Nothing is better than fresh grass growing on a healthy pasture as a horse feeds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have enough nutrients to keep the horses healthy. Yet, they keep the horses active and alive all year round. Like others, horses need help in getting essentials to survive and grow healthier. Since most pasture doesn’t have enough, horses need supplements added to their feeds. In this guide, we will go over on different horsesâ€™ weight gain supplements. We will need to understand what the underlying problem is. Then, develop a plan to restore the horseâ€™s physique.
What Causes Horsesâ€™ Weight Loss
A variety of factors involved in causing horses to lose weight. While age and concurrent diseases play a role, the ownerâ€™s ignorance matters. Also, some horses lose weight because his caloric needs are not met. They are burning more energy compared to what theyâ€™re consuming. There are many underlying issues that cause weight loss. This includes the following:
There are many diseases that can lead to weight loss. Most have other obvious signs such as diarrhea, colic, and fever.
In some cases, signs of illnesses are subtle or nonexistent. Possible chronic pain and heavy parasite load may also affect your horse’s weight. Besides, the pain of arthritis can interfere with a horseâ€™s feed intake. The pain prevents him from walking to hay feeders, or his wounds aren’t covered enough.
Problems with a horseâ€™s teeth can affect its ability to eat. Uneven wear can cause hooks, waves, and other malformations that inhibit chewing. A cracked or infected tooth is painful enough to discourage a horse from chewing its food.
Horses that live in stable herds develop distinct social hierarchies. Those at the bottom of the pecking orderâ€”often the very young, the aging.
There are horses that spend their time running back and forth. Some also keep on nickering to other horses. Also, there are horses who ask for attention from their handlers by not eating at all. And thereâ€™s the picky eater, who pushes his pellets around, picks out the choicest bits of hay, and poops on the rest.
Horses burn more calories to stay warm in cold weather. Extreme heat can also cause them to lose interest in food.
What to Consider When Buying the Supplements
When procuring a proper weight gain feed, itâ€™s important to consider the age of the horse. Old horses have more difficulty in digesting regular foods, such as hay, feed, and pasture. If you have an old mare, itâ€™s vital to always opt for high fat, soluble feeds dedicated to senior equines.
Regular hay mixed with legumes will do wonders for your favorite horse. Yet it isnâ€™t nourishing as it may be. The feeds should contain essential minerals and protein. It needs all the vital nutrients for growth and weight gain. Horse feed aims at increasing the animalâ€™s weight, thus it should contain the following:
Even though horses are herbivores, they still need a lot of protein. The best horse feed should include an efficient protein source. This includes legumes, milk proteins, alfalfa meals, soybeans, linseeds, cottonseeds, safflowers, and sunflowers. Protein is essential for growth. It should make up a bulk of the nutrients in a horse feed designed for weight gain.
Starch or Carbohydrates
The best feed for performance uses a mixture of oats, barley, hay, and beet pulp. A feed designed to help horses gain weight isn’t different. It should contain the most accessible sources of quick digesting starches and carbs. Although they aren’t as prominent as the protein, it should be enough energy booster.
Fats, Vitamins, and Minerals
Healthy grains and fruits are an equestrianâ€™s go-to source for minerals and vitamins. They are an essential source of energy, and they provide protection for the immune system. Foods like tomatoes, berries, and even apples contain antioxidants. Antioxidants boost performance and It increases the shelf life of the feed. It helps horses fight off illnesses.
Fastest Weight Gain Methods
Hay and Pasture
Maximizing hay is the most significant way of helping a horse gain weight. Quality is paramount. Good quality hay provides a free option for gaining weight. If a horse feeds on grass and hay, try adding alfalfa up to a 50/50 blend of grass.
Soaked beet pulp is a great choice for feeding horses the extra calories needed to gain weight.
Unmolassed beet pulp is low in sugar content and a good addition to a horse’s diet for weight gain.
Wheat bran considers being a source of fiber. It contains around the same amount of fiber as oats. Wheat bran is a good source of energy since it is abundant in indigestible fiber and starch. Also, it contains a large quantity of phosphorus. This can disrupt the calcium and phosphorus ratio in the diet. On the flip side, wheat bran complements a diet high in alfalfa hay because of the calcium in the alfalfa. Rice bran is often used as a higher fat option to help.
Grains, such as corn and oats, have the higher calorie content. They also have much higher omega-6 fatty acids and oxidation levels.
Oils are great for weight gain as they contain pure fat. Fat offers a much higher amount of calories per gram. Approximately 2.25 times the amount of calories compared to protein or carbohydrates.
A good pre- and probiotics can be very helpful for weight gain. A supplement for a balanced diet will most likely be necessary.
It is important to make any changes to the horseâ€™s diet little by little. At least about 7-10 days, to allow the digestive tract to acclimate.
All horses should have access to clean water and a plain, white salt block or loose salt. Also, your choice of hay is always a great way to start a horse on a weight gain plan. If possible add a feeding schedule at night or for lunch. Separate the thin horse from the large ones, so that he can feed without fighting for more food.
Top 8 Weight Gain Supplements for Your Horses
Manna Pro Cool Omega 40+
Cool Omega 40+ is a unique blend of fat and all-natural proteins. It has calories designed to meet the requirements of high-performance horses. This doesnâ€™t have the negative effects of excessive grain feeding. It is high in vegetable fat. It provides the calories needed for daily active performance. Cool Omega 40+’s high-calorie density provides energy for performance horses. It is rich in flaxseed protein, fiber, and omegas 3 & 6 that help improve the condition of the body and coat. Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids aid in the development and function of the nervous system. It has high-calorie levels designed to meet the requirements of peak performance horses.
Manna Pro Cool Omega 40+ is cheap to feed to your horses. One of my friendâ€™s gelding acquired sickness and loss of weight. They tried different products but this is the only supplement that works wonders.
AniMed Muscle-UP Powder, 2.5lb
This product offers excellent performance, quality, and price. It is a natural substitute for prescription anabolic. A fast-absorbing supplement helps in the building of vitamins and mineral muscles. You can feed your horses 4 ounces a day mixed with normal feed ration.
AniMed Muscle-UP Powder aids to have healthy digestion to your horses. It’s great for training horses. Also, it is for keeping healthy muscles, nerves, and circulatory systems.
AniMed L-Lysine for Horses
This is for horses that have poor diets of alfalfa, clover, and soy. This works with other essential amino acids. And, it assists with weight gain and leaner carcasses. It also helps boost protein in a horseâ€™s diet.
My uncle used AniMed L-Lysine for Horses to one of his Arabian crosses who was tad underweight. He gave this supplement to them and in about a month, he canâ€™t believe the changes. His horse now looks better with great muscle tone in her rear.
Farnam Grow Colt Growth
A special supplement for growing foals. This includes calcium and phosphorus to build stronger bones and provide energy. It also contains biotin.
My uncle used Farnam Grow Colt Growth on his fillies after weaning them at six months. They look and feel good. It is good to know that his horses are getting everything they need in this supplement.
AspirEze + Pain Relief for Horses
AspirEze Plus Aspirin Granules is an apple-flavored equine granule. It contains aspirin USP for acute relief of pain. It also helps to treat fever and inflammation from horses’ wounds and soft tissue damage.
Durvet AspirEze Plus Aspirin Granules helps to treat a senior horse who has bad foot issues.
UltaCruz Equine Weight Gain Supplement
This supplement contains flax oil. Flax oil is an excellent natural source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are the primary component of cell membranes. These are crucial for new tissue formation. They play an active part in stabilizing arrhythmia. It also reduces blood pressure while maintaining cholesterol levels. These help with inflammation. Also, flax oil improves digestive efficiency. It is an excellent caloric addition to daily grain intake. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and is fat-soluble. This helps the immune system by protecting the cell membranes from free radicals. These radicals can cause tissue damage if not stabilized.
UltraCruz Equine Supplement kept show and performance horses to maintain their weight.
Penwoods Equine Body Builder 4000
This nutritional supplement is for promoting weight gain as a body conditioner. Penwoods Body Builder 4000 helps horses to undergo conditioning. With its nutrients, it allows the lactation mares to maintain body weight. Its high-fat content shows double-antibody production in colostrums. Its concentration of energy & calories allows the lactation mares to maintain their weight.
Foal-Lac Instantized Powder
This product offers excellent performance, quality, and price. This is best for orphaned or early weaned foals to feed on. Foal-lac simulates the nutritional composition of mareâ€™s milk. Yet, this is not a permanent substitute for Colostrumsâ€™ Milk. A foal got better by Foal-Lac Instantized Powder after becoming ill with pneumonia. Vets added this product to her bowl of milk and taught her how to drink. She thrived ever since.
How Long Does it Take to Gain Weight
It may take 3-4 months in a horse with no other issues at all. It is enough to get a horse in that body condition back to optimal weight. If you had your horses checked and found a few internal problems, the recovery may take at least 5 months or more.
Many horses are metabolically determined to be hard-keepers. Others have physical, psychological, or environmental causes for having trouble in weight gaining. Increasing the caloric intake of a horse is not a problem. Pay attention to the feeds you offer to your horses. Manipulating the volume of energy sources helps you achieve optimal body condition.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!