How to Keep a Skinny Horse Full During Winter Without Breaking the Bank


Is your horse underweight? If so, you’re probably concerned about the cost of providing your horse with adequate nutrition during the winter months. Feeding a thin horse, also known as a “hard keeper,” can be expensive even when the weather is warm, but it can get very expensive very quickly when it gets chilly outside. These are some things to think about if you want to fatten up your horse for the winter.

What Determines a Horse’s Weight

This is especially true for the slender horse, who may be affected by a variety of physiological and psychological causes. Many of these characteristics will be common sense to horse owners, but I’ll go through them briefly nevertheless.


If it’s been more than a year since your horse had his teeth floated, it’s probably time to schedule an appointment with your vet or an equine dentist. Having your horse’s teeth in good operating order (without sharp edges, hooks, or ramps) will cost a bit up front, but it will ensure that your horse makes the most of every bite of best horse feed this winter.

Calorie Needs

Make sure the bare minimum of your horse’s calorie requirements are met. Check that your horse is getting enough calories in his food; we’ll go into depth about what to feed later in this post. It seems to reason that a horse that spends its days in a stall and under a blanket during the winter need a lower caloric intake than one that spends its days underweight rigorous training on a run or pasture. Shivering burns a lot of energy, therefore your horse will require more calories in the winter than in the summer.

Fecal testing might reveal the presence of parasites in your horse’s system. Even if your horse’s faecal study comes back negative for parasites, you may want to give a second dosage of a Strongid-type wormer to get rid of tapeworms.


One of the many ways in which horses experience stress is through their weight loss. An injury, rigorous training, or severe weather are all examples of physical stressors (such as extreme cold). Emotional stress is real, and horses can feel it when their living environment doesn’t suit who they are. For instance, you can expect your horse to be anxious if he is at the bottom of the herd’s social hierarchy and is regularly bullied by the other animals. In addition, if your horse is the type that wants a lot of space to roam around, confining him to a stall or run can be stressful for him, leading to undesirable behaviours like cribbing and weaving. Horses that aren’t suited to their jobs will experience stress as a result, too.

Horse Chow for the Skinny Equine

Once you’ve double-checked your horse’s condition and found that everything’s fine, you may want to reconsider the diet you’ve been giving him. Low-energy and high-energy thin horses are both available.

Horse rations designed for the low-energy thin horse.

If your horse is underweight and lethargic, increasing the number of calories he consumes and the efficiency with which he digests those foods will help him put on weight. You can give him up to 1 pound of grain per 100 pounds of body weight every day. Both corn and barley are better energy sources than oats. Senior pelleted meals are also effective for underweight horses. In addition to the alfalfa, you can supplement his diet with up to a cup of maize oil every day. Horses that refuse to eat grain but will munch on hay may have ulcers that need to be treate.

High-quality acidophilus and bifudus, in addition to potent enzymes, can help your horse digest his meal better. Furthermore, blue-green algae supplies a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals to make up for any nutritional deficiencies in his regular diet. Two or three packets of Simplexity Health’s Essentials provide a convenient “one-stop shopping” for acidophilus, bifidus, enzymes, and blue-green algae, in my experience.

Energizing Horse Food for the Athletic Skinny Horse

There is a good likelihood that your slender, high-energy horse is losing weight due to stress and constant movement. The idea is to keep this gentle horse quiet and tranquil so that he can keep his weight on. More grass hay and a little bit of alfalfa causes this type of horse to acquire weight more rapidly. More grain does not appear to improve performance. High-dose acidophilus and bifidus probiotics, in addition to the extra calories, may be quite helpful. Your horse will be more comfortable and peaceful as a result of the B-vitamins it produces thanks to a healthy population of probiotics in the gut. Omega Sun Algae, sold by Simplexity Health, has a sedative effect on the horse’s nervous system and brainwaves, making it useful for treating anxious horses.

Hay and the Skinny Horse

It’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to feeding your underweight horse in the winter, but hopefully this gives you some ideas. All the hay, alfalfa, senior feed, probiotics, algae, enzymes, and mangosteen juice I’ve been giving my one skinny (low-energy) horse this winter has helped him put on weight (my special “horse goo” recipe). He’s living large and relishing every minute of it.


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