain but now it has dropped again. Really can't up her grain because she is getting so much already.

      I had the ulcer thought yesterday because we were at a show this weekend and she was just not herself. She has been great at shows but was being more spooky than she has ever been in her life. Then after her last class was curling her lip. I have some "pop rocks" on order and may try her on 1 pack per day and then use ulcergard for the shows.

      However, she eats just fine and really doesn't have any other ulcer signs - not grouchy about going forward, etc.


      • #4
        When my mare had ulcers she had moved around from college back to her home barn (not out of the ordinary for her), but was not getting worked much like she normally had been because of my new job and some other things going on. She was eating okay, she even had good weight (all that summer grass), but had been anxious about riding. I was thinking she was having trouble in other areas and because of how she looked I didn't even think about ulcers until the chiropractor noticed sensitivity over her stomach. I would say if she was acting out of the ordinary (and especially curling the lip, that can be a sign of colic or stomach discomfort which definitely can happen with ulcers) that it is definitely worth a shot.

        The beet pulp and empower should help you not have to feed such volume of grain, and hopefully if you see a difference with the ulcer meds she should definitely be able to get her grain cut back and keep weight on well. Good luck, keep us posted


        • #5
          Just putting in a vote for Triple Crown Senior; high fat, low NSC, quality ingredients, fixed formula (as opposed to guaranteed analysis of Ultium).
          "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


          • #6
            Originally posted by inca View Post
            I have some "pop rocks" on order and may try her on 1 pack per day and then use ulcergard for the shows.
            Don't bother with both, as they are the same, and the UlcerGard is much more expensive.

            The day before a show, give her 2 packets of pop rocks instead of one, 2 packets the day of, and 2 packets the day after. They work the same, so if she will eat the packets, don't bother with the paste.
            "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


            • Original Poster

              Yeah, I know they are basically the same. But, the feeding schedule seems to be erratic at shows. So, I think it will be easier for me to do the ulcergard at the shows. I think part of what bothered her this weekend was having her feeding schedule disrupted. They cut back on their grain and don't grain them until after they are done showing for the day (since there is no turn out and don't want the horses to be "hot".) I'm not a big fan of it but not much I can do about it (unless I try to sneak grain to my mare.)

              I try to make sure she has hay in front of her at all times at the shows (I bring some from home that I can give her.) She has never been the biggest hay eater, though.


              • #8
                I swear by Ultium...it is one of the lowest NSC feed so you will not get the 'hot' horse.....12.4% Fat, 18.5% Fiber and 11.7% Protein...it puts the 'even layer' of fat on them with beautiful hair coats
                I believe in your post you said you gave free choice hay which is excellent! Horses are designed to graze 18 hrs per day and move 15-20 miles per day! Sounds like a lot when you think about it! lol....with the free choice hay, movement and higher fat feed you should see a huge improvement!
                Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakend. ~Anatole France~


                • Original Poster

                  Well, at my house they get pretty much free choice hay. I brought extra hay (timothy) for my trainer to feed my horse. Basically told trainer to give the mare as much as she will eat. But, I have no true control on how much hay my horse is being given. At the show this weekend, I tried my best to make sure my mare had hay in her stall at all times since they don't get a lot of grain at the shows.

                  If she doesn't put on weight by the end of April, I am bringing her home - may switch her out with my fat 5-yr-old mare. Could kill 2 birds with 1 stone - 5-yr-old gets some needed training AND loses weight! LOL


                  • #10
                    Beet pulp shreds soaked in water (no molasses) with soybean oil, up to 2 cups a day. The only downside I have seen with this is cleaning the gunk off the feeders/stall walls--makes a terrible black crud. You can get the soybean oil at Costco in 35# boxes. An equine nutritionist turned me on to this. Amplify is very good, but costs a buck a day.


                    • #11
                      The barn I board at tried the empower on a skinny horse and didn't have much luck. DAC Bloom is a wonderful product. We keep a bunch of the hard keepers on it and they are fat, shiny, and happy now. There has also been some tail growth on them as well! They flavor it with butterscotch and smells yummy and they love it!


                      • #12
                        I feed Ultium year round and add rice bran pellets in the winter. We have several horses at my barn on Ultium and they all look great - even the 30-year-old hard keeper!
                        RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


                        • #13
                          I've always had a lot of luck with skinnies by adding hay stretcher pellets, soaked to a mash in hot water. Beet pulp didn't make much difference with my horses and they stopped eating it (can't say I blame them). I didn't notice any difference with Empower Boost either.

                          As far as the main course goes, my hard keepers are on Triple Crown Complete. I haven't had any issues with it making them hot. They look great and keep weight on less food.
                          "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                          • #14
                            I used to feed Safe Choice and had to supplement with Empower. I changed to TC Senior and I feed less and spend less, even though the TC is more expensive than Safe Choice.


                            • #15
                              I've had good luck putting on weight with the soaked beet pulp with molasses. I feed 1 (2quart) coffee can dry beet pulp together with 1/4 to 1/2 can of a good pellet...12 to 14%...all soaked with a lot of water for at least 30 minutes..2x per day plus a couple flakes of coastal. The two horses that I have used this on have been here...1 since Sept., and the other since last June. Both have put on tons of weight and have great coats. I really believe in the beet pulp. I've never had any choke problems. Keeping the protein level down will help regarding making them hot. I use the higher protein, because my gelding was malnourished when I got him and is turning 3. I'm just now dropping him to a lower protein level (12), since he has caught up and is doing fine, but he is still growing.


                              • #16
                                When my gelding had ulcers, the only 2 signs were the lip curling thing and him acting weird when coming in to eat. He finished his feed, never acted grouchy, was no spookier than usual, was not girthy, never lost weight. Signs of ulcers are pretty random as far as I can tell and so just because she is not showing what you think are the usual ulcer signs.
                                I have had decent luck with rice barn together with a pretty high fat content feed for weight.
                                If you look at the caloric/fat content of beet pulp per pound and compare to feed and fat supplements, it really does not look all that effective for weight gain- although my vet has suggested it be used as a stomach buffer for ulcery horses so it may help in that way but it does not add calories in a particularly effective way IMO. I suspect if you look at the info on the label, you would have to feed more beet pulp than feed (with your 12% fat feed) to get the same number of calories which kind of defeats the purpose. I know lots of people use beet pulp to put on weight but the numbers just don't seem to add up IMO. shrug, to each his own.
                                Last edited by bambam; Mar. 12, 2012, 07:56 PM. Reason: clarify
                                There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                                • #17
                                  I love feeding beet pulp, especially for older horses or hard keepers. It gets a good amount of fiber and water into a horse and does add calories. I have also been using Cool Calories on my skinny TB for the past month, and he's putting on weight and looking shinier. It is SO much easier and cleaner than oil!!! I hadn't even used it before, and have been very pleased with the results.
                                  "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
                                  but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

                                  Trolls be trollin'! -DH


                                  • #18
                                    Triple Crown Senior- hands down!!!
                                    "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                                    • #19
                                      Beet Pulp NO molasses, hands down, cut your grain in half, I also added 1/2 flax seed twice a day.
                                      I needed to put weight on my OTTB , he was a little hot, but not overly so, I decided to up my grain as it is low starch, high fat and the third ingredient is rice bran, so I thought, "Hey rice bran is all the rage, I will just add more grain, it has a lot of rice bran in it already". Well that was a horrible idea, he was a nut case, I cut the grain down to about 2 cups twice a day and added a 1/2 scoop of beet pulp, soaked and the flax seed. I have upped the beet pulp to about 3/4 scoop now. You don't have to soak it really, just pour the water on the feed and swish it around. As long as you get the SHREDDED it will be fine, the pellets take a bit of time to absorb some water. I don't like oil either, it's very messy indeed. Anyway, I am the Poster Child for beet pulp now, 3-4 days after cutting the grain way down and adding beet pulp and my horse is cooler then ever, not a dead head, but totally reasonable and ride able, and happy, and i noticed weight gain after only a week! good luck!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I appreciate all the input. There is no way they are going to soak beet pulp for her. So, I am going to try the Ultium (1/2 and 1/2 with what she is eating now) and possibly add something like rice bran or cool calories (if I can even get that around here) if that doesn't do the trick. But, I also know if I bring her home I will be able to get weight on her easily so that is the last resort.