What do you feed your fatties?

Discussion in 'Feeding Horses' started by Leon, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Leon

    Leon Well-known Member

    We always have thread's about putting weight on horses but what about keeping horses at an optimal weight?

    I have a soon to be 4 year old QH x that is currently a land whale. I want him to still get the nutrition he needs but without causing him to blow up. How do you use self restraint at feeding time :eek:
  2. Braids Dale

    Braids Dale New Member

    My fatty was getting chaff and balancer pellets, but was finding this too boring so I add some flaky bran and sunflower seeds. The balancer is designed for grain rations so is high in calcium and the bran does level out the Ca:p ratio

    ooh and carrots :)
  3. ASH lover

    ASH lover Well-known Member

    Don't feed...provide a mineral block, if they look healthy, then they probably are!
    My horses haven't been fed anything this winter apart from a small bit of hay occasionally and they are fine
  4. NLEC

    NLEC Well-known Member

    Grass :) I used to fee supplements, but in all honesty -most horses really simply DO NOT NEED it.

    Or if they are too fat...they get locked up on oat husks for 6 hours a day ;)
  5. NLEC

    NLEC Well-known Member

    Oh, and the best way to use self restraint at feeding time is to be researching and reading plenty of information on Laminitis, recurrent Laminitis, Secondary problems relating to laminits, Arthritis, and all the other lovely overweight horse related diseases ;)

    If it still doesn't work, write yourself a note that says


    and stick it above the feed bins in the tack room.


    Leading nutritionists actually recommend hay, hay, hay and only hay for most horses - growing or otherwise :D
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  6. Leon

    Leon Well-known Member

    Thanks everyone :)

    Now I read back it kinda sounds like a stupid question! I should have given more info.

    He is in a paddock with another horse at the moment who needs hard feeding, unfortunately my youngster who is so driven by food will push his way into eating as much as he can from the other horse therefore depriving the other horse.

    Just separate them you say... our property is new to us and fencing is starting once it drys out, hard with all this rain! Then they will definately be separated during feed time.

    I have always fed him supps since birth as wanted to give him the best chance to develop correctly (amino acids etc) so would feel strange if I wasnt feeding some sort of suppliment considering our pasture isnt the best either (nutritional wise).

    He also dropped off ALOT in summer and it took me a while to get it back on so I am not sure that he would do super well getting absolutely nothing but right now he does not need much.

    I suppose I want him to loose a little bit then maintain a healthy weight.

    Good idea NLEC, maybe I need to put a note on my fridge :p
  7. Freestyle

    Freestyle Well-known Member

    I had my fatty WB filly on Hygain Balanced and lucerne chaff. She probably didn't even need that, but I could rest easy knowing that she's getting all the vitamins she needed while growing and it also stopped the sad eyes at feed time that made me feel like a horrible mum :)
  8. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    I have two very good doers turned out 24/7 on excellent pasture so they are on grass only for about 5 months of the year. Like you, I had to get used to not feeding supplements but the horses look great, lovely shiny coats and very healthy feet, ideal energy levels and good manures etc so I don't worry about it now and save lots of money. The rest of the year mostly just hay and one tiny basic hard feed a day of lucerne and pellets, with vit supplement. Trying to get some weight off the mare for the Royal so she's getting locked in the roundyard about 8 hours a day. I'm considering buying a grazing muzzle for her next year, seems to be a popular solution in the UK for other fat native pony owners and then she can stay in the paddock with her brother.

    If you need to separate the horses at feed time you could use portable panels to make a little yard for one of them to eat in, we did this when my gelding's dam was in with my two, she was also a land whale and would hoover hers and everyone else's feed :)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  9. Remaani

    Remaani Guest

    My fat 2yo filly has since lost weight but she's on Maxisoy Low GI, Vit/Min, Rosehips, ACV & hay.
    That's it.
    Shes'in prep for the Royal too & finally looks fantastic.
  10. NLEC

    NLEC Well-known Member

    If you find that he drops off in summer, the best things you can provide him are in order of importance.

    1. Adlib hay. (hay has a great balance of slow digestable energy)
    2. A protein supplement - 1/2 a cup of canoa meal, or FFS should be fine.
    3. An energy supplement such oil. Don't worry about feeding it if you are feeding FFS.

    Take the energy out first if he starts to blossom again.
    Next remove the protein supplement.

    As summer goes one, the protein levels of dry pasture, and hay diminish.

    Also, a really good way to get and idea of WHAT causes weight loss, is to start a diary.

    Provide a consistent situation of feeding, then make notes on the weather, and his condition, demeanor, how he copes with weather extremes.

    I know of quite a decent number of performance lines that just cannot cope with heat over 35 at all.
    And as a rule, most horses are starting to experience some level of constant body stress when it hits high 30's.
    It's hard work for a horse to keep cool, and depending on the horses ability to cope with the heat, this may affect Body condidtion score ect :)

    So as things start to dry off, as as you see him start to get down to a manageable weight, allow him more acsess to hay. Build it up to adlib.
    Watch, if he still isnt peaking and plateauing in condition, add in a small simple protein supplement.
    Lastly - add in the energy.
    Then expect to need to increase the protein, and energy slightly over Autumn. This time has the highest demands on these macro nutrients for them, and the pastures, feedstuffs, hay is at the lowest levels due to it being the previous seasons harvest.

    As a general rule here, we used to only supplement feed during late summer/Autumn for a very very few horses.

    However in the last few years, with our summer green feed being available in the form of forage trees that thrive in spring/summer/autumn and response quickly to cooler, slightly wet weather, I have more of an issue with keeping the weight off them now!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  11. Sonovagun

    Sonovagun New Member

    I fed my fatty maxisoy and supplements with some Lupins, maxisoy swells into a descent little feed so will keep him munching while the other horse eats.

    I have the same issue with my horse and his paddock mate, my boy is on a laminitis diet, the other is not and he would boss by horse off his feed so mine would go eat the oats! The solution was so simple it was ridiculous, I ran a line of electric tape from the corner of the shed, probably about ten metres? Place a feeder one each side and feed both horses side by side where the tape starts, it actually works! The dominate horse sees the 'fence' and thinks 'damn there's a fence there!'
  12. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    My sympathies, I've got good doers and its hard to feed when you want to pump enough hay through them to combat sand colic, but see them blimping out.

    A few things I do-

    Feed meadow hay or other low nutrient roughage like straw or late cut hay.
    All hay in slow feed net.
    Nosebag feed, so individuals can't steal or lose their feed.
    Distraction, put one out to feed around the corner while you brush or rug the other.
    Feed the skinny one, and while waiting for it to finish, take the fat one for a walk or lunge, after which they get their daily quota of handful of chaff for supplements.
    Exercise will help as well as reducing food intake or nutrient quality.
  13. horseychic

    horseychic Well-known Member

    I feed my mare who has had laminitis in the past so have to manage her carefully

    Oaten hay at night which is soaked in water, a feed consisting of speedibeet, vit/min and then filled to the top of sweet chaff. she is in work 6 days a week and only goes out in the paddock for a couple of hours a day at the moment cause the feed is knee high.

    I did some research on speedibeet and it recommends to feed a small amount before turning them out can help to neutralise the sugar content in the pasture which in turns can help to prevent things like laminitis etc.
  14. maxntaz

    maxntaz Well-known Member

    Some things i do, which is probably going to be repeated:

    Soak hay if you dont have access to lower quality hay.
    My fatty currently gets chaff, with his minerals and I use kindncool as a cheap "nothing" feed as a filler - even then he gets no more than a cup full per meal. I was using Hygain zero which my boy loves, but it got ridicously expensive down here.

    In terms of feeding them something so you dont "feel sorry for them" - that used to be me.. but the way i look at it now is, i have to be realistic, they are animals, they rely on us to provide food, hell if we gave them sugar coated popcorn they would probably eat it (and their teeth would rot and fall out hahaha) but ultimately we have to put aside our humanistic feelings ie us feeling sorry for them, because ultimately if you have a obese horse, you could be causing all sorts of other problems and ultimately there is no one to blame for their obesity except us.

    For me it means, i literally give him his feed an run (so to speak) so that i dont see his "sad face" at the fence if the other horses are still eating. It also means that i exercise him more, if i cant get out to ride him, I lunge him or i find someone who can do it for me if im away or cant make it for some reason. I make sure that if he is in a paddock with excess feed, its slashed where required, or its grazed well - it may mean sharing a paddock with cattle, sheep or other grazing animals if you are in that situation.

    Our horses rely on us to keep them in shape, so its about commonsense, getting up earlier in the morning or going to bed later in the evening to fit it all in (or getting help). We choose to own/lease/borrow/bred these horses so as a responsible owner feeding is just a small part of the general care of the horse..

    i think im ranting now! Sorry:)
  15. Leon

    Leon Well-known Member

    Thanks everyone

    Dont worry I wouldnt let him get obese as I am very aware that is just as bad as being emaciated. It can be a fine line between looking healthy and being the right weight to being just a bit too fat (before the obese stage).

    He has actually slimmed down a touch as his paddock buddy has changed who is alot more dominate over food. I also have him on lucerne chaff, hygain allrounder and hygain fibre essential (only small amounts) and he is looking awesome on this so far. He is back in work so that will help in the long run too.

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