The Underweight Horse:
An underweight horse will have an accentuated neck and withers that are more pointed than rounded. Their tailhead will stick out, and you might be able to see individual vertebrae. If you can see your horse’s ribs, that’s typically a sign that she’s losing weight.
Being underweight for too long can cause serious nutritional deficiencies and health concerns.
The best method for determining your horse’s ideal weight is to evaluate their Body Condition Score (BCS). Your horse’s BCS is based on a scale of one to nine, with one being emaciated and nine being extremely overweight. Five or six is considered an ideal BCS. Racehorses usually fall around the four mark.
To determine your horse’s BCS, there are six areas you need to evaluate: the neck, withers, loin, tailhead, ribs, and behind the shoulder. To earn a BCS of five, a horse’s neck should blend smoothly into the body and the withers should be rounded. The horse’s back should be level, and there should be fat around the tailhead that feels slightly spongy. You shouldn’t be able to see your horse’s ribs, but they should be easily felt when you press on her sides.
A few common reasons why horses lose weight are generally age, dental issues, parasites and stress.
Forage is the single most important part of a horse’s diet. To gain weight, try increasing your horse’s roughage to 2.5% – 3% of her desired body weight. For example, if your horse currently weighs 900 pounds but you want her to weigh 1,000 pounds, she should consume 25-30 pounds of hay a day. Make sure to offer good quality hay and pasture to ensure she’s receiving calories and nutrients and not just fibre.
Supplementing with the right feed is key:
To supplement your horse’s diet and help her gain weight, you will want to increase your horse’s fat content. Healthy fats are the safest and most efficient way to put on the pounds.
Prime Advance (with Hemp Protein, Flax Meal and Beet Pulp) in combination with Prime Hemp Seed Oil offer the perfect essential fatty acid profile, as well as the additional calories needed for safe, healthy weight gain.