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APHAforlife 04-01-2012 11:16 AM

Tips for getting weight on before summer hits?
Our horses seem to be nothing but hard keepers, and I would like to see a little weight put on before Summer hits and riding begins once again :) None of them are "underweight" per say, but they're built very lean and a little ribby which I don't like seeing and is a usual appearance once shedding season begins.

Out this way we have been having terrible hay shortages and crappy hay quality being brought in from different states, which has made this winter difficult keeping weight on when they were used to nice green and fresh 70/30 the past few years.

My mare experienced impaction colic a few years back from some stemy alfalfa and since I have been truly terrified to put her back on any kind of alfalfa as the vet said she is now susceptible to colic from the same thing again. I have been giving her Manzanola Cubes which I guess are just our local processed Alfalfa cubes, and she loves them but I cannot seem to figure out how much is the correct amount to feed being in such a different form, and I have not had to feed them before...Is it best to do so by weight? I have also been giving her Nutrena Senior Feed which she gobbles up as well as a small scoop of rice bran per serving of goodies. I would have thought after a certain period of time Id really start seeing a there something else I should be doing? She is not losing weight, she is utd on wormer and vaccines, her poo is fine and the vet gave her a clean bill of health with the advice to put weight on >.< Any suggestions?

We also have an Appy gelding who came from up in the mountains and was FAT and since he has lived down here on the plains he got some sand colic and we had the vet out and flushed him and gave him antibiotics etc and he made a wonderful full recovery, but it has been much harder to put weight on since. He is also getting Manzanola Cubes and Senior, he wont touch it if it has rice bran haha. He is doing better than the mare, but is not putting it on as quickly as id like either (its been about 1 month).

I have heard differing opinions on feeding horses corn? Ive been told good and bad things...does anyone have experience with this? What about wheat bran? As far as I have been told this is more for clearing the system, keeping it clean and helping to prevent sand colic, does it do anything for weight? And if you have any other tips/advice on good ways to fatten up your horses please do share :) As I said before, the horses have had vet checks and there is nothing wrong they are just a bit thin and need some weight so please no "why haven't you had the vet check them" comments, Id appreciate it :) Thanks and God Bless.

P.S. A side note, all our horses are fed a straight grass hay very generously twice daily on top of these extras, I didn't want anyone to think this was all they were getting haha.

Emerson 04-01-2012 12:20 PM

I swear by purina amplify. My 15 tb was very underweight and I tried everything to get him to a healthy weight. It took a couple of weeks on it, but once he had been on the amplify for a month I noticed a huge difference in his weight and also his coat. It is a nugget-like supplement that you add to their feed. It also took him a couple of weeks before he would consistently eat it all and not pick out his grain but now he gobbles it all up :) hope it works for you!
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calicokatt 04-01-2012 12:31 PM

Corn oil is high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3, which can cause an imbalance and make the horse more susceptible to inflammation. With that said, I do use it with one of my hard keepers, I cannot afford to buy flax oil instead (not all horse owners are rich! lol) so I use the corn oil, and also add Cool Calories to the mix. The horse I'm using this on is a VERY hard keeper, and is definitely picking up weight. Once we're at weight, I'll eliminate the corn oil first.

Ripper 04-01-2012 01:03 PM

I use to give Calf Manna to my mares to keep the milk butter fat high.

It is also a great way to put weight on them.

CLaPorte432 04-01-2012 01:11 PM

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The best thing for a horse that needs to gain weight coming out of winter is the new spring grass. If you have a good pasture, they should gain in no time. Once the grass starts growing, within 2 to 3 weeks, my horses are at the perfect weight, after that they just get fat. Lol.
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JSMidnight 04-01-2012 01:24 PM

I use beet pulp and it works wonders. 2 to 3 pounds of soaked beat pulp a day. Sometimes you have to start with mixing it with grain. It doesn't give them much energy like most grain does but it puts on weight quick.

As for the colic I would recommend that you should start your horses on sand clear or metamucil. If you feed the metamucil then you would want to do 2 tablespoons a day for a week and then the rest of the month give it to them 2 to 3 times through out the week.

Ripper 04-01-2012 01:31 PM

I would also deworm the horse.

Many times weight loss and colic are from worms.

APHAforlife 04-01-2012 02:06 PM

I don't have access to pasture, our hay currently sucks, they are all utd on wormer and vaccines, and I think I might try beat pulp and corn oil. Thanks :)

usandpets 04-01-2012 08:10 PM

I agree with JSMidnight. Start them on beet pulp. It is a forage like hay but is more nutritious. It won't cause colic either. Just make sure to soak it, which helps if a horse is dehydrated.

Do not give a horse corn in any large quantity. It will ferment while they digest it and can cause them to get drunk. If you do give a small amount in a mixed feed, make sure it is cracked corn so it is easier to digest.
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Missy May 04-01-2012 08:27 PM

Someone ^ already mentioned calf manna....great stuff for weight gain - it is pricey but it doesn't take much per feeding! I have never seen purina senior fail to boost weight on any horse of any age. But, I noticed you said you feed senior. Maybe feed more of it?
Corn has been fed to horses for generations w/o all of the proclaimed side effects....the poison is in the dose and a large dose for a given horse can be fatal. So, don't feed them a large amount - go in moderation. COB is cheap, packed w calories, and I have never had any trouble with feeding it, and it obviousely contains corn. Corn will add chub in combo w the other stuff. The only thing I worry about w corn is where it is stored - I ensure it is stored where there is zero possibility that my horses could get to it if they got out.

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