Weight Gain, Muscle Development, Horse Feed, and Sales Prep
The Brass Tax of Sales Prep
Even though recent events have changed the upcoming summer and fall sale schedules, it won’t be long before your yearlings pass through the sales ring. If you have questions on how to prepare your yearling, we’d like to share some information and recommendations, including whether or not you need a “weight gain” horse feed.
What Buyers Look For
Yearlings that bring in top dollar have a few traits in common: moderate body condition (not obese), a shiny coat, a good walk, and sound health. Of course, some of this comes from genetics. However, by properly managing your young horse’s nutrition and exercise programs, you can help ensure your yearling is in good shape for the upcoming sales.
Sound Nutrition Begins with Forage
As with any horse nutrition program, you will want to start with high-quality forage. For most young horses being readied for sale, high-energy hay, like alfalfa or an alfalfa mix, is appropriate. This is especially true for horses carrying excess body condition. They need high-quality hay, but in reduced amounts and only give more hay when they have thoroughly cleaned up all the hay provided them initially. Do not allow them to graze free-choice on hay as it can develop a “grass-belly,” which will make them appear fat but is a different issue altogether.
Finding a Feed
As you prepare your horse for sale, you’ll want to supplement his forage with a high-quality feed. While every horse should be fed with his individual nutrition needs in mind, many high-quality sales prep feeds will include:
• 13-16% protein
• Essential vitamins
• Macro- and micronutrients
• Vegetable oil (a fat source that boosts energy and improves the coat)
• Super-fibers, like beet pulp and/or soybean hulls
Weight Gain Horse Feeds
Many horse owners believe a weight gain horse feed (AKA, a feed high in energy/calories) is essential for sales prep. However, as mentioned previously, every horse should be fed as an individual.
In addition, it’s important to note that “high energy” does not have to mean “high starch.” When super-fibers and oils are used, the feed can contain lower starch levels and higher caloric levels.
At Hallway Feeds, we’re proud of all our custom-crafted feeds. However, we have a special place in our hearts for Prep 14, which is one of the industry’s first feeds developed for sales prep.
With 20% more calories than conventional sweet feeds, Prep 14 is considered a weight gain horse feed. However, it’s more than just a calorie/energy boost. Made with highly digestible fiber and fat, 14% protein, and Stamm 30, its complete nutrition package makes it the first choice for many of the top sales agencies.
Other great choices for sales prep include:
• Race 13: Super-fibers and vegetable oil ensure this high energy feed is balanced to build muscle tone on a properly exercised horse. Fortified with Stamm 30, it also provides essential micronutrients.
• Luminance: Can be mixed with feed ration to add energy and nutrition. At 24% fat, it’s considered a conditioning supplement; it provides omega-3 fatty acids, along with nutrients like copper, zinc, and magnesium.
When preparing a yearling for sale, exercise also plays an important role. You’ll need to ensure the horse is working enough to turn the calories they’re taking in into muscle development. Proper exercise in the correct amounts can also improve the yearling’s physical appearance. Too many calories can make for a fat horse, and too few can deplete body condition, which is one of the worst outcomes before a sale.
Sales Prep Takes Planning
An early start on proper nutrition and exercise can help bring proper value. If you’re looking for more specific information on what feed is right for your yearling, give us a call. We’d be happy to recommend the best nutrition program to prepare your horse for this fall’s sales.