Extra Calories - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Extra Calories

I have been thinking that my horse may need some extra calories (instead of just grass) due to being worked almost every day. She is not "skinny/underweight", but she is looking a little "weak" (the vet said she's healthy, don't worry). She is just getting 8-16 oz of a ration balance right now with good quality protein, so I know it's not a protein lack. I don't really want a "hard-feed" (like TC Complete or whatever) and I don't just want to feed her oils. I was thinking about alfalfa, beet pulp, timothy, etc. but I don't know which one. She is a relatively easy-keeper; I just need a little more "umph" besides just grass. I don't want her to get fat, though (obviously).

She is outside 24/7/365, but the grass isn't great quality.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 12:29 PM
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Pictures would help. Before and current.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 02:25 PM
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Why are you against hard feed?

How much hay does she eat- can you give her more?

Beet pulp, and other forage based supplements tend to be fairly low in protein, fats or unbalanced so you need to look at the whole of her diet.

You can feed a fat supplement without it being oil.

I prefer to add a few lbs of a higher protein/fat grain or a fat supplement to my ration balancer to get what some of my moderate or growing horses need.

If they are a harder keeper and need more calories, I take them off the ration balancer and move them up to a 12/10+ grain(as long as mature) with a minimum 6lbs up depending on what they need.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 03:18 PM
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Rereading this. The pelletized ration balancer for mature horses that I am familiar with are typically fed at the 2 pound rate by directions. You have her at ounces. Your ration balancer can be 30% protein but fed at that rate doesn't do much. It isn't enough of her diet to make that much of a difference unless perhaps it is one with targeted amino acids.

You also say "weak". Weak to me has nothing to do with weight and everything to do with muscle. Can we get more info too please?
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 03:26 PM
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Can you give us a hint of where you are located?
You've had posts before about appearances and underweight, doing strengthening work to add muscle, ratios in feed, supplementing of and understanding of NSC numbers...
If this is all on the same horse...my question of where are you is in reference to maybe the type of pasture grass your horse is on 24/7/365 is just not best for equines.
So many here are from different locales we may have a member who can come back and say they are from a close proximity and found giving xyz helped because the land is deficient in a needed element...
Otherwise putting all your posts together would lead me to think your horse is in need of not a ration balancer but a true quality feed fed to boost weight, boost and give daily needed vit/min and add enough fat content to give the animal lasting stamina, gloss of coat and a look of thrive not just survive to them.
There is also a real chance the amount of balancer you are feeding is just not sufficient in amount for the workload your horse is doing...you might need to feed more.
I think if I'm remembering the amount on the balancer product you were considering were minimum amounts fed for a horse at rest, not working hard if at all and your horse sounds to be working every day for several hours a day whether it be at a walk or not, it is work and continued "strenuous" activity you demand of the animal doing your bidding.
None of that above is a dig at you, but trying to help you find what is best for your horse if you are seeing deficits as you know your horse so well...
Information you can share would help to help you fill deficits starting before large problems loom.
Different geographic locales are known to be lacking in or over-abundance in certain vitamins/minerals so when feeding a packaged supplement that is sold across hundreds of miles or more to/in different locales we can easily have imbalances occur in our hooved friends.

That is why I asked what I asked and gave comment as I did........not a dig but to help find what will work best for your hooved friend.

....
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 03:46 PM
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High fat high fiber diet no grain no commercial feed fed. This is what my gelding looks like on a vit/min. Alfalfa /Timothy pellets ,cubes, grass hay 3 hours of pasture a day. Been on this diet just over a year.

My other gelding is on same diet also looks great. Actually keeps on better weight since off all the commercial feeds.

He's worked hard 5 to 6 days a week.

Horse Tech is where I get my vitamin/ mineral /fat supplement from. I feed tested hay so supplement is made to fill in any gaps hay has.
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Last edited by rambo99; 07-10-2020 at 03:52 PM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 03:58 PM
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Is this what you are still feeding? https://proelitehorsefeed.com/product/grass-advantage/
A nice mix but when I look at the chart and guesstimate the workload your horse is performing at she needs more fed...

I went back and looked at some of your other posts/threads to obtain the information I referenced..
I would guess with you riding several days a week, at 2 - 3 hours per day over not level terrain the horse is not on a lay-up or light exercise amount needing fed, but increase to moderate exercise amounts and see where you're at in about 10 - 14 days time with attitude, appearance and what you think the horse is lacking is now returned or at that point you need to leave a ration balancer and start feeding feed in bag suggested amounts cause you are asking more of the horse than what this ration balancer can provide.
What I read the bag back of the above makes me think you need to be giving between 2 - 2.5 pounds of the product for a 1,000 pound horse...{a stocky 15 hand horse weighs near 1,000 pounds for reference}...
Many underestimate weight and many also not feed for what a horse should weigh but instead err and feed to little and then blame the food fed for not doing what it is advertised to do.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-10-2020, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeker6 View Post
I have been thinking that my horse may need some extra calories (instead of just grass) due to being worked almost every day. She is not "skinny/underweight", but she is looking a little "weak"
Can you describe what you mean by 'weak' and if she's not underweight, why do you feel that extra calories will be the answer, esp when the vet said she is fine? Nutritional imbalance, body issues, atrophy, etc could be some alternative causes of 'weakness'.

Quote:
She is just getting 8-16 oz of a ration balance right now with good quality protein, so I know it's not a protein lack.
Not sure what 'super protein' might now be available, but only 8-16oz of 'ration balancer' may NOT provide her with adequate protein, if she's not also getting some elsewhere. Not that horses generally need high protein & the amount she gets may well be enough, but it is no kind of given that she gets enough from a small amt in ration balancer.

Quote:
I don't really want a "hard-feed" (like TC Complete or whatever) and I don't just want to feed her oils. I was thinking about alfalfa, beet pulp, timothy, etc.
Why don't you want to hard feed, or add oil? Alfalfa(chaff) and beet pulp are 2 common ingredients in 'hard feed' so I'm wondering, what is the 'hard feed' you don't want to feed? Fat sources are generally preferable to carb/sugar/starch sources(like grain) for added calories.

I think alfalfa is generally a good feed additive/part of forage for most horses, it's low sugar, high energy, high in protein, calcium, etc. But the... forget the term, plant based hormones - in it don't agree with all. Beet pulp is a good low sugar alternative/additive to forage, to bulk up a ration & reduce the amount of sugary grass/hay the horse may otherwise eat. Timothy is a common type of grass, so without specifying otherwise, your horse may well already be getting this, in hay & grazing. What is special about Timothy grass that you thought about adding more of that?

Quote:
She is a relatively easy-keeper; I just need a little more "umph" besides just grass.
Again, if she is an 'easy keeper' what makes you think it's calories she needs more of?? What 'umph' does she lack? Energy? Agility? ...? Perhaps it's a body issue or something else, that makes it uncomfortable for her to 'umph'.
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