I skimmed over the last page of posts, but here's the starting point I would use for feeding high quantities of fat.
Oil is 100% fat and very economical. I'd go with canola oil, for price, ease of access, and for omega balance (it does have ~2x more omega-6 than omega-3, but is still much better than other oils you can find at the grocery store, including coconut, soy, olive, corn, etc.) Flaxseed oil is better, but is harder to find and more expensive. The problem with oils in general is that horses will only tolerate so much of it in their feed at one time (as you noticed) I'd try to go with as much oil as they'll eat consistently, since this is the cheapest way to add fat.
Plain, whole flaxseed is 42% fat; in my area, I can buy it for $0.80/lb from my grocery store bulk bin, and a little cheaper per pound for a 50 lb bag from the feed store. It's also a very healthy fat, having more omega-3 than omega-6. Ideally, you'd grind it up fresh for each feeding since it oxidizes very quickly; otherwise you can feed it whole (which is what I do, but I only feed 2 oz. with each meal... I'm not really sure if feeding whole would be a good solution when feeding large quantities) Stabilized ground flaxseed products are a little bit lower in fat (TC Omega Max is 34% fat) and are more expensive, but keep a lot longer and are already ground for you.
Triple Crown Senior is 10% fat (and a relatively low 11.7% NSC) The goal with this one would be to feed enough to cover your bases nutritionally; the fat is a bonus.
For a horse that needed 1 lb of fat, I'd consider
4 lbs of TC Senior (0.4 lbs fat) +
1 cup oil (0.5 lbs fat) +
1/4 lb flaxseed (0.1 lbs fat)
For a horse that needed 2 lbs of fat, I'd only add a little more to the oil & grain (could probably still go a little higher on both those and might need to go higher on the Senior to get enough nutrition, but I didn't do a detailed analysis and this is just a starting point!), and try to get most of the additional fat from flaxseed:
6 lbs TC Senior (0.6 lbs fat) +
1.5 cups oil (0.75 lbs fat) +
1.5 lbs flaxseed (0.6 lbs fat)
Thanks for the info Verona. I can honestly say, I have a headache...lol. I'm so scared that I'm going to feed something wrong now. Your diet looks like simpler terms to me, so that is helpful. I still have about 3 bags of Nutrena Empower Balance ration balancer, so I am trying to keep that incorporated. I just bought a bag of the Omega Horseshine and a bag of the TC Senior. I also have a bag of Cool Calories coming any day in the mail. I also have oil....but it is soy...got it at Costco.
Oil confusion though....here is a quote from Dr. Valentine saying NOT to use flaxseed oil.... "The vegetable oil may be derived from corn (the most expensive), soy, canola, safflower, coconut, etc., but avoid high levels of flax or linseed (more than 1 cup per day). At high levels (about 4 cups per 1,000 pounds of horse per day) flax oil can cause intestinal irritation, so Iíd rather be safe than sorry. Your choice of oil depends on your preference, your horseís preference, and your ability to find a cost-effective source. Buying vegetable oil in bulk from a discount store such as Costco or Samís Club, or from a restaurant supplier, will save you a lot of money. Five-gallon containers are the most economical."
Also, doesn't flax HAVE to be ground to be absorbed? I thought if it was whole, it would just pass through. Where do I find a grinder?
I added a little of the TC Senior and a little of the Omega to the feed today and they still weren't too happy. They ate it, but it took a while. I think I may start leaving out the soaked alfalfa cubes maybe.
So, for now, I am going to try and use up what I have and then go simpler and not be in panic mode. Thanks again for your diet recommendation...that looks do-able.
I lunged Snickers today for the first time in quite a while. I was hesitant to do it because I have been noticing more 'noodle leg' qualities lately when she is running around. But, I needed to exercise her. I was suprised to see that she was actually holding her trot and not slapping down her feet as much. It looked a little more fluid. Now when she would go back down to the walk, she looked all goofy again...but it was a start! I rode her briefly and she was just fine. Her attitude is also back to normal where she is happy go lucky.
I also got their 2" haybags and the hay is lasting so much longer. It hasn't even all been eaten by the next feeding time. They only get about 40lbs of hay a day between the two horses.