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Fat supplement vs. rice bran vs. oil
My daughter's QH mare needs a smidge more weight. She's fine right now, but has absolutely none to spare. She also works pretty hard, and her work load is increasing as the weather gets nicer. She's ridden 4-5 times a week, 1-2 hours each time. She's reining, barrel racing, trail riding and taking 2 lessons a week.
Right now she gets 2 healthy flakes of local grass hay (high quality) in the morning, along with 1 lb of LMF Super Suplement, and 2 lbs of alfalfa pellets. She is out on very nice pasture for about 4 hours a day (max for her...too much sugar/starch makes her get muscle cramps). If she doesn't go out on pasture, she gets an extra flake of grass hay in the middle of the day. At night she gets 1 flake of grass hay and 1 flake of alfalfa hay. My trainer/barn owner gives her a heftier serving than some horses.
I want to put a few more pounds on her so that when she travels she doesn't come home skinny. I need to keep her diet low in sugar. She has never tied up, but has gotten very uncomfortable when she was eating too much grain. Too much grain pretty much means any. When she pulled something in her neck she was on bute for a few days and we got her some senior grain, gave her about 1 lb with bute, and after just a few days she started shaking her head and her neck and butt muscles were super tight. (Tested for PSSM, negative, but eats like she has it).
My trainer suggested a fat supplement (Amplify came to my mind). Someone else suggested rice bran, and this winter the vet had my trainer put a couple of hard keepers on veggie oil. I'm still new enough at this that I need help understanding the pros and cons of each option. We tried increasing her forage...all winter...that's where the extra flake of hay comes from, and alfalfa year round, where most horses go off of it once they're out on grass. She stayed on it all last year.
I'm not made of money, but I am willing to add to her diet with whatever is best going to help me get some weight on her. Her workout has increased as my daughter and her are learning more, but she's never been an "easy" keeper. She's not really a hard keeper either, but she certainly doesn't pack a bunch of extra weight.
Have you considered beet pulp? It does have a bit more sugar in it that some other options, so it may not be best for you...I've never fed a PSSM type horse before. OldHorseLady has a mare with PSSM though, so you might want to find her threads or contact her and ask what she feeds for more weight? If you did feed BP though, its fairly inexpensive and I believe that the shreds (which is what I'm starting to feed) have less sugar than pellets, and soaking them draws out some of that.
Rice bran is also good, and I've used it before. If your mare is at a decent weight already and you're just wanting a smidge more for 'protection' I'd probably suggest a 1/2lb or so, and no more than 1 lb. It isn't terribly expensive at about $25 for 20 lbs, but make sure you get stabilized rice bran if you do go that route.
I wouldn't do oil. It has a poor omega 3-6 ratio and we generally warn away from it here on HF, although I do know people who have used it before and gotten decent results.
I agree on the rice bran.
I feed a pelleted ration balancer with rice bran as one of the main ingredients and it gets them fat quick with very little being fed.
Also I would make sure her vit/min needs are being met with a good supplement. There are a few on the market, loose and pelleted. I find the most important thing in maintaining good health is making sure the nutritional needs are being met. And then if you still need more weight, upping the calories.
Soaking the grain/beet pulp is not a good option for us, plus beet pulp is too sugary.
I'd go with the rice bran, then. I bag my feed in gallon baggies as well, for my BO's ease- and it would probably be the easiest to measure out and feed. It doesn't need to be soaked or anything, and it actually comes in oil form as well. I've never used rice bran oil though.
I like feeding soaked beet, I don't think it adds weight so much, as provides a great carrier to mix other stuff into.
I tried rice bran oil, I wasn't impressed by the results.
I haven't tried actual rice bran, I couldn't find it around here.
I have used canola oil, they ate it well and seemed to add weight. Biggest issue with this was the fact that my dogs were going crazy for it, seems that horse feed mixed with CO is the bestest thing for a dog.
I have used flax seed and was very impressed with that, (yippee we actually have flax in our crop rotation this year, so I will be able to use it next winter for everyone.
BOSS I thought gave me the best results of all, but I am cautious about feeding it, with the dispute over the Omega 3 and 6 issues.
Rice bran, flax seed, beet pulp, and commercial weight gain supplements based on any or all of these products are excellent. I use MoorGLo from ADM. It's a low-starch, high-fat supplement with a 1-2 pound per day feeding guideline. It's based on rice bran and flax seed, with some other stuff in there.
ETA: Is this horse getting adequate magnesium?
I feed rice bran and sugar beet without added molasses, they both work well
The Blue Seal near us is now stocking Speedi beet made by British Horse feeds and approved by the UK laminitis Trust, its molasses free and only takes 10 minutes to soak
If you look for Omega 3 oils such as flax seed, canola, soybean then there are benefits - not all oils are bad
I find it so weird that so many people have trouble finding beet without molasses. I've never actually seen beet with molasses.
MoorGlo has good products as well as Viterra has some good ones. And of course Hoffman's.
I have the same problem buying chop/chaff that isn't like a solid block its got so much in it
Maybe you have better brands where you are because it seems that almost every complete feed contains it too
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