Ideas to increase weight

Coming here for some ideas because I have a farm of easy keepers except for one.
This mare was originally in my program for years, was never hog fat but always looked respectable. Owner sold her and now 4 years later, her current owner brought her back under my care to breed her.
She is not SKINNY but she certainly doesn’t look good. She’s been back with me a month. I’m currently feeding:
6lb Ultium
8lb 2nd cutting alfalfa
2 pumps GutX
All the 2nd cutting orchard grass she can eat.

She snacks all day on the orchard grass, she seems happy, but just doesn’t look healthy like my other horses. Owner is looking to supplement this feeding plan with lunch grain, supplements etc.
I’m a firm believer that the best quality hay is most important and I’m not trying to use grain in place of good forage, she truly has all she can eat l.


Standard questions: have you done fecals? Is she prone to persistent or even encysted strongyles? What is her manure like? Is she ulcer prone? How are her teeth? Any herd bullying? Other stress? Workload?


Sorry forgot to add these things. She had a fecal done shortly before she came back to me that was negative.

No history is ulcers.

Teeth done approximately 3 months ago and I checked them, nothing sharp or stinky.

She lives in a stall and gets daily turnout with one other horse. They get along well.

She’s currently on vacation, hasn’t been ridden since mid October so no work load to speak of. Generally a no stress environment

She hasn’t lost weight since coming to me but she hasn’t gained any despite time off and no heavy work load.

1 Like

What’s her breed and age?
Ultium is high in calories but that’s not a lot of grain if she’s a Thoroughbred.

10 year old QH. She’s about 14.2

1 Like

Do you have any pictures of her is it more her Top Line and a muscle mass issue? Getting ready to start treating my pony hardcore for ulcers so I totally get the cost aspect. Is there something you could put her on, like maybe a round of succeed or something like that, just to see if it makes a difference at all before you go the gastro guard route? Unless of course you want to have her scoped which is totally up to you.

What about cool calories or some type of oil in her feed? When is the last time she had any blood work pulled on her just to check organ function and all those fun blood level things (That I don’t completely understand to be honest)? I’m just saying if she’s due for a full physical or anything like that now might be a good time to do it before she is bred if you are worried about her weight and being able to support being pregnant.

This all is just my complete novice two cents on the matter, there are others on here that I’m sure will have much greater advice for you. Sounds like she has landed in the right place to get back on track! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

1 Like

Amplify: I know yours isn’t a TB but Amplify is what I use to get mine over the hump of “no longer skinny” to “damn, that’s a nice-looking horse.” You don’t need to feed a ton of it either.

I second the recommendation to pull a blood panel before breeding, so my there are no surprises like liver dysfunction that pop up when she’s already pregnant. For her breed, size, and activity level, you’re dumping a lot of calories in already, but yeah, whatever fat supplement she will eat would be the next step.

I’m also curious to see what she looks like, see if she has any muscle wasting, or just overall thrifty.

My vet reminded me that organs gain fat before we can see it on the body. Still think a blood panel would be a good idea, surprises can be well, a huge surprise…better to know sooner and have a chance to fix something before the window is missed.

But what’s her deworming history, at least over the last year? FECs will never show bots (which can create ulcers, create an unthriftiness, but won’t respond to ulcer treatments), and rarely show tapeworms (if you see some segments you can be pretty sure the load is high). They won’t show encysted strongyles either, but if she has a history of clean FECs that’s not likely an issue.

But at 11,400 calories, 6lb is significant even for a TB. And that’s on top of 8000 calories from the alfalfa, on top of the free choice Orchard. It’s all a ton of calories right now

@TheHunterKid90 any chance you have a conformation-type pic of when she came to you, vs now?

What do her feet look like?

I don’t see this being a calorie thing. I COULD see needing to change the feed. Ultium doesn’t work for everyone, and she may need to just be on a different feed. What brand options do you have?

At 10, it’s not unreasonable to suspect PPID, but that’s probably not high on the list.


I’ll get a more complete history of her over the last year dewormer wise.

And I’ll get a picture of her tomorrow. She definitely lacks top line but also not much fat anywhere on her.

Her feet are a sore subject. Although the hoof wall itself is actually very good.
Photos attached on her front foot with absolutely no heel and way too much toe.
And her slider that was nailed on about 3/4 inch crooked.
She was just shod before she came to me and didn’t have much foot for my farrier to work with. She will be done next Thursday.

Obviously her management has been very poor over the last few years, it’s probably not just one magical thing that will fix her.

I’ll speak to the owner about possibly getting her scoped. I don’t like shooting in the dark and hoping I hit. Owner isn’t very educated but wants to do right by her horse so is basically open to any reasonable measures or plan of attack I come up with.

Some horses don’t do great weight/body condition wise when they’re not in work. My hard keeper needs some work in order to keep his body condition looking anything better than ‘skinny’.

I’ll second the Amplify recommendation. My TB has been on Amplify for almost 2 months. He’d been getting 6lbs of Ultium,15ish lbs of alfalfa and free choice grass hay and was in good body condition. For some reason, adding an extra pound of Amplify has just added that extra little bit of rib cover and seems to be helping his coat and topline development.

YMMV, but I’m really liking it for my guy so far.

1 Like

So a 10 yr old 14.2 QH? Not in work.

I’d suspect there’s an underlying issue that’s causing her to not gain condition. You’ve already identified her farriery work needs improved. Could be she’s a smidge ouchy and that’s keeping her under. Depending on her deworming history, Equimaxx. If that didn’t fix her up, more vet work. Scope and BW.

But. If you want to try tweaking her diet; my go to would be a lower NSC feed that will still pack the calories. Triple Crown Senior Gold is my preference but it’s readily available here. And / or throw her another flake of alfalfa hay.

1 Like

Ooof, those feet :frowning: Poorly balanced feet end up causing body issues, and that alone can prevent (healthy) weight gain. Any kind of chronic pain can cause low weight issues, whether causing weight loss, or preventing weight gain.


Sliding shoes?

Yes? She’s a reiner.


IS or WAS a Reiner?
If new owner isn’t going to be competing, why not pull those shoes?

For weight gain , I’m a big fan of TC Sr.
My 20-ish TWH looked a bit ribby last Spring, so - per vet’s suggestion - I added a cup (2X daily) to his grain ration of whole oats & BOSS & he’s looking very good again.
My mini was already on the feed - for him it’s a weight-loser :woman_shrugging: - and it;s pretty economical - about $30 a month+ for both.

Weight gain takes time. Nothing puts weight on them like pasture. I am guessing that isn’t an option since she isn’t getting any grass according to the diet you listed. I would up her alfalfa amount over giving more grain.

How much hay is she actually eating each day?
How good is the quality of the hay?

Is a reiner. We will be breeding her late spring and owner will be showing her until the beginning of fall. Then she will be off until the baby is weaned in 2023.

I guess I’ll clarify that I pulled her sliders myself the day after she came because she’s not being ridden for the winter but I’m not going to just pull her fronts and let her fend for herself.
Figured I would leave the fronts on, let her grow some foot and then work on correcting the mess.