Jetta's looking pretty thin, so I've decided to add some alfalfa and Cool Calories to her diet. Last year she kept her weight pretty well on Triple Crown Complete, alfalfa and orchard grass. Triple Crown was a 10% fat, 11% protein, oat and beet pulp feed that had all the vitamins Jetta required.
This year she's getting Allegra Cadence and just plain grass hay along with a vitamin supplement. The Cadence had 7% fat and 17% protein. I think she's missing a lot of the nutrients from the orchard grass so I hope that alfalfa will help add some weight. I'd rather not increase her grain because that could increase her risk of colicking and I feel better feeding less grain and more of a forage. We'll just have to see how hyper her alfalfa makes her. I've had some great results with Cool Calories in the past. It was one of the things that helped put weight on Grady - we tried rice bran and beet pulp to no avail. It's basically a fat supplement (99% fat) and it doesn't result in a lot of extra energy. So we'll have to see. I could go back to the Triple Crown, which I like, but the Allegra is included in the board fee.
The BO recommended beet pulp and rice bran as being more "economical" so I guess she doesn't mind soaking beet pulp, lol. It never worked for me in the past with Grady, but I don't know if it might help Jetta. I would rather pay a little extra for the alfafa and have that work, than load Jetta up with beet pulp and rice bran but save money (but if I give her a ton of it, will it still end up being cheaper than a bale of alfalfa?).
The benefits of beet pulp is that it is low in sugar, high in fiber, and has a lot of calories. On the downside, if you can call it that, is that it doesn't have a ton of energy, only approximately 2.33 Mgcals/kg which compared to vegetable oil at 8.98 Mgcals/kg, is not a lot. But this can be beneficial in that you don't have a super hyper horse. It is very comparable to alfalfa, though it has less protein resulting in less waste. (All excess protein is simply peed out)
Rice bran as a supplement could also work. It is 20% fat and 60% starch. Again, the starch is digested and shows up in the blood stream as glucose thus increasing energy of your (already slightly crazy) Thoroughbred. So I think I prefer the Cool Calories to the Rice Bran, even though it is more expensive - less hyperness, more fat = more weight gain.
What works for your horses?
Sources: The Advantages of Rice Bran
The Myths and Realities of Beet Pulp by Susan Garlinghouse