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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.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


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

I have a mare who's about 20, but thinks she's five. Last winter, she lost some weight - not a terrible amount; she has always been slim. Her hipbones were sharper and you could see her ribs, but she was certainly not emaciated. I've been trying to build her back up by gradually increasing her feed and hand-grazing her on fairly good grass (aka: my yard). The appearance of her hipbones and ribs has not changed, but when we had a Coggins and an all-around checkup done, the vet commented that she had a grass belly.

I was wondering, what is a grass belly and how can I get that weight up in her sides and haunches, where it belongs? Also, any advice on putting the weight back on would be appreciated. The last thing I want to do is have her colic or founder from too much rich stuff.

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Where are you from? TN

How did you locate this forum? MSN seach for equine nutrition

Re: Grass belly

Hi Arien,

What a sweet face she has! Thank you for the picture!

A good way to put on weight slowly would be to add a weight building supplement to her diet. There are several on the market, but one I recommend is Hard Keeper (Vita Flex).

Or, you can also add nutritious feeds that are higher in fat, such as flaxseed meal or a stabilized rice bran product. Omega Horseshine puts out a good flaxseed meal product. And, Natural Glo rice bran nuggets are easy to find at most feedstores.

A “grass belly” is not fat. It is gas produced by bacterial fermentation of roughage. It is not harmful unless it is excessive, which would indicate that the quality of feed she is receiving is poor. But, that doesn’t sound like the case in your situation.

So, try one of these suggestions and please keep me posted.

All the best,

Dr. Getty