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Picky eaters, competition season burnout, colder wintes, intense growth and digestive problems. It all leads to weight loss in horses. We have all been there, but worry not. We have reviewed the best weight gain feed blends that should quickly get your horse back in shape. Below are the best feeds and supplements for all sort of horses, younger, older, healthier, less healthy, big, small, working hard and lazy ones. You will also learn what ingredients to search for when picking a good weight gain feed and what foods are worth incorporating into your horses diet.
Best Horse Feed for Weight Gain (UK-2021)
- Editor’s Choice – Allen & Page Weight Gain Mix
- Runner-Up – Wendals Herbs – Weight Gain
- Third Place – Allen & Page Veteran Vitality
- Fourth Place – Dodson & Horrell Build Up Conditioning Mix
- Fifth Place – Farnam Weight Builder
A high carbohydrate feed great for overly healthy horses during winter season, growth, foal feeding or other times of increased calorie needs. Great for weight gain as well as preventing weight loss. The feed is made up of barley, wheat syrup, peas, beans, soya oil, linseed expeller, mint and herb. Barley is a great alternative to conventionally used oats especially for hot and very energetic horses. It provides a slower and more controlled release of energy. Peas and beans are good sources of easily accessible protein for building muscle mass. Soya and linseed will make your horse’s coat shiny and strengthen the mane and tail which is an additional benefit of this feed mix.
Top supplement for horses with digestive issues including stomach ulcers, diarrhoea or constipation. Contains alfalfa, basil, fenugreek seed, goldenrod, meadowsweet, mint and oregano. These herbs help regulate the acidity of the stomach and improve the overall digestion. Alfalfa which makes up most of the mix enhances mucus production in the digestive tract reducing irritation.
Another blend by Allen & Page dedicated for older horses and ponies. Perfect for horses with tendencies to diarrhea or constipation. Super high in fibre, aids the digestion and improves the gut health. Fibre is also the best natural prebiotic (it feeds the good bacteria in your horses gut). The formula is palatable and easy to chew which is important for older horses and picky horses that lack appetite. The feed can be an alternative for horses with stomach ulcers or sugar intolerance, as it is practically free of simple sugars. The main ingredient is unmolassed beet pulp, a great additive for weight gain. If you are thinking of buying this feed make sure your horse doesn’t suffer from laminitis. The producer does not make is super clear and visible to the customers, but the feed is not meant for horses with that condition.
This feed is a good value for money. It is one of the few cheaper but highly recommended blends. Dedicated mainly to horse athletes. Three main ingredients include barley, oatfeed and wheatfeed, all sources of energy providing carbohydrates. I would not recommend this blend to horses out of work and healing from injuries in a stall rest. This is a complete blend so no additional feeding is required. The blend is also fortified with vitamins and minerals to ensure your horses diet is complete. L-lysine added to the mix is a natural amino acid promoting muscle growth. The feed is safe for competition horses that are dope tested.
This supplement is a little more expensive but comes in a bigger volume. It is a perfect option for picky eaters and should be fed additionally together with the daily grains. It itself contains grains, flax meal and vegetable fat, which is a source of omega-3-fatty acids. It is artificially flavoured, making it more appealing to the picky eaters. Fed in smaller amounts it is additionally a perfect supplement for improving the condition of skin and coat.
What Ingredients to Look for in a Horse Feed for Weight Gain
Most weight gain feeds contain high calorie additives. Finding the right diet for your horse can be tricky and highly depends on your horses activity level and its purpose. For horses in sport a good source of calories is protein. Best protein sources include rice bran or alfalfa. These ingredients will help your horse put on muscle weight.
For older horses or horses used for light riding, high volume and low energy food is a better option. Start by providing your horse access to high quality, fresh and green hay. Good quality hay has a higher nutritional value than ordinary hay. Beet pulp or linseed soaked in water are another high volume meals, which are a great source of carbohydrates and fats.
Oils such as linseed oil, soya oil or rice oil have miraculous weight gain properties. Watch out with rice oil though, gamma oryzanol found in the oil induces testosterone production which might show in dope testing of competition horses (“Can oral intake of gamma-oryzanol (experimentally given orally as pure substance) result in doping relevant testosterone levels in the urine of mares and geldings?”, Anne Mösseler, January 2010). It is recommended to pour the oils over daily grains and feed it on and off, letting your horse’s digestive tract rest too.
Unwanted weight loss in horses is sometimes related to stomach ulcers or other digestive tract disorders. Feeds that contain herbs are a great solution as they help restore the natural pH and bacterial gut balance. Healthier tummy means more nutrients absorbed 😉
My eventing horse was diagnosed with stress-related ulcers. After first competition season his weight drastically dropped down. I encorporated herbs and healthy oils (linseed and rice oil) into his typical diet and just a few months after he gained all the weight back (plus some more) and managed to keep it on for the past three years. From my own experience I can highly recommend blends that have herbs in the ingredient list.