There is nothing more frustrating than trying to put weight on a horse that is a finicky eater. Your horse could be a fussy eater for a few reasons. For example, he may have dental issues. If it is painful for your horse to chew he probably won't eat much. Your horse also may have ulcers, causing him stomach pain and decrease his appetite. There is also a possibility that your horse is just a hard-keeper. It is vital that your horse gets the proper nutrition he needs, especially in cases where it is hard to keep weight on him or if he is underweight. Here are a few tips to keep weight on your fussy eater.
By allowing your horse to forage and eat throughout the day, it will promote a healthy digestive system. When your horse has good digestive health it lowers their chances of getting ulcers. By letting your horse have access to feed all day or providing your horse several small meals will mimic how he would feed in a natural setting, and leave less time for his stomach to sit empty with acid eating away at the stomach lining causing ulceration(because a horse continuously secretes HCl).
Adding a nutritional supplement, like Horse Guard and Super Weight Gain, into your horse's diet will ensure that he is getting the vitamins and minerals he needs. When trying to put weight on your horse providing high-quality protein, such as extruded soybeans, will help to build muscle and keep weight on. To find the right supplement and grain combination you may have to experiment to find what works best for your fussy eater. Horse Guard has multiple products that are great for supplementing and putting weight on a hard-keeper horse.
Horses are naturally herd animals. When it comes to feeding time in the herd there can be a competition factor. If your horse is a part of a group he may feel the urgency to eat because if he doesn' eat now he may not be able to later. Some horses, however, get nervous or are too timid to eat in a group setting. In this case, simply feed the timid horse separately from the herd.
Every bite your horse take counts toward their overall health and nutrition. By making sure your horse is getting the proper nutrition, whether it be through hay, supplementation, and/or grain is important for their health. By making sure every meal is energy-dense and every mouthful is as nutritious as possible will ensure optimal health for your horse.