Feeding Beet Pulp For Weight Gain in Horses

Many horse owners ask if beet pulp is a good way to put weight on a horse. This is a great question, as many horse owners struggle to keep weight on their horses, whether they are being used heavily or they are simply trying to maintain a “hard keeper”.  Weight gain in horses is a function of Calorie intake, just as it is in humans.  If a horse needs to gain weight, you have to increase the Calorie intake per day above the current level that the horse is being fed.

Beet pulp is what we sometimes refer to as a “super fiber”.  Because it has a high percentage of highly digestible or readily fermentable fiber, it contains more digestible energy per pound than hay and is actually about the same as oats, as beet pulp contains about 2.98 Mcal/kg.  Unless there is a lot of molasses added, it is also fairly low in starch and sugar with a non-structural carbohydrate level of about 9.8%. That is why it is considered a fairly “safe” energy source.  Soy hulls have a similar status, with a digestible energy value of about 3.0 Mcal/kg.

So, if one kilogram of feed that contains 1.4 Mcal/kg is removed and replaced with one kilogram of beet pulp that contains 2.98 Mcal/kg, then 1.58 Mcal or 1,580 Calories have been added, all while feeding the same amount of stuff.  Because beet pulp is highly digestible, the horse has less gut fill and can actually consume a bit more per day as well, so the feed intake and Calorie intake can be further increased, which supports the weight gain theory that many horse owners follow.

That said, beet pulp is not a well-balanced feed.  It has low mineral content, is a very poor amino acid source, and only contains about 9.3% protein.    Beet pulp fits into a feeding program very well as an energy ingredient, but it needs to be balanced for the other nutrients.

In conclusion, it is important to bear in mind that rarely is a single ingredient the answer to an equine nutrition situation.  Ingredients on their own are simply not balanced solutions.  While beet pulp is a very viable ingredient for use in a horse’s overall diet, and it can definitely be used to increase the caloric intake, it needs to be evaluated in the scope of the entire diet to determine if the horse is receiving a balanced ration.  For most horse owners, the simplest route if beet pulp is a desired ingredient is to purchase a commercially available feed that incorporates it as a major ingredient and adds the needed protein, vitamins and minerals to balance the diet for overall health and well being of the animal.

133 Replies to “Feeding Beet Pulp For Weight Gain in Horses”

  1. Why even mess with the beet pulp when Nutrena has the Empower, with EXTRA fat and correct other ingredients? This is what I use.

    1. i just started my rescue saddlebred on empower mixed in with safechoice and cornoil and a little sweetfeed. they all seemed to love the mix.

      1. Watch out for that corn oil! Find a supplement that does the same thing for horses (possibly biotin). I don’t want to quote people or websites, but corn oil can be a problem for horses. Best of luck to you and your horses.

        1. I’m shaking my head reading your post. For so many reasons. Biotin is a B vitamin. How is that similar to corn oil?
          And why “watch out for corn oil”?? It’s energy dense, (low volume, lots of calories), fat not protein so won’t make a horse “hot” or high spirited.
          Yep, I’m still shaking my head.

          1. I agree, have always fed my horses oil. Biotin is your nfact a B vitamin, it helps with hooves, hair and skin. Oil is a low energy great fat for horses!

          2. Corn oil can make horses stock up, so that’s one reason to “watch out”. Every horse is different but I have deff experienced my horses legs stocking up when I introduced corn oil.

    2. Because Empower is quite expensive, I soak beet pulp over night and add it to my 30 yr old Nutrena senior she loves the beet pulp , and must have the water in her food as directed by my vet because she hasnt any teeth left to chew her food sufficiently she also get a 1/2 bucket of chopped alfalfa in her feed for these cold winter months i do not recommend beet pulp dry to any senior horse nor in the winter when they need more water. My other horse is 6 yrs old and he gets dry beet pulp premixed into his Nutrena Maintenance. plus there is always a mineral block for them to lick.and a brick of alfalfa each evening.

    3. Doubt if I can find this in France. I cannot get molasses or Bailes cerial, which I was always using in Scotland.
      I have a 37 year old horse (at liberty) Another old mare who is a bit thin. Then I have a stallion who is a little bit ribby. He started to loose weight after having his teeth done. Well, the stallions are only thnking of one thing at the moment, and after ‘grass; which indeed is greener on the otherside 🙂 comes 2nd !
      I am phoning for a friend who has this problem with this breed. The Caspian. Not all, but some quite often go through a gangly stage and quite honesty they can look awful. Then they turn into swans or rather little Arab type horses. There lies the problem they ARE horses not minis. A pony foal looks good at all stages the Caspian often not. Any advice gratefully received. Tey are all wormed, and have their teeth done. Fran.

      1. Hi Fran,

        Thank you for the interesting questions. A bit of a challenge as I am in the United States and am not too familiar with the products that you and your friend would have access to on the Continent. That said, the basics apply. As horses age, they become a bit less efficient digesting forage and may need more grain based feed or more highly digestible forage to maintain weight. They also may require a better protein source (actually essential amino acid source) to maintain muscle mass. Here in the U.S., the feed of choice for the aging horse will be a feed designed for Senior horses. These relatively low in starch and sugar, contain added fat from vegetable oil, relatively high in digestible fiber and fortified with good quality protein and essential amino acids. If you have a supplier that has developed senior horse feeds, one of those would be your first option for your thin older mare and for your stallion. You need energy (Calories) to put on some fat and amino acids (quality protein) to put on muscle. If these are not available, you might check with INRA for recommendations.

        Your friend with Caspian horses will need a feed fortified with good quality protein (essential amino acids for muscle, connective tissue, hair and hoof growth) and adequate macro minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium) and trace minerals (copper, zinc, manganese etc.) to support bone growth. Then you just have to wait for them to come out of the awkward age!

        Best wishes,

  2. This is why I like the Nutrena Life Design Senior, I don’t have to mess with a bunch of different bags because it has the beet pulp AND the rice bran. It’s been amazing for putting weight and a healthy shiny coat on our girls. The added benefit is they’re not “high” on molasses like they were with some of the other senior feeds out there.

  3. I’ve used beet pulp for years. You can buy it without molasses which is great for those that dont want or need the extra sugar, but sometimes hard to find. It can be rinsed. Also good for horses that tie up or have breathing/starch issues. Ideally it should be wetted first before being fed which is not mentioned in the article. Some let it soak for a little while first but not necessary. Great in the winter for that nice warm meal that also gives horses that much need ‘slow burn’ for producing warmth and the added water good for those that dont drink as much as they should in winter. I use it more to supplement the hay rather than feed and due to the high fiber, keeps their hind gut in good shape. Its great for putting weight on horses without the risk of colic like feeding large amounts of feed. Its also relatively inexpensive unlike other additives. I had a off the track TB that I was giving beet pulp to in addition to a full ration of Safe Choice and was able to put over 150lbs on her in a short period of time before her new owner came to pick her up. I cant say enough good things about it but as stated, have to watch your mineral balances

    1. I am soo glad I read this. I have a gelding that I am current barrel racing and he use to be our Ex Reining horse. He is the type of horse that gets himself worked up sometimes and loosing weight or he will be pasing all day long and he gets himself in shape. I have noticed that with a bit of hot weather and the bugs being sooo bad that he has lost a bit of weight. I was feeding a whole bucket of wet cubes and safe choice to him and another gelding that I am competiting on this year. I have decided to feed a bit more cubes ( timothy) with SafeChoice/patriot finishing touch ( high in Fat) with beet pulp. I hope this helps him!

    2. I think beet pulp is great! I had a rescue horse that was starved (about 400 to 500 lbs under weight), she would not drink water so I put her on beet pulp soaked in water and that did the trick. Now I have another one just like her and the beat pulp is working well.

      1. How much beet pulp do yo give. I have a haflinger that is down on wt because he broke to teeth and is having trouble chewing hay. I had his teeth floated and the vet said that it may not help. He’s still unable to chew the hay. He chews it, balls it up and spits it out. Cindy

        1. Hi Cindy,

          Thank you for your interesting question about your Haflinger that had the misfortune to have some dental problems. Beet pulp can be added as a highly digestible fiber source as long as we keep in mind that it is not a balanced diet itself. You can feed up to a maximum of about 50% of your horse’s forage intake in beet pulp. If you have a horse that should weigh 1200 pounds and you feed 2% bodyweight in forage or 24 pounds, then you could feed up to 12 pounds of beet pulp, introduced gradually in the diet. You would want to soak the beet pulp for at least 30 minutes prior to feeding and split feeding into 2 equal feedings per day.

          You might also consider using a Senior Horse Feed that can be made into a mash. These work quite well for horses that have dental issues. The advantage of Senior Horse Feeds is that they are generally designed so they can be fed as a complete diet, so you can introduce gradually and feed up to the level that will help your horse maintain weight. Senior Horse feeds, fed as a mash, have been used for horses with substantial tooth loss quite successfully.

          Best wishes,
          Roy J.

    3. We have a 32 yr old TB and have just started to use Beet Pulp. I am adding it to his Senior feed once a day. It always makes me nervous to start something new. He seems to love it but I am just wondering if I am doing right. I don’t have to tell you he has nothing left to chew with and I am worried about this winter coming and him needing some weight. My question is, do you think I should be adding it to his feed twice a day or will this be to much.

      1. Hi Joan, Thanks for checking in with us. We’d actually recommend, from the perspective of keeping his overall diet in balance, to skip the beet pulp and increase the amount of Senior feed, providing it is a senior feed designed to be fed as a complete feed (most are, these days). Beet pulp use over a long period of time can lead to a calcium/phosphorus imbalance, which is not good for bone health.
        Just check the directions on the tag of the feed you are using, and weigh out the amount of feed you need to give using your scoop, and follow those directions.
        Thanks ~ Gina T.

        1. Hi Gina,
          I’ve used the beet pulp, and it does do the trick, my gelding is 7 yrs. old and I sold his full brother in April, had his teeth done, feet done, but I think he still is stressing lonliness , he has dropped about 50 lbs. I am feeding a feed called Haystack, it has everything in it, such as rice bran, and the beet pulp, but for some reason he is losing weight. Also wormed him, twice. I think I’ll go to the straight beet pulp. I’ll get the shreds, he is also getting a good quality grass hay, and alfalfa. I got him a bag of dry COB. He is of barrel racing lines, and if I feed to high a feed he will be buzzy. I’ve raised and have had horses for 48 yrs. and he is the first I’ve had to have a weight problem. Would welcome any input you can give.

          Thank you,

          Janet and Waja(IM KEEN ON CASH)

          1. Hello Janet, Thank you for the question. We took a quick look at the Haystack Feed product on their website, and it doesn’t appear to have much in the way of calories, especially at the low suggested feeding rate. Instead of that and the COB and the beet pulp, we would suggest feeding a higher fat performance feed, such as our SafeChoice Original or SafeChoice Perform. Both will provide a much better nutritional balance than the current combination of products, and will provide the needed calories for weight gain.
            Thank you~ Gina T.

    4. May I ask Do you feed once per day or twice? I have two rescued 18 year old horses and I need to fatten them up. I barn then overnight and they have roll of hay and some grass all day. What works better to put on weight ?

      1. Hi Dana, Great question. What matters more to weight gain is overall calorie intake – and then feeding it safely for their digestive system. You should not ever feed more than half a percent of bodyweight per feeding of grains – or 5 lbs for a 1,000 lb horse. To put weight on them, you’ll probably need more than 5 lbs per day of whatever grain you choose to feed them, so at least 2 feedings per day is likely necessary. Hope that helps!

  4. Yes, I also feed Nutrina Senior to both of my girls and it has been terrific at helping them to maintain their weight and energy level. You would never guess my quarter horse is going on 31.

  5. I totally agree with Laura Hicks, I have had purchased a couple of horses that were 200lbs or more under weight, its a safe way to put weight on and it does help with keeping them hydrated, but alot of people don’t know is that is water weight. It is safer to to soak it, I first started to buy pellet form but I would have to let it soak all day so I went to the shred form and it doesn’t take to long to soak and the horses seem to like it better, since its more of a structure and pellets turned to a mush which it depends on the horse which they like better, But overall beet pulp is a cheap ,safe way of keeping weight on and I Like it alot better than using oats, for top weight and adding wieght in general.

  6. I tried giving my mare beet pulp and she just pushed it away and didn’t eat it, so now I have her on just good hay and Nutrena Senior and she’s looking very nice for an “old lady” of 19 years and is acting just as spritely too. (meaning she’s got alot more energy than she did) Thanks Nutrena for a good product!

  7. I use beet pulp and my horses love it. We use it mostly for our hard keeper, with a full serving of hay. He tended to leave his hay. We use pellets and then soak and drain to get some of the molassas off. ( We couldn’t find the non-molassas kind for a while) We also feed a vitamin mineral supplement. We started with mixing it evenly with cob, then increasing the amount of beet pulp. now they will eat it plain, With the amount of feed our hard keeper needed to gain weight, it was too much money. this way i can feed him as much as he needs and not worry about the cost. But when we go away for a few days we switch him to safe choice (over a week or so) so its easier for our friends to feed while we are gone.

  8. We have fed our three horses beet pulp for years, not to help them gain weight (they are all easy keepers) but as a “filler”. We feed equal amounts (1 cup each) oats, Nutrena, and beet pulp once a day. We soak the beet pulp so it has the most volume. We feed good quality grass hay and also bermuda year round and they are all happy campers! I love the Nutrena Safe Choice.

    1. Hello, Im in Calfornina and have a overweight Insulin Resistance mare who my vet says to put her on soaked beet pulp (drained) and ration balancer with unlimited hay! Also he has provided a suppliement called HEIRO. Has anyone heard of this type of diet? Im afraid she will gain weight

      1. Hi Shelly,
        Thanks for the great question. Insulin resistant horses can be fun to manage. A ration balancer is a great way to help ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need, without the calories of a traditional grain, so your vet is right on with that recommendation. As for the beet pulp, if you do want to feed it, soaking to remove sugars is a good idea, just make sure you drain the water off before feeding – otherwise they would simply get the sugar from the water! You can also do the same thing with your horse’s hay, to remove excess sugar from the hay. Either way, the beet pulp is not necessary in her diet. You will also want to try to feed grass hay to her, and if possible, have it tested so you know the starch & sugar levels in it before feeding it. Keep her total hay intake at 1.5-2.0% of her bodyweight (so if she weighs 1000 lbs, then she should get 15-20 lbs of hay per day) rather than free-choice – this will help keep her weight under control.
        If you have any further questions, please do let us know!
        Thanks ~ Gina T.

        1. Hi Gina,
          I am trying to figure out how to get about 3 lbs/day on my 3 y.o. just wormed gelding. He has gotten thin and I actually saw a worm so just wormed him two days ago. I would like to get 100-200 lbs on him before the cold weather sets in. Is a 3+ lb/day weight gain possible? I am giving him a mix of beet pulp, “foal feed” grain, a 16% protein feed, and the safe choice with a grassy hay. I feed him in the trailer to keep the goats and other horse out. I do this twice a day.

          1. Hi Judy, Thanks for contacting us, sounds like you have a little ways to go to get him in condition, but that amount of weight should be fairly easy. 3 lbs/day of weight gain might be pushing a little hard, but 2 lbs/day is pretty achievable. Feeding twice a day, especially being able to seperate him from the other animals, is a great start. If you can get hay (or pasture, for as long as it is available) in front of him for as much of the day as possible, that will also be tremendously helpful in gaining and then maintaining his weight in the long run.

            For the grain portion of his diet, I think we can actually simplify your life a little, and get him a better nutritional package with more calories, if we cut out some of your program, and go down to just one product. I would recommend eliminating the Foal Feed – he doesn’t need that level of vitamins/minerals/protein anymore, as his growth has slowed dramatically in his 3 year old year. We usually suggest discontinuing a Foal feed at their 2 year birthday. Also, unless the 16% feed is also very high in fat, you can probably discontinue that as well. The beet pulp is a good calorie source, but has a pretty minimal nutritional profile. So, I would suggest going entirely to SafeChoice (or a similar product) that has quality protein (look at the amino acid profile), a higher fat level (SafeChoice Original is 7% fat, or SafeChoice Perform is 9% fat), as well as a fully balanced vitamin & mineral profile.

            To figure out how much to feed him, get an estimate of his weight, then put that in to the calculator found on the SafeChoice Original or Perform product pages on the Feeding Directions tab, and then select the activity level he is at. With the amounts that show up for him, feed him at the top end of that range until he gets to the weight you want him at, then you can back off until you find the amount that he maintains his weight at.

            I hope that helps you out! Please let us know if you have more questions. Thanks ~ Gina T.

  9. My horse won’t eat beet pulp, it actually frightens me to feed it cause it looks too hard to swallow. I know it should be soaked and that, but it looks like a choking hazard. I know I wouldn’t eat it if I had the choice. I have a hard keeper too. She won’t touch it.

  10. I have a tb that is a hard keeper. He gets 2 flakes of alfalfa and half a bale of local hay. I also give him a large scoop of eqquis adult pellets mix a large scoop of beet pulp, ounce of purine supplements, two ounces of omega 3’s and muscle mass from smartpaks. I also have him on 4 ounces of weight gainer powder suggested by another horse owner. She said you can’t give to much. Is this to much for the horse? I’m a new horse owner and listen to feed store and other owners.

    1. Hi Wendy, Thanks for submitting your question, and we’d be glad to help you out. Sounds like you have a lot going on with your guy, and I think we can simplify your life a bit! The first thing I’d recommend for you to do, is click on the “Weight Control” topic on the right side of the page, and read through all the articles there – it will be very good for you to establish things like his current body condition score, and his weight.
      After that, it would be good to select a feed that fits his needs and activity level. TB’s are notoriously hard keepers, so what you are facing is not uncommon. However, rather than mixing a myriad of supplements, we would recommend to select a single feed that has all the nutrients he needs so that you know you are getting a complete nutritional package in to him. Look for high fat levels, and quality protein (i.e. look for guaranteed amino acids – lysine, methionine, and also threonine) to help his muscle tone stay in condition. Finally, using the weight that you measure him at, measure the weight of the feed you are giving him, and ensure it matches up with the feeding directions on the feed you select.
      For possible feeds to use, if you have a Nutrena dealer near you, I would suggest SafeChoice Perform, Vitality Ultra, or XTN as very good fits for him. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know!
      Thank you ~ Gina T.

  11. i just got my medicine hat paint 5 months ago she was 7 months old & very very underweight her feet was real bad i got them trimmed she weighs 570 pounds & steal looks very thin i feed her brum like 3 times a day now i have different people saying only feed her a 1/2 cup of sweet grain & now i have others say feed her 1 gallon of grain in the mor & 1 gallon at night i am so lost right now even the vet said to give her a gallon of gran but not all at once can some one help me she needs more weight on i know that but WHAT DO I DO HELP SOMEONE

    1. Hi Sherry, Thanks for checking in with us. For a horse that is thin, you have a couple options. And the proper amount to feed is somewhere in the middle of 1/2 cup and 2 gallons! First off, any time you are putting a horse on a new feeding program, start slowly – start her out with just a cup or so at each feeding, gradually working up over the course of about 5-7 days to the full amount. If you just start right out at a large amount all at once, you are looking to cause a digestive problem such as a colic episode.

      As for products to use, we would recommend a product like our SafeChoice Senior to get her back up to condition. This is a fantastic product to bring horses back from very underweight, to good condition. It’s got an excellent nutritional profile with all the vitamins and minerals she needs, plus very high quality protein to help with her muscles, along with things like prebiotics and probiotics to help her get more out of her feed. It also contains a daily dose of biotin, which will help with her hoof quality.

      Once she’s back up to condition – and that may take a couple months – you need to take it slow – you could either stick with the SafeChoice Senior for a while, otherwise you could switch to a product like SafeChoice Original for the long haul.

      And of course, if you haven’t already, make sure you read our other posts on Body Condition Scoring and Weighing your horse without a scale – it’s a really good idea to do both of those measurements at least monthly, so you have a definitive record of her progress versus “well, I think she’s improving”.

      Hope this is helpful for you, and please do let us know if you have more questions!
      Thanks ~ Gina T.

    2. I use a 2lb coffee can to measure my feed in, I first soak the Beet Pulp 1and half full cup of beet pulp pellets- soak it in water add water close to top of coffee can wait 2hrs untill the beet pulp is ready then mix Half Can of regular feed with the beet pulp. I feed mine once in the morning at 7am and then onced in the late evening at 5pm. Make sure you worm her every 3 months, Keep plenty of water and Good hay or Good Pasture and salt block. For her Hoofs Use {Burnt Motor oil} take a paint brush and brush it on her hoofs it works. Do that twice aday and you will see the different it makes to the hoofs. I do mine and her hoofs look great now! In a couple of months you should see a big difference in your Horse. You might want to also try a lick Tub they are full of vitamins. Good Luck Hope this helps!!

  12. I’m back to feeding beet pulp, after choking a valuable mare on it dry a couple of years ago. Needless to say, I now soak it. For the horses that didn’t like the taste, I mix the baled US Alfalfa with it, then soak that mixture. Those that wouldn’t touch it without the alfalfa, dive into it and lick the feeder now. I’ve just started adding it to the rations of a growthy colt that needs a little more weight. Hopefully it will do the trick.

  13. I find for hard keepers beet pulp works well in pellets. I personally feed hay, (local), alfalfa cubes, and some grain mix I do with cool cal. Works good on my show horses. If now my tb looses from showing, I add beet pulp pellets to his mix. Make sure you feed twice a day if they are stabled. Oh course pasture and free graze hay with good teeth is the best for any horse. If they are being fed well and loose weight then they might need a teeth float and always be on top of the wormings. Hope this helps yall.

  14. In my part of Texas, beet pulp is as expensive as the complete feeds! I feed it for hydration, but it doesn’t safe me any money 🙂

  15. All I Can Say is Seeing is Beleiving, I went and Looked at a 19yr old Mare that was So Poor You could count every bone in her body, and after being Feed Beet Pulp for several months She is Now Big FAT and Healthy to look at her now you would think she was only 7 yrs old!!!! I Just Started Feeding My 14 yr old Mare last week Beet Pulp and already she is Looking 100% Better. I tired for months to get weight back on her buying everything their was and nothing worked. So , I will Stay with the Beet Pulp she Loves it!!!! I first soak it in water and then add her other feed with it and mix it together. I like the Horseman Edge Feed. But Im finding out with Beet Pulp I can use 10% feed and She seems to really Love it!!! I can buy a 50lb bag Beet Pulp $12.50 it will last for 2wks so thats only $6.25 awk

    1. Hi cary. I have 2 horses that need to gain some serious weight. Im starting them on beet pulp tomorrow. How much do you think I should start with?

      1. Hello Heather, With the introduction of any new feed or ingredient, we always recommend you start with a small amount (say a pound or two) and increase it gradually to the full amount you desire to feed, so as not to cause any digestive upset. Keep in mind, as stated in the article, beet pulp is not a balanced ingredient and may cause nutritional imbalances over time. Whether you feed a Nutrena product or not, we would encourage you to look at a nutritionally balanced feed for the health and wellness of your horses.

  16. Hi, Just looking for a bit of advice on feeding beet pulp. I’ve just acquired a welsh gelding who’s been herd bound for the last 6-8 months. It would appear that herd life has been a bit rough on him as he’s thin (trying to find the link to Body Condition Scoring ?) but as a rough idea he’s approx 12hh, and with visible ribs and a slightly protruding hip bone. Definitely not to the point of grossly malnourished but certainly underweight. I’ve had him for about a week, wormed him and he’s been doing fine on 2 flakes of alfalfa hay and forage daily, I’ve started supplementing with 1/2 cup(dry) beet pulp, that I than soak, mixed with 3/4 cup sweet feed 2x daily. I’d really like to get some weight on him before the winter (as I’m in Northern Canada and its gets a bit chilly here, and quick). Is this a sufficient amount? I do need to slowly increase as I don’t want it getting to rich for him, but whats the best way for him to safely pack on a few lbs? As a rough (very rough) estimate, I’d say he’s somewhere in the 300-350lb range (remember thats very rough)! Any advice would be helpful!


    1. Hello Madison, thank you for checking with us!

      You are correct to try and get your horse to a suitable body condition score prior to winter. Once we get below the critical temperate of 40 degrees F, they need 1% more calories per every degree drop in temperature just to stay warm.

      I also like the fact that you are adding alfalfa hay to the forage ration.

      Based on the information you have provided me, I would recommend a balanced feed ration instead of beet pulp. It you horse has lost muscle mass and condition, we need to balance his total diet.

      I would look for a high fat, high fiber feed that provides 14% protein, with guaranteed amino acid levels. A feed of this type will provide a balanced diet with added copper, zinc, selenium, biotin as well as the micro and macro minerals balanced for proper fortification. The feed tag on the product you chose will then help you determine how much to feed daily for proper weight gain. Depending on the part of Canada you are in, you may or may not be able to get Nutrena products, but if you can, I would suggest a product like SafeChoice Original.

      Thanks ~ Gayle R.

  17. hello i have a question, i have a 4 yr old TB that did a drastic weight loss since i brought her home
    She unfortunatley does not have access to to grass as the farm is mostly dirt but does have hay daily during turnout
    I need help with getting her weight put back on , she has been wormed regularly and vet checked but still is underweight
    I would like to know what is good feed i can give her to gain her weight back,ie: sweetfeed,whole oats, fat and fiber, beet pulp? what does everyone think

    please let me know what everyone thinks feel free to send me a message

    1. Hi Melanie! Thanks for coming to us for help. Without having your horses weight or body score, I am going to give you a very basic recipe to help her reach her desired weight.

      Please weigh your mare using the girth x girth x body length method. I would also determine her body condition score, this will help you determine how much weight, or where she needs to be.

      Since you have no access to pasture , we will need to rely on hay to build the base of her diet. I like to see 2% of a horses body weight per day in forage. You will need to weigh a flake of hay to get a general idea of what a flake will weigh, as it can vary from 3-5 pounds on average, for a small 50 pound bale. So if your mare currently weigh 800 pounds you will need 16 pounds of hay. If each flake of your hay weighs 3 pounds, you are looking at a minimum of 15.5 flakes of hay per day. If you can do free choice hay, this would be great.

      As for the concentrate to balance the diet, I would look to a feed with a minimum of 14% protein, that guarantees amino acid levels, of lysine, methionine, and threonine. These are limiting amino acids which are not stored by the body and are imperative for muscle and tissue. I would recommend a product like SafeChoice Original, which will provide safe calories from fiber and fat, while maintaining conservative starch and sugar levels. The added pre and pro biotics as well as organic trace minerals.

      For weight gain, your mare will need 1 pound of concentrate for every 100 pounds of body weight. This must be done carefully! You will first need to weight your current feed and determine how many pounds you are feeding per day. You will need to take 7-10 days to first transition your horse over to the new feed. This is done at a rate of 25% new/75% old for 2-3 days, then 50-50 for another 3 to 4 days, then 75-% new and 25% old for 2-3 days, then finally 100% new feed.

      Once you have had the mare transitioned on the new feed for about 3 or 4 full days, you can begin to increase the daily ration, by 1 pound every 3 to 4 days until you have reached the recommended feed rate. I recommend doing this over 3 feedings per day, as the horses stomach is small, and small more frequent meals are healthier. So again, if the mare weighs 800 pounds and you are currently feeding 3 pounds X 2 per day, once you have transitioned to the new feed, you could begin to add a noon or late evening feeding of 1 additional pound. Four days later you can add an additional pound to the noon or late feeding, so that now your total daily feed rate is at 8 pounds.

      I encourage you to weight tape your horse once a month to monitor your progress. Please feel free to contact me!

  18. Hello,
    I have a Percheron/Arabian cross mare that in the summer drinks a lot of water & I think that helps with her overall weight. Now in cold weather she naturally drinks less of course ….but she has also dropped some weight. I have increased her hay & I feed a pound and a quarter mix of sweet feed & peletted feed (Strategy). I also feed her soybean oil with her feed which is helping. I have also bought her a liner blanket to help keep her warmer under her Smartpak turnout rug. I was wanting to know if beet pulp might be a good addition to her feed program. If so how do I feed it, & how often (once, twice per day etc.)? I have read a lot about it, but, I have never used it before.

    1. Hi Lori, Thanks for the question. We know that horses use more Calories to stay warm in the winter, as cold weather has been estimated to increase Digestible Energy requirement about 2.5% for each degree Centigrade below about 40 degrees Farenheit. So it’s likely the cooler weather is affecting her, although the water consumption may or may not be a part of that. Horses do prefer to have their water between 40-65 degrees, so if you can keep the water in that range, possibly with use of a tank heater, that would also be beneficial for her.
      In regards to her diet, you would be better off to simply increase her current ration, rather than adding beet pulp. As noted in the article, beet pulp is not a balanced ingredient, and will make undesirable changes to the overall balance of her diet when fed long-term.
      Hope that helps! ~ Gina T.

  19. Hi, I have a 6 year old TB I’ve had trouble trying to keep weight on him. I’m low on funds right now because I recently lost my job. I have been told that mixing oats, beet pulp, and oil or another textured grain instead of oats is a good inexpensive way to help a horse gain weight. Also his belly is seemingly bloated, but he’s not colicky and I’ve given him 2 dewormers. Any ideas? Help much appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda! You are on the right track by trying to create a high fat, high fiber feed to help put weight on him, but I think you will find it more economical to buy a commercial feed that provides the fat & fiber, but also ensures the proper balance of vitamins, minerals and amino acids – which creating a mix on your own will not accomplish.

      From what you are describing, it sounds like your horse is getting plenty of fiber in the diet. However, it sounds like the amino acid and protein levels in the diet are not balanced. This can result in the loss of muscle mass along the withers, back, loin and croup area. The loss in top line and condition, will also make the horse look hay bellied.

      We would recommend a balanced diet, such as Safe Choice, that would provide your horse with 7% fat, 14% protein-with guaranteed levels of limiting amino acids, lysine, methionine and threonine. The added pre and probiotics as well as chelated vitamins and minerals will also help improve your horses body condition.

      The bottom line for your horse is supplying enough calories to meet daily requirements, but ensuring those calories come from a well balanced diet.
      Thank you for contacting Nutrena! ~ Gina T.

  20. I was reading your reply to Amanda and was wondering if I am doing something wrong with my feeding program. I to am low on money do to my husband laid off and I work lots of 12 hours day to keep my home and feed my horses and dogs and cats. I could only afford first cutting this year . I have 2 horses that their top line has lost muscle and fat on their rear ends. but I have one horse who is nicely built . our QH was used in western pleasure but is retired due to soundness issues and so is my tennwalker he is 16 now so is not being exercised. when they are out side they run and play but there top lines bother me, my vet said not to worry but it still bothers me and feel I am doing something wrong. I feed 2 quarts twice a day of nutrena prime and lots of first cutting and they all have salt blocks and fresh water. please help

    1. Hi Susan, Thanks for contacting us. It’s possible that changes in hay quality may be having an effect on their muscling, but it’s more likely the effect of lack of exerice. Just like you and I won’t stay toned and fit if we don’t exercise, neither will our horses! Some gentle exercise, even simple longe line or handwalking for the one with soundness issues (as allowed by your vet), would help bring some of that condition back.
      Good luck ~ Gina T.

  21. My problem is not weight gain in my 30 year old Quarter Horse. It is very loose stool. His teeth have been taken care of (those that he has left). He is regularly wormed and his last fecal test showed him to be a low shedder. I have him on a complete feed and hay and pasture in the summer. I was told adding beet pulp to his ration would help with the runny stool problem. Anyone have success with this? He feels good and eats but I suspect he is having problems with proper digestion due to his age which is resulting in the runny cow pie manure.

    1. Helly Debby,
      Additional fiber is usually a good thing for helping with digestive issues. In your horse’s case, you might also consider including dosing him with some prebiotics & probiotics – something is “off” in his gut to be causing the loose stools, and adding those beneficial bacteria to help bring the gut flora population back to normal will likely help out.
      Good luck! ~ Gina T.

      1. Thanks Gina:

        I have put my “Red” horse on a Smart Digest product and although it has only been a week he already seems to be firming up in the stool area!

    2. I just got a new horse and was told he had loose stool all his life. im trying the beet pulp to put a little weight on and someone told me to cut back on the sweet feed and add beet pulp. how is your horse doing on it? did it help? mine is not as watery in a couple of days. im just not sure how much beet pulp to feed %? thanks. Tina

      1. Hello Tina, A general rule of thumb for beet pulp is to feed no more than 0.5% of the horse’s body weight in beet pulp per day. So for a 1200 lb horse, that’s 6 lbs total per day. Unless, of course, something different is recommended by a vet for a special condition. We would also suggest probiotics for your horse, to help get the intestinal tract microbial population back in working order.
        Good luck ~ Gina T.

  22. I have a 12 yr old paint that seems to get the (squirts) water comes out but stools are fine. The vet told me to try beet pulp,but he doesn’t need to gain any weight,so I am not sure I like the idea of beet pulp. But after reading these comments,pre n pro biotics may be the way to go..Any suggestions on which ones ? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Debby, Thanks for the question. We would agree the beet pulp probably isn’t the correct route for your paint. A good course of pre/probiotics absolutely would not hurt anything, and might help resolve the issue.

      We would strongly suggest you take a look at the environmental factors around him, that might be triggering these episodes. Keeping track for a couple weeks of his activities, eating, etc, might unearth the root cause for you. For example, does this this occur more often when the horse is outside, or maybe been exposed to grass that recently had frost or snow….could even be stress related – so after workouts, or an extended turnout time? There is also a possibility that this could be related to ulcers, but we’d go through other triggers first before digging in to that.

      Once you keep track for a while, if there doesnt seem to be a unifying trigger to the watery stools, then talk to your vet again. Ask for a recommendation other than beet pulp, and see what they suggest.

      Good luck! ~ Gina T.

  23. Hello ~ I am concerned about my daughters mare. She is a wonderful 4 years old, but seems to have trouble gaining weight. I now feed total equine but dont see weight gain and was told I should not supplement with anything else. I am looking to change feed but worried about colic and all the complications that might be caused by switching. I also have to keep in mind I have six horses. All but two are easy keepers. Would you recommend a feed that would be good for all with possibly a supplement for Azzie (the 4 yr old)?

    1. Hi Lisa, Thanks for contacting us. Total Equine is actually fairly low in calories, so that may be the problem you are experiencing with your daughter’s mare. You may need to switch to another product, or add a supplement such as Empower Boost (or other high-fat rice bran product) to add calories to her daily feeding program, to help get her up to weight. Usually when feed companies say not to supplement, they are referring to vitamin/mineral supplements because we don’t want you to throw off the ratios & balances that we’ve worked so hard to research and formulate for the health of your horse, but weight supplements are a different story.

      Our Empower Boost, for example, is designed to complement an already-complete diet, by adding calories and then additional levels of select nutrients that the body needs in order to process & utilize those extra calories.

      As for the switch-over process and worrying about colic, there is no need to worry! When done properly over a 5-7 day period, it’s absolutely safe to make a switch. Check out this article on transitioning feeds for help: http://www.horsefeedblog.com/2011/08/transition-feed/

      For a feed recommendation, you could try using Empower Balance, our ration balancer, as your base feed, and then supplementing the two that need extra calories with Empower Boost. SafeChoice Special Care would also make a great base feed – simply follow the feeding directions for the different horses, and use the very low end of the range for the easy keepers, and the higher end of the range for the harder keepers.

      Good luck, and let us know if you have any other questions! Thanks ~ Gina T.

  24. I’ve read this article over and makes alot of sense!!! I do have a question though….

    I have some horses that came to me thin, and I’d like to put weight on them. They a 14 year old quarter mare with huge muscle mass in her rear and other areas but her ribs are vaguely visable, a 1 1/2 year old quarter colt with visible ribs and decent muscle mass, and a 25 year old Arab mare who is just plain pathetic looking.

    We have 20 acres of coastal grass that they are on 24/7. They all are separated for feedings. They get fed once a day- crimped oats, a high molasses 12% feed with oats, alfalfa pellet and 25% fat weight builder. They are doing pretty well, but I think they can do better. What should I do? Should I add the beet pulp? Is there a different feed that’s not expensive to buy? (I have 7 horses…)

    1. Hi Emily, Thanks for the question. What your current diet may be lacking, is quality protein for overall improved muscle mass, and calories. We would suggest a single, balanced feed approach, rather than mixing a variety of products together. Our first suggestion would be SafeChoice Original. If that proves out of your budget range, our Triumph horse feeds provide a really nice alternative at a slightly lower price – they contain all the nutrition a horse needs, but without some of the bells & whistles of SafeChoice. SafeChoice includes more biotin, prebiotics & probiotics, etc, that Triumph does not – but Triumph still has the protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories that your horses need.
      Hope this helps! Let us know if you have more questions. Thanks ~ Gina T.

  25. I have a 20 yr old TB mare that has always been a very easy keeper. 2 years ago she ruptured her SDFT and ever since then she has been a hard keeper. It started with her being restricted to her stall for 3 months with hand grazing. Then she couldn’t go out in the big field, so she was turned out in a small field without much grass. We just moved her, so now she has a round bale available while she is in the field. She gets grained 2 a day. And Hay over night in her stall. She gets a mix of 10% sweet feed and Nutrena Senior. However, we had to cut back the Nutrena Senior as it made her urinate ALOT more than normal. I am guessing too much protein? What can I give her to fatten her up some? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Jamie!
      Good question. We need to start at the stall floor, and look and see if she is passing too much of the sweet feed in her manure. Have her teeth been done recently and worming up to date/ If so then we can begin to look at calorie consumption. I like to see 2% of body weight in forage per day. So you will need your mares body weight. Click here to find out how to weigh your horse without a scale. Then you will need to weigh your horses daily hay ration. So if your mare weighs 800 pounds, she should be consuming 16 pounds of hay per day. That is total consumption, do not include what is wasted in the stall.

      Your feed tag will then give you the appropriate feed rate for your horse, based on activity level. Be sure you are feeding enough of the grain per the manufacturer’s instructions to provide proper vitamin and mineral supplementation. As an example, if the tag says 1 pound per 100 pounds of body weight for an idle mature horse, you will need to feed 8 pounds per day for proper fortification. This is where the better fortified feeds are a better value, because the feed rate is much lower.

      If you are feeding 2% of body weight in forage, and following the feed tag directions on feed rate, then I would consider a supplement such as Empower Boost. It is rice bran based, high in Omega 3/6. Empower balance is highly palatable and will provide a good quality source of calories for your mare. Read the feed rate on the product based again on your horses weight and body condition.

      Thank you for contacting Nutrena. Please feel free to contact us if you have additonal questions.

      1. Thanks for your response. As I said she has a round bale available to her all day, so I can’t really measure how much hay she is eating. She gets 3 flakes in her stall at night. Sometimes she eats it all, sometimes she doesn’t. She just had her teeth done about 9 months ago. I have not noticed any change in her manure. We were following the guidlines on the bag, but had to cut it way back as she was urinating a lot more, which I read could be do to excessive protein. Thus we cut back the Nutrena Senior feed. She isn;t urinating as much but she isn’t gaining weight either. I was wondering in beet pulp would be something to add to her diet?

  26. hi i have a 14 yr old standardbredi got from a rescue place and he is very skinny they told me to feed beet pulp calf manna oats i feed that to him 2x day and free access of hay to him to gain weight but i dont see him gaining any weight you can see his backbone his hip bones and his rearend is not fat like it susposed to be his teeth are done the vet just wormed him and gave him vitmins what can i do to get him to gain weight. thank you

    1. Hello Tonia, Thanks for the question, and for helping out your horse! The diet you are describing is fairly low in calories, and may also be lacking in quality protein, which would help him develop muscle mass. We would suggest changing to a balanced diet of a product similar in nature to SafeChoice. It’s quality amino acid profile (what makes up the proteins) will help him develop improved muscle tone, and the high fat level will help add calories in to his diet to aid in weight gain. The added vitamins and minerals will also support his overall health, helping him look and feel better all over. Good luck!

  27. I had two extremely skinny horses. One of them was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease and the other was a rescue just skin and bones!! Very very skinny.. they both were.. I first followed my vet’s advise to just give unlimited grass hay. Well things got far worse and I then started my research.. I found the perfect mix of feed and these horses look so great, plump and different now only after a month of starting my feeding regimen. I give them both about 10 lbs of dry purina equine senior per day and about 6 lbs of dry weighed shredded beet pulp along with two cups of rice bran per day. For their morning feeding, I pour about 1/4 cup of oil in to their feed. They also get 5 flakes of orchard each day. (These horses are both approximately 19 years old). I break it into two feedings each day. I think I have achieved about 100 lb weight gain on my cushings horse and much greater on the skinny rescue horse who was just skin and bones. They both now look totally normal!! No sad bony ribs or bony rumps!! Just a round shape all around!! And I can’t tell you how happy I feel when I look st them! ! I also had their teeth floated and wormed them to begin with. This diet truly works!!! Just remember to go about any changes in feed slowly. Give hem about a week to get used to any change or increase in feed.

    1. Hey Lori – Thanks for the comment. That sounds like an awful lot of feed per day, but if it’s working for you, that’s great!
      Thanks ~ Gina T.

  28. What feed from Nutrena is equivalent to Purina Equine Senior? I have been wanting to switch my horses to this brand slowly after hearing good things about consistency in quality (as Purina looks slightly different from time to time). It seems that we do have a local dealer for it in my city although I had thought we did not. Also, what is the best way to make the switch?

  29. Hi … My question for all you readers is: I have a 23 year old TW. Have had him for 4 years now and was diagnosed with Cushings 3 years ago. He is UTD on vaccines, dewormed every two months, teeth floated last year with one being removed, also just had his teeth done again this week. I feed him senior feed mixed in with wet Beet Pulp twice a day. He has access to good quality hay 24/7 (no alfalfa) I also have him on Chaste Tree Berry Powder for his Cushings (3 weeks on 1 week off).
    He normally has a harder time keeping weight on during the winter months but this year he has lost more than normal. I am looking to add some weight on him but without having to spend an arm and a leg. I have been doing a lot of research and many people are saying rice bran oil, canola oil, corn oil, etc… What are your thoughts and/or suggestions? Thanks in advance for all of your input.

    1. Hi Maureen, Thanks for reading our blog, and this is a great question. First and foremost, we’d strongly encourage you to take a look at your hay supply. We’ve been doing a lot of hay testing around the country, and a lot of the hay out there is down quite a bit in quality – and CALORIES – from previous years, in part due to the draught. Even if your hay only dropped 100 kcal/lb, if you feed him 15 lbs of hay a day, that is 1500 kcal/day that he is potentially missing out on. So, you may simply need to either try to get more in to him, or look for a better quality, higher calorie hay.
      Second to that, try simply adding 1 to 2 more pounds per day of his Senior feed. This can offer a nice boost in calories, without having to mess with additional supplements or throwing the nutrient balance of his diet out of whack. Sometimes the horse simply needs a little more of what he’s already getting. As a part of this, make sure you weigh the feed (actual weight, not just volume or ‘scoops’), and see if that matches against what the feeding directions on the tag suggest for his size & activity level. We find horse owners are often surprised by how little they are giving when they actually weigh it out with a kitchen scale.
      Finally, if those two options don’t work out or work for you, you can certainly try the oils – just make sure you start out slowly with just a few tablespoons per day to allow his digestive system to adjust – or you’ll be in for some messy stall work! Gradually work up to 1/4 cup of oil at a time. Or, if you prefer not to deal with the mess of oil, you could try a rice bran supplement such as Empower Boost – plenty of extra fat & calories, without the mess and waste of a liquid fat.
      Hope this helps – please do let us know if you have more questions! Thanks ~ Gina T.

  30. Okay so I have become very worried about my two horses. I have an 8 year old and and 18year old that are very hard to keep weight on year round. I like where anything green is hard to find and I’m wanting to get some weight on them. I feed them sweet feed and burmuda hay twice a day and I’m wanting to add beet pulp because I know its good for putting on weight but I was wondering if I should start looking into other supplements as well.

    1. Hello Samantha, Thanks for contacting us! The first thing we recommend is to make sure your horses are receiving all the hay/pasture they can eat. That may mean feeding an additional time during the day, or simply adding another flake or two per feeding. Your horses should be receiving 1.5 – 2.0% of their bodyweight in forage per day – so for a 1000 lb horse, that is 15 -20 pounds of hay per day. You can always weigh flakes from your bales to be sure of how much you are feeding.

      Second, we would encourage you to look at the fat level of the sweet feed you are using. Traditional sweet feeds are usually only around 2.5 – 3.0% fat – this is what is naturally present in the grains themselves. Look for a feed with 6-8% fat, which is added through the use of vegetable oils. This will result in a significant increase in calorie intake. Also, when purchasing a quality feed with added fat, the overall nutrient balance of the feed will be much better than adding beet pulp to a sweet feed – resulting in better overall health and condition in your horses. We would suggest a product such as Vitality (sweet feed) or SafeChoice (pelleted feed).

      Good luck, and let us know if you have any further questions! Thanks ~ Gina T.

  31. I have a 3yr old rescued mare that was emaciated when I got her and her 1 yr old filly. The filly is still nursing which Im sure is why the mare is having trouble gaining weight. Shes put on some since I got her, but not enough. Ive tried weaning the filly with much difficulty. Im actually looking for a new home for her so I can concentrate on the mare. What can I feed her to help her gain weight?

    1. Hello Rena,
      Thank you for contacting us. You’ve got an interesting situation on your hands, for sure. You are correct in trying to get the filly weaned off – it will be better for both for that to be done. Since the mare had a foal at such a young age, she likely also missed out on some key nutrition for her own development, which might make her a challenge regardless. For the filly, get her on a feed designed for mares & foals, to help her develop as healthy as possible.
      For the mare, you will want her on a high quality, high calorie diet. First and foremost – lots of quality hay, as much as she will eat, and keep it in front of her around the clock. Second, select a grain product for her. Look for a product that is high in fat – at least 6%, or higher if available to you. A senior horse feed is often selected as the best option for horses that have been starved. Make sure you feed according to the directions on the tag, for her bodyweight and activity level. You can even feed for one activity level higher than what she is actually doing, in order to help her put on weight. It may seem like a lot of feed, but she has a lot of catching up to do. Try to break it up in to several meals per day, if possible with your schedule. You could try our senior horse feeds as mentioned, or SafeChoice Original would also be an excellent option.
      Good luck, and let us know if you have any further questions! Thanks ~ Gina T.

  32. Hi! I have a percheron/clydes cross, who is 11 years old. I bought him, but didn’t get to move him home for a while, and the folks I bought him from weren’t feeding him like they used to and he came home 200-300 lbs underweight. I give him a lot of hay– over a bale a day– as well as rice bran pellets with corn oil. I don’t see any improvement, and with winter coming I am very worried. He’s been chewing on our fir trees, killing several. My father thinks it’s because he is still very hungry. I heard about beet pulp, but read it’s not good for draft horses. Can you set me straight on this? Thanks!!

    1. Hello Webb, You have an interesting situation on your hands. We have a few suggestions for you:
      1. Hay – for a draft size horse, depending on what your hay bales weigh, he very well may need more hay. A horse should get 1.5 – 2.0% of it’s bodyweight per day, so for an 1800 lb draft horse, that would be 27 to 36 lbs per day. Weigh 4 or 5 of your bales to see what they are on average, and you can see if he is getting enough. Another good indicator is if he is cleaning up all the hay or not – if he’s eating it all completely gone, then give him more, until he gets to where he doesn’t consume it all. Then, keep him at that amount until he gains the weight back, and then you can begin to scale his diet to where he maintains his condition, and stops eating your trees!

      2. Make sure you are providing free choice salt. He may be chewing trees out of a deficiency of some sort. Salt bricks are OK, but are designed for cattle, which have rough tongues and are able to get more from a brick. Loose salt is best – you should be able to purchase this at any feed store. If he is salt starved, you may want to limit him the first week or so, or he may over-consume. A horse should get 1-2 oz of salt per day. You can allow a few extra ounces per day to get him back in to proper consumption.

      3. Make sure you are providing as much free choice water as he needs – especially if you start offering salt and haven’t before.

      4. We would suggest a balanced feed for him, versus beet pulp – as mentioned in the original blog post, beet pulp is an unbalanced ingredient, and is not desirable for use as a sole feed, especially for long-term use. A better option would be something like SafeChoice Special Care, which would provide all the nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and amino acids) he needs, along with extra calories, while keeping a lower starch & sugar level – something drafts tend to need.

      Good luck~ Gayle R.

  33. I have a 18 year old TB. He was injured in july so he has been off grass, because he’s confined to a dirt paddock to recoupe. He has lost weight, and you can see his ribs and hips. He gets 4 flakes of orchard grass hay twice per day and 2 1/2 quarts of horseman’s edge 10 % pellet. If i add 1 quart of beet pulp twice per day will that help him gain weight? Or should I try Nutrena Life Design Senior?. I also, have a 28 year old QH/TB that has lost weight. Both horses are regularly wormed. I just started both of them on this orchard grass hay in June and I don’t think it is very nutrious, it is a very fine hay.

    1. Hello Sharon, Thanks for the question. You are likely on to something with the quality of hay – if you can get it tested, that would be a good starting point. You may need to find another source, or at a minimum, increase the amount of hay you are giving. A small decrease in the calories per pound of the hay, can add up to a big decrease in total calorie intake, due to the number of pounds of hay a horse eats in a day.

      Aside from increasing the hay, you can also look at supplementing with feed. You can try beet pulp, although we would recommend using a balanced feed, such as our SafeChoice Senior, instead – beet pulp is not a very balanced option when compared to the needs of the horse. Whatever change you make, make sure to add it to the diet slowly, over the course of 5-7 days, to ensure a smooth transition. Work up to an additional 2-3 pounds per day, and hold there for a month or so to evaluate changes, and then adjust from there as needed.

      Thanks ~ Gina T.

  34. I have a 25 year old Quarter horse and he is a great horse. In this past summer, I have noticed a change in his weight. He has been getting pretty skinny the past few months. I am currently feeding him beet pulps shreds, but I haven’t noticed a change in his weight or look. How long does it usually take until the beet pulp starts to take effect?

    1. Hi Kaity, Thanks for the question. It really depends on how much you are feeding him, and also the quality of the pasture he is on. You may also need to start supplementing hay for the pasture – especially if you are in one of the areas affected by drought this year. It’s possible that the beet pulp you are feeding is only offsetting either a decline in pasture quality & quantity, or that his digestive system is slowing down due to age. We would suggest increasing the amount of feed he receives by 1 or 2 pounds, holding that for a few weeks to see if any change results, and then increasing again by the same amount and time frame, until you find the desired feeding level.

      We would also suggest looking at a more balanced feeding program than beet pulp. As stated in the article, while it is a popular feed, it is not necessarily ideal – it’s not very balanced to what a horse truly needs. A senior feed, such as SafeChoice Senior or any other product available in your area, can be more beneficial in the long run to his health and condition.

      Good luck ~ Gina T.

  35. I just wanted to add in response to someone saying why even mess with it when you can buy products with all the right balances with beet pulp already in it, and that may work for the average or normal horse. However I have a horse with liver problems and as she is older now she needs more calories but high fat and high protein content are not processed properly and lead to health issues. Senior’s ration is too high in fat, so although she can tolerate small amounts it is not a viable feed to maintain overall condition. She is on soaked beet pulp, plain rolled oats, and just 1 cup of senior’s ration. I had her on strictly senior’s and she lost a ton of weight. After discussing with the vet it was recommended to gradually switch her over and just use 1 cup of the senior’s with the oats and beet pulp until it is gone. So for my mare’s situation beet pulp is the absolute best feeding solution. 🙂

  36. I have an 11yr old 16h walking horse,he needs some weight I will put him on beet pulp,my question is what feed can I put him on that is very low in sugar,he gets to hyped up on feed that has sugar in it

    1. Hi Jean,

      Thanks for your question! Nearly any of the SafeChoice options could work for your gelding, depending on what his body condition score and activity level is. All SafeChoice feeds are designed with controlled starch and sugar, fortified with prebiotics and probiotics and have guaranteed quality proteins. You can use the handy reference tool here.

      Also, as a reminder he should be fed good quality hay at a rate of 1-1.75% of his body weight. As an example, for a 1,000 pound horse, that would be 10-17.5 pounds per day. Once you confirmed he is being fed adequate amounts of quality hay, adding a concentrate that is high in fats, fibers and fortified with balanced micronutrients will help him gain weight and muscle.

      I hope this helps – if you have additional questions, please let us know!

      All the best,
      Megan C.

  37. Hi, I have a four to five year old gelding, he will not keep weight and I tried beat pulp but it didn’t work as I was told. Is there anything I can add to it that it will be safe and put weight on him. If not, is anything I can give him, Thanks

    1. Hi Lauren, Thanks for the question. Beet pulp is not an overall balanced feed, so we would suggest finding a commercially available product that contains high levels of fat, as well as balanced protein, vitamins, and minerals to aid in overall health and body condition. A product such as SafeChoice Original, or something similar that you can get from your local feed store, should fit the bill nicely!

      Make sure you feed according to the directions on the tag, to ensure the horse receives the intended nutrients for his size and activity level. Weigh the feed by using a small fish scale or kitchen scale (rather than giving “scoops” of feed) to get the right amount per day.
      Thank you ~ Gina T.

  38. Hi,

    I have a 5 yr old Apha mare. She’s a hair under 16 hands and I have been having a difficult time putting weight in her. She gets her weight checked every few weeks and is currently 1025lbs with a low body score. Right now she’s getting 3.8lbs Safechoice Perform, 1.5 cups black oil sunflower seeds; 3 quarts beet pulp (1qt dry soaked makes it to 3qtz wet); and 2 oz Cool Calories, twice a day. With a grass pasture turn out 20+hrs a day; hay put out at night and hay in the stall. She’s on a good worming schedule and had her teeth done a couple months ago.

    Do you have any other suggestions as to what could help?

    1. Hello Danni, Thanks for the question. While you may be getting enough calories in her, the current diet is likely lacking in quality protein sources. We would suggest cutting out all the mixing of products, continue with the hay/pasture access, and go to providing 6-8 pounds per day of SafeChoice Perform. To get a horse to gain weight, you often have to feed for one activity level higher than their actual activity, in order to provide enough calories to go beyond maintaining their weight in to gaining.

      Once she has reached the appropriate weight on the higher amounts of SafeChoice Perform, then you can begin to scale back the amount being fed until you find the level she maintains at.

      The black oil sunflower seeds really provide an inconsequential amount of calories, and not much in the way of protein, and the beet pulp is also a very poor source of protein and minerals – it mainly provides fiber along with the calories.

      We hope this information is helpful, and wish you the best in getting your mare to gain weight and condition! Thank you ~ Gayle R.

  39. I have a 10 year old TB gelding about 1100 lbs. He is currently getting 6qts of Triple Crown Senior a day, plenty of hay, teeth are good, exercise has increased to moderate riding on trails and doing ring work. He is also on weight builder, and haystretcher and I am giving him beet pulp 3x week mixed with grain as an extra meal. I really need to get some weight on him with winter coming. Someone recommended changing his feed to SafeChoice, it worked well for their TB. My question is if I do change over to SafeChoice should I stay with a Senior feed or try the Perform?

    1. Hello Gary, You are very wise to be addressing your horses weight prior to the winter months. I like to start with forage and please make sure your horse is getting 2% of body weight per day in forage . You are on the right track with the beet pulp ad well, but prefer to use a feed that already had it balanced in the ration. Not to mention we want a balance of amino acids which are important to prevent topline depletion– muscle mass. I would highly recommend the safe choice perform at a feed rate of 3pounds x 3 feedings per day. 9 pounds total with no additional supplementation other than hay pasture on any Meds. You will need to make this adjustment over 7-10 days. Please take some before and after photos. We would love to see your progress!!
      Thank you ~ Gayle R.

  40. I have a 16 year old gelding that we use for team roping and trail riding. He is kept on pasture year round. This past summer he was diagnosed with Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO). We live in the south so there are many things in our environment that he is allergic to…alfalfa being one of them. Before his diagnosis we fed Total Equine and alfalfa hay. We removed the alfalfa from his diet and we changed him to 4-6 pads of Coastal Bermuda hay per day, 2# per day of Triple Crown 30% Supplement and 2# of Timothy Pellets (added as a little extra). When on the alfalfa he had a beautiful coat, nice topline and was well muscled…now he has lost his topline and muscle tone and he has little energy.
    I have read positive reviews on the Platinum Performance supplement and the Platinum Allergy supplement so I am considering changing supplements to see if it will help with my horses allergies and ROA. We currently wet my horses hay to keep the dust down but I am considering changing him to a complete feed or adding beet pulp and eliminating his hay. What would you suggest for his diet?

    1. Dear Kathy, Thank you for your interesting question. Sorry to hear that you are having some RAO issues and allergy issues with your 16 year old team roping and trail riding gelding.

      When you switched from the alfalfa hay to the current diet of Bermuda hay, timothy cubes and Triple Crown 30%, the total protein content (particularly the essential amino acid content) of the diet decreased, which will contribute to the muscle mass loss and some of the hair coat loss. The Triple Crown 30% is a very good product, but the quantity you are feeding will not make up for the quantity of protein decrease going from the alfalfa to the Bermuda and Timothy. I would expect that the total energy content of the diet is also down a bit, which is contributing to the loss of body condition and perhaps lack of energy. The current diet is going to be pretty low in starch and sugar, so glycogen repletion might be an issue on the energy side. I am assuming dental care and de-worming are all taken care of at this time. If not, make sure that is addressed.

      What your horse may be telling us is that he needs more protein with a balance of essential amino acids, more Calories coming from; a mix of starch, sugar and fat (preferably with a source of Omega 3 fatty acids to help control allergic response). Muscle mass is driven by the intake of balanced essential amino acids in the protein, body condition and energy are driven by Calories from balances sources.

      You may want to consider the following:
      1. Continue feeding the Bermuda grass hay. Make sure you are getting early cut hay so it is fairly fine textured if possible. Feed at least 1.25-1.5% of bodyweight of the horse or free choice.
      2. Check with your local dealer and look for a product that is at least 12 or 14% protein and at least 9% fat, higher if you are OK with textured feed. In Nutrena, would be products like SafeChoice Perform, Pro Force XTN or ProForce Fuel as options. If available, there are some good Triple Crown Products as well. Assuming your horse weighs 1100-1200 lbs, you would be feeding 5-6 lbs per day. You may need to work up to higher level to get weight gain, then cut back when you get the muscle mass and body condition back.
      3. You may also want to consider a high fat, high Omega 3 product. In our line, that would be Empower Boost.
      4. If you feel muscle mass is not coming quickly enough, you might consider Progressive Top Line or comparable product.

      16 is right on the border for consideration of a senior horse feed. SafeChoice Senior or Triple Crown Senior would be options to consider.

      Best wishes, Gina T

  41. I feed all my horses a mix that has worked great over all the years that I have been keeping my horses at home. They get Senior Feed, Hay stretcher pellets, and since i soak my horses feeds i have whole oats in there as well (found that if you put the oats in there the mushy feed does not stick to the sides of the bucket making it easier to eat) and of course hay.
    My other bonus of the oats is that i mix this all together in a big tub so that i just have to scoop it out and mixing the other stuff with the senior feed keeps the senior feed from turning into a giant clump in the winter.

  42. Be careful with beet pulp. It needs to be pre-soaked, and is highly fermentable. We’ve dealt with two colics resulting in death due to rapid expansion of the beet pulp and excessive fermentation at a rate beyond the horses’ ability to handle. We do not recommend beet pulp to our clients. There are safer and better alternatives from highly respected nutrition companies such as Nutrena that provide the weight gain needed and a balanced diet.

  43. I have a 31 yo pony (quarter horse/arab-sheltland cross). Her wt in her prime was around 600lb In the past she would lose wt in the winter, but put it back on in the summer. This year that didn’t happen. Right now she is thin and I am worried about her. We feed her purina senior, amplify, a flake of bagged alfalfa(twice a day) and free choice local hay. Friends have suggested sunflower seeds and beet pulp. I have no experience with these last two.
    Your article that I just read shed a LOT of light on these, so I think I’ll pass on the sunflowers. She gets the amount suggested on the feed bags. She does not drop feed when she eats so I think her teeth are ok. ( local vets won’t float teeth around here and farriers are impossible to locate! we trim feet ourselves) Firefly is happy-she has a “herd” of 4 minis to control, so she eats separately since the minis are fat and need no more calories. They all are wormed with safeguard every 3-4 months. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I realize she is old, but I want to keep her around as long as possible even though my husband’s nickname for her is “Princes of Darkness”. 🙂

    1. Hello Laurie, Thanks for the question! She sounds like a lovely pony, no matter what your husband says!
      In regards to her diet, she is simply getting old, and will require a few more calories per day to keep up. I would strongly suggest simply increasing her current diet quantity, particularly on the senior feed, rather than introducing beet pulp or anything else. Another pound or so per day might make all the difference.
      Best of luck to you and the Princess!
      Gina T

  44. We love beet pulp at our farm! Beet pulp is an excellent supplement to feeding programs. My older gelding has very few teeth left and has cushings. He gets about 6lb of soaked no molasses beet pulp thru the day instead of hay so he gets to “graze” and keep forage moving thru his gut. We also feed 12lb of safe choice senior soaked in divided feedings. We are having a much easier time keeping weight on him and he is much happier having something to munch on since he can no longer eat long stem hay. We live in the Midwest where winter weather extremes happen . Our horses are normal out a lot but sometimes we have no choice but to stall them in negative temps and ice. We feed soaked beet pulp to the younger boys when they are inside extra. This adds additional moist fiber to help reduce the risk of impaction colic when they are eating extra dry forage and not moving much.

  45. I have 2 horses that has been loosing alot of weight and was told I.had 30 days to.get them good again I feed them 2 a day can I get help with what to do

    1. Hello Anita, Thank you for contacting us. First, ensure you are providing them access to enough hay/pasture. They need to consume 1.5 – 2% of their body weight per day – for a 1000 lb horse, this means 15-20 lbs of hay per day! After that, addition of a quality grain such as SafeChoice Original will do well – each horse should receive 4-6 lbs per day to receive appropriate vitamin/mineral/protein intake. Make sure to start them gradually on the grain if they have not had any before, to avoid causing digestive upset.

      30 days should start to show some improvement if you follow this plan, but is not enough to get them up to full condition if they are severely underweight. If you have further questions, please let us know!
      Thank you ~ Roy J.

  46. I have a walker who is 23 years old, she just got over having pneumonia, she was a pretty sick girl for awhile. She lost alot of weight during all of this, now she does not really like to drink alot of water, about a bucket a day if we are lucky, she eats a couple flakes of hay a day, her grain if she feels like it 🙁 I had a special mix made up just for her at our local feed mill, but it does not seem to be helping at all, any suggestions?

    1. Hi Terri, Thanks for the question, and sorry to hear about the trouble with your girl! Without knowing all the details of everything you may have tried, here are a few suggestions:
      ~ Try to get more hay in to her. This may require purchasing a softer hay mix.
      ~ SafeChoice Senior is a highly palatable (yummy!) option that she may take to eating better, and it’s high in calories, which is what she needs. Work her up to feeding 1% of her bodyweight per day in the Senior.
      ~ If you can get her to eat it, Empower Boost is a high-calorie rice bran supplement that will get calories in to her fast – gradually add this in until she is up to 3 pounds per day, until you get her to the weight she needs to be at.
      Hope that helps~ Gina T.

  47. Hi Gina,

    Thank you so much for your help with my mare, but sadley to say we lost her yesterday morning, that has been the hardest thing that I have had to deal with, she was a big part of our family, I don’t know if we will ever be able to get over losing her 🙁 we have had many horses, but not a one of them were like her, she was extremely special. She was a big part of our family for years. Thank you again

  48. I have a 32 yr. old QH that has no teeth, and has a vet. monitoring his healthy diligently but we can’t keep weight on him. For years I have successfully fed him twice a day with soaked beet pulp and senior feed. In addition I’ve been giving him 1/2 bucket of soaked T/A pellets at each feeding. I was been Cool Calories as additional weight supplement but after a year of that I have stopped using it. Too expensive and doesn’t appear to help. He has now been diagnosed as being a little anemic. I know you are not a proponent of beet pulp, but having had one horse have colic surgery for a sand impaction and being told to use that as a potential preventive, I can’t bring myself to stop. My old horse loves the wet beet pulp and always appears hungry. He quids grass and hay so that has been stopped. Now winter will be coming and grass will disappear….how best can I feed him to help maintain his quality of life and keep him from appearing hungry all of the time. It breaks my heart! He is still so full of energy….first one into the barn every day and night! Thank you!

    1. Hello Gina, Thanks for the question. The simple fact is that you need to get more calories in to him, in whatever form he seems to take best! Especially with the grass going away, those calories will need to be replaced with feed. The easiest answer, if you are able to do it, is to introduce a 3rd feeding each day. Don’t cut back on the other feedings, just start another one with the same products. Start with low amounts, and work up until you reach a full third feeding. Hold him there for a while, and see how he responds – it may take a month or two to start to see a difference, as putting weight on a hard keeper can be a big challenge!
      Another option would also be to introduce a high fat supplement such as Empower Boost – an extra pound or two per day of this may provide the additional calories he needs.
      We hope this helps – if you have further questions, please let us know! Thank you ~ Gina T.

  49. I have 14 Horses. Many in which have specialties. I feed 12 Total Equine. I feed the other two Carolinas Choice Senior Feed. My 25 year old arabian gelding is servery thin and it seems that nothing we feed him allows him to gain weight. We feed him Total Equine, Alfalfa Cubes, and Beet Pulp twice a day. I’ve tried him on a little of everything with no success….
    I have a 3 year old Arabian mare. She has had a lifetime full of chocking, and colicing. So as I researched more about Total Equine I saw how “safe” it was for her to eat it. She hasn’t had any problems yet, but then again she isn’t truly gaining weight. She is just maintaining it. She’s not quit where I believe she should be…..
    I have two TB horses who are naturally hard keepers who are also on Total Equine and it is pretty much doing the same for them as it is for the 3 year old Arabian mare. the only difference is they are also being fed Alfalfa Cubes…
    As for the two I have on Carolinas choice Senior feed they are about 18 to 20 years old, TB QH cross. They are both hard keepers as well…
    In my 14 horse heard, these are the only ones I have trouble with weight gain. The horses ages range from 3-26 years old. 9 out of the 14 are just your plain trail riding horses. To my point, what should I use as a good base feed for everyone(if possible) and what could help the ones in which I mentioned above. They also get mainly Coastal Hay… ANYTHING is apreciated.

    1. Hello Meshia, Thanks for the question. We recommend SafeChoice Original which is designed for all life stages and would be great for all of your horses. It is higher in fat/calories and lower controlled starch/sugar to reduce risk of metabolic issues such as colic. The Total Equine is mainly alfalfa, and hay has about 1/3 less calories compared to grains, so your horses simply are not receiving the calories they need. For your older horses that are on a senior feed I recommend the SafeChoice Senior which is also higher fat/calories and lower controlled starch/sugar. You may also want to consider the senior feed for your 3 year old horse that chokes as it is a wet pellet that is easier to chew and it can be fed as a wet mash. The SafeChoice Original is a dry pellet so if your 3 year old is ok on a dry pellet then it is a great choice.

      For each of the feeds you want to be sure to feed within the recommended amount for the weight your horse should be and activity level to get the full nutritional benefit of the feed. For horses that need to gain weight they need fed on the higher end of the recommended amount or need fed above the recommended amount to get the weight on. For example, the recommended amount of SafeChoice Original for Light work is 0.5 – 0.75 lb per 100 lb body weight so that would be 5 – 7.5 lbs a day for 1,000 lb light worked horse. If the horse was on 5 lbs and needed to gain weight then you would want to bump up to 6.5 – 7.5 lbs. If the horse needed a significant amount of weight gain such as 100 – 200 lbs then you may need to feed above the recommended amount at 8 – 10 lbs a day to get the weight on. For horses needing to gain weigh it is important they take in more calories a day to get the weight on. Feeding free choice good quality hay can also help so your horse can eat hay throughout the day.

      You can also consider adding Empower Boost to the diet which is our high fat supplement. It is meant to be added to the diet at 1 – 3 lbs a day to help put on weight. It is 22% fat and high in calories so you get more fat/calories per pound.

      Thanks ~ Gina T.

  50. Also, how would I go from switching from Total Equine to the Safe Choice brands. I know when you start Total Equine it’s so safe you don’t feed for a few days and let it get out thwor system and then you are to start fwedding TE straight. I don’t believe you would do the same thing when switching would you? I don’t know if my old guy Dreamer the Arabian Gelding can handle not eating for a few days. His grain is important.

  51. Help!!!! Please. I have a 31-year-old 14.2 foundation Morgan mare. I have tried for years to try to get her to gain weight but haven’t been able to I have tried both alfalfa cubes and beat pulp (I am currently using beet pulp) I have also tried Farnam weight builder and am currently using mans pro senior weight accelerator. Here I her current feeding regemon
    3qt either triple crown senior or Dumor senior
    3qt beet pulp
    1oz mana pro Senior Weight Accelerator
    I feed her twice a day.
    Last year we were told by the vet if she didn’t have a barn she wouldn’t make it through the winter so we purchased a one horse stall shed with tack room from the Amish.
    She has plenty of grass we have a ten acre farm and we let her out to graze almost ever day. She also has a 3 acre paddock all to herself on a daily basis. We only stable her in freezing rain or snow or High Wind or if it SUPER cold like Low 30s and below. We also blanket her if necessary

    1. Hello Summer,
      Thank you for contacting us. Our first suggestion for her would be to increase her hay intake. Whenever she is in her paddock or stalled, have free choice hay in front of her.

      Second, regarding her grain. We would definitely suggest sticking with the Triple Crown Senior over the Dumor Senior – the Triple Crown is simply much higher in fat and calories per pound, and will do a much better job of keeping weight on her. Then, we would recommend dropping the beet pulp (or alfalfa cubes) and replacing it with the Senior feed. Again, the Triple Crown is going to be much higher in fat and calories – along with being completely nutritionally balanced, where beet pulp is not at all nutritionally balanced. 3 quarts of Triple Crown Senior is likely around 3.5 – 4 lbs of feed, but if you can weigh it to know for sure, that would be good. This product calls for a minimum of 6 lbs per day to be fed, and you can feed easily up to 12 lbs per day if needed.

      Third, regarding the Weight Accelerator – it takes 2 oz of that product to equal the same amount of fat as 1 lb of Triple Crown Senior contains. The feeding directions for the Weight Accelerator call for anywhere from 2 to 10 oz per day. Since you are at the very low end of that, we’d suggest increasing the feeding amount (slowly, so she doesn’t suffer any digestive issues from the high fat).

      The bottom line here is she needs more calories, and free choice hay (plus her grazing, although that is likely mostly gone at this time of year) along with a high calorie, nutritionally balanced diet is the way to go. Increase her feeding amounts until you find the point where she gains weight. Once she’s at a condition level you are happy with, then you can slowly adjust down her feeding rates until you find the amount where she maintains her weight properly.

      We hope this helps – let us know if you have more questions! Thank you ~ Gina T.

  52. I have a 20 year old OTTB who, the older he gets the harder keeper he becomes. I’ve tried numerous senior feeds to keep weight on him, especially during the winter he tends to drop very easily, however, they all have beet pulp in them and he hates beet pulp. Some feed companies have claimed that theirs is well hidden in the feed and he won’t be able to tell but somehow he does and he will walk away from his feed. I just moved him to a very stress free farm with loads of shade and grass (he doesn’t sweat properly) so I know the grass will help a bunch. The farm feeds Nutrena feed, mostly Senior however she mentioned she may try to switch him to your hard keeper feed. Does it have beet pulp? Since he doesn’t sweat properly is this feed ok for him during the summer (we live in Florida) because the short amount I’ve read about it so far says it’s a high energy performance feed. I just want to make sure he eats enough of a quality feed to keep his weight on all year long and that it doesn’t over heat him in any way. It’s odd for him to walk away from his feed but most recently we’ve had to change it several times because he either doesn’t like it or it has beet pulp in it so he wont eat it no matter how well it’s disguised.

    1. Hi Caroline,
      Thank you for your interesting question regarding your 20 year old OTTB that does not like beet pulp. A bit unusual for a horse to dislike beet pulp, but every horse develops preferences. He needs a combination of adequate Calories to maintain Body Condition and adequate amino acid content to maintain muscle mass, along with the appropriate minerals and vitamins. If his teeth still allow him to chew forage, I would first make sure he has high quality forage. SafeChoice Senior has been used very successfully in horses like this as it is quite palatable and safe to feed in quantity as needed. If you need to add a high fat source w/o beet pulp, you might consider using a high fat supplement. We have had success with Empower Boost.

      I would also suggest making certain that he has access to loose salt free choice. If he has some issues as a non-sweater, limiting exercise and providing cooling may be needed, particularly during warmer temperatures and higher humidity.

      Best wishes,
      Roy J.

      1. Hi Caroline,
        Additionally, a good recommendation would be a thorough Oral Exam to rule out any dental issues. Also high quality forage if dentition allows for forage chewing and certainly the SafeChoice Senior could be a nice option.
        Best of luck!

  53. I have a 7 year old Fell Pony 13.3 h . He has dropped weight since coming out of Spring 2017 He is on dry lot with a fjord gelding . I had the vet check him his health is fine , just getting thin. He should be 800/850lbs. He is 740 now. I’m separating them I think the fjord is part of the problem and the hay quality per vet isn’t enough protein. Right now he gets 2fks hay 3x a day w Safe Choice special for easy keepers ,and a scoop of Platinum performance for vitamin supplement on top of the 1/2 cup of safe choice . Because he is a pony I have to be careful not to give too much grain. Friends and vet suggested putting him on a senior feed to help with weight . Triple Crown or Safe Choice senior was suggested . Please help . He need more calories and muscle and fat . Susan

    1. Hi Susan,
      Depending on the nutrient content of your forage and the weight of your scoop (1/2 cup) this may not be enough calories or the right amount and balance of nutrition for your pony. Please visit the feed calculator available on our Nutrena World website perhaps you may need to increase the amount of Safe Choice Special Care you are feeding to your pony. Please be sure you are feeding the recommended amount of feed. Keep fresh water available and free choice salt. Please gradually make changes to the feeding amount overtime. Watch body condition and measure his weigh on a monthly basis to be able to adjust feeding rates as needed. Horses, like humans are individuals and each one will require a different amount of calories to meet their individual needs. Keep in contact with your veterinarian to maintain his wellness.
      Best of luck!
      Heidi A.

  54. I gave my mare dry beet pulp and almost lost her to choke. The beet pulp HAS to be soaked in water 24 hours before feeding. A large vet bill and injured vet from an angry in pain can’t breath horse and a bucket full of expanded beet pulp pulled from her throat. Very dangerous product unless soaked.

  55. I have a 21 yr old with EMS. Foundered 2x. Losing weight. Feeding 1 # peak performance, 1# boost, 2# hay stretcher, 5# safe choice special care, hay 24/7. Still not gaining…. help!

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Thank you for your inquiry. For horses with special metabolic needs, working closely with a trusted vet is recommended. With an older horse that has been diagnosed with IR and has a history of laminitis and that is losing weight, I would recommend looking into the possibility of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction, also known as Cushings, which is common and correlated with increasing age in horses and horses with insulin resistance associated with EMS and a history of laminitis. An equine vet should be able to help you with diagnosis through some careful blood work, and then the right medication to manage any endocrine dysfunction. Also, if your horse’s teeth haven’t been checked recently, having a vet examine the horses teeth and mouth to rule out or correct anything that might compromise chewing, is recommended.

      Having the right nutrition is critical to managing horses with EMS (and PPID). Restricting intake of starch and sugar (NSC) is essential. Having hay tested to ensure the starch + sugar in that forage isn’t too high (<12% NSC) is recommended. With the history of laminitis, no access to fresh pasture or sugary treats. Also, a hay that is mixed grass with some alfalfa typically has higher calories, lower NSC, and higher protein, which is helpful with controlling dietary NSC and weight gain. Nutrena provides forage testing services if you are interested. Second, to be able to accurately determine the correct feeding rates for forage and grain concentrates, a body weight estimate is needed. Here is a link to our blog that describes how to do this, along with many other tools to easily track your horses body condition over time, select the right feed for your horses needs, and adjust feeding rates as needed. You’ll want to determine the feeding rates based on the target or goal ideal body weight, and not the horses current body weight.

      SafeChoice Special Care is a great product, however it sounds like you may need product with higher calories. Nutrena SafeChoice Senior or Nutrena ProForce Senior would be great options. Both are very controlled starch and sugar products, but have higher fat and digestible fiber compared to Special Care. Nutrena Senior feeds have Nutribloom technology built in, or ingredients that help support digestive health and efficiency of fiber digestion from the forage and grain components of the diet. Horses are able to get more from every bite with Nutribloom. Be sure to feed according to the tag recommendations in 2 or more meals throughout the day. Lastly, if you want to continue to provide a hay stretcher or something supplemental to your hay, soaked non-molassed beet pulp is a great option for providing high levels of calories in the form of soluble fiber. Here is some information on effective use of beet pulp. Lastly, sometimes “weight loss” is really due to muscle loss, especially in the case of older horses and/or horses with PPID. Whey based protein supplementation is a great way to help support muscling and may be a better alternative to fat supplementation. Progressive Topline Xtreme is a great solution for this, and can be purchased online and in select retail locations. Please be sure to provide white salt and fresh water at all times.



  56. I have a question about horses on pasture. I have several rescues on pasture and want something I can feed out in the pasture to up their weight before winter. I had wondered about soaking beet pulp shreds and putting in their feed bunk but didn’t know if like grain they would over eat it. My other thought was alfalfa cubes maybe mixed with some beet pulp. I want to give these guys some cushion for winter. We feed a good grass hay as well but for some it’s not enough. Thanks for the help.

    1. Hi JC,
      Thank you for your interesting question regarding what you can feed some rescue horses on pasture to help with some weight gain before winter. Very prudent planning as it is easier to put on some pounds before cold weather sets in than trying to do it after horses drop body and condition and it is cold! I am assuming that you have had the teeth checked on the horses and that they are up to date on vaccinations.

      Weight gain is primarily a matter of additional Calories above maintenance requirement. Muscle mass gain also requires supporting amino acids. Beet pulp is a good low starch energy source from highly digestible fiber, but it is not a very good amino acid source. Alfalfa pellets are a very good energy source and also contain a better amino acid profile than beet pulp or grass hay/pasture. I would suggest first introducing the alfalfa pellets as your source of added energy. If you wanted to add more Calories, we find that many people also add some vegetable oil to the alfalfa pellets.

      If you have older horses with dental issues, then I would recommend a Senior Horse Feed as an option.

      You will also want to make certain that the horses have access to fresh clean water that is above freezing temperature. It is surprising how much body heat it takes to warm cold water to body temperature. Also, loose salt is much easier for horses to consume in cold weather as they will not lick cold salt blocks to get required salt.

      Best wishes,

  57. I am curious if beet pulp and corn oil may help the OTTB I just acquired. He is really underweight, the people who had him before us fed him too much grain and about lost him from colic in December. He is only 6, and his backbone is prominent and his hip bones stick out. He’s got a hay belly as apparently after the colic the vet took him completely off of grain and put him on straight forage. I am attempting to get him on a regular, high fat but low sugar content diet. This is the first time i’ve had a horse come to me in this poor condition, any suggestions or help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Megan,
      Beet pulp and corn oil are two potential ingredients of many that could be utilized to supply some of the nutrients your OTTB gelding requires. The beet pulp is a nice source of soluble fiber and thus calories, while the oil would supply fat and thus calories. It sounds as though this guy needs not only additional calories, but amino acids to help him build back his topline and hindquarter muscling. We would recommend starting with a high quality hay fed free choice, and then bringing in a product like ProForce Senior at no less than 7#/day to meet his ideal bodyweight nutrient requirements and increase if he needs more calories (rib coverage). We add a specific research proven combination of both pre and probiotics shown to improve fiber digestibility which will also support improvement of his hay belly. If at some point he doesn’t require that many pounds per day to meet his caloric requirement, then we’d recommend instead feeding him 2# Empower Topline Balance per day.
      Best of luck!
      -Abby K.

  58. What would be recommended for a hard keeper. Safe Choice Senior or ProForce Senior? Also if ProForce is used, would I still need to add beet pulp to their feeding diet? They also have unlimited to round bale of Jiggs and also get Scoop of Alfalfa pellets once a day. I will also be getting a Alfalfa block that they will only have limited access to. Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Becky, Thanks for the question! Either feed would be very helpful for your hard keeper – and neither would require the use of beet pulp in addition to the feed. The ProForce Senior is about 300 calories more per pound than the SafeChoice Senior, so it will put weight on faster for your horse. Simply make sure you are feeding according to the recommended amount for your horse’s bodyweight and activity level – if you visit the product pages on our website, there’s a handy calculator in the Feeding Instructions section that makes it quick and easy to determine how much per day to give. Hope this helps – if you have any further questions, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help!

  59. Hello,
    I am at a loss of what to do for my 28 year old Arabian mare. Her hips are bony and she is underweight. She was a pasture horse for 3 years prior to when I got her 6 months ago. The lady I got her from rescued her from some awful humans. She was in good health when I got her and she was kept in a pasture for a few months after I got her, know she is being boarded during the winter months. Since boarding she had lost a lot of weight. I have since tried improving Her quality of hay ( haven’t done alfalfa because someone told me its too high in sugar for her at her age, not sure how accurate that is) I’ve changed up get grain a few times with no impact. She now gets soaked beet pulp in the evenings with a weight gainer supplement powder added to it, also hay for dinner, breakfast and lunch. For the most part she doesn’t eat all of her hay and I find myself scooping out the spoiled hay on her stall floor ( she also has a hay bag that dinner is put in).

    Is there something I’m missing? Does she need more beet pulp, or added grain or oils? The beet pulp, after being soaked, fills up a 5 quart feeder bowl. Do I need to feed her more than that or do that multiple times a day? Any input is greatly accepted, I need to find a solution quick.

    Desperate new horse owner

    1. Hello Kaley, Thanks for the question. When a horse needs to gain weight, the simplest answer is the correct one – they need more calories! Beet pulp, while a good source of calories, is not a balanced diet plan, as we mentioned in this blog post. If she’s not eating all her hay, she probably needs to be on a senior feed. We’d also suggest having an equine dentist look at her teeth for any problems – she may have some rough edges that need smoothing. If the hay you are scooping up off her stall floor looks partially chewed or is damp (and not from a nearby water bucket), then she’s “quidding” – which means her teeth are in poor shape, just due to age. If you don’t know an equine dentist in your area, ask at your barn or ask your veterinarian for help.

      As for her diet – you first need to determine how much she weighs, and then feed her accordingly. This will mean getting your scoop, your feed, and a scale together, and weighing how much of your chosen food fits in a scoop, and then calculating how many scoops she needs per day. A kitchen scale or a fish scale, available from your local hardware, home good, or sporting goods store, will do the trick.

      First – weigh your horse. You probably don’t have a horse scale handy, so read this article on how to get a really good estimate: How to Weigh Your Horse without a Scale

      Second – choose the right feed. Due to age, we’d recommend a senior horse feed, such as our SafeChoice Senior or ProForce Senior – but a senior feed that you can easily and consistently have access to at your local feed store will be the best selection for you!

      Third – Based on the directions for the feed, figure out how much your horse needs daily, for her body weight and activity level. To help her gain weight faster, feed her for one activity level higher than she is actually at, so that she’s taking in more calories than what she needs to maintain. Read this article: Reading Horse Feed Directions. Also, note that on our SafeChoice and ProForce Senior product pages, there’s a handy calculator to help you with the math!

      Fourth – weigh how much your scoop holds, and then figure out how many scoops per day she’ll need to eat. Here’s another handy article: How to Weigh Your Feed. Keep in mind, as you figure out how much she should eat per day, you don’t want to feed more than a half a percent of bodyweight in a single meal. For a 1,000 lb horse, that’s no more than 5 lbs of grain per meal. She’ll probably need at least 2 meals per day, maybe more as you get her back up to the condition you want her in.

      We hope this information is helpful! If you have further questions, please let us know! You can also always reach one of our specialists by contacting us here: https://www.nutrenaworld.com/horse-inquiry

      Best of luck!

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