Horse Feed: How to Feed the Horse that is Both Fat and Thin

How is this for frustrating when it comes to horse feed: you have a horse that has fatty deposits on his neck and back as well as a hay belly, but still has ribs showing and very little top line?

It’s enough to drive any horse owner crazy …and believe me, I have seen quite a few horse owners go around the bend trying to keep the horse that is both thin and fat well fed. What a dilemma! Luckily, there is a solution.

How Can a Horse be Both Fat and Thin?
Good question. The horse that is most likely to be both fat and thin is the one with the Shao Yin horse personality type (read more about the different horse personality types on the Horse Harmony website). This kind of horse can fluctuate between being too thin and too fat. Alternately, the Shao Yin horse can also be too fat in the belly yet have ribs showing and no topline.

The Shao Yin horse personality type, not surprisingly, is also prone to Equine Metabolic Syndrome, which is often referred to as Cushings, Insulin Resistance or Obesity Dependant Laminitis. Shao Yin horses will develop Equine Metabolic Syndrome especially if overstressed or later in life.

In short, horses that have thyroid issues, like the Shao Yin horse, can be both fat and thin at the same time.

Horse Feed for the Horse that is Both Fat and Thin
Luckily, it’s not that difficult to find the right horse feed for Shao Yin and other similar types of horses. There are now several kinds of commercial feed designed for this kind of horse. These feeds contain enough energy to help the horse keep weight on, with most of that energy coming from fat. That the fuel comes from fat is important because fat does not trigger the insulin response that high-carbohydrate ingredients like grain do. The fat also helps your horse add weight in the right places, such as over his ribs.

Another excellent source of horse feed for this kind of horse is beet pulp. Beet pulp is high in fiber, which supports the healthy bacteria in the gut and digestion in the large intestine. Perhaps even more important, beet pulp is digested in the large intestine, or hind gut, which helps keeps the Shao Yin horse warmer in the winter than grain would.

Finally, you might want to offer Shao Yin horses a well-balanced mineral source like blue-green algae. This helps his body stay balanced and harmonious overall. Adding CoQ10 to the diet can also support the heart and act as a useful antioxidant for these horses.

If you are showing your horse and need to develop his top line, feed raw coconut oil. Raw coconut oil is a good source of medium-chain fatty acids, and has been shown to help horses develop a better top line. You can feed up to one-half to one ounce once or twice a day.

In summary, horse feed for the horse that is both fat and thin includes:
– high-fat, low-carb feed
– beet pulp
– blue-green algae
– CoQ10
– raw coconut oil

Want to know more? Dive into the resources available here:

Learn more about the Five Element Horse Personalities with Horse Harmony
Learn about Laminitis, Equine Metabolic Syndrome, Cushings, and more in our Ebook
One-stop shop for blue-green algae, CoQ10, coconut oil, and more
Join the Horse Health Hotline for excellent horse health care advice
Access all the Holistic Horsekeeping articles


1 thought on “Horse Feed: How to Feed the Horse that is Both Fat and Thin

  1. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

Leave a Reply