Feed for a young draft cross?

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Feed for a young draft cross?

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  • Supplementation for young draft horse
  • Draft cross horses feed

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    10-27-2010, 12:47 AM
Feed for a young draft cross?

If everything works out, I'm going to be getting a young 15.3hh Perch/TB cross. Pleasure riding only. I'm trying to get things all ready before she comes home. Vet says a high fat/low carb diet is best for drafts and draft crosses. Is that true? What would constitute a high fat/low carb feed?
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    10-27-2010, 03:59 AM

Well I definitely agree with the 'low carb' bit, but not *necessarily* with the high fat. Sounds like you're not planning on anything like hard work with her & they don't necessarily need any more fat or feed than a smaller horse(in proportion of bodyweight of course). In fact, being a 'cooler' type, they can be very easy keepers.

So... 'low carb' means low starch/sugar, so grain, molasses, etc should be avoided, minimised or at least fed appropriate for workload. This is for the health of any horse, not just heavies. Even when extra energy is required, there are generally healthier alternatives to grain. Fibrous hay and long stemmy grass is generally a pretty good basic feed, with the addition of a supplement or (grain free) 'ration balancer' or such, to ensure good nutrition. You don't say how young she is, but growing horses tend to need higher protein diets, and lucerne/alfalfa is a good source of this, along with calcium & other nutrients.

If you do find you need to feed her a higher fat ration, sunflower seeds, copra, and even a little straight vegetable oil are 3 options. Any oil will do for weight, but cold pressed, rich in omega 3s are best, such as flaxseed.
    10-27-2010, 10:25 AM
Ahh sorry I forgot to put her age, she's 5. I was thinking of feeding alfalfa pellets with a handful of sunflower seeds, plus good quality hay. The vet wasn't specific about the feed type so I felt a bit clueless.

Thank you!
    10-27-2010, 06:41 PM
Yeah, if you're feeding alfalfa pelleted, just make sure it's straight, not molassesed. One handful of sunflower seeds won't go far, unless you mean per feed & will be giving her a fair few daily. Tho of course, she may not need them, or much anyway. Little & often is always best, rather than big &/or infrequent meals. A nutritional supp or such will also be necessary.

I personally subscribe to a service/program called FeedXL.com which is fantastic & invaluable to me, for correctly balancing diets for different horses, as well as a wealth of info on feeding generally & nutritionists available to answer any questions. I highly recommend it, & it's even cheap to subscribe to, to boot! (Yep, I've been told I sound like an ad for them!) I'm sure there are other similar services, if that one doesn't suit you, if you're interested. Certainly worth looking into, anyway.
    10-27-2010, 07:58 PM
Thanks Loosie! I will check that out. Nothing wrong with sounding like an ad for something that works. I agree on the little and often method.

My local co-op sells alfalfa pellets without any molasses. They also sell the cubes but I'm not really a big fan of the cubes. And yes, I meant per feed lol I'm very bad at putting thoughts down into words.

I also apologize for putting this in the wrong forum I didn't see the nutrition area until just now.
    10-28-2010, 12:23 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by CinderEve    
Ahh sorry I forgot to put her age, she's 5. I was thinking of feeding alfalfa pellets with a handful of sunflower seeds, plus good quality hay. The vet wasn't specific about the feed type so I felt a bit clueless.

Thank you!
Sunflower seeds are high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which horses don't need. Most grass hays have more than enough Omega 6's for a horse's diet.

Instead, I would use milled or ground flax. Most feed stores have some form for milled flax, or can order it for you. If you can't find it locally, horsetech.com has a good one called NutraFlax (shipping is free) or you can find Omega Horseshine at most feed stores or on their web site.

1/2 cup of milled flax is plenty for a "high fat" diet, and shouldn't put weight on a horse in light to moderate work. Flax is naturally high in Omega 3 fatty acids and is about 40% fat.

I would add to your diet a good vit/min supplement to make sure his diet is complete. I like GrandVite or SmartPak's SmartVite line. Horsetech.com also has a good one called High Point.

This is the type of diet I use (with alfalfa pellets or timothy pellets) and have had very good luck with it. I add a little water or 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to mix the powders in with the pellets.

Good luck and congrats on the new horse!
    10-28-2010, 01:37 PM
Awesome! Thanks for the info I really appreciate it!

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