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How Fat Is Too Fat

December 31, 2012

 

Horse owners can struggle with the difference between a fat horse and a hungry horse.

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Question:

My horses are fat, except the ones with more Thoroughbred in them. They get free-choice hay and only one scant quart grain for the day for vitamins/minerals. If I cut back on their hay (one flake in the morning and one at night), they break fences trying to reach grass. They push each other around, fighting for the spot where they can get a morsel. They’ve even pushed each other through the fence and run loose through town, which has involved the police. So, what do you suggest for a feeding alternative to manage the weight?

– Denise

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

Answer:

Thank you for your question. One pound of a regular feed might not provide enough vitamins/minerals, since feeding rates normally start around 2.5 to 3 pounds a day for most feeds.

A fortified vitamin/mineral supplement to grass hay or pasture would be a better choice to

offer your horses, such as Empower Balance, which is fortified in vitamins/minerals to ensure horses reach daily requirements on a smaller amount.

Empower Balance is meant to be fed at a rate of 1-2 pounds a day. It sounds like your horses cause trouble when their hay is cut back, but keep in mind that an overweight horse is also not a healthy horse, and weight problems can lead to other more costly problems. Look for some other ways to keep them occupied, such as salt blocks or toys. Exercise is a great way to keep them occupied.

– Jolene Wright, Nutrena customer support member