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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. 

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 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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fat, fiber and weight gain

I have a 15 year old TB gelding who needs to gain some weight. He works 5-6 days a week at a pretty high intensity. I am currently giving him all the grass hay he can eat (24/7), 2 cups corn oil, 2 lbs of rice bran, 2 lbs of rolled oats per day, and 2 cups of Dynamite HES (soybean supplement)in addition to loose salt, vitamins and hoof supplements. All this divided equally into an AM and PM meal with hay.
He is gaining weight well but I am concerned about the rolled oats. I just read an article that alerted me to the fiber difference between whole oats(12% fiber)and rolled oats (2% fiber). I thougth that whole oats where hard to digest so chose the rolled without knowing I was sacrificing fiber. What is the right choice? Also, what is the benefit of alfalfa pellets? Fat, fiber, protein? I am thinking I should add some of those in place of some of the oats.

Where are you from? Seattle, WA

How did you locate this forum? searching MSN equine nutrition

Re: fat, fiber and weight gain

Hi Lydia,

The fiber content of both types of oats should be the same, unless the hulls are removed from your product. However, I would not be concerned about this, since you really aren’t relying on oats as your source of fiber. The hay and rice bran are providing adequate fiber.

If your rice bran product is not supplemented with calcium, he may not be getting enough calcium to balance out the high level of phosphorus in rice bran. Therefore, alfalfa pellets would be an excellent way to create that balance. Alfalfa is also higher in lysine than grass hay, and therefore, boosts the quality of protein in his diet.

I would also suggest that you replace the corn oil with flaxseed oil or if that’s too pricey, go with canola oil. Corn oil is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which, in high quantities, stimulate the inflammatory response. Since he does intensive workouts, he would do better with an oil that was higher in the Omega 3’s instead.

And finally, a large majority of horses who work out intensely (especially running or speed sports) have ulcers in varying degrees. This can contribute to a lot of issues, but weight loss is one of them. Consult with your vet, but you may wish to consider giving him Ulcergard to prevent ulcers (it is a lower dose version of the prescription Gastrogard) and is available without a prescription.

Keep up the fine work!

All the best,

Dr. Getty