Feeding an Overweight Horse

Could your horse stand to lose a few poundst? AQHA Corporate Partner Nutrena can help.

Could your horse stand to lose a few pounds? AQHA Corporate Partner Nutrena can help.

Ask an ExpertQuestion:

One of my friends has a 15-year-old horse who is on pasture 24/7 and gets two flakes of hay once a day and a scoop of 12 percent sweet feed twice a day. The horse is only ridden once a week. She is overweight, so what advice should I offer about what she should feed her horse to get some weight off?

— Delaney

For the answer to this question, we consulted Nutrena customer support member Jolene Wright.


Thank you for your question. Chances are, your friend’s horse is getting more starch and sugar than she needs for her activity level. Cheap sweet feeds especially have more starch and sugar. I do not know the scoop size or how much feed the scoop holds, but I will give you some options and feeding rates to help decide. The horse is considered maintenance type, since she is only ridden once a week. So, your friend

will want to look for a low, controlled starch and sugar feed such as SafeChoice Special Care, which has a maximum starch level of 11 percent and maximum sugar level of 4 percent ( the product she is currently feeding could be 35 percent starch/sugar or more). The feeding rate starts at 2.5 pounds a day for a 1,000-pound maintenance-type horse. Another product to consider that may be even better is Empower Balance, which is designed for easy keepers on grass hay and pasture that just need a vitamin-mineral supplement to ensure that they reach daily requirements. Empower Balance is fortified in vitamins and minerals so horses get more vitamins and minerals in a smaller amount without all the calories and fat. This product is meant to be fed at a rate of 1-2 pounds a day.

If you think your friend’s horse would still be too fat on 2.5 pounds of SafeChoice Special Care a day, then Empower Balance would be a better choice at 1-2 pounds a day. This and good-quality hay and/or pasture will provide the horse the nutrients she needs without all the starch and sugar.

— Jolene Wright, Nutrena customer support member

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