Neither myself, nor SillyPony, nor JenJ is a veterinarian or equine nutritionist. Please make sure you do your own research for your own personal horses. I am simply trying to figure out what is best for my two.
I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions from everyone regarding AJ's nutrition issues. One thing is for sure, there is a LOT of information out there and a lot of products to choose from. It is all quite overwhelming.
SillyPony has gone through something similar with her horse, although he was on the portly end of the scale, and JenJ is currently working on her hard keeper. I've been stealing information from their blogs and have been bothering them with questions via email. Neither of them have blocked me yet. :)
I wanted to get some hard numbers down on paper because I'm visual and it'll give me a place to start getting organized. First, here is what I think I understand, and where I'm at so far.
The consensus seems to be that horses should eat, on average, between 1.5% and 2.5% of their total body weight in feedstuffs each day. That varies, of course, from horse to horse because of a variety of factors ranging from age, to work load, and even whether the horse is used for breeding. Maintenance horses require less, mares with nursing foals require more. That part sounds easy enough...
So with regards to my personal situation, I have a maintenance horse and a horse in light work (eventually...). My maintenance horse, however, is underweight, so that will play a part in his numbers. I'm still skeptical that the weights I got the other day were accurate (they seem high...), but for the sake of this post, we'll assume they are close.
Both horses are turned out on pasture for roughly 8 hours per day, but the pastures are really poor, so I don't know if they're getting much value out of them at this point.
24 Year Old Maintenance Horse (1.5% - 2.0%)
16 Hands, 1145 lbs
Minimum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.015 = 17.2 lbs
Maximum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.020 = 22.9 lbs
AJ is currently eating:
4 Flakes of Hay @ 4 lbs per flake = 16 lbs of forage
3 lbs of Purina Equine Senior & 2 lbs of Nutrena SafeChoice = 5 lbs of concentrates
2 scoops of Weight Builder (4 oz)
Total = 21 lbs per day
He is well within range, and even on the high side of the scale, which is where I want him. Even if his weight is less, let's say 1050 lbs, he still falls between the minimum and maximum.
10 Year Old Horse in Light Work (1.5% - 2.5%)
15 Hands, 1062 lbs
Minimum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.015 = 15.9 lbs
Maximum Weight of Feed = (Body Weight in lbs) x 0.025 = 26.5 lbs
Lilly is currently eating:
3 Flakes of Hay @ 4 lbs per flake = 12 lbs of forage
2 lbs of Nutrena SafeChoice = 2 lbs of concentrates
Total = 14 lbs per day
Lilly doesn't even fall into the range I've caluclated for her. Even if I were to guesstimate her weight at a more probable 950 lbs, that would make her minimum 14.3 lbs per day, so I'm still not feeding enough. If I increased her feed, though, she could very easily become overweight.
That's about as far as I've gone. AJ most likely needs a variation (more fat probably) as well as Lilly (probably a vitamin/mineral supplement), but what? That's the tricky part I'm still trying to figure out.