Spring Feeding Tips for Underweight Horses

Feeding tips for underweight horses

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Use the following strategies to increase calories in your horse’s diet. Remember to keep checking your horse’s condition frequently so they don’t gain too much weight!

Step 1: Increase the amount of hay your horse is getting.

• A horse should eat 1.5% to 2% of their body weight in hay each day. (That is 15 to 20 lbs for a 1,000 lb horse.)
• Add an extra ¬flake or two to each meal.
• Alfalfa hay typically provides more calories than grass hay.
• A 1,000 lb horse should eat 15-20 lbs of hay per day.

If your horse is consuming all the hay he can eat and still needs more calories, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Review the amount of concentrate (sweet feed or pellets) your horse is eating.

• Are you feeding according to the manufacturer’s recommendations?
• Can you safely increase the grain by a pound or two per feeding?
• If so, make the change slowly over several days.
• Never feed more than 4 to 5 pounds total per feeding.
• Add an extra feeding at lunch or later in the evening if necessary to meet your horse’s caloric needs.

If your horse is already maxed out on grain, move on to step 3.

Step 3: Add a high-fat supplement to his feeding program.

• The percent of fat provided by the supplement will determine how much you need to feed. Equi-Jewel® rice bran, for example, is 18% fat and fed at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per day.
• Start with a small amount and increase the amount fed daily over 5 to 7 days. This allows your horse to get used to the new form of energy.
• Feed the supplement until your horse reaches the desired condition, then cut back on the amount fed as needed to maintain the weight you desire.
• If your horse is working harder during the season, he may need to stay on the supplement year-round.


Safely meet the energy needs of today’s horses with Equi-Jewel rice bran. It reduces the risk of digestive upset and supports optimal muscle function, while providing the calories your horse needs to thrive.

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