The best ways to promote healthy weight gain in horses are:
Poor-quality feed and forage will also have lower levels of nutrients, which can easily result in deficiencies, especially if the horse is a picky eater. … A deficiency in just one nutrient or amino acid can be enough to cause a horse to lose weight or prevent a horse from gaining weight.
Feed lucerne hay. Lucerne (known as alfalfa in North America) is a high energy forage and makes a valuable contribution to raising a horse’s calorie intake above their daily requirement to encourage weight gain. Lucerne will also provide your horse with good quality protein which will facilitate muscle development.
The best feed for an underweight horse is good quality hay or pasture grass. 1 Give him free choice hay unless there is some medical reason (such as metabolic syndrome, founder (also known as laminitis) or Cushing’s disease) not to.
Beet pulp can be used to help underweight horses gain weight, as it provides approximately 1,000 kcals per pound (one quart of dry beet pulp shreds weighs approximately 0.5-0.6 pounds).
Feed for a weight gain of 0.5 to 0.75 pounds daily. Three to four pounds of an additional grain product can meet this gain if the horse’s body weight is stable. Use the table below as a guideline. Horses take about three weeks to adapt to a high fat diet.
For boosting calories and keeping omega balance in check, canola or soybean oil would be a far better choice than corn oil,” explained Whitehouse. Fish oil has superior fatty acid content, with an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 6:1, but it is generally not fed to increase energy consumption.
Feed 1% of a high-quality forage daily (based on body weight). Offer a complete feed specifically designed for senior horses with higher digestible fiber at a minimum of 0.5% body weight. Feed a senior horse more frequently, at least three times daily.
Stull says the best approach for initial refeeding consists of frequent small amounts of high-quality alfalfa. The amount should be increased slowly at each meal, and the number of feedings decreased over 10 days. After 10 days to two weeks, horses can be fed as much as they will eat.
The too skinny horse may look ewe necked, the withers may appear very pronounced and the spine may be easily felt beneath the skin. The ribs and hip bones may be sharply visible and easily felt and the haunches appear sunken. Horses become too thin for a number of reasons including lack of food, stress or illness.