Few things to keep in mind - first, forage 24/7 is absolutely best (as was already said) and it sounds like you are doing that which is great! Next, keep in mind that beet pulp is primarily a filler (as in little to no nutritional value) so while it will add bulk, it will not help with weight other than primarily water weight.
For your horse, it sounds like she has the hardest time keeping weight on when she is in heat. That tells me that there is likely something hormonal going on. In my experience the best way to address that is with a mare supplement - some people use valerian root supplements, there are some such as mare magic, and a multitude of options out there. What I always say is try what is available in your area/country that focuses specifically on mare hormones to help her be more balanced. Hormone imbalances can cause a multitude of issues and the ability to hold weight is absolutely one of them.
In addition, for feed for a harder keeper I have found that most horses do better with more fiber (which free choice forage will take care of) as well as higher fat feeds. Higher protein I find is best only for horses in heavier work that need the added energy and muscle bulk - usually not ideal for horses with hormone issues or challenges and not ideal for horses that can tend to be on the hotter side as the added protein can cause an increase in "hotheaded-ness".
Overall the most important thing to remember is that every horse is different and numeric values on a feed bag aren't everything. Try different things and see what works for your horse. Supplements (and some feeds even contain them) such as probiotics can help your horse make the most use of the feed they are eating rather than upping feed that the horse's system isn't abe to digest. My thoughts are to try a higher fat feed, a mare hormone supplement, and probiotics, and see how that works, and then adjust from there. And of course, it's already been said, but free choice forage is absolutely the way to go!
Aside: if the forage available isn't the greatest quality, many feed stores offer things like "hay stretcher" or cubed or chopped forage that you can feed in addition to the hay/forage you have available to make up for any nutrients lacking in a poorer quality batch of forage.
Best of luck to you with your mare and keep us posted on her progress!
3 years ago when she came to our barn we called her a foal, because she didn't have any muscels or fat... She was in heat every two weeks that spring I had her at my neighbour's barn then, she had totally inappropriate food (about 5kg of hay and a lot of grain...) She was my first horse and I was fresh from the club, where they didn't teach us anything but how to ride. Half year later we moved her to our new barn. I started then, to try to feed her different. It took me another half a year to find out that she needs more hay and less grain. So for two years now, she has acceptable weight, but she is always on the edge between showing and hiding her ribs. When she is in heat it is more on the "show ribs" I'll try that valerian root, I hope I'll get it somewhere. People adviced me before to breed her, but I don't have money or place for another horse.
In two weeks I'll deworm her, after that I'll give her probiotics too. Should I go with brewer's yeast(read about it somewhere, but I'm not sure if it's good) or something made just for horses?
I too would start with more hay. Horses should get around 2.5% bwt in forage daily min. So 12.5kg is just that if she's 500kg. Making part of her forage ration alfalfa/lucerne will likely also help, as it's high in energy but low in sugars & also rich in protein & many other nutrients.
I'd cut the oats & replace them with something healthier - grain/starchy feed is not great for horses generally, especially if she's not getting it regularly, so will be less able to digest it properly. If you do stick with the oats, ensure they're spread over at least a few feeds daily and cut down, but don't ditch them completely on the days she isn't worked, so her system is still used to them.
I would also be supplementing with a good quality nutritional supp that's appropriate for her/her diet, as her weight may be more about lack/imbalance of nutrients than calories. I find FeedXL.com to be a great & economical service for helping me sort out that subject.
Ditto..........I don't think that is a lot of hay for a hard keeper.......my easy keepers get that much. I too would also cut the oats....high sugar/starch grains can actually cause weight loss especially if your horse might have an underlying metabolic issue going on (not saying she does but is possible).....I would second the alfalfa.
Thanks, yeah I'm thinking about alfalfa...
I did some calculating today, because I needed to deworm them. Candy has about 575kg, height about 16 hands. What do you think of that? She is on the edge right now, more on the hiding ribs side :P
Most of the time she looks like this:
(last year photo)
I think she looks healthy? On the thin side perhaps, but some horses are just like that. If you can do something about it and it works, great! If you try and try and she just doesn't seem to budge, it's probably just her build...it's like in the real world. I'm 5'4 and 96 pounds sometimes 100lbs depending on stress, schedule, etc....my friend my same height is 145lbs. There are weight lifters and ballarinas in this world, and it seems to me your girl is a beautiful little ballarina. As long as she acts healthy and doesn't get rediculously thin, I'd say she looks good :)
Yeah, I agree, she looks good in that pic. Nicely rounded, ribs barely visible thru summer coat... If you're going to 'fatten' her up, you don't want her to gain much at all. Overweight's not healthy, but a little on the light side(perceptions...) is generally just right, healthwise.... as it is with us!
She does look like she could be lacking a little muscle though, and alfalfa is generally a good horse feed. It's high energy but low sugar/starch. It's also high in protein, which is good for building muscles, and high in many other nutrients, such as calcium. So yes, giving her alfalfa as a portion of her roughage would most likely be fine. Just it being very high in a number of nutrients, I'd be consulting a nutritionist or otherwise being careful about balancing her diet effectively, so you don't have probs due to ODing in anything.
Yeah, I saw that hay nets in the shop yesterday! I'll buy it. Should it be on the ground or in the air?
I'm sort of on and off about haynets. Some horses can handle it, some can't. There are people who love them, and some who hate them. Basically, a hay net is a way to keep hay from being wasted on the ground in the stall by being stompled/wasted on. It should be kept at preferable head level or sometimes lower for the horse. Horses who paw at the ground aggressively while feeding shouldn't have one, as they could get caught in it. Others are just fine. Sometimes people even hang it outside the stall to prevent this from happening. My major problem with hay nets and feeders alike, is that they keep the horses head in an un-natural position for a majority of the feeding time. Horses graze with their heads down, and if a horse is stalled and only has a hay net available, they must keep their head level in more of the position they would have at, say, a walk or during a ride. Does it hurt the horse? Probably not; it's just an opinion. But for your girl, and most horses that are in stalls, it's a good option to keep them happy and full of precious roughage :)
Thanks everybody. I'm going to get some alfalfa and a hay net. She doesn't paw at the ground (well only when my dad is sharing apples :P) and I'll try to put it on the ground at first. If there will be any problems I'll change it.
I'm so glad you don't think she's skinny. But she looks absolutely perfect if she gains a little bit more of weight. Like here:
She is a ballarina You should see her dance when she's flirting with neigbours gelding Or ocassionaly meeting a stallion on the trail. She is more in the air than on the ground