Adding sufficient calories for weight gain on working ranch horses

Asked December 9, 2014, 11:10 PM EST

My horses and I reside in California.

My horses are working ranch horses which I train daily, as an avocation, for when we are to be working and roping cattle, either for practice or at ranches.

Would you educate me as to corn oats and barley offering substantial calories to working horses? My seasoned horses I offer 3 pounds of 40% oats, 40% barley, and 20% corn with non molasses shredded beet pulp and herbs, hydrated; three evenings per week. My youngest horse of five years of life; I offer 2 and 1/4 pounds of the above corn, oats, and barley. One of my seasoned horses, Tari , I would prefer him to gain weight. Manna Pro suggested rice bran pellets, in their product Natural Glo, to gain weight on Tari. Which would offer the most calories without damaging their health? Or, can you offer a salubrious alternative, that will offer weight gain on Tari?

Are my proportions of corn, oats, and barley acceptable to you?

In advance, your response will benefit us!

San Diego County California

5 Responses

Thank you for your question. Your ratios of grain seems appropriate for a mature working horse. My only concern is that they are only getting fed 3x per week, which is only 1.3 lbs per day if you average it over the day. Therefore that amount is really not doing much for their nutrition. I assume in the off times they are being fed hay or are on pasture or on a range? This will provide most of their nutrients however, I would consider increasing their feeding to once daily. With that being said this alone might help your one skinny horse. If it does not I highly recommend adding rice bran to the diet as was suggested. Rice bran is high in fat and will increase the calories in the diet without creating any problems. Horses can typically get 1-2 lbs of rice bran per day. I would start slowly however, and increase to 1 lb after the course of 1-2 weeks to make sure she does not have any digestive problems with it. Leave the amount at 1 lb and see if that changes her weight over the course of 1 month and if not slowly increase again to 2 lbs.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Doctor Carey Williams

My Hocus Pocus augments their food offerings. In the mornings each horse receives 1 flake of Alfalfa, 1/3 flake of Bermuda, and in the afternoons each receives 70% of a flake of Timothy. In the evenings each horse receives 1 flake of Alfalfa and 1 flake of Orchard.

Three nights per week they receive my Hocus Pocus. Tari, the seasoned working ranch horse (gelding ) is the horse I would prefer to gain weight. Therefrom your response, you recommend rice bran as a weight producer. Are you cognizant of the Mana Pro, Natural Glo Rice bran product? Will this Rice Bran product gain weight on Tari, or can you recommend an alternative product that will gain Tari weight?

I have slowly incremented the Rice Bran (Natural Glo) to 3 pounds per offering, to Tari; three evenings per week.

Is incorporating the Rice Bran pellets with the Beet Pulp ( I hydrate the beet pulp for 15 to 20 minutes then introduce the Rice Bran), acceptable and will not disturb the benefit of the Rice Bran gaining weight on Tari?

Yes, I am familiar with the Natural Glo product. It is good and should do the job for Tari. I would not recommend adding beet pulp with it at this time. The rice bran alone should be enough.

Good luck with everything.

Doctor Carey Williams

I am pleased you are acquainted with the Natural Glo, Rice Bran for believing this Rice Bran product will gain weight on Tari and not be deleterious to him.
Why do you not recommend incorporating Beet Pulp(hydrated) with the Rice Bran?

Beet pulp was not recommended because it would just be extra and not provide anything additional that the rice bran would not. This is not to say that you shouldn't use beet pulp, it is just not necessary.