Back to the basics on feeding. - Page 3

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Back to the basics on feeding.

This is a discussion on Back to the basics on feeding. within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        12-13-2009, 10:12 PM
    If you want to move away from Sweet feed you can begin by adding the pellets at around a half cup per day. Then move up as the week goes on.
    The deal with sweet feed is tolerance of the horse to sugars and starches. You can avoid it anyway and in the long run save money by buying a better feed. For instance I have a feed that is $24.00 a 40# bag. The daily rations of 1# per 700# is much lower and the daily cost is less than $1.00 per day. The average sweet feed would cost $1.08. You also would get a higher level of vit/minerals. The vitamin and mineral level of the concentrate is much higher than even other pelleted feeds due to the low feed ratio

    The problem with feeding just oats is that you will more than likely need to supplement some vitamins and minerals. Not sure in your area but in most the North East the hay was very poor in quality and the lack of protein. To ensure your horse is getting what it needs you need to check your hay and feed accordingly.

    I use a product called Enhance Equine Elite Performance and it's 20% protein and 20% fat. Most would look at it and say that is way to high of Protein and also fat. However when you calculate the daily consumption and grams of both you will find that you can actually be feeding in some cases less protein than a 12% sweet and a little over on the fat which in recent research has been discovered to be very good for the equine.
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        12-13-2009, 10:42 PM
    Green Broke
    I just posted this on another thread, but it applies to this one too!

    If your horse is in good health, has good feet, his coat is shiney, his mane/tails grows well, and his attitude is the way you want it, then there's no real reason to switch his feed. However, many people (myself included) have switched their horses to a more "natural" diet and have seen some great results. Horses are designed to eat and digest high quantities of low protein, low sugar/starch, low fat food. Sweet feed and most commercial horse feeds do NOT fall in to that category. Most are very high in sugar and/or starch and many are high in fat, or have low-quality fat.

    Good health starts with hay! Make sure you're buying the best quality hay you can find for your horse. A grass type hay is best, or Timothy hay. I feeda local mix that is about 70% Bermuda with local grasses and clover mixed in. My horses do very well on it.

    I prefer to feed my own "feed", rather than something storebought. Most of of the feeds on the market today are full of high starch, high sugar fillers and byproducts, without a lot of quality nutrition. It's like feeding your kids or yourself cereal and frozen dinners. They're okay, but not as healthy as homemade and fresh foods .

    With the grass hay, I feed Alfalfa pellets (1/2 to 1 scoop, 2-3.5 lbs), a vit/min mix, and flax meal. I have custom blend me a vitamind mix along with high levels of amino acids, 10 mg of biotin per serving, high Vit E, and some pro-biotics in their flax base. Each serving has 2 oz of flax (about 1/2 cup). All ingrediants are humane-food-grade and very fresh! It costs me $0.87 per-day per-horse to feed (about 1 measuring cup a day).

    I use apple cider vinegar to mix the powdered supplement in with the alfalfa pellets. However, you can use water or oil if your horse needs extra fat.

    Since switching to this "all natural" type diet my horses's coats have improved, their feet come in strong (vet and farrier RAVE about their feet!!), their attitudes have improved (calmer, more willing, better work ethic, etc.), and my mare's heats aren't so "mare-y" lol. We have very little rain rot (and it's been a BAD year here in Arkansas for it) and almost no thrush anymore. I will never go back to commercial horse feed again...

    If you want an off-the-shelf vit/min, I can recommend a few. All worked well for me, I just wanted to have one bucket, instead of the flax & vitamins separate. Plus I wanted more Amino Acids (only the first one has the high levels in it that I like).

    Equine Products Inc - Top quality equine supplements - the 1oz serving
    Uckele Equine Nutrition
    Platinum Performance Equine Wellness - also has "joint goodies" in it
    SmartVite Maintenance Grass Pellets from SmartPak Equine
    Grand Vite from SmartPak Equine
    Select II from SmartPak Equine
    Daily Omegas Plus - Multi-Purpose Supplements from SmartPak Equine
    LinPro from SmartPak Equine

    For the flax I recommend's NutraFlax or Omega Horseshine.
        12-13-2009, 10:48 PM
    Green Broke
    Hoof rings happen usually because of diet, not necessarily farrier work or trimming.

    Also, oats by themselves will not provide enough nutrients. You need to add a vitamin supplement like one of the products I listed above. Oats are high in starch, so if you do feed them, feed only a small scoop a day. A 2qt feed scoop will hold about 1-1.5 lbs of oats, depending on the type. You really don't want to feed any more than that. If your horse loses weight, consider adding alfalfa pellets and flax or rice bran (for added fat).
        12-13-2009, 11:00 PM
    This some thing that is a key factor... Oats would be a treat after riding he does not get every day. I understand that the transition needs to be slow. So if I am going to feed oats I need to feed one of the supplement above?
    I would like to narrow down his grain to 3 indgredients
    2. Oats?
    3. A supplement.
        12-14-2009, 12:29 PM
    Green Broke
    Oats are fine as a treat. I'd personal use Alfalfa pellets as his daily feed. They are high in quality protein and amino acids that are missing from grass hay. Plus they have more nutrient value than oats.

    For the supplement, choose any that I listed. They're all good ones.
        12-14-2009, 12:33 PM
    With a no grain diet you should be looking into a ration balancer.
        12-14-2009, 07:41 PM
    Ok so I think I have got this figured out
    1.Oats or alfalfa pellets
    2. Paprika
    3. Daily Omega plus
    I am a little concerned about alfalfa he tends to get the runs when he gets some thing rich.
        12-15-2009, 12:19 AM
    Green Broke
    1/2 to 1 scoop of Alfalfa pellets (using a 3 qt plastic feed scoop) is not enough to make a horse's stomach upset. Plus it's dehydrated hay that's been processed in to pelleted form. It's not like getting fresh hay or fresh spring grass.
        12-15-2009, 01:13 AM
    Green Broke
    I agree with kevinshorses. Our crew gets worked pretty hard during summer - we're mostly trail riders by nature, which almost daily takes us many miles from home on sweaty horses. We also play around constantly doing things like gaming, or jumping or English schooling in the front yard.

    That being said, we can barely keep up to the amount of grass our horses ingest in the summer months. We feed no grain and no hay in summer - and we constantly get asked what supplement we use to get such shiny coats! Our horses are almost always fatter then what they could be, even with medium to hard intensity workouts daily.

    People worry far to much about grain. Grain should ONLY come into play when your horse is exerting more energy then he can consume with just forage - and you'd be absolutely amazed at what that enegry level actually is. Unless you're a full-time competition rider and training every single day, 90% of horses do NOT "require" a grain or supplement.

    Grain is not natural to horses in any way - the same as humans, it is toxic to them if eaten raw. It is not something they would ever eat in the wild - the ONLY purpose it serves is to replenish energy levels that cannot be recovered with a forage diet and those energy levels really only come into play with a competition animal. Grain is pretty much the leading and almost only cause of dietary colic. The more unnaturally we keep our horses, the more ways they'll find to get sick on us.

    In the 76 years my grandfather has been alive, riding and training horses for HIS father and then breeding and showing his own herd of Arabians, he has never dealt with a single instance of colic. I have been with horses my entire 24 years and I have never had a single instance of colic. Shay-la has had a decent size herd of horses for the last 7 years and never dealt with colic. Can it really be a coincidence that our horses were all raised on almost a strictly hay and grass diet? If you DO feed grain (which we have in the past), allowing your horse to naturally graze 24/7 will cut your chances of colic almost to zero (with proper feeding regime and guidelines).

    Sorry I routed off topic, it just sort of fell into the "sweet feed" question - no, sweet feed is not "good" for your horse, just like no grain is "good" for your horse. The more natural you can make their diet and lifestyle, the less problems of disease and injury you'll experience.
        12-15-2009, 03:20 AM
    Agree 100% with Macabre!

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