What do you feed your draft horse every day?

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What do you feed your draft horse every day?

This is a discussion on What do you feed your draft horse every day? within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category

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    06-09-2009, 03:36 PM
What do you feed your draft horse every day?

I need a brushing up on an efficient horse diet before I get my girl (not forgetting to mention this is my first draft horse).
I was curious to see what draft owners feed their horses every day. Maybe you can throw out a few feed amounts, tips, hay type, and brands you're happy with.

A bit about her...
She's a 2 year old Clydesdale filly that will be doing some light work as I do ground work and slowwwly work her into a saddle. She's set energy-wise! Her 'current' owner told me today that she is looking skinny and needs to pack on weight. She is at pasture.

Also, do you use a continuous wormer?

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    06-09-2009, 09:57 PM
The best person to ask would be Solon. She is the resident draft expert.
However; John is on free access mixed alfalfa and good quality grass hay. No grain whatsoever and is doing very well. He keeps good muscle tone and stays on the fat side. Right now, he doesn't get as much hay because we do have grass in the pasture. As for wormer, I have no idea. Dad covers that one and I don't know what kind he buys.
    06-09-2009, 10:10 PM
Solon mentioned in another thread not to give grain... which is what brought be to post this. I thought that was interesting... news to me =)
    06-09-2009, 10:14 PM
I am not sure of the exact mechanics but I believe it is because grain contains so many sugars that unless the horse is being worked VERY hard, it is unnecessary and can actually harm them. Kinda like a person who eats to many candy bars could develop diabetes. I think that's how it works anyway. {:/
    06-09-2009, 10:26 PM
I personally feed my draft grain twice a day, its 95 percent pellet with a handful of sweet feed, she gets 3 flakes am/pm and I use daily dewormer as recommended by the vet as well as worming every 6 weeks for bot flies. I also feed bran am/pm to prevent colic. Also, JOINT SUPPLEMENT! =]

She is currently being ridden 2-3 times a week at a walk/trot to build muscle and has actually lost weight since she came from a place where she wasn't ridden hardly at all.
    06-09-2009, 10:30 PM
Green Broke
Grain and sweet feed have too much starch/sugars. It's not good for them because they can have a hard time processing them which can lead to EPSM.

When it comes to calorie needs Dr. Beth has a pretty good table in her book. Depending on how much your horse weighs, maintenance diet for a 2000 pound horse is 22,500 calories; pleasure riding 28,125; farming/light logging 33,750; endurance riding/heavy logging/polo, driving 45,000. These are calories per day.

Feed calories per pound:

Timothy hay 800-900
Alfalfa pellets or hay 900-1000
Beet pulp 1000
Sweet feeds 1200-1400
Oats 1450
Purina Strategy 1500
Rice bran 1550
Soybean meal 1600
Barley 1620
Corn/wheat 1750
Buckeye Ultimate Finish 1980
Vegetable oil 4000
Animal fat designed for horses or pigs 4000

So you can figure out how much your horse is getting calorie wise using the feed table and the calorie needs. The feed will increase decrease depending on the level of work.

As far as my horse he gets:

Grass pasture turn out during the day
3-4 flakes of hay at dinner
1.5 lbs. Of packer pellets (complete feed)
1.5 cups of Mazolla corn oil (only at night spread over the packer pellets)
2 scoops of MSM

He's not being worked much at all right now, but once he does start getting worked the corn oil amount increases to 2 cups.

The 'high fat' diet is a good preventative measure against EPSM. It may not keep the horse from getting it but per all the studies that have been done, it's showing excellent signs of working to keep them from getting it.

Not everyone believes you need to do it. But like I mentioned in the other thread, Dr. Beth indicates it's just a part of good draft horse management and I agree. Not a lot of people believe in her work but hey, it doesn't hurt the horse and it's extremely beneficial.

Not sure if you saw the thread where I listed all the benefits so I'll copy it here:

High fat:
  • Decreases body heat production with exercise
  • Decreases risk of colic, founder and gastric ulcers
  • Provides a ready source of energy that does not have to be chewed
  • Provides high energy feed in a low volume
  • Improves respiratory function in horses with chronic respiratory disease
  • Enhances oxidative metabolism
  • Controls or prevents EPSM
  • Avoids OCD (a joint disease)
  • Improves haircoat and skin
  • Possibly protects from post-anesthetic muscle problems
    06-09-2009, 11:24 PM
My gelding just turned 5 and is beginning to be ridden a couple times a week now, some hacking on trails so he gets sweaty.

He gets one flake of orchard/timothy hay and about 4-5 flakes of bermuda grass hay a day.

He gets about 4 cups of Purina Strategy pellets and double the vitamin/mineral dose of a regular horse daily also.

He also gets about a cup of ground flax seed. In the summer when it's very hot here in southern cal, I add the vegetable oil to help him with heat.

He maintains his weight well, isn't too fat, is very shiny and has plenty of energy without being wild.

When he was younger, I like Triple Crown Junior.
    06-10-2009, 02:19 AM
The other thing you need to keep in mind as well is you need to keep those draft foals slightly on the lighter side. The breeders I worked with for a few months always kept their youngsters slightly lighter than your typical breeders just because of their height/weight and unfilled joints.

There are some good books out there on draft horse care. I know eBay currently has one for $40.00 might be good reading :)

Good Luck.
    06-10-2009, 06:24 PM
Green Broke
Draft Horses an Owners Manual by Dr. Beth Valentine:


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