Originally Posted by WesternRider88
Thanks Jillybean19, I do have a few more questions though. How much of it would you feed and how long would you soak it?
Thank you for your answers!
That all depends on the type you use. I can only tell you about my own experiences and the brand I use.
You'll know that yours has been soaked enough when there's no hard pellets left in it. I've been experimenting with mine and checking it every hour or so to see when it's completely soft. It takes about 3-4 hours when I soak it in hot water (hot water works faster) and keep it inside - the garage should be just fine, too. You don't want it to freeze, and it will work best at least at room temperature. (I'm currently making a bucket at home first thing in the morning, letting it soak until the afternoon, and then taking it out and giving it to my horses since I board and it's COLD!) However, it can ferment and go bad if left in the heat. In the summer, I make the beet pulp before I ride, get my riding in, then put it out. It's best if put out in the evening, so it won't spoil in the sun.
If you're using shreds, it doesn't take as much time and it doesn't soak up as much water. Many people have described letting it sit for a few minutes and it's soaked through by the time they can even get it to their horses. That would probably be preferable for those not worried about keeping their horses hydrated like I am and are using beet pulp for other reasons. However, I'm told their also much more expensive. I've only ever bought pellets.
I know a lot of people that just feed a handful or two. I like to give my horses each a small bucket. Again, you'll have to experiment with how much yours expands. I found my expands a little over 8x - so now I do a scoop and a half of BP, which ends up just enough to fill a bucket for each of my horses after it soaks. I don't think you could really overfeed it, and my horses like it so much they won't ever let it go to waste. Ultimately, the amount really depends on the individual horse. Ask your vet if you want to get specific about it, but you could probably do great just feeding a handful or two per horse each day. ;)
Finally, here's my personal beet pulp plan adopted from many other endurance riders: At a ride, beet pulp is available at all times to make sure the horse is getting as much water into its system as possible. Not only do you keep your own beet pulp mash (with added nutritious things) in front of your horse at all times, but it's usually also available at the vet checks along the way, courtesy of the ride manager. At your own camp, you keep two buckets going: make the first bucket of beet pulp when you arrive so it can be ready by evening. That evening, give the horse that bucket, and make your second bucket. Let the second bucket soak overnight. Get up a couple of hours before your ride and give your horse the bucket soaked overnight, and make a new bucket in the one the horse ate. That one should be ready by the time you come in after your first vet check.... and it goes on, constantly alternating one bucket soaking with another bucket in front of your horse at all times.
Initially, I started feeding it at home to get him used to it as well as keeping him hydrated on conditioning rides. Because he's so used to it at home and now looks forward to it, I don't have to worry about him eating enough at rides to stay hydrated. Now, I keep on feeding it daily just because it's so good for them and he just loves it so much!