3 Spring Feeding Tips for Underweight Horses: Presented by Kentucky Performance Products

As the days get longer and the temperatures climb, many horses can come out of winter a bit under-conditioned. This especially is true for hard keepers. Here are some tips for spring feeding:


Here are some strategies to increase calories in your horse’s diet. Remember to keep checking your horse’s condition frequently so they don’t gain too much weight!

Step 1: Increase the amount of hay your horse is getting.

• A horse should eat 1.5% to 2% of their body weight in hay each day. (That is 15 to 20 lbs for a 1,000 lb horse.)
• Add an extra ¬flake or two to each meal.
• Alfalfa hay typically provides more calories than grass hay.
• A 1,000 lb horse should eat 15-20 lbs of hay per day.

If your horse is consuming all the hay he can eat and still needs more calories, move on to step 2.

Step 2: Review the amount of concentrate (sweet feed or pellets) your horse is eating.

• Are you feeding according to the manufacturer’s recommendations?
• Can you safely increase the grain by a pound or two per feeding?
• If so, make the change slowly over several days.
• Never feed more than 4 to 5 pounds total per feeding.
• Add an extra feeding at lunch or later in the evening if necessary to meet your horse’s caloric needs.

If your horse is already maxed out on grain, move on to step 3.

Step 3: Add a high-fat supplement to his feeding program.

• The percent of fat provided by the supplement will determine how much you need to feed. Equi-Jewel® rice bran, for example, is 18% fat and fed at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per day.
• Start with a small amount and increase the amount fed daily over 5 to 7 days. This allows your horse to get used to the new form of energy.
• Feed the supplement until your horse reaches the desired condition, then cut back on the amount fed as needed to maintain the weight you desire.
• If your horse is working harder during the season, he may need to stay on the supplement year-round.

Get a printable version of this infographic here

About Kentucky Performance Products, LLC:


Performance horses are susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage. Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, limits the damage caused by everyday oxidative stress. It maintains healthy muscle and nerve functions, and supports a strong immune system in horses of all ages. Elevate was developed to provide a highly bioavailable source of natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate) to horses.

Check out this KPP article: Vitamin E and the Performance Horse – A Winning Combination.

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