3 Ways to Safely Prep Your Underweight Horse for Winter

Dr. Tania Cubitt, Ph.D. Equine Nutrition & Reproduction

Standlee Premium Western Forage®

Feed changes should be transitioned over several days and not made rapidly. The question then becomes “what should I feed my horse for weight gain?”

  1. Amount and Quality of Forage

 We need to increase the amount and quality of forage available to the horse. Adding quality alfalfa long stemmed forage, cubes or pellets will increase the calorie content of the diet as well as supplying other critical nutrients such as amino acids and minerals. Beet pulp has a similar calorie content to oats and can also be added to increase the quality of forage provided to the horse.

  1. Gradually Increase Grain

We can start to gradually increase the grain portion of the diet – this must be done with care so as not to cause any digestive disturbance.

  1. Addition of Fats and Oils

 Fats and oils are commonly used in horse feeds to increase the calorie content of the feed or to replace the calories supplied by carbohydrates. Fat supplementation has many benefits including, providing calories for weight gain and providing essential fatty acids to improve skin and coat condition.

Weight loss in horses can be caused by many different factors. Work with your veterinarian or nutritionist to identify the cause of weight loss. Once you have resolved those issues and started your horse on a more calorie dense diet, it will begin to gain weight. Remember weight gain is a slow process – do not expect results over night.

 Learn about Body Condition Scoring and read the full article on the Standlee Barn Bulletin Blog.