Originally Posted by Herdof2
I asked this earlier but it got kind of buried in the threads, but how do I know the ideal weight for her and, if I cut back/change diet, what signs am I looking for to know if she is hungry, getting the right balance, etc. (behaviors such as fidgeting have been mentioned as a possible reaction to new feed).
For ideal weight, I'd consult your vet for a good body condition scoring to see if she needs to gain, lose, or maintain. If you happen to have access to a livestock scale, that's the most accurate way to find out the current weight, but most people don't have easy access to one. I've heard of some people using truck weigh stations with and without the horse to get a weight, too. Barring an actual scale, the next best thing you can do is measure heart girth and length and plug it in to one of the various calculators
As for whether or not she's hungry... she will always be hungry. Horses are designed to eat on a near constant basis- unlike humans, their stomachs don't stop producing acid when they're not eating, which is one reason why they have such a high incidence of ulcers. Having hay available free choice is ideal, but not always possible. In those cases where it's not possible, you should feed 1.5-2.5% of the horse's body weight in hay daily.
And for getting the right balance- I highly recommend looking into FeedXL.com