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Horses: Keeping Weight On

Why do horses lose weight? Have you noticed that your horse is eating lots of hay but he’s still not gaining weight? Horses can drop weight for many reasons ranging from medical conditions to environment and feeding concerns. To help you understand why your horse is losing weight, talk to your veterinarian and schedule a physical exam to rule out disease, parasites or uncommon reasons such as cancer. Your horse may be losing weight because of malnutrition (parasites or poor dental care), malabsorption (problems in the small intestine), ulcers, diarrhea, pain (causing them not to travel to eat), infection, organ failure, or metabolic problems such as Cushing’s Disease. It’s also possible that the horse’s care and human interaction is causing a problem. Check out and research your horse’s food, living environment, age & breed/genetics, and use. When it comes to food–is your horse getting enough? Is your horse eating 1.5 – 2.0 percent of his weight each day (for a 1200-pound horse that’s 24 pounds of hay and grain)? When it’s time for your horse to eat, does he have access to the food? If he’s out with other horses, are they dominate and keeping him from his dinner? Or, does your horse endure stress on the road? Is his environment or are his surroundings causing him stress and making food less than desireable? If your horse is in his teens or twenties, his body may be functioning differently than it once did. Older horses need not be thin, but their needed care and nutrition changes with age.

horse-teeth-gumsMake sure to check your horse’s teeth so that he can chew what you present him. Make sure that your horse has the nutritional tools he needs to absorb the food he gets. Make sure your feed and supplements have essential fatty acids including Omega 3s. Amino acids will help build muscle. Plus, many other supplements can help your horse absorb and use the feed you’re providing.

Research and Testimonials:
One EquiPride user in Colorado had an older horse who wouldn’t gain weight. “Our horse, Ben, will be 23 this month! I had increased his hay to 2 flakes alfalfa and 1 flake grass morning and night and he was receiving Purina Strategy. This did bring his weight up. Then, I started him on EquiPride… and he started getting FAT! I took away the extra flake of alfalfa, and he maintained his weigh beautifully with the EquiPride. I ran out of EquiPride about a month ago, and I have noticed a subtle weigh loss and his coat is not as shiny. I am looking forward to getting him back on track with his EquiPride!” –Heide, Golden, CO

Questions for You:
Is your horse an easy or hard keeper? What do you do to help maintain weight?