I have a horse that we have struggled to keep weight on for years. He is a cribber and a stall weaver which only add to the problem. Last fall we finally came up with a combination that worked! Because of all his nervous energy, we have to keep his sugar intake to a minimum, so he is on a name brand pellet feed (they recently sold their feed in pink bags for breast cancer awareness). He gets one 3# coffee can morning and night. Added to this he gets about 1/3 coffee can of beet pulp pellets (the shredded has sugar in it) soaked in about a gal of water. Always make sure you soak beet pulp thoroughly! This gets top dressed with 1/2 c of ACV, 1/2 c of vegatable oil, and a scoop of a weight builder supplement. I also sprinkle it with diatamacious earth to help keep parasites at bay. Oh, and the first couple months he was on this diet I also fed him a probiotic, but after I ran out I didn't notice him dropping off, so I continued without it.
For the first time since we've owned him (9 years) he is at a healthy weight and has a nice thick coat. I have never made it through a winter without having to blanket him, but he came through this winter wonderfully. He may have lost a little weight over the winter, but I can't stand 10 feet from him and count ribs like I used to be able to!
Forgot to mention all my horses are on round bales of timothy & orchard grass for about 10 hrs a day.
I really attribute most of the weight gain to the ACV. He has always had problems with colic (cribbers usually do) but he has not had one bout of colic since starting on the Apple Cider Vinegar last May. (I also have been diligent about keeping his cribbing collar on, only taking it off once in a while to give his poor neck a break... This may also be a factor in the colic-free spell we've been having) I think he possibly had ulcers although this has not been confirmed by a vet. The Apple Cider Vinegar has alleviated his stomach problems and allowed him to gain weight normally.
I am so relieved that I found something that works for him. I hope this information may help someone else who is at their wits end trying to get weight on a hard keeper!
In addition to a regular worming schedule and teeth floating, adding vegetable oil to the feed ration a good way to put on weight. Depending on how much feed you are mixing with it you can work your way up to a half a cup per feeding. This is a great way to add the fat but not the starch which makes horses excitable.