best conditioning feed for horses

Achieving Condition Excellence: The 8 Best Conditioning Feed for Horses

There’s a universal truth we can all agree on: our horses deserve the best. As a horse trainer and owner, I understand that keeping our equine companions in tip-top condition is not just a goal, but a responsibility.

But the truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for achieving the perfect equine physique. Just like us, horses can carry their weight, fat, and muscle in different ways.

I get it. It can be frustrating for any horse owner with a hard keeper, or just a fussy eater, on their hands. It’s not as if you can feed your horse a hefty plate of bacon to fatten them up!

Thankfully, there are tons of conditioning feeds on the market to help. So, I’ve taken the time to scour the market, sift through options, and put together a list of the best conditioning feeds money can buy.

8 Best Conditioning Feeds for Horses

1. Best Overall Conditioning Feed: Spillers Digest+ Conditioning Cubes

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Cubes
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 12
    • Oil – 6%
    • Protein – 14%
    • Fibre – 18%
    • Starch – 11.5%
Spillers Conditioning Cubes

Let me introduce you to Spillers Digest+ Conditioning Cubes – the real deal for keeping your horse in prime condition. Spillers have been the equine nutrition experts since 1958, so you know you’re getting the best.

These cubes really are a game changer. They’re low in starch but packed with the good stuff: digestible fibre and oil. It’s like a slow-release, long-lasting energy source that keeps your horse going strong. And no need to worry about having a “fizzy” horse; they’re molasses and sugar-free.

But what really sets this conditioning feed apart is it’s designed to both build condition and keep your horse’s digestive system happy. The pre- and probiotics support gut health while the quality protein ensures excellent muscle tone and topline development.

Say goodbye to reliance on cereal starch; these cubes are calorie-rich, fibre-packed, and oil-infused for a consistent energy supply. Your horse will stay calm and content, and with added vitamins and minerals, they’ll get a balanced diet.

Ideal for horses and ponies that:

  • Are prone to excitability on traditional conditioning feeds
  • Struggle to hold weight and muscle tone
  • Are young and weak needing to build topline
  • Are hard keepers requiring high-quality protein sources

2. Best High-Quality Fibre Feed: British Horse Feeds Fibre-Beet

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Soakable feed
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 12
    • Oil – 3%
    • Protein – 10%
    • Fibre – 22%
    • Starch – 3%
    • Sugar – 5%
Best high quality fibre feed

When it comes to high-fibre feeds, Fibre-Beet by British Horse Feeds always seems to be a top contender. It’s not just about fibre; it’s about smart nutrition – and this conditioning feed is like a nutritional powerhouse in a bag!

Fibre-Beet combines the goodness of British Horse Feeds’ Speedi-Beet with alfalfa and oat feed, serving up quality protein and those amazing “super fibres” from sugar beet pulp. This blend makes it perfect for horses that need extra calories and protein without the crazy energy spikes.

This high-fibre feed is also incredibly versatile. It’s a go-to for performance horses that might not be getting their fill of forage. Soaked, it encourages fluid intake and aids rehydration – a lifesaver for endurance disciplines or winding down after a cross-country run.

Besides the nutrition, its flavour is a hit with equine taste buds – even the fussy eaters! It’s low in starch and sugar and loaded with biotin for healthy hooves and a shiny coat.

Ideal for horses and ponies that:

  • Require additional calories from highly digestible fibre
  • Need forage alternatives in the stable or field
  • Need weight gain while controlling starch and sugar intake
  • Are prone to laminitis
  • Are prone to gastric ulcers as part of a balanced diet

3. Best for Hardworking Horses: Dengie Alfa-A Oil

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Granule
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 12.5
    • Oil – 12%
    • Protein – 14%
    • Fibre – 27%
    • Starch – 2%
    • Ash – 9%
    • Sugar – 4.5%
Best feed for Hardworking Horses

Those hard workers in your paddock deserve the best, and Dengi Alfa-A Oil delivers that. Whether they’re competing, helping with heavy loads, or just need help with weight gain, this is the conditioning feed to use for improved stamina and conditioning.

First, throw out those cereal-based feeds that just provide way too much energy. Alfa-A Oil packs a surprising 12.5 MJ/kg of digestible energy but with low sugar and starch levels. No fizziness here, just slow-release energy.

The high oil content in Alfa-A Oil not only fuels hard work but also contributes to healthy skin and a lustrous coat. The alfalfa goodness packs essential amino acids – the building blocks of muscle tone.

This conditioning mix also packs the highest fibre content on this list, which is not just a key energy source, but also important for a happy gut. Alfa-A Oil’s fibre generates saliva, acting as a gut buffer. Plus, it’s BETA-approved for horses prone to gastric ulcers, so you can keep your horse happy on the inside too.

Ideal for horses and ponies that:

  • Need a low-starch diet
  • Are hard working and need additional slow-release energy
  • Are prone to gastric ulcers
  • Work in the show ring and need healthy skin and coat shine

4. Best for Senior Horses: Spillers Senior Conditioning Mix

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Mix
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 12.2
    • Oil – 5%
    • Protein – 14%
    • Fibre – 10%
    • Starch – 25%
    • Sugar – 5%
Best feed for senior horses

Ah, if only we could all be as sprightly as we once were. The same can be said for our horses! As our horses age, their nutritional needs change. Enter Spillers Senior Conditioning Mix, a mixed feed formulated to keep senior horses feeling young.

What makes it special? It’s a balanced blend for those seniors who may need extra support to maintain their condition and topline. This mix is not only easily digestible but also gentle on the teeth, making it great for horses with dental issues.

The mix combines steam-flaked cereals and rapeseed oil for conditioning, along with highly digestible fibre to help with muscle mass and weight. But the benefits don’t stop there.

Glucosamine helps joint mobility, live yeast maintains gut health, and chelated minerals and antioxidants ensure better nutrient absorption and immune support. Talk about a nutrition-packed mix!

Ideal for horses that:

  • Are active seniors
  • Are retired with weight challenges, especially during winter
  • Suffer from dental issues
  • Need help with joint mobility and immune system support

5. Best for Racehorses: Red Mills Conditioning 14 Mix

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Flakes
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 14.1
    • Oil – 8%
    • Protein – 14%
    • Fibre – 5%
    • Ash – 6.5%
Best feed for racehorses

Keeping that track star or growing horse in top condition without all the “fizz” can be tough, but that’s where Red Mills Conditioning 14 Mix comes in. This feed means business with its oat-free formula; a versatile option for feeding on its own or alongside other performance feeds.

With a whopping 14% protein content, it’s an excellent choice for muscle development and stamina needed in racehorses and young stock. This muesli feed has a triple whole grain formula, and it’s steam-cooked for easy digestion and nutrient absorption. It’s perfect for even the pickiest eaters!

Plus, with boosted oil and protein levels, it pretty much nails that extra conditioning your horses need. And not to mention the added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes, and bone support package.

At this point, it’s even tempting me!

Ideal for horses that:

  • Need extra conditioning and topline
  • Are racehorses, stallions, growing youngstock, and broodmares
  • Need weight gain support
  • Require a high-calorie diet

6. Best for Promoting Weight Gain: Allen & Page Calm & Condition

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Pellets
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 12.5
    • Oil – 5.5%
    • Protein – 12%
    • Fibre – 14%
    • Starch – 13%
    • Sugar – 5%
Best feed fo weight gain in horses

If you’ve got a hardworking horse or pony that needs some extra TLC to their diet, Allen & Page’s Calm & Condition is just the ticket. This high-calorie, energy-rich feed helps maintain and promote weight gain.

Unlike traditional conditioning feeds, it’s free of whole cereal grains and molasses. The secret behind Calm & Condition’s energy lies in its abundant fibre and oil content – a winning combination that provides your horse with steady, slow-release energy.

All you need to do is soak it for 5-10 minutes and it’s ready to deliver all the good stuff to your equine pal, including essential vitamins and minerals and a blend of pre- and probiotics for healthy digestion.

If you have a hard worker in your stable, this high-calorie, low-sugar, soaked feed is definitely going to help them get that extra boost – and weight – they need.

Ideal for horses and ponies that:

  • Perform medium to hard work
  • Are hard keepers struggling with weight gain or maintenance
  • Struggle with dental issues, making chewing hard
  • Have intolerances to alfalfa, molasses, or barley

7. Best for Hard Keepers: Dodson & Horrell Build & Glow

  • Pack weight: 18 kg
  • Format: Pellets
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 16.5
    • Oil – 22%
    • Protein – 14%
    • Fibre – 8%
    • Starch – 25%
    • Sugar – 2.5%
    • Ash – 5.5%
Best horse feed for hard keepers

Dodson & Horell’s Build & Glow is an absolute lifesaver for hard keepers – you know, the ones that make staying thin a sport! It’s not a complete diet overhaul, but it’s a quality top-up that helps promote weight gain and maintain optimal condition.

Build & Glow is a calorie powerhouse, boasting the most digestible energy out of all the conditioning feeds on this list. This feed is a calorie-packed pellet that’s low in feeding rate, so it blends seamlessly into your existing plan. It’s loaded with a mix of essential oils, quality protein, Vitamin E, seaweed, biotin, and nettle – all the good stuff for a healthy, well-fed horse.

This conditioning blend not only provides your hard keeper with newfound vitality but also an overall healthier look. A couple of days on this stuff and you can practically see the difference it makes in their skin and coat condition.

If you’ve got a horse that scoffs at traditional feeds or one in need of a winter pick-me-up, I highly recommend giving Build & Glow a shot!

Ideal for horses and ponies that:

  • Require a high starch diet to support weight gain
  • Work in the show ring and other competitions
  • Are poor doers struggling to gain weight
  • Are experiencing a period of unwanted weight loss

8. Best for Fussy Feeders: Dengie Alfa-A Molasses Free

  • Pack weight: 20 kg
  • Format: Pellets
  • Nutritional analysis:
    • Digestible energy (MJ/kg) – 11.5
    • Oil – 8.5%
    • Protein – 14%
    • Fibre – 27%
    • Starch – 2%
    • Sugar – 4.5%
    • Ash – 10%
Best feed for fussy horses

Having dealt with a few fussy eaters myself, I know how incredibly frustrating it can be, especially when feeding for condition. Not only do you need to get nutrition in your horse but also you’re also battling with their palate.

Dengie’s Alfa-A Molasses Free can tackle even the pickiest of pallets. First off, it’s not just alfalfa, it’s a mix of chopped and pelleted alfalfa, coated with oil and a dash of mint and fenugreek. The result is a feed that’s not only nutritious for your fussy eater but also seriously tasty.

What I like most is that it’s medium energy but low in starch. Plus, the alfalfa mixture means more slow-release calories and energy.

No molasses, no preservatives, no straw – just pure goodness. Just remember to add some vitamins and minerals for balance. You can feed it dry or dampened – your choice.

Ideal for horses and ponies that:

  • Are fussy eaters
  • Are prone to laminitis and need weight gain and condition
  • Need a low sugar, low starch diet, including fizzy horses and ponies
  • Are increasing their workload

How to Choose the Best Conditioning Feed for Your Horse

Improving your horse’s condition isn’t just about piling on the food; it’s about feeding them the right way. If your horse needs to pack on some pounds, they’ll need more calories than they’re burning. Often, taking a closer look at what you’re feeding them now reveals a few gaps, either in the amount or the suitability of the feed.

The magic word here is “energy”, measured in megajoules per kilogram (MJ/kg), also known as digestible energy (DE). The higher the DE value, the more calories your horse gets in each scoop (per kg). This allows you to control meal sizes while still upping your horse’s calorie intake.

Quality plays a massive role too. You can’t turn mediocre ingredients into a stellar feed. Even with the best ingredients, a manufacturer needs to have effective processing techniques to create a healthy, nutritious feed.

Besides calories and digestibility, it’s also about all those other good things like protein, oil, vitamins, and minerals that give your horse the topline, muscle tone, and a glossy coat.

You want to choose a conditioning mix with ingredients that deliver these nutrients in the most bioavailable form. It’s not just about the quantity of ingredients or the feed itself; it’s about making every bite count for your horse.

Tips When Feeding Your Horse for Condition

1. Consider individual needs

Feeding your horse for condition is far from one-size-fits-all. Each horse is unique, and what works like a charm for one might not do the trick for another. For example, their starch tolerance levels can vary significantly. One horse may tolerate a medium level of starch (between 10-20%) whilst another horse may be better suited to a low starch feed (<10%).

Remember, starch and sugar levels greatly influence condition. Abruptly switching from a high-starch feed to a low-starch feed can lead to a drop in your horse’s condition.

So, when deciding on the right conditioning feed for your horse, consider their temperament.

  • For easygoing horses: Some conditioning feeds are packed with micronised cereals and starch. These can be highly effective at helping your horse gain weight. The quick energy release from these cereals is perfect for horses with a more laid-back temperament.
  • For excitable or “hot” horses: You want to consider feeds with high levels of “super fibres” like sugar beet, alfalfa, and soya hulls, an increased oil content for added calories, and lower starch levels to avoid excessive energy spikes.

2. Assess body condition

Of course, before you dive into any dietary changes, you want to assess your horse’s current body condition score. The foundation of their diet should always be good old forage like hay or pasture. If they’re in need of a supplement or feed, you should first consider your horse’s age, lifestyle, and veterinarian guidance.

Now, horses are usually pretty easygoing eaters, but if yours starts acting finicky or seems off around mealtime, it’s time to dial up your vet to rule out any mouth or digestive issues.

3. Premix or custom ingredients?

When feeding for condition, you’ve got a couple of avenues to choose from. You can either customise your horse’s feed ingredients or use a ready-made blend designed to provide cool energy, support condition, and deliver a balanced diet.

Premixed conditioning feeds are the “grab and go” option, and they’re thoroughly checked to make sure they cover all your horse’s needs. Plus. they’re consistent from bag to bag and can often save you time and money compared to making your own custom mix.

4. Gradually introduce the feed

When you’re working on adding some heft to your horse, don’t rush it. Imagine trying on new clothes – you wouldn’t go from a size small to an extra-large overnight, right? The same goes for your horse.

Rapidly introducing calorie-rich feeds can throw their digestion off and mess with their condition. So, slow and steady wins the race here.

Gradually introduce their conditioning feed, and think about offering smaller, more frequent portions. Trust the process and stick to the recommended feeding rate – it’s the smart way to build condition over time.


What is the difference between a conditioning feed and a feed balancer?

The difference lies in their primary purpose and nutritional composition. Conditioning feed is formulated to help horses gain weight, often focusing on developing muscle mass rather than adding fat. A feed balancer is designed to be fed in smaller quantities as a concentrated supplement or top-up to your horse’s regular diet.

When should I feed my horse conditioning feed?

There are a few reasons why you may want or need to feed your horse a conditioning feed, such as:

  1. Topline development: If your horse needs to build and define those muscle tones.
  2. Forage is insufficient: When your horse’s current forage intake isn’t sufficient to maintain their desired body condition.
  3. Balancing quantity and digestion: When adding more horse feed to your horse’s diet could potentially disrupt their digestive function. Conditioning feeds can provide the necessary energy without overloading the gut.
  4. Increased energy: If your horse is engaged in demanding workloads that require extra energy sources without fizz.

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