Weight help!

hi! i have a 6yr old OTTB.

we have been showing pretty heavily over the summer, we are done now and he has had a bit of time to rest. he was off for about a month and a half over the summer, which resulted in quite a bit of muscle loss, I gained most of it back but he still wasn’t as muscled as he was before. in the past month, I have noticed him to be looking a little thinner.

now onto his feed…
he was recently (beginning of the month), switched onto tribute senior sport. I switched him because I feel his old feed was making him girthy. He was treated for ulcers a few months ago, for two months. Since the grain change he has been a lot happier stomach wise, but i feel he might be loosing the weight from the grain change.

he gets 1.5 scoop in the AM and PM of the sr sport. he also gets canola oil. i usually give him aloe vera soaked alfalfa cubes whenever I’m out, so probably 5 to 6 times a week. along with his other supplements i added animed muscle gainer about a month ago, I feel I should take it out of his diet since I have not seen a change, I’ve actually seen a decline in his muscle.

I had him on daq bloom in the winter and really liked it, should I think about getting him back on it?

just trying to figure out if he could be losing weight from not being as active, the grain switch, or some thing else I might be missing?

thanks so much.

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Which feed was he eating before and how much? When you say scoop, are you talking about a 3qt scoop?

Your post confuses me a bit. Who is doing the actual feeding of your horse - you or someone at a boarding barn, at your direction for his diet? You say “when I’m out” which to me says he’s boarded and not living at your place.

If he were at home with me, I’d purchase a scale and start weighing his rations rather than by-the-scooping-it. If he’s boarded, he may not be getting the amounts you have specified for him, as barn help vary.

He is getting hay or is turned out on decent grass, isn’t he? Could you add in that part about his diet? I’m no equine feeding expert, but good forage is important, as is grazing and socialization time.

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yes sorry I totally forgot to put that on there! He’s out the majority of the day from 7 AM to four or five. He is boarded about 30 minutes away from me so it’s hard for me to get out there if I’m not going to be out there for a while.

it’s some kind that we self mixed our self from a tack store, I believe it was either a 12% or 14%? That’s all I know about it. And yes the scoop he’s getting is a 3 quart. he was getting the same amount as he is getting now, 1.5 scoop

Being up in a stall 15 hours a day may be a contributing factor, particularly with his history of an ulcer problem. In my experience with boarding barns, many put up the horses for the night after an early feeding around 4PM, toss in a couple of hay flakes, and that’s it with food until morning. Ideally the horses should have something to munch on about every couple of hours, but boarding barns being what they are most are trying to conserve hay costs and few have the luxury of help or the inclination to feed hay during the night.

There are, of course, techniques to make horses slow their hay intake, extending consumption over a longer period of time. How is your horse fed and cared for when he is standing in his stall for his 15 hours? And one last question. When he is turned out, what is the forage like? Is there something appealing to graze on or is it more like a dry lot setting?


You mention that he seems to be lacking muscle. Is the weight loss that you’re noticing primarily along his top line? If so, protein (amino acids) will help more than anything. Something like TriAmino added to his grain could help his muscles along his top line come back (with proper conditioning/exercise of course).

Can you weigh out how much 1.5 scoops of the Senior Sport is? The feed says it should be fed at a rate of at least 4 lbs per day, which is probably being met, but it could be that he needs more.

What kind of hay and how much when he’s not got pasture (either inside or during winter)? Especially with his previous ulcer issue, I’d want to keep either grass or hay available to him as close to 24/7 as you can get.

And finally, I’ve found that giving my guy Probios really helped to kind of stabilize his weight and keep his tummy happy.

Horses are mysteries some times. My horse went through a rough adjustment when I sold my farm and moved him to a boarding barn. I cannot say how many supplements, feed changes (always Tribute, which I’m not sure I’m a fan of thanks to this experience), management changes, etc. I went through for almost 2 years with him there, with him only starting to come around right in the last month or two that we were there. I moved him to a new barn (literally adjacent to the one we were at…shares a riding ring with our former barn), and the transformation has been astonishing. The only change other than his address is that he’s getting the ProElite Grass Advantage ration balancer now instead of Tribute’s Kalm N EZ, and he has good quality hay under his face pretty much the entire time he’s not out in the pasture (he’s out overnight and in during the heat of the day right now). That’s it. And he looks great, top line is strong, and he’s a happy horse.

in his stall he has a hah net, I did talk to the barn staff about making sure he has hay 24 seven, giving him extra hay we might to last to the morning. They get fed around six and then there’s a night check again at 9 to 10 PM, where they get another flake or something like that, I’m not exactly sure on the exact routine. When he goes out, he’s access to he along with a big pasture with grass.

he does have a good tummy at the bottom, but the top of his ribs are showing a tad, so yes the majority of the muscle and weight loss are at the top. i try my best to make sure the barn staff is giving him extra hay to last the night and making sure he has it 24/7. i did get him on a probio, right around the grain switch actually now that i think about it. do you think i could switch back to the old grain to get his weight back and keep him on the probio?

I went and looked at the analysis for Animed Muscle Up, which is what I assume you have been feeding. It doesn’t have the more limiting amino acids that will typically support muscle growth and maintenance. You might try switching to Uckele Tri-Amino. I’ve had great results putting topline on horses with this supplement and it’s inexpensive. I also like Renew Gold for adding some weight.

I would ask for exact weight of hay being fed daily.

95% of the time, when someone asks about putting weight on their horse it becomes apparent that they are lacking hay. “Hay 24/7” is not very common in boarding barns. It is typical to hear “we give him an extra flake” but that could mean the horse is getting 18lbs of hay instead of 15. Or 20 instead of 18. Either way - not enough.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of grain you feed your horse if they don’t get enough forage. What state do you live in? My pasture is pretty much done for the season - it’s still “green” but if you walk it you can see that it’s pretty thin. It would not support horses in work at this point of the year. It’s good turnout, and gives them something to do - but their primary forage at this point is the hay I feed.


just bought the uckele triamino!

If you are at the barn 6 days a week, you should consider buying your own compressed hay bales and leaving a few flakes outside of his stall to be tossed in to him at the barn’s night check rounds. Makes it easy for them to do, and doesn’t affect their hay budget. The down side is that the barn may short change him on their own hay feeding amounts.

This thread makes me really appreciate the two outstanding boarding barns I have been at. And feel bad about the other places that I have forced my horses to live. Like the one so crowded that there was turnout for one hour, every other day. And the turnout was on dirt. That was for my first horse and I was learning. We moved on pretty quickly, but not soon enough as he became a cribber…

You can feed grain, sweet feed, and supplements out the wazoo, but the horse needs forage, and a lot of it, to thrive.


my barn staff is amazing and i trust them to be doing what i’ve asked of them. he is turned out every day in a big grass pasture. he has access to hay while he is turned out as well. when he’s in his stall he always has hay.

Have you walked the pasture? What part of the country do you live in?

It’s less likely that he is losing weight because you changed brands of grain - than other things. E.g. waning pasture, ulcers, less hay, change in hay suppliers, change in work, etc.

It would be useful for you to confirm the actual hay fed to him in his stall, by weight. As well as the actual grain being fed - by weight.

I don’t doubt that the staff provide him with hay on schedule…but it’s unlikely he has hay 24/7. That’s really hard to do for horses stalled that much anyway. They often trample it and sleep in it, so most barns do not give that much overnight.


I just replied to your other thread here
Daqbloom vs tri-aminos? - Horse Care - Chronicle Forums (chronofhorse.com)

6 weeks out of work shouldn’t result in the kind of muscle loss you allude to seeing, unless it’s accompanied by a reduction in amount or quality of forage. Loss of weight due to feeding issues can look like a lot more muscle loss.

4.5qt of Tribute Senior is 1510 calories per pound, and at probably around 1lb/qt, maybe a little more, that’s less than 5lb. That’s not a lot of calories for some horses.

Volume doesn’t mean anything without knowing what’s in it and a rough calorie count

I wouldn’t just switch back to “some kind that we self mixed our self from a tack store, I believe it was either a 12% or 14%” unless you know what it really is. A lot of “self mixed” recipes aren’t balanced and while they might contain a lot of calories, that’s just part of a healthy equation

He’s not lacking in amino acids unless the hay is just poor quality, in which case the hay is the issue.

I too would like to know the grass situation. Late Summer easily means struggling grass in a lot of areas, where the heat of the Summer has done a number on it, and there isn’t yet any/a lot of Fall rain.


The weight / pounds of each feed will vary and sometimes by quite a lot. What may be 6 pounds on the old feed may be 4 pounds on the new. Regardless of using the same scoop. Get a scale and weigh it.

You also don’t mention if he is on grass, or grass with supplemental hay , hay free choice , or a certain amount of hay a day? All that can affect his weight depending on the quality of hay/ pasture…

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Does your barn owner mind you stopping by after dark to check on your stalled horse? That’s the only way that you will know his true night time hay availability situation. And, as said by @S1969, feeding should ideally be done by weight, not volume. Are there scales in your barn for weighing both sweet feed and for hay? Are the scales really used every day?

I use a hanging digital scale for hay, and it is very interesting to see the wide variations in weights among small square bales and their flakes, and even from one flake to another in the same square bale. If you have ever watched a baler at work in the hay field producing small square bales, you can appreciate how this happens. Hay is fed in and each individual flake is packed with a rammer that cycles. Too little hay during a cycle of the rammer means a looser packed and lighter flake. There can be a fifty percent weight difference between 2 bales or 2 flakes.

Most people I know who board their horses do not have a really good handle on how their horses are fed. That includes me when I was a boarder for 30 years. Only knowing what we are told we tend to be defensive about our boarding barns, and feel uncomfortable about double-checking. Finally having my own farm has been an eye-opener.


Agreeing with those saying hay is probably the root of the weight loss.
Adding a fat supplement like rice bran or a pelleted Sr feed should help.
Can you pre-bag his grain feeds so you know what he’s getting vs “a scoop”.
Depending on who is scooping that can vary by a # or more.

Boarding has drawbacks & access after hours can be one of them, but a 30min trip should not prevent you getting there to replenish pre-bagged feed & fill a haybag or 2.
My horses are at home & I feed hay 3-4X daily, but after 10P & until 6 or 7A they go without if they have finished the last flake(s) fed.
They have free access to pasture 24/7, but as someone said, my fields are effectively drylots at this time of year, with grass going dormant + lack of rain these past 2 months.

My 18yo TWH has been looking ribby, so (at vet’s advice) I am adding Triple Crown Sr - 1 cup 2X daily - to his regular grain ration of whole oats & BOSS.
After 2wks I am seeing less outline of ribs.
He’ll stay on this - maybe upping TC Sr - through Winter.

Oats & BOSS (~1/2 amt fed to horse) are keeping the 21yo Hackney Pony fat as a tick.
Mini - who tried to founder last year - is on all TC SR + BOSS & thyroid med, has lost weight (in a Good way) & is sound.

Feeding for weight gain or loss is a balancing act.
No one supplement will work for all, or work forever.