EPSM diet for overweight percheron

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EPSM diet for overweight percheron

This is a discussion on EPSM diet for overweight percheron within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Epsm horse diet
  • High fat diet for drafts

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    04-06-2012, 02:19 AM
EPSM diet for overweight percheron

My 16 year old percheron mare has no problem keeping weight on. She gets grass/alfalfa hay twice daily. She is turned out to pasture every few days or so for the day. She has 1 pound LMF senior once a day, three times a week with 2 ounces of Triple Crown ground flax seed and two handfuls of soaked alfalfa cubes made into a soupy mash. I am wondering if that is enough fat to sustain a preventative EPSM diet? How can I add fat otherwise where she won't gain more weight?
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    04-06-2012, 11:54 AM
I've been feeding my drafts the high-fat/low-carb diet for 9+ years and have nothing but good to report. I rehabilitated a few EPSM drafts as well.

One important thing to prevent EPSM is NOT to feed carbs.
If your mare is in good weight, I would ONLY feed her hay and grass. Nothing else. No senior feed, no flax, nothing. Just forage.
And if she starts losing weight, simply add vegetable oil to her hay to add calories.
This has worked for me for all horses, no matter what age, breed, size,...

If you have questions, please email me.

Best of luck.
    04-06-2012, 09:54 PM
Originally Posted by Oldhorselady    
My 16 year old percheron mare has no problem keeping weight on. She gets grass/alfalfa hay twice daily. She is turned out to pasture every few days or so for the day. She has 1 pound LMF senior once a day, three times a week with 2 ounces of Triple Crown ground flax seed and two handfuls of soaked alfalfa cubes made into a soupy mash. I am wondering if that is enough fat to sustain a preventative EPSM diet? How can I add fat otherwise where she won't gain more weight?
No. For the diet to be an effective EPSM diet, 20% of the daily calories need to come from fat. You have to "train" her muscles to use fat as an energy source instead of glucose. For an average draft that would be the equivalent of 3-4 C per day of oil (6-8 MCals) and she would require 30-40 MCals to maintain her weight. Currently, she is getting less than 1 MCal from fats. Without increasing her workload, the only way to increase the fat and not create other issues is to decrease her hay and or pasture time. For every C of oil you add, decrease her hay by 2#. You can just drizzle the oil over her hay instead of having to make her a mash to get the oil in her. She does need some type of vitamin/mineral supplement to roundout her diet. Instead of something like a ration balancer (average 1.5 MCals/#), just give her a granular product like ADM's Grostrong, Purina's 12:12, Manna Pro's Redi-Pak... (almost 0 MCals per 2 oz portion)
    04-07-2012, 09:28 AM
My 2y/o Belgian gelding gets 1lb of BlueSeal Demand and 1 cup of canola oil 2x a day, plus hay and forage. The Demand is high fat/low starch and also high protein because he is growing. It works for us.
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    04-07-2012, 11:07 AM

Here are a few pics of her. She was a rescue horse last June, but even then did not have a weight issue, simply severe hoof issues. She only gets maybe 10-15 lbs of grass/alfalfa a day and she weighs up towards 2000 lbs according to the vet. She is in a dry lot pasture with 4 other horses where she gets plenty of movement since she is bottom of the totem pole. She is turned out to grass not very often at the moment and in summer the grass mostly dies altogether. Grass hays are very hard to find around this area and the alfalfa mix is all I can find, and we are lucky to even have that.....mostly alfalfa and oat here. I bought the LMF Gold which has high fat in it, but she only would get a cup 3 times a week of it. Maybe just do the oil on the hay thing? She is only used for a trail horse. Still confused. Thanks for your help.
    04-07-2012, 01:04 PM
There's no way she can maintain that weight on only 10-15# of hay a day. If you're feeding typical 3 string bales, each flake is going to weigh 6-7#. In a community feeding situation, she also natually gets more than her light horse counterparts because she has a bigger "shovel". The 5 horses would only be getting 5 flakes of hay twice a day. Weigh your hay. If she is only getting 15# a day, I'd get her thyroid level tested.

It's really hard to feed a horse that has special needs in a herd setting. Because she's low girl on the totem pole, you would need to pull her out and feed her separately. You also need to feed the fat daily for it to be effective. It's nothing more than extra calories if you feed it sporatically. It does make she coat look amazing.

What are you confused about? The math part? I'll try to not make it worse. In an EPSM diet, your goal is 20% of her total dietary intake to be fat. If she needs 30 MCals (30,000 calories), 20% would be 6 MCals (6,000 calories). Hay and grass had a small amount of fat (2-3%) so it's not really worth calulating. A senior feed that is 10% fat would have .1# of fat in 1# of feed. 1# of fat (2 cups) has 4 MCals or 1 cup would have 2 MCals. The 1# of feed will have .4 MCals (10% of the 4 MCals) in fat. Don't apologize for the hay. You have to feed what you have available. Alfalfa is actually fine even for an EPSM horse because it is typically lower in sugars than grass hays. It will be about 10% higher in calories than grass but it has higher values of most vitamins and minerals.

She's a very nice looking mare. Feminine and voluptuous which many Percheron mares lack. Have you tried researching her background? She's obviously purebred and with a docked tail whoever raised her had some draft background. If you know her foaling year, it wouldn't be too hard to look for her as she doesn't have typical markings. (black, small star)
    04-07-2012, 08:05 PM
Thanks for your help Left Hand Percherons....I will be getting back to you definitely. She has not been diagnosed with EPSM...I was just told that she should be on that type of diet anyway since she is a draft.

She was a rescue horse that I got last June where she was ready to be euthanized and I took a chance on. She lived for three years in a 50 foot paddock with her 3 year old filly untouched basically. They just threw her hay and water. She became sway backed....was told by someone else that had seen her in the past that she wasn't that way a few years ago and that she was driven. She had no clue about being ridden. She has a broken sternum which re-atta.ched like a door know on her chest. Was told, but not sure...that she ran away with a carriage twice. I have ground driven her under full harness and she was wonderful, very good whoa. Outside of that, I know nothing. She is about 17 years old according to the vet. She is a wonderfully wide tank-like horse that will go through a brick wall if you ask her to. I wish I knew more about her, but she was rescued from a very bad situation.

I agree with you that each flake of hay is probably more than 5lbs like I thought. I will weigh it tonight at feeding time. I understand needing to feed her separately....while the other vultures are eating....she is away from them long enough to eat all of her food. She does eat rather quickly. With her being at the bottom of the totem pole and being a horse that likes to be by herself...she mostly stays at her pile of hay, but yes, does move around if she gets pushed away. Over winter they were all getting two large three string flakes of hay twice daily and now I cut it in half...they are all porkers, not just her. The LMF Gold is 12% fat and says low sugar...but it has beet pulp in it and is a sweet feed? I guess I'm just really unsure at this point how many calories I should even be starting with her to calculate the fat into it. I will weigh my hay later and start there? Thanks again for your help.

Here are a few pictures when I first got her with the vet team once they got her to actually stand up....

    04-07-2012, 09:47 PM
Sweet feeds are generally not a low starch/low sugar feed. Look for a high fat/low starch pelleted feed. A good rule is less grain more oil... also keep in mind that grass/hay can also contain sugars that a sugar/starch senstive horse can react to.
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    04-07-2012, 11:14 PM
Wow!...I thought grass hay was the least sugar. I was giving them hay almost to where they had free choice. I don't want to do the grain....but was for their psyllium days and for them to have ground flax seed with omega 3 in it. I did weigh a flake of hay and it did way just over 6 lbs. So, with five horses....they were getting a total of 60lbs of hay twice daily for winter and now I cut it in half.....so maybe that would be where my weight problem stems from? I didn't realize it ended up being that much.
    04-08-2012, 01:10 AM
What about Purina Amplify with 30% fat?

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