Freedom has been looking a bit ribby this summer. He came out of the winter in good weight, and came out of the spring hunt season looking fit and lean.
I thought he’d fatten up once the spring grass came in and he wasn’t working quite so much . . . but he didn’t. He’s a horse that can fret off weight. Add some biting flies and heat to his day and he fidgets the weight off. Boy do I wish I had that problem!
The question is, how do you add weight to a horse who already gets free choice hay and who gets hotter than a rocket with too much grain? Freedom has traditionally done well being fed beet pulp, a ration balancer and alfalfa pellets. The volume of his meals is already pretty large — it takes him awhile to eat his way through all that soaked beet pulp. I didn’t want to add more volume as he’s already the last horse to finish his meals.
In the past when he’s need some extra weight I’ve added oil. But oil is messy and it’s very hard when you’re pre-mixing meals in plastic baggies to add it. First, I added more ration balancer and a bit more alfalfa. Then, I started feeding him lunch on the days that I could get to the barn — some soaked beet pulp with a bit more ration balancer and alfalfa. Horses generally gain weight when their meals are broken into more feedings and it did help Freedom, just not enough.
About three weeks ago I started feeding Purina Amplify, a rice-bran based fat source that is also low in starch (too much starch is rocket fuel for Freedom). According to the Purina site, Amplify is like a ration balancer, supplying a horse’s vitamins and minerals in a higher fat formula (30%). I’m mixing it 50/50 with the Enrich 32 that I normally feed. It’s more expensive than oil but oh-so-much easier to feed. I started him on half a cup per meal but now am feeding him 3/4 of the cup a.m. and p.m. and another half a cup at lunch. I took a picture of him this morning and even in this cell phone photo you can see that he’s looking better.
I just wish someone had to force me to eat more fat in my diet to keep my weight up!