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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

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All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Weight Gain for Rescue Horse

I have just obtained a 4 yr old grade gelding from a rescue. He stands inbetween 15 and 16 hands. Seems to be mostly quarter horse. He is still slim and could use some more weight on him. I was reading through these posts on weight gain and seems that I need to be giving him 24/7 pasture and if not give him 24/7 hay. What kind of hay or mixture would be best? Right now I am giving him Bermuda hay. I need to be feeding him Nutrena SafeChoice or that Triple Crown stuff according to the posts. Well, my feed store does not carry either one of these. They do carry a new product called "Ultimum". It seems that this feed has the ingredients that you mention in the other 2. Do you know anything about this feed and would it be OK to use it? I too, am confused about the alfalfa hay putting on weight. I was wondering if you could tell me the nutritional difference for the horse, if you feed alfalfa pellets versus the alfalfa hay? I was wondering if I should add some alfalfa to his diet in some way? How much feed should I be giving him on a daily basis for him to gain weight without doing it too quickly? We do exercise him every day, so he is active. Thanks for having this on your site. I think it is great and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your help. MJ - the horse.

Where are you from? Jasper, Georgia

How did you locate this forum? via web search

Re: Weight Gain for Rescue Horse

Hello Gera,

Congratulations on your new horse. He is lucky to have found you.

Yes, the Purina Ultium is fine – it is designed mostly for active, performance horses, but since you are exercising him each day, and he is likely undernourished, this would be a good choice. You can feed him according the package directions, as long as you keep each meal to no more than 3 lbs. So, you may have to feed several meals. But, since he is not accustomed to eating so well, you should start slowly and give him a small meal along with his hay. Then you can slowly build up to the amount he needs.

If feeding so many meals is not practical, just feed two meals of 2 ½ pounds each (that’s approximately equivalent to a quart scoop).

Alfalfa pellets are fine – they are similar in nutrient value as the hay. Yes, go ahead and add some pellets to his diet. You can add ½ pound per meal. He will enjoy it.

Keep up the fine work. Let me know how his progresses.

All the best,

Dr. Getty