Putting Weight On You Horse: How To Do So Properly

How do I know if my horse needs to gain weight?

The best determination of an underweight horse is Body Condition Scoring (BCS) and figuring out that your horse is under the ideal range of a BCS of 5-6.5. If you are unsure on how to perform a BCS session, please refer to the previous newsletter.

Once you’ve determined the BCS, next is to find out “why” your horse is underweight. There are several factors that your horse could be underweight. Some include medical issues such as parasites, metabolic disease, ulcers or an inverse ratio of caloric input to exercise. Age is also a major factor in underweight horses, as typically but not always, older horses or “senior horses” have a harder time maintaining and gaining weight. Determining the “why” is important as it shapes the feeding program for your horse’s weight gain process.

Tidbit: It is important to note, if your horse is suffering from a medical issue, to consult with your veterinarian for treatment before changing to a new feeding program.

How to feed a horse for weight gain?

Designing a feeding program, its best to consult your equine nutritionist or local equine nutrition consultant before getting started, but knowing your goals and how much weight you want your horse to gain is the first step. Let’s say you have a horse that has a BCS of a 4 and you realistically want to get them to a 5. Moving up a BCS of 1 is roughly 45-50 pounds of weight gain and is roughly 380,000 calories. Not exactly something that will be fed in one day, but will be stretched over the course of a few weeks. When done properly, any feeding trial will take an average of 90 days to see any results, let alone a desired result or goal, such as increasing 1 BCS.

What are the best products for weight gain?

Depending on your horse, there are several great options of concentrated feed and fat supplements that can be utilized for a weight gain program. Using the table below, you can find out which kind of feed, one for a metabolic horse, a senior horse with poor dentition or a horse that just burns calories quickly, your horse needs. A complete feed is great for senior horses with poor dentition as the fiber is already fortified into the feed and your horse won’t have to rely on hay for those extra calories.

Concentrated Feed


Purina: Equine Senior*, Strategy GX+, & Ultium+

Purina: Amplify+, Omega Match Ahi Flower Oil

Nutrena: SafeChoice Senior*, ProForce Fuel

Nutrena: Empower Boost

Legends: Fibregized Omega*, Sport Horse Plus+

Legends: Rice Bran

Triple Crown: Senior Gold, Perform Gold

Triple Crown: Rice Bran, Omega Essential Oils

Pro Elite: Performance+ & Senior*

Pro Elite: Omega Advantage

KER: Re-leve Sport+

KER: EO3 oil+

Cavalor: Wholegain*

Manna Pro: Cool Calories, Senior Weight Accelerator

*complete feed: fortified with fiber and may be fed in substitute of forage.



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