I feed my horse grain once a day, only because she is still growing. Personally I think that a lot of people feed way to much grain, but I do agree that if you are going to feed grain, unless you stop working the horse for a week or more at a time, that you should not stop feeding grain for a day or two and then feed it again. Most horses should be getting all the nutrients they need out of the hay they get, generally a mix of alfalfa and grass, or something like that, and don't need all the extra grain. The obvious exceptions being horses that are still growing and often pregnant mares, horses that are in heavy work/competition, and horses that are thin, or hard keepers. I don't have my hay tested, though it is a good idea if you are able, but as long as it isn't obviously poor quality, I believe that between that and the mineral and salt blocks my horse has, that she gets enough nutrients to keep going in a moderate amount of work if she weren't still growing. She gets 2 1/2 lbs of Omelene 300 for right now, but once she's done growing, no more grain until she starts doing heavy work, and competing regularly. I read a good book Understanding Equine Nutrition, by Karen Briggs. Great book, and maybe that would help both you and your dad. Sorry for such a long post.
If the easy keepers are fat, then they would do better on a vitamin supplement with some hay pellets everyday. That way you can still use grain as a treat, but they'll get less calories on a daily basis. IMO, most horses still need some vitamin/mineral supplementation, even if they're fat.
My horses get ADM's StayStrong metabolic Minerals. This is a complete concentrated feed with all of the vitamins and minerals they need, plus amino acids and digestive aids, and they only need 1 lb a day. My fatties only get this. My hard working horses get this plus some alfalfa pellets. My "hard keepers" get this, plus alfalfa pellets, plus some Cocosoya oil. It works well for me and I ensure that my horses all get good nutrition, no matter how much "feed" they need.
If you don't have a local dealer, you can order it online. One bag lasts one horse just over one month.
My horses have the GrowStrong mineral blocks in their stalls. I would love for them to have it in the pastures too but I board so I can't do that.
I havent looked over ADMs website in some time but the staystrong looks like it may be looking into! Glad to know there is someone else that uses their products......The dealer doesnt travel to my town , I have to drive about 45 min to get any of their products , but I didnt know you could order stuff on line too!
Here are pictures of my horses' weight.
Horses that I take care of, THey are all out of shape from sitting in the pastures for winter.
Demi: She is a big girl and a very easy keeper.
Horses at my dad's barn:
PintoBean. He used to be a very muscular horse, but now he is a chunk . I am going to work him this summer along with Romeo.
^The picture doesn't really show it, but he is getting a couple little fat pockets. I am going to bring it up to my dad today...
Kodee, he was really fat when we got him, and he now gets feed everyday which I keep telling my dad he is going to founder, but he doesn't seem to listen.
Cecil, he is the 23 year old that gets senior feed everyday.
There is more of an issue, imo, with varying the feed program from one day to the next than from either feeding grain every day or not at all. We do feed pelleted feed (we are using strategy now, were using alfalfa pellets prior to that) daily. I don't really like putting variables into a horse's diet with feeding a rich food like grains in an on again/off again fashion. I have always been of the opinion that consistency is very important. Just feeding it on days they work really offers no more benefit to them than not feeding it at all.
That being said, I don't feel that grain is necessary at all for many horses - but there is nothing wrong with including it in a balanced diet.
Where Dream came from, she was only grained when she was worked. She was sooo overweight! When we finally moved her, she was grained everyday and she LOST weight. Inconsistency is NOT good for your horses diet. All grains are not the same, if you feed a fat horse sweet feed, it's going to get fatter. If you feed a fat horse a vitamin supplement or something, it's going to maintain it's weight.
The feed I have is just a generic sweet feed that I get for a treat when they work. I haven't noticed any weight gain in my horses and I have been doing this with Romeo for 2 years. Is there any minerals I could get that would help them if I am not giving them any feed? Would a mineral block work??