Okay so don't trust 30+ years of experience with zero cases of founder, lamnitis, IR, etc. They don't get pounds upon pounds of feed. 2.5 lbs of feed isn't all that much. And they get probabably 15 lbs each of forage per day, per horse. I'm not trying to get bitchy, but seriously. If we haven't had any problems, why in the world would we change what we're doing, potentially causing problems? Magic has been on the same amount of sweet feed and hay for the past 15 years. She's 17, had her since she was 2. She's a shetland, very prone to Cushing's. No signs of it, whatsoever. She's the happiest, pluckiest pony alive. And the vet approves of our diet, and he is the top vet in the area.
Relax - I'm not attacking you. It's just frustrating that you keep touting sweet feed as a perfectly healthy diet choice when in fact, it isn't. And as long as you keep doing so, I will keep rebutting because it is a subject I feel strongly about.
I already said that if your horses are getting enough forage that small amounts of sweet feed probably won't be a problem. I don't know how much 2.5lbs of sweet feed is - We use metric here, kilograms, not pounds. I just used pounds as a figure of speech.
I used to feed sweet feed, in very small amounts. I would have sworn black and blue that is was a great feed, my horses were healthy, happy, etc. But then I got Bundy - One of his many problems was the fact that he was tying up on the small amounts of sweet feed he was getting. Not enough to be hugely apparent - Just enough for it to be incorrectly seen as soreness from the saddle. He was reluctant to move out/forward and quite lethargic.
On professional advice I cut out all sweet feed and to be even safer, all grain. I changed my other two over as well because it didn't make sense to be feeding two totally different products.
Guess what? All of Bundy's problems cleared up - He is now a willing athlete who is doing extremely well in his discipline's. I can ride him a full three day competition, working hard, with no soreness in the kidney's. It only used to take one day for it to show up.
The others? I saw minor improvements - Hoof health, coat health, etc. I was like you - Before the change I would have sworn that they couldn't have been healthier. I was wrong. It was minor, but it was an improvement.
The chance of having a horse that will be affected by sweet feed is a lottery with much better odds. I would rather not enter the lottery to begin with, than risk my horses health because I thought that it would never happen to one of my horses.
The research into feeding practices is still new - They are still discovering more and the information is only getting out there slowly. I don't doubt that there are many, many industry professionals who haven't heard/don't trust/choose not to believe the information that is now coming to light. I would genuinly love to have a conversation with your vet about feeding - Presenting all the concrete evidence and research that is coming to light showing that high-starch and high-sugar diets are unhealthy for horses and can cause all of the above mentioned disorders - And then asking why they believe that a high-starch and high-sugar diet is the best choice.
In fact, i'll ask you the same question - Not trying to be bitchy either, but genuinely curious - Why do you believe that a sweet feed (High-starch, high-sugar, high-NSC's) diet is the BEST choice for your horses, as opposed to a more natural, low-starch, low-sugar, low-NSC diet?