How do you fatten up a performance horse?

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How do you fatten up a performance horse?

This is a discussion on How do you fatten up a performance horse? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    07-10-2010, 01:20 PM
Exclamation How do you fatten up a performance horse?

We have performance horses but don't know how to fatten them up a little.
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    07-10-2010, 01:23 PM
Green Broke
Why on earth would you want to fatten up a performance horse? Seems contradictory to me. Are they skinny? Malnourished? Or do you just want them to look heavier?

If you are looking to add bulk to your horse I would recommend conditioning to build muscle and topline, not fat.
    07-10-2010, 02:10 PM
I agree, Sarahver. These animals are athetes. Think of it as fattening up an Olympic sprinter and expecting him to win the gold. Yeah....Not quite.

My performance horses all stay on either permanent pasture grass or are at my trainers on alfalfa with joint supplements on a hard feed (Normally Omolene 200 or 300) and are worked at various paces Monday-Friday. They get muscle really fast.
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    07-10-2010, 02:32 PM
Green Broke
Im prettty sure she means he is a little to skinny.
I would just give him Compelete feed mixed with oats. My horse gets a mash (some oats,bran,molasses,flax,compelete feed,myristol)
To keep her the perfect weight. And believe me, she works HARD, and she's not an easy keeper, but the mash (and in the summer we put her on grass some days) helps.
    07-11-2010, 05:22 AM
Yes, while appreciating that horses are commonly kept overweight, people seem to be desensitised to seeing fat horses & commonly mistake healthy ones for too skinny AND they generally fail to understand the common and often serious health problems they're causing in their horses due to obesity, my knee jerk reaction is similar to Sara & Sorrel.

But not knowing the situation, I don't want to assume. It does however sound like you're a new horse owner with little knowledge about feeding? I would advise you to get onto a good nutritional service to enable you to learn how/what's best for horses to eat. I personally subscribe to a fantastic service called which is invaluable, and cheap to boot!

Depending on what you mean by 'performance horses'(eg. Is this by breed or deed??) they may need a bit of extra energy compared to the average pleasure horse, but feeding grain or otherwise sugary, starchy feeds is not healthy for horses - it's 'junk food'(yes, I know it's traditional).

Having said that, the way you feed is also important and can reduce the likelihood of problems that are caused by 'junk food'!
Eg: If you choose to feed grain, oats are the safest, and it also depends how/how much you feed - eg horses are trickle feeders, their systems need little & often feeding.

So.... in answer to your question, 'it depends' is the only real straight answer, along with advising you to do your homework & learn all you can about the proper care of your animals. On that note, is a great resource for learning about the principles & factors of hooves, health & soundness & also includes a lot of stuff & links on diet/nutrition - which are of course important ingredients for hoof health as well.
    07-11-2010, 08:05 AM
Performance horses? But you don't know how to feed them???

Sorry, I'm a bit intolerant tonight, my dressage horse is crippled

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