Tag Archives: Horses

Learning the Hard Way – Canine Nutrition

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” – Roger A. Caras

I remember the day I got my first dog, a little Lhasa Apso we named Dixie. She was a present for my sixteenth birthday. Soon after began the roller coaster of extreme joy coupled with daily frustrations of the responsibility that goes with raising and training a puppy. After watching commercials for dog foods boasting their high quality, I selected a brand I believed to be premium.

I was elated to add Dixie, a Lhasa Apso, to the family!
Noticing Changes

After a couple years, Dixie began itching uncontrollably to the point that her skin would crawl when you touched her. Mortified that she was so miserable, I sought a veterinarian’s help. I was given a list of things that she felt may be the cause – one of which was dog food.  After a month or so on Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, Dixie was back to normal!

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream comes in a 14 lb and
28 lb pound bag. It is also available as a canned food.

When I got my second dog, a Rottweiler Labrador mix named Foose, I chose a line of dog food that was extremely popular among breeders at that time. Vet appointments soon became a regular thing due to recurring ear infections. One vet told me to clean his ears more, and the next told me I was cleaning them too much. Finally, one veterinarian suggested a change of food. After switching his diet to the one that had provided so much success prior, I impatiently waited for results, but to no avail. I eventually found relief with one of the Blue Buffalo lines.

Foose – a Rottweiler Labrador mix.
Helping Others

After years of researching nutrition, attending seminars, and working with veterinarians (as an undergrad pursuing veterinary medicine), I was able to use my experience to assist customers find a diet best suited for their four legged family member.  For the average dog, a diet without corn, wheat, or soy was commonly recommended. Switching between the different lines such as chicken, lamb, beef, and fish was also encouraged (gradual transition to reduce the chance of digestive upset).

For those with allergies or sensitivities, grain free or limited ingredient diets with salmon as the main protein, was the preferred choice. Finding a diet for these situations is extremely difficult and typically a long process. Everyone thinks that because grain free is commonly recommended that it WILL fix the issue. But keep this in mind – if your child is allergic to peanuts and you cut out all egg in their diet, your child will still have an allergic reaction when consuming peanuts.

Every dog is different; they are not all allergic to the same thing.

Since allergy tests are commonly inaccurate in relation to food allergies, an elimination diet trial is still the most accurate method. Make sure you give the new food some time to see if it helps – it can take over a month to see results. Treats should also be eliminated, because that will have an impact as well. Once you see results, you can then make small changes to see if there are any issues. Other health conditions can occur that could affect your food trial (conditions that require medications), so it is important to work with your veterinarian in these situations.

Quality Matters

Does this mean that diet issues are the only reason to recommend higher quality pet food? Not at all! When you look at a bag, always look at the recommended feeding guide. One thing you will notice is that on cheaper quality dog food, you need to feed a lot more of it. Therefore, that cheap bag is not as economical as you think. That coupled with the potential recurring visits at veterinarian offices should help motivate you to feed something better.

Here at Big Dee’s, we have a large selection of high quality pet food to meet your needs. All of our lines are free of corn, wheat, and soy. We have a vast array of grain free options as well. If there is something that you want that we do not carry, reach out to us by phone or message us on Facebook and we can see if we can get it.

Foose, Ele and Buster benefit from being on quality diets!

Finding a diet for your pet can be stressful – we are here to help!

Written by Marketing Associate, Kelly

THE ULTIMATE HORSE GIRL DATING SURVIVAL GUIDE

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, if you’re reading this you’re either a) Someone who is dating/married to an equestrian or b) a Horse Girl and feel like this “manual” will help those wayward individuals that don’t quite understand the “rules” to dating someone involved with horses.

If you fall into the category of a non-horse person who is now dating a horse girl – congrats. You have superior taste, and this guide will help make your dating relationship a success! These helpful hints will give some insight to the Horse Crazy Brain and how to win her heart (and hooves) over.

  1. Understand that the horse will ALWAYS come first. Horses were her first love, and nothing is going to replace that. Don’t take it personally – it’s not to say she doesn’t love you dearly, it’s just a little less. Horse Girls spend a lot of their time with horses. If a Horse Girl has chosen to involve you in her hectic schedule, you can rest assured with the fact she knows you’re worth it.
  2. Learn your way around baling twine and duct tape. Horse girls appreciate the gift of resourcefulness. We can and will reattach the same pitchfork head five times instead of buying a new one.
  3. Horse Girls are known for their signature…. aroma. Don’t be surprised if we show up for a date covered in dewormer paste, have hay in our hair, and sit down to eat without washing our hands. We consider Effax or Leather Balsam to be a nice rub-on perfume.
  4. The Horse Girl is easy to shop for. You do not need to go all out for a seafood dinner or trip to Paris to impress the Horse Girl. Simply provide a bag of treats or a gift card to Big Dee’s and she will be thrilled.
  5. If you attend a horse show with a Horse Girl, do NOT ask how long it will be till you go home. Unless the Horse Girl has a set ride time for her Dressage or Cross-Country test, prepare for a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. This will be an exercise in strengthening your patience. Use this opportunity to ask the Horse Girl how to polish boots.
  6. The same rules apply for asking a Horse Girl how long she will be at the barn. Time is a foreign concept to us. Unless you have set dinner reservations at 7, expect that we will show up at least 2 hours after we said we would be there.
  7. I’ll just say it – horses are ungodly expensive. Between lessons, boarding, feeding, shoeing, showing, vet bills, and more, the Horse Girl will have no qualms in spending thousands of dollars on Fluffy. If you are dating a Horse Girl, understand that these costs will never diminish. It’s best not to argue with her about the cost of a new custom saddle or show coat. There is no such thing as too many saddles pads. Chances are she already bought it and was considerate enough to tell you.
  8. Expect to have your phone on you at all times. More than likely, the Horse Girl has an Instagram page set up for Fluffy and requires a constant feed of new content to post of her riding or grazing Fluffy. This designates your job as the on-call photographer.
  9. Do NOT tell us that horseback riding isn’t a sport. Or that it’s easy. It’s in the Olympics and classified as an NCAA Division-1 athletic. You will lose that debate every time.
  10. If the Horse Girl ever has a bad day, suggest a date night at the barn. It will mean the world to her that you want to support her and watch her ride. Ask questions, be attentive, and show interest. A little goes a long way.

Horse girls are a rare breed. Are we crazy? Sure. Are we hardworking, passionate, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty? You bet. Are we worth it? 100% percent.

P.S. Just remember, it won’t hurt your chances if you show up on your first date with a truck and 4-horse trailer

Enjoy the ride,
Colleen

Equine Leg Protection

Do you have a horse that needs some leg support?
Where to begin, right?
There are so many options now that it’s easy to choose exactly what your horse needs for where they need support. Leg protection can be used for a few reasons – as a preventative, as a barrier, or as support.

Bell Boots

Let’s start with the easy one – Bell Boots.
Is you horse tracking up too far and catching his back hooves on his front hooves? Does he pull his shoes occasionally?
Bell boot come in two basic styles with some variation – Pull On Boots or Velcro Boots. For people who use Bell Boots for turn out, or know their horse can get the Velcro off, the Pull On boots are for you. After a little bit of stretching over your horse’s hoof, the bell boots will stay on as long as you need them and are incredibly sturdy! The second style is the Velcro attachment, these come in a few more options such as having a fleece lined top, no turn style, or wrap style to fit your horses comfort level! Velcro Boots are great for protection while working your horse.

Polo Wraps

Next up – the Polo Wraps.
Do they serve a purpose?
When I was first learning about horses I was taught to polo wrap your horses’ legs for all around leg and tendon support. Years later while working for a dressage trainer, I learned the safe and effective way to wrap Polos. It does take practice to be wrap the correct way in order to help your horse while in work. Polo Wraps are beneficial during intense workouts and training sessions to support the horse’s lower leg. One of the best bonuses of Polos, is that they come in so many different colors to match your tack!

Specialized Sport Boots

Following the faithful Polo Wraps – Sport Boots
Do you want Open Front or Fleece Lined?
Before mastering the polo wrap I looked into sport boots, there are a few options and some of them have better uses depending on what your discipline is (although most can be used for any discipline).

Open front jumping boots have a strong outer shell to protect the horses fetlocks when jumping over poles or cross country obstacles. They sometimes have a matching back set of boots to protect the horses hind legs from knocking as well!

The Dressage Sport Boot (DSB) are designed for intensive work, with its hard vinyl shell and tear resistant Coverlight™ strike area to protect the most vulnerable areas of your equine athlete.

Dressage Sport Boots offer protection on the inner sides of your horse legs that help prevent rubbing or knocking into each other when doing those advanced movements. These boots are either neoprene or fleece lined for extra padding and protection.
I personally love the DSB boots!

Specialized Western Boots
This Neoprene Skid Boot by Classic Equine offers clean, close, flexible fit for protection and comfort.

We covered Open Front and Dressage Boots – how about western?
How are Skid Boots different than Athletic Boots?
For Reining and Western Riding, skid boots wrap around your horses fetlock and cannon bone and have a soft neoprene lining. There is a skid cup around the bottom to prevent the sand from scraping your horses fetlock when doing sliding stops or cutting.

Skid Boots are very similar to the Athletic Boot style which has an extra supportive strap that wraps along the bottom of the horses fetlock and helps with dropping fetlocks and overall support with the tendon. They can be used on both the front and hind legs.
These can come in fun colors and patterns – sometimes with matching bell boots!

Splint and Tendon Boots

Last and certainly not least is the faithful Tendon/Splint boots.
Are Splint and Tendon Boots ideal for general leg protection?
Splint Boots are usually padded on the inside with Velcro straps on the outside of the leg. These boots offer cannon bone protection and helps with brushing of the legs and support the most important tendons on your horses legs.

Tendon Boots are great for just adding to your horse as a preventive that helps add a basic level of protection for your horses legs for a great price.

So which is best for you and your horse?

Well, first you need to question where your horse needs that extra bit of support. Then, what level and type of riding are you doing?
If you have any further questions and can’t quite decide call us here at Big Dee’s and we would be happy to find you the right fit!

Written by Laura Brubaker, Customer Service Representative

Caring for Senior Horses

Childhood Dreams to Adult Responsibility

I remember the first time I met Copper, as a completely horse-crazy pre-teen. He was this sassy little four-year old that came as a package deal to a far more seasoned horse. My first thought for Copper was “no way, not MY horse”.

After several years on the farm, I was tasked with continuing his training to help family, and soon discovered an honest and willing partner. We both just needed time to mature and to realize what a cool team we could make! Who would have thought the horse I didn’t want as a kid, would become the horse I would never sell?

We had shown Dressage for years, dabbled in several other disciplines (to be honest we weren’t amazing in any of them, be he was always willing to let me try it out) and found our way to many fun trails. Not bad for a little Quarter Horse!

Cherokee was my “step-up” horse that came into my life about the same time I realized Copper and I were pretty good teammates. Life changes had us part ways for nearly ten years, but in February of 2019, he came back to me to live out his years. While he is twenty-four years young, he’s not the spry teenager he once was.

The dreaded grey horse – surprisingly, Dream Scout “Cherokee” isn’t THAT hard to keep clean! He once had a dark grey mane and tail with deep dapples – now he’s almost completely light grey!

Both of these horses played a pivotal role in my childhood, shaping me into the Equestrian I am today. It is both an honor and a privilege to care for them as they continue aging into their senior years.

Easing Into the Older Years

I have been able to watch Copper as he ages. It hasn’t been sudden or abrupt – it has been gradual changes through the years. It was in the moments of hearing clicking joints, feeling him take longer to warm up, and noticing he doesn’t keep muscle tone over the winter like he used to, that I learned I needed to adjust with him.

Cherokee’s changes were a little bit harder for me to experience. When came back into my care, he needed improvement. I immediately worked on bringing him back to his former shine, which included dental care, complete nutrition and building his fitness. I discovered along the way, that senior health care can be improved dramatically with a few key factors.

Mobility

All horses need to be able to stretch out, not just seniors. Older horses might be a little slower out of the stall, but to keep them in great health, the need that fresh air and movement! The mantra “use is or lose it” applies here. While I don’t ride intense workouts like I used to, I try to keep Copper and Cherokee in motion daily from turnout in their winter paddock, as well as turnout in a large field for them to run, hand grazing or riding. It’s harder to accomplish in the rainy season – but it truly helps their body and mind.

What a difference Mega-Flx has made – I like that it’s extremely palatable, both horses eat it eagerly.

I help combat the joint discomfort by feeding Spectra’s Mega-Flx to both horses to help with their joints and mobility. Mega-Flx helps reduce inflammation and provides key amino acids, MSM and HA.

Blanketing and Coat Growth

A heated topic among equestrians  is often whether or not to blanket. With blanketing, there is no “one size fits all” method. Some older horses grow glorious coats, while others may need the additional help to maintain their weight and not use up their calories trying to stay warm. This year has been a disaster for coat growth – our temperatures have been so unpredictable and unseasonably warm, so neither Copper nor Cherokee grew a heavy coat. While they are in excellent weight, I don’t feel comfortable letting them go out “naked” on really cold, windy or heavy rainfall/snowfall days. They are turned out for twelve hours a day, without a run-in, so they usually need an extra layer of protection.

The Country Pride 1680D Rainier Heavyweight Turnout Blanket is perfect for the occasional blizzard in Northeast Ohio! I have four blankets of varying insulation per horse so I can rotate depending on the weather – always pay attention, especially if the weather changes often!

I use a rain sheet for the chilly days and light rain when I need just a protective shell (usually anything with rain under 45°F). I go for a midweight like the Arctic Breeze when I need some warmth (usually days between 20°-30°F) and a heavyweight turnout blanket for really cold and wet days (under 20°). The forecast always plays an important role each morning, determining if they need a blanket, sheet, or can go au naturale!

Nutrition

One of the most important factors for keeping a senior horse healthy, is their ability to eat and utilize their food. First and foremost, teeth should be checked regularly. While I check their mouths often, I also schedule a dental float with my veterinarian annually to keep them in tip top shape.

I first soak alfalfa cubes (I usually refill the bucket after the prior feeding and let it soak overnight/during the day), add beet pulp, weigh their grain, then finally top dress with their supplements. I soak the entire bucket in hot water for a couple of minutes – then feed. They love their grain mashes!

I provide 24/7 access to quality hay, but Cherokee has started quidding more frequently (chewing up hay bits then spitting them out) as he loses more teeth. To supply him with the calories he loses from quidding, I have added soaked alfalfa cubes and beet pulp to his morning and evening rations. Both horses are fed Buckeye Nutrition grain for a complete diet. Copper eats Gro N Win in the Spring/Summer months and transitions to Safe N Easy in the colder months for extra nutritional support. Cherokee has maintained beautifully on EQ8 Senior; he used to have loose stool, but the probiotics along with added beet pulp has balanced him out! 

I have recently added dac E Natural to help with muscle support and topline for Cherokee and dac Oil to both of their diets for the Omega 3 benefits. I’m already seeing some filling in Cherokee’s hindquarters – I can’t wait to see more improvement!

Final Words

It sometimes takes trial and error to find the perfect combination for your senior- but that’s okay! Start with the basics, and go from there. Just remember to be kind and forgiving as they slow down – they deserve the same dignity now as they were given in their youth.

Written by Marketing Associate, Cassie Huprich

How to Keep Your New Years Resolutions (and Not Drive Yourself Crazy)

With the arrival of a new year, and a new decade, I’ve wracked my brain over the final days of 2019 to figure out, “What do I need to do to become a better me?” especially when it comes to time at the barn.

Year-end reflections can be a daunting thing… So making a list of what went will and what you hope to avoid for 2020 will make your goals that much more attainable!

If you’re anything like me, a busy, working adult trying to keep the career, bills, riding, sleep – oh, and MAYBE a social life – all in check, you know how overwhelming and chaotic it can be. Add owning a horse into the mix, let alone trying to find time to ride in between managing shots, deworming schedules, farrier bills, massage appointments, Reiki sessions (because Millennial) and it’s downright exhausting. To be honest, there are days (or weeks) that go by that I do so much FOR my horse that I don’t actually get to spend time WITH my horse!

This is Rotterdam, or “Rotti,” my 2010 Westphalian gelding. He’s a total chunk and a total HUNK!

So on January 1, I made a list of New Years Resolutions of all the bad habits I will break…. and within the first week of the new year I broke them. And I realized, instead of putting myself under all this pressure and stress (with a side of lingering guilt) why not put my energy into making a list of the things I WANT to do and a list of things I absolutely DO NOT want in 2020 that keep me from enjoying myself at the barn.

So here’s the list I came up with:

  1. Ride at least 3 times a week, including 1 lesson
  2. Get smart! Read up to become a more well-rounded horsewoman (like this one for my fellow English riders!)
  3. Attend at least 2 clinics – whether an auditor or a participant
  4. Submit my application for the 2020 RRP Project (Retired Racehorse Project)
  5. Get measured and order a pair of custom boots. I’ve been dying to get a pair of custom DeNiro’s for years to replace my current tall boots and would love to do something crazy like a patent leather toe and boot crown!
  6. Ride in the Cleveland Metroparks or on the beach at Lake Erie!
  7. Groom for one weekend at the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic
  8. Attend one show every season (winter, spring, summer, fall)
  9. Be a better boarder – if that means being 5 minutes early for my lesson, bringing my farrier a heating pad when he’s stuck putting shoes on in subzero temperatures, and being a positive role model for the younger girls that ride with me.
  10. HAVE FUN!
On the list for this year is to get measured for custom DeNiro tall boots! Even though I know these are by no means acceptable in “Hunter Land,” I LOVE the patent accent at the top combined with the sleek, dress boot design.
Janet Foy is one of my favorite horsewomen of all time! Her no-nonsense and easy to understand explanations and diagrams in this book are perfect to apply to any sort of riding.
The Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio is one of my most looked-forward to equine events each year. As a competitor or a spectator, watch the action unfold July 2 – 12, 2020!

I think whatever your goals are for the year, whether you’re an active participant in any discipline or the World’s Best Cheerleader, it’s important to be mindful of the time you spend. So often, we get stuck in the daily routine – and while it’s comforting – it can also be limiting. Growth and positive change never happens by standing still. It doesn’t matter if your goals are riding once a week or qualify for Washington International Horse Show or cleaning that moldy bridle that’s been sitting in the corner of your basement.  Just give yourself something to shoot for, write it down, and GO DO IT!

So relax. Hug your horse. Trust you’re doing the best you can. And remember to check in with your inner horse crazy child, to remind yourself why you fell in love with these amazing creatures in the first place.

What’s on YOUR list to make 2020 your best horsey-year yet?

Enjoy the ride, Colleen

Once in a whorl

Horse Electrolytes in the Winter

In the off-season when the snow is flying and the dread of going to the barn to crack water buckets is looming, reading about a favorite topic (wait for it) HORSES, can be a favorite pastime! Once in a “while,” you come across interesting reads about little know horse factoids. Yet finding historical references explaining the extent of the horse’s involvement in civilization’s prominence are not readily found.

HUMAN-HORSE RELATIONSHIP

Centurion satatue

From the beginning of the human-horse relationship, historical evidence shows us that owning horses was a privilege reserved only for the upper crust of society. With the Romans, horses were a show of power and strength. Generals rode while the foot soldiers walked. However, without the domestication of the horse ancient civilizations might not have been, and quite possibly our world could look much different. Throughout history, the horse’s usefulness has been at the forefront of what it has become. Harnessing the power of horses probably enabled the building of the great pyramids or the Coliseum. Horses pulled great shovels to dig canals and build infrastructure. Becoming a mode of transportation was one of the most significant historical turning points. No longer would humans walk but could ride and carry their wares to market or to other tribal areas with more speed than other animals. The average 1,000-pound horse can pull a wagon of twice its weight and travel at a top speed of around 35 miles per hour.

EVOLUTION

The horse has evolved over 50 million years. Originally known as eohippus, horses were no bigger than a dog and were prey animals that walked on three toes. The chestnut of modern-day horses is said to be a remnant of the toes that became a hoof. Something else that is unclear about the horse is the existence of whorls; those cute little hair patterns that look like crop circles on the face and body. No one can explain whorls any more than they can explain cowlicks in humans.  Whorls  have been studied for centuries resulting in correlations between whorls and temperament. Gypsies believed one whorl on the center of the forehead could mean an easygoing temperament and two whorls high on the forehead meant a more complicated temperament giving way to more modern training methods. Theories about flight responses and predicting the direction a horse will go when startled were recently studied by Colorado State University. After exposure to a spoke stimulus, researchers determined if the hair pattern in a whorl on a horse’s face grows counterclockwise it most likely turned to the left and if the hair grows clockwise, it will go right. Could this also indicate if a horse is right-sided or left-sided? I find this fascinating!

UNSUNG AND UNDER REPRESENTED

The human-horse relationship roles seem a bit reversed today. Have horses become our masters? We carry their water and grain to them when history tells us they carried ours. We willingly groom, clean, care for and pamper them. Well I say they have earned it! They are the unsung and overlooked heroes of our civilization. In every aspect of our world history, from depictions in cave drawings to the pinnacle of competition, the horse has always served man well. Today the status symbol of a horse is not as shiny as it once was, but caring for a horse is truly a rewarding experience. I always know that whatever is troubling can be resolved while grooming a horse. Whether you use horses for pleasure, competition, or as a therapy animal you have to agree they are in fact magnificent creatures!

Written by: Big Dee’s Web Products specialist, Kathy Kilbane

Horse Trailer Annual Maintenance and Safety Stock Up

Horse Trailer Annual Maintenance and Safety Stock Up

If you are planning on traveling with your horses this year and own your own trailer, now is a great time to plan your annual trailer cleaning and maintenance. It is also a great time to restock your road side hazard kit and trailer first aid kit. Check out this handy guide to ensure that you have all you need on the road for stress-free and safe travels.

The importance of annual maintenance.

An annual thorough cleaning of your horse trailer both inside and out, is an important part of ensuring years of safe service. This annual routine will Continue reading Horse Trailer Annual Maintenance and Safety Stock Up

Weight Builders for Horses

How Can You Keep Weight on Your Horse in Winter Months?

While this winter has so far been quite mild here in Northeast Ohio, it is usually very common for some horses to drop weight during the winter months.  Freezing temperatures can place quite a demand on the horse to burn calories simply to stay warm.  Horses also lack the benefit of lush pastures, and have to obtain a majority of their calories through hay intake.  One of the best ways to keep weight on a horse during the winter months is to increase hay intake.  However, not all of us have a barn full of hay that will allow us to do this.  If you have ever tried to purchase additional hay in January and February, you may have noticed it is a bit more expensive than in June and July.  Additionally, boarding facilities typically run on a tight budget, and may not be able to increase hay rations to the levels needed to maintain horses in optimal condition.  So, what can you do to supply your horse with the calories needed to stay warm and fit?

I recommend looking at a fat supplement to supply the extra calories.  Increasing the fat content of your horse’s diet can be beneficial not only for weight gain, but for skin and coat health, and a host of other reasons as well.  For weight gain, fat contains a substantial amount of energy or calories.  In fact, it contains more than twice the calorie content of carbohydrates or proteins!  When looking to add weight to a horse, look no further than fat sources.  Horses can absorb about 20% of their diet as fat, but most experts will recommend roughly 10-12% of the total diet be constituted from fat sources.

Horse Supplements
There are many ways to add fat to a horse’s diet, including top dressing with a vegetable or corn oil, using a fat supplement such as Gain Weight, Weight Builder, or Ultimate Finish 40 or 100. You can also use a fortified, extruded fat supplement such as Progressive Nutrition’s Envision, Buckeye Nutrition’s Ultimate Finish 25, Tribute’s K Finish, or Purina’s Amplify. You can opt for a stabilized rice bran supplement such as Equi-Jewel by Kentucky Performance Products.  Supplementing the diet with a cup of corn oil may be the most economical, but there are other factors to consider, especially omega fatty acid levels.

You hear quite a bit about omega fatty acid content in horse supplements, specifically, omega 3’s, omega 6’s.  There are huge differences between how these fatty acids interact with a horse’s body.  In order to give your horse the greatest benefit from a fat source, you must consider those effects when deciding which fat source is the best fit.

Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory in nature.  They help balance the immune system, protect joints and ligaments, reduce skin allergies, improve heart and vascular health, and have many other beneficial properties.  Omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and tend to aid in blood clotting.  It is important to note, both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, meaning horses cannot produce them on their own.  They must come from external sources, and horses need both of them.  The important component to consider is the ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s.

Vegetable oils, especially corn oil, tend to be high in omega 6, and low in omega 3 content.  Adding corn oil will add calories to your horse’s diet and improve coat luster, but certainly will not benefit an older horse with creaky joints or a horse subject to seasonal skin allergies. To start, I look for a product that is higher in omega 3 content than omega 6, so that I can be sure my horses are getting the added benefits omega 3’s provide.

Horse Care | Supplements
If you are feeding fat simply for the weight gain factor, I would recommend choosing a product such as Buckeye Nutrition’s Ultimate Finish 100 or Cool Calories 100.  Both of these are 99% fat and are designed simply to add weight.  They are not as engineered for Omega 3 and 6 ratios, but are excellent for bulking up that thin horse.  Another option would be to go with an oil like Coca Soya, Rice Bran oil, or FSO (which is a flax seed and soy oil mix), or Equine Omega’s Mega Gain.  Typically oils are in the 98-99% fat range and are great at adding weight.  However, palatability can be an issue with an oil, especially if fed in large amounts.

If you are looking for a product that will help with weight gain, but has been designed with Omega 3 and 6 ratios in mind, take a look at Buckeye Nutrition’s Ultimate Finish 40, Gain Weight, or Weight Builder.  All of these products are roughly 40% fat, with 14% protein.  They do a good job of putting weight on while providing the benefits of a higher Omega 3 to 6 ratio.  Currently, I have one horse on a fat supplement, more for the anti-inflammatory and coat benefit than for a weight gain.  I am using Equine Omega Complete, which is one of the best on the market.

Hopefully, this has given you some good options to consider when choosing a fat supplement.  Remember, to introduce fat slowly to the horse’s diet, and consult with your veterinarian if your horse has a history of liver issues before deciding on a fat supplement.