I've got the worst of both worlds. Hard keeper TB with a severe parrot mouth. Despite all the progress we've made with his teeth, his still doesn't seem be able to chew the grain he's on to the point where he's absorbing all the nutrition and fat. Some of it comes right back out the other end in whole form. He definitely need something with a larger nugget that he can chew better. With his hard keeper part in mind, I've narrowed it down to 3 high fat feeds. I need to stay away from senior feeds since I don't want him getting that much protein. I could use some input particularly on how big the pellets are in the various mixes. Of course, how well they work would be good info too. The feeds are:
Blue Seal - Vintage Performance LS
Triple Crown Complete
Poulin Equi-Pro Performax 12:12
There is a simple and easy fix, no more grain. Heard Keepers often do BETTER without any grain than they do with grain. Grain often revs up their metabolism, which makes them burn more energy, which makes them need more feed. It's a never ending cycle.
You can make your own grain free, high fat, balanced feed relatively easily.
First though, you must start with high quality hay, as much as he will eat. Give him 3% of his IDEAL body weight a day in grass hay, mixed grass, or timothy hay. If he has good pasture, then supplement him with as much hay as he will eat.
The main ingredient for your homemade feed is hay pellets. If you feed bermuda, timothy, or other grass hay, then Alfalfa pellets are best. If you feed alfalfa hay or a mixed hay with 50% alfalfa in it, then timothy pellets or mixed pellets are best. Either way, start with 4 lbs of hay pellets a day in one or two feedings. You can increase this up to 8 lbs a day (no more than 5 lbs per feeding) if you do not see any weight gain after to weeks.
Add to that a fat source. I prefer milled or whole flax or stabilized rice bran. Start with 1 cup of flax or 1 lb of rice bran. You do not have to grind the flax if you buy it whole. If you're on a budget, corn or soybean oil will work, but I have found that it doesn't work as well as the rice bran or flax.
Next you need to add a comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement. Look for one that is broad spectrum, high in all ingredients. One that says it's for horses getting little to no fortified grain/feed is best (like Select II or Smart Pak's SmartVite line).
Finally, while he's gaining weight, you'll want to add a pro/prebiotic. I like Source Focus WT or Invigor.
Use some water or a splash of oil to make everything stick. You want him to get all of the supplements. If he has a hard time chewing the pellets, wet them down until they break up.
Once he's at a good weight, you can decrease the alfalfa pellets to 2-3 lbs a day total, cut the fat supplement in half (1/2 cup flax or 1/2 lb rice bran), and discontinue the pro/prebiotic.
I have a hard keeper TBxArab cross. This diet worked WONDERS for him! We tried every feed and supplement under the sun. The ones that "worked" to keep his weight on made him high as a kite and hard to handle... This is the only diet that really worked withOUT making him hyper. He is 15.2h and maintains his weight on just 1.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets a day with 1/2 cup of flax.