Fattening up Freedom

Freedom is looking ribby
Freedom has lost some weight this summer. He's a horse that can start looking ribby if he's at all anxious and the bugs and heat seem to have caused him to lose weight.

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!

Freedom in better weight
He came out of the winter in good weight. Here is at the beginning of the Spring hunt season.

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.

Freedom has filled out some.
I took this photo this morning. I think he's starting to fill out nicely.

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!

6 thoughts on “Fattening up Freedom

  1. Interesting! I hadn’t heard of Purina Amplify before. I feed my TB, who is a hard keeper and also gets super hot on grain, Cool Calories (basically a 99% fat supplement that comes in a powder) in addition to a low-NSC, low-starch grain, Equilux Wellness. This seems to do well for us, but it’s nice to know about what else is out there!

  2. Have you considered antacid tablets? If he’s one of those that frets off weight (as you said), then I would ask my very about adding them to his rations for a bit. Wouldn’t harm him & could be a part of the solution.

    1. It’s certainly something I’ve considered. I feed alfalfa because it’s been shown to buffer stomach acids. He certainly has done much better since I added it to his diet. But maybe it’s not enough? Thanks for reminding me about that option.

  3. I have the same problem with Nina. She looked good at the end of a cold winter and did well until fly season. Just stomping and swishing takes weight off her! I have had to reduce her soaked beet pulp because she is a slow eater (good in many ways) and in 100 degree heat it will go bad. So I had to reduce the oil also, she doesn’t like it soaked in oil. The feed the barn feeds made her hot when we increased it. I finally started her on Nutrena Senior, gradually increasing it and now she is gaining a little. It is probably the most expensive beet pulp I will ever buy but she eats it. I hadn’t heard of Amplify either, I will check it out. She is picky about fat only supplements, but this sounds like more than fat. The flies this year are making me ALMOST look forward to winter.

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