Get the skinny from SmartPak.
From the SmartPak Blog:
If you’ve been around horses long enough, you’ve probably known a “hard keeper” or two. The term “hard keeper” refers to horses who struggle to maintain enough fat cover and/or healthy muscle tone. These horses can benefit from extra care and support year-round, but winter can be an especially challenging season for them. Read on to uncover some common reasons horses struggle to maintain a healthy body condition, and to see how you can help support a healthier, happier hard keeper this winter.
If you’re concerned about your horse’s weight, your first step should be to call your veterinarian. Ask your vet to perform a complete physical examination to ensure there isn’t an underlying medical cause for your horse’s weight troubles. Some of the health reasons that your veterinarian may check for include dental issues, gastric ulcers or other digestive problems, a chronic infection, or parasites.
Preventing parasite infestation is crucial to maintaining your horse’s health. If left untreated, a high parasite load can lead to weight loss in horses, so work with your veterinarian to determine if parasites are robbing your horse of nutrition. When your vet comes out to perform your horse’s physical exam, take the time to review your current parasite management program and develop a targeted deworming plan based on your horse’s unique needs.
Horses are “trickle feeders,” meaning they’re designed to eat small amounts frequently throughout the day. (If it were up to him, your horse would spend most of his time grazing!) While this can be hard to achieve in many modern horsekeeping situations, the foundation of your horse’s diet should come from forage, no matter what. Whether it’s from fresh pasture, hay, or a combination of the two, your horse should be eating 1–2% of his body weight in roughage every day (for a 1,000 pound horse, that’s 10–20 pounds daily). Weigh a serving of your horse’s hay to ensure that you’re supplying enough to meet his daily forage requirements, based on his body weight.
Read the rest of the post, including more information about diet, living environment and supplements, continued on the SmartPak blog.
For supplemental help for your hard keeper, check out SmartGain:
SmartGain is the weight gain solution you have been looking for, with four complementary methods of support! This comprehensive formula provides amino acids to support lean muscle development, extra calories from healthy fats, prebiotics, probiotics, and enzymes for digestive health, and the herb fenugreek to support a healthy appetite in picky eaters. Four weight gain strategies. One tasty supplement.
Go SmartPak, and go riding!