When desperately trying to get a difficult horse to gain weight, it is often tempting to keep increasing the amount of grain being fed. Vitamin E, Oxidative Stress, and PPID in Horses: Is There a Link? First, the amount of energy produced from starch by fermentation is less than the amount produced by enzymatic means. Record these numbers and measure your horse's weight regularly. Make sure pastured horses have access to shelter that will shield them from prevailing winds. Dietary fat works best when fed in conjunction with … Other common sources of fat include rice bran, linseed, sunflower seeds, full fat soybeans and coconut meal (copra meal). Keep in mind that all feeds and supplements should be formulated for the horse’s individual needs based on age, sex, workload, and body condition. Many new feeds are appearing on the markets that incorporate high fat levels (> 6%) with high fiber ingredients like beet pulp or soy hulls. Also use a weight tape to get an estimate on your horse's body weight. All feed passes through the acidic stomach before reaching the small intestine, so how much enzyme will actually reach the intestine intact and not be denatured? Weigh everything that you’re currently feeding your horse. While grain is a concentrated source of energy for the horse, there are some inherent dangers with feeding excessive amounts. He is getting grain just like the other horses, so what could be wrong? Also establish a good baseline measurement, in pounds, of what your horse currently eats. “Check his liver and kidney function and screen for chronic infections.”. Such environments denature the enzymes thereby making them inactive. • Social problems. Be sure to give the horse extra attention as well. Your veterinarian will also investigate possible sources of chronic pain, which can put a horse off of his feed. Metabolism is the speed at which the body burns fuels for energy in order to maintain normal body functions. About 4500 additional kcal per day over the normal amount fed should achieve half a pound of gain per day. Most of the cellulose and hemicellulose is easily digested by intestinal microbes (digestible fiber); the lignin is not digestible (indigestible fiber). There is no legal requirement to put this on a bag of feed but most suppliers do as it provides a guide to how conditioning a feed will be. I plan to show him in 4-H but he is just way too skinny. If this is your horse, you may have to get creative, experimenting with different types of forage or changing its form. Corn oil typically has remained the star in palatability studies, but most oils are palatable when corn oil is not offered as a choice in these studies. A tense horse may spend more time stall walking or weaving while the calm horse conserves energy stores. Putting the weight back on is usually the easier part, that's mainly just good nutrition. Manipulation of the amount and variety of energy sources will often achieve the ideal body condition on the hard keeper. If your horse has been inactive, consider implementing a moderate exercise program. Never feed more than 0.5 percent of a horse’s body weight of concentrates in a single meal, says Ralston. It can take up to six months to see normal results. One quick test of the quality of hay is to squeeze a handful. The horse may be reluctant to trust humans, if he or she came from an abusive situation. As with forage digestion, supplements designed to aid in starch digestion or utilization have been developed. Discussion Starter • #1 • Nov 13, 2011. The greatest advantage of using fat as an energy source is that it helps to avoid excessive intakes of grain. When a horse eats more starch in one meal than he can break down in his stomach and small intestine, the undigested molecules ferment in the hindgut, which increases the acidity and throws the microbial population out of balance—not only may the horse’s gut become less efficient at digesting fiber, the resulting changes can lead to colic and crippling acute laminitis. If you're trying to fatten your horse, consider upping the amount of food by 2.3 to 2.5% of body weight for a slow gradual gain. Then one morning it strikes you: Watching him turn toward you in the paddock, you can see a faint outline of every rib along his sides, and his haunches are looking a little less rounded, too. Most contain high amounts of fat as well as amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help a horse build and maintain muscle. I will have to post pics when i get home cause the change was really amazing. Grains, sweet feeds and other starch- and sugar-based concentrates had long been the high-calorie foods of choice for thin horses, especially those in hard work. To sustain a healthy weight, a horse needs to consume a daily ration of 2 to 3 percent of his body weight each day; of that, at least 1.5 to 2 percent needs to be some form of forage. By the time he reaches his late 20s or 30s, a horse’s teeth may wear down completely so that he cannot properly chew coarse feeds or hay. Knowing you need to can be the hard part: When you care for your horse every day, you may not notice slight variations in his body condition that indicate weight loss. One option would be to replace the hay with a palatable fiber source such as beet pulp or hay pellets. Traditionally, fat was added to give the coat a healthy shine. Some of these products can be pricey, however, especially if your hard-working hard-keeper needs to stay on them long-term to keep his weight up. Since protein is essential for growth, it should make up a bulk of the nutrients in a horse feed designed for weight gain. As the bacteria die they produce endotoxins and laminitis trigger factors which can cause colic. To help your horse gain weight, assuming he was getting restricted amounts of good-quality hay, Ralston suggests increasing his current forage ration until his total feed reaches at least 2.5 percent of his desired body weight. If introduced slowly, horses can adapt to higher fat intakes, and you can reduce the concerns associated with really high starch intakes such as wide fluctuation in blood glucose and insulin levels seen with high-grain concentrates. Possible Link Between Selenium and Cribbing in Horses, Hot Blood, Warm Blood, Cold Blood in Horses. Supplements are available that may help with fiber digestion if the horse has a problem with the balance of the microbes in the cecum or colon. Once you’ve identified and addressed the most probable reasons for your horse’s weight loss, it’s time to develop a strategy to put the pounds back on. They are thin and therefore will need more feed to increase its weight. The starch molecules found in grains are complex polysaccharides that, when attacked by the enzyme amylase in the small intestine, can be broken down to very simple sugars, which are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Each nutrient is utilized for energy in a slightly different way in the body which, depending on the horse, can be advantageous or not. Amylase production has been found to be quite variable among horses. Almost all performance horses have some type of fat added to their diet, whether it is a slug of corn oil, a scoop of rice bran, a handful of linseed or a commercial high fat feed. No matter how much grain you feed, the horse will probably lose more weight. For instance, some Thoroughbreds are easy keepers while others require intense management to maintain body weight. In fact, he has lost body condition. The trick with increasing calorie intake is to do it in a safe way. And as usual, when it comes to horses, the trademarked short answer is "It Depends". When your horse is too thin, whether it’s a short-term aberration or a chronic struggle, careful feeding can keep his weight up. Some of the common sources include legumes, milk proteins, alfalfa meals, soybeans, linseeds, cottonseeds, safflowers, and sunflowers. Be in regular contact with your vet and monitor the horse closely. The biggest concern with rice bran is that it is also high in phosphorus, which can inhibit the amount of calcium available in the horse’s body. Stiff stalks that hurt your palm are not a good choice when you need a higher calorie feed. Maximizing forage quality should be the first adjustment when trying to achieve weight gain. Although there are a few feeds and supplements containing enzymes on the market, their efficacy is still questionable. Introducing starving horses to too much food too quickly can cause serious digestive consequences that may be fatal. Therefore, as lignin content of a feed increases, digestibility decreases. Alfalfa is higher in calories and protein than grass hays, which makes it an excellent choice to help to add weight to a thin horse. The greatest advantage of using fat as an energy source is that it helps to avoid excessive intakes of grain. Of course, some horses seem naturally more prone to weight loss; a “hard keeper” may have a metabolism that requires more than the usual amount of calories for maintenance, or he may readily lose his appetite—and drop pounds—in response to even slight variations in management routine, weather or other factors. Is he sick? For example, most people think that you can put any person on your back. If a commercially designed horse feed has soy hulls listed as one of the primary ingredients, it will be a good source of highly digestible fiber. If you’re not already receiving the EQUUS newsletter, click here to sign up. Only then can you develop a plan to restore him to his proper weight. Clearly, your horse is losing weight. Corn oil is palatable to most horses, but you can also use canola, peanut or any other vegetable oil your horse likes. Another option for horses in turnout is to distribute hay around to multiple feeders, or to use one that the horses can access from all sides without getting trapped against a fence, so that everyone gets access to a share. However, the one Thoroughbred in the barn who arrived a little thin six months ago has not put on any weight. Routine dental exams—annually for most adult horses, or every six months for seniors or those who have had problems in the past—can catch and address any developing problems early, before they affect a horse’s overall health and body weight. Weight gain in the horse can be attributed to protein or fat deposition. A horse can draw more energy from a high quality, early harvested hay (whether grass or legume) than a mature hay. Another fiber supplement is beet pulp, which contains about the same digestible energy as good quality hay. Without sufficient amylase in the intestinal tract, much of the starch in the diet passes through to the large intestine where it is fermented. If you don’t have one already, buy a food scale and weigh out your horse’s normal ration. If your horse has been consuming all of the forage he wants, and he still is not gaining weight after several weeks, it’s time to add some more calories to the ration. After warming up long and low, start to pick the reins up and ask for more collection. But if your otherwise robust horse suddenly loses weight without apparent reason, ask your veterinarian to help you investigate the causes. When deciding on a commercial mix for the horse, look for one that uses grains that have been processed to allow for optimal digestion in the small intestine of the horse. You have several options Whichever method you choose, record your measurements in a journal, starting with a baseline, to keep track of subtle changes over time. As a starting point reduce hay intake to 1.5% of your horse’s current body weight. Although beet pulp is a good source of calories, it is not a complete protein source, and it’s relatively low in vitamins and most minerals, so it works best as an addition to, not a substitute for, your horse’s regular rations. Likewise, a horse who is stressed by travel, intense training, herd squabbles or other disruptions may eat less and/or burn more energy and end up losing weight. But the devil is in the details. You must be patient when you are trying to put weight on a horse. To use a tape to weigh a horse, stand your horse on level ground and make sure that its head is relaxed to get a more accurate weight. If you have trouble bringing your horse back to his ideal weight, don’t hesitate to consult with an equine nutritionist. The simplified solution to poor weight is to increase the caloric content of the diet while ensuring adequate protein content. An average 1000 lb horse needs to consume from 2 to to 3% of his/her own body weight in forage and feed daily, or 20 to 30 pounds total daily ration for a 1000 pound horse. If your hard-keeper or athlete needs more than that to gain weight, break his portion up into as many small meals as you can manage, spread throughout the day. The process of pelleting involves heat which results in improved enzymatic digestion of corn; extruding improves it even more. This is best done gradually, because just like people, horses can develop health problems if weight is lost too quickly. Horses take about three weeks to adapt to a high fat diet. If biting flies are a problem in your area, protecting your horse with fly sheets, sprays, traps and other measures can help him to focus more on grazing. As with oil, rice bran needs to be added to the diet slowly, starting with about a cup at a time, working up to one or two pounds daily. Breeds like Don’t forget that a horse’s social status can change over time, and the addition or subtraction of other members can rewrite the whole equation. I am worried because he lost so much weight over the winter. More research is necessary to establish the efficacy of feeding supplemental enzymes. For the hard keeper, however, fiber alone will not maintain weight, but there are fiber feeding strategies that can increase the ability of the horse to derive energy from fiber. Temperament often goes hand in hand with metabolic rate. Some commercial feeds come with yeast already added or yeast products are sold which can be top-dressed to the ration. A high-fat diet is an invaluable tool for achieving weight gain in a skinny horse as long as the gastrointestinal tract of the horse will tolerate the fat. "When you add weight when a horse is standing, the force of the weight is divided through all four limbs," Wickler says. According to the study, it typically takes between 3 and 5 months to fully rehabilitate a horse to his previous weight. Products links are selected by EQUUS editors.]. If your horse tends to be wasteful with his hay, he may eat more when offered alfalfa hay cubes or pellets. If you don't see the changes you expect, talk to your veterinarian and/or … Also, commercial products are available that combine yeast and a probiotic for maximal regeneration and efficiency of the microbial population. Loose, runny feces are a sign that improper fat digestion is occurring. As well as being a highly concentrated energy source, fat has several other advantages. Pasture is also a source of fiber. If you don't have lush pasture, the horse can still gain weight well on the sweet feed and the oil. More energy could be provided with grass hay that has very little stem and an abundance of visible green grass blades. If your hay and pasture are poor, then your horse is filling his gut with fiber but not getting adequate calories or nutrients. Doctor insights on: How To Put Weight On A Horse Share Share Follow @HealthTap Embed Dr. Stanley Schwartz Dr. Schwartz 1 doctor agreed: 1 1 I eat like a horse but never seem to put any weight on. Lignin is the carbohydrate which gives the most structural support to a plant; rigid-stalked vegetation will contain more lignin than limp-stalked plants. Hi everyone, I just got a new horse yesterday. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that hard keepers gain weight and easy keepers lose weight when fed hay from a When the diet has excessive calories, the body will build muscle and adipose stores. When we think about our dream horses, we all picture a plump, shiny, muscled, dappled equine in whatever coat color we prefer. The safest way to increase the energy in your horse’s ration is to bolster the fat content. Read and record the … As digestibility plummets, less energy is available to the horse. 45 pounds of gain in 90 days is 1/2 pound per day, a safe goal to aim for. The laminitis trigger factors that pass into the blood can also induce laminitis. Contact our advice team for a free ration analysis. This results in emaciation with poor muscle definition and protruding bones. Sign up for free now! The fiber portion of a plant consists primarily of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The danger of feeding too much starch occurs because certain horses have a sensitivity to starch overload, perhaps precipitated by low amylase production or large meals of unprocessed grains. 411 Posts . When quality fiber in the form of pasture or hay is not available, or if the horse does not readily eat hay, there are alternative fiber sources that may add fiber energy to the diet. Big Sky minerals can be bought off my site . Horses may tire of the flavor and go off of an animal fat product before refusing a vegetable oil. In order to correctly distribute the weight across the horse’s back, it is very important that the saddle fits both horse and rider. Normally horses have no problem digesting fat as long as it is introduced gradually into the diet. A horse with a good body weight will fare better in chilly weather because a little fat provides insulation from the cold as well as a stockpile of energy to maintain his core body temperature. Roasted soybeans are also great in small quantities but will increase the protein percentage of the diet too much if fed in larger amounts. • Dental issues. A nervous horse may require more calories than a calm tempered one to maintain the same body condition. Therefore, a 1000 pound (450 kilogram) horse needs a minimum of 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of hay per day in order to maintain a reasonable balance of the microbial population. Wheat bran is a rich energy source because it is abundant in digestible fiber and starch. A veterinarian has thoroughly examined the horse and nothing appears to be wrong. The end result has to feed fewer pounds of grain than hay to supply the equivalent amount of energy to the horse. It may seem counterintuitive to make a thin horse burn calories to gain weight, but the work will help him to build muscles, and exercise will increase his appetite. The action of chromium does not have as much to do with aiding digestion as it does with the way the body handles the rise in blood glucose resulting from starch digestion and the consequential rise in insulin. Horses burn more calories to stay warm in cold weather, but extreme heat can also cause them to lose interest in food. Forage may be the cornerstone of equine nutrition, but it’s not a calorie-dense food, and there’s a limit to how much a horse will eat in a day. Abrupt changes in a horse’s diet can lead to colic, laminitis and other ills. Horses that suffer starch sensitivity should not be given high grain diets. Slow feeders can keep the hay clean while helping the ration last longer. Both products are made with alfalfa that has been harvested when digestible fiber is at its peak. A slow metabolism can function on little input of fuel energy. Hi I got a horse from camelot auction and he is skinny i would love to know some tricks and tips on how to put weight on him. Unfortunately, there is a point of no return when a horse gets too much grain in its digestive tract and the delicate balance of the microbial population is upset. Although some horses seem to be more sensitive to starches than others, says Ralston, “You can induce laminitis in any horse with a sudden grain/starch overload.”. Severe cases of parasitism are rare these days due to the wide use of new and improved de-wormers but where a horse is suffering from a large worm burden, the results on the digestive tract and the horse's ability to absorb and digest feed can be disastrous. When trying to put weight on horses, adding extra hay like you’re doing is always the first and best option. Caution is necessary when feeding pellets as some hay should still be fed if possible because of the important laxative effect of long fiber in the diet. Wheat bran is commonly thought of as a fiber source, but it actually has about the same amount of fiber as oats. The second obstacle is digestibility. These social butterflies may have a hard time focusing on their meals. Follow feeding instructions on the label for serving sizes for any commercial products. However rice bran will rapidly go rancid unless it is stabilised by extrusion, and unstabilised products should not be fed. In addition to the calories, or energy, gained from the fermentation of fiber in the hindgut, the stomach is healthier and the horse is happier (because he has more to chew). For this, you just need to maintain the horse’s condition with its regular exercise and … First, select a product that is formulated for your horse’s stage of life and activity level. Repeat the weight tape two weeks after you've made a diet change. Feed a senior horse more frequently, at least three times daily. It is safest to put weight on a horse slowly, so let’s take 90 days for this example. Soaking a horse’s feed can sometimes encourage him to eat more, but never provide more in one meal than he can eat before it either freezes in winter or goes rancid in the summer heat. Commonly used in commercial horse feeds, soy hulls are slightly lower in digestibility than beet pulp. The basic concept behind fattening up a thin horse is fairly simple: Feed him more calories. Horses who live in stable herds develop distinct social hierarchies, and those at the bottom of the pecking order—often the very young, the aging or the submissive—may be chased away from the hay feeder and other sources of food. Leaving a horse with an empty stomach can also lead to equine ulcers. Whenever you are changing the number of concentrates, do it gradually to decrease the possibility of problems like founder or colic. Wheat bran contains a large quantity of phosphorus, which can potentially disrupt the calcium and phosphorus ratio in the diet. Studies have shown that the oat starch molecule is small and easily digested by amylase. He needs it to keep his gut functioning at its best. Internal parasites can be a major contributing factor to weight loss or inability to put on weight. Crisco) to each scoop of his sweet feed (just pour it on top of the feed). In this article, energy refers to the potential of a feed to fuel body functions and exercise. A number of underlying issues can cause weight loss in a horse, and to help him regain some pounds, you first need to understand and address what’s going wrong. Supplemental chromium may improve the metabolism of starch. It may take some trial and error to find the right combination of forages, fats and concentrates to keep your horse healthy and strong. Once your horse is at ease, stand on its left side and drape the tape over its back just behind its withers, or the small hump at the base of the neck. Adding feed stations in strategic spots in larger pastures may make them easier to reach, and horses with pain in the neck or withers will graze more comfortably from a net or rack at shoulder height. Sometimes, getting a thin horse to gain weight is simply a matter of increasing the caloric density of the diet. The digestibility of pasture is usually higher than hay because the curing process of haymaking results in digestible fiber losses. “If your horse starts losing weight and his diet has not changed, get the veterinarian out ASAP,” says Ralston. Normally horses have no problem digesting fat as long as it is introduced gradually into the diet. Some horses are metabolically inclined to be hard keepers while others have medical, psychological or environmental reasons for having difficulty in maintaining weight. Offer a complete feed specifically designed for senior horses with higher digestible fiber at a minimum of 0.5% body weight. In other words, a horse loses weight simply because his caloric needs are not being met. As you develop your plan, keep one rule in mind: Go slowly. Obtaining energy from starch is actually more efficient because it is a simple enzymatic process. In other words, if your horse currently weighs 1,000 pounds, and you’d like him to be 1,100, then your target would be 2.5 percent of 1,100, or 27.5 pounds of hay. Another problem with oils is they can go rancid, so be sure to store the bottle in a cool place and give it a sniff before feeding. However, recent research has brought to light an even better reason for feeding fat – it is an excellent energy source. A young plant harvested prior to maturity will have a lower lignin content than a plant allowed maturing before cutting. When a horse does not have enough calories or protein in the diet, the body will break down its own muscle tissue and deplete much of the adipose tissue or fat. Horses with poor dentition may no longer be able to efficiently chew and process high fiber feedstuffs such as hay and even possibly grass, resulting in loss of weight and body fat. Of pasture is usually higher than how to put weight back on a horse because the curing process of results. By enzymatic means months ago has not put on weight feed steam rolled or cooked barley and steam flaked super... Can i put weight on forage alone feed every day ; it feeding. Just way too skinny as lignin content than a mature hay of certain have! Monitor the horse and nothing appears to be higher in calories because of the quality of hay is to the! 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