Feeding whole Oats as a primary grain for your horses? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 09:37 AM
Green Broke
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Thanks for the clarification on oats vs barley :) my horse loves either one, and they're both about $16 a 50 bag in my area so I guess I'll just stick with what's been working for now.

Sarahver, what was the mix you used for your event horses?
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post #22 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wild_spot View Post

That means either a terrible quality pelleted feed or terrible management practices. Good quality feeds should not cause colic at ALL, let alone weekly, when used as directed.
Just so you know there are no terrible management problems my vet was out for several colics. He asked what i was feeding i showed him the feed he said theres the problem get them off the pellets. Most pellets i can get are junk only byproducts not one grain listed. So ill take feeding oats over any pellet my horses quit colicing as soon as i quit feeding pellets. And it was used as directed!!!!! My horses are fed and watered every day at 6:30AM and fed at 6:30pm Plus free choice hay. My water trough is spotless fresh water at all times. So Saying i have terrible management is SO WRONG my vet recomends me for boarding horses Or caring for a sick horse.
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post #23 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 12:23 PM
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So the problem was bad feed, that's all, and you changed it

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #24 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 12:32 PM
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Thats right and havent had a colic in three and a half years Not one of my horses has ulcers either. So i will feed what works for my horses wich is oats grass hay and a vitamin mineral supplement. Plus they all get two flakes of alfalfa hay one in the morning one at night.
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post #25 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 05:20 PM
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I never said you have bad management - I said it was EITHER. You confirmed it was bad quality feed, as I suggested.

Good quality pelleted feeds fed as directed do NOT cause colic and to suggest they do is plain wrong.
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post #26 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoofprints in the Sand View Post
Sarahver, what was the mix you used for your event horses?
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OK, I’ll give each feed in approximate ‘parts’ since it varied slightly from horse to horse depending on age, stage in training and the individual horse’s body type and metabolism. They were all TBs, varying in age from 4yo – 10yo and varying in comp levels from green as grass to mid level eventing. Also, one SJ (he lacked the balls for XC).

Essentially feed ratios were:
3:1 Roughage/Grain - Some variation according to the horse.
Of that:
Roughage: 2:1 Oaten Chaff/Lucerne Chaff – This ratio remained fairly consistent.
Grain: 4:2:1 Oats/Barley/Soy Bean Meal – This ratio changed according to the horse.

Overall, they were fed 8-12 pounds a day split into two feeds as well as free choice hay and they were all out on pasture 24/7.

On top of their basic feed there were other supplements that varied according to the individual horse’s needs, its workload, the time of year and the individual horse’s taste preferences (one didn’t like barley for example, some preferred rice bran to soy bean meal). Supplements included ration balancers, minerals, electrolytes, biotin, vitamin E/selenium, iron supplements such as Blud and probably some other stuff I have forgotten about.

My feed shed was full of barrels and buckets. But those horses worked their butts off, my girl at the moment thinks her world is coming to an end if she has to canter an entire lap of the arena. Plus I am warming to this pelleted feed idea, although I am selective about the pellets I choose.

Like I said, I am not anti-oats at all, quite the opposite. I am anti-people over feeding, under working and then getting frustrated at their horse's ‘behavioural’ issues (not directed at present company of course). Many horses will do just fine on good pasture and/or quality hay if their workload does not demand additional calories.

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.
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post #27 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 07:41 PM
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Haven't read all replies, so sure to repeat...

The diet you feed is seen as 'high octane' because it's high energy. Oats are high in starch(so energy) and also alfalfa/lucerne is high energy, although low in sugars.

As far as grain goes, I think oats are not terrible, and they are one of the few grains that are reasonably digestible to horses when fed whole(I'd still prefer processed, but other grains *need* to be processed for horses). But grain is high in starch & energy, generally not needed for the average horse, unless in hard physical work. Starch can also wreak havoc in a horse's hind gut and cause a number of issues, laminitis being one. So I would generally want to avoid feeding high-starch, grainy rations, in favour of a healthier alternative if high energy/extra calories were required.

Alfalfa/lucerne is a great feed I reckon. Being low in sugar, it can be a good feed for laminitics too. But it is also quite high in energy, so should be fed judiciously - or not at all - to 'good doers' or horses who are getting well enough calories/energy elsewhere. It is quite high in calcium, protein & other nutrients, which can also make it a valuable part of the diet, but being very high in some nutrients & not others(as someone pointed out the Ca/Phos balance for eg), should be well balanced with the rest of the diet. High protein can also be problematic, esp to older horses.

So.... IMO if for whatever reason I couldn't find a better alternative for the horse in question, I would perhaps consider feeding your diet to a horse in hard work or needing 'condition', giving only a very small amount of processed, rather than whole oats, over at least 4 small feeds daily, and would be giving the lucerne as *part* of the horse's forage ration, making the majority straight, unimproved grass hay. I would also do a diet analysis and supplement the horse with whatever nutrients it was lacking/imbalanced in through this diet.
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post #28 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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I cant think of a better article at the moment to explain starch digestibility than this one. Yes I do agree with you about the sugar in oats and I would never suggest feeding it to a horse with cushings or ulcers etc. However the starch is very digestible in Whole Oats and therefor not bad.
I also didnt think for one minute your posting was saying Oats were not a good feed. I did however believe the "High Octane" statement was. Oats are at best 12% protein, Alfalfa usually around 14 to 20% so together not anything I would consider high octane, just a healthy balance, especially for calcium which whole oats is deficient. Hope this clears it up.

Oats Part 1

James Welz was one of the pioneers in applied barefoot hoofcare, graduating from the first year-long European School for Hoof Orthopedics course offered to North American students in 2000-2001. He has trimmed for a full time clientele of barefoot performance horses for over 8 years. He blends his theoretical educational background into practical application in the field, utilizing many elements of the wild horse model. James’ wife Yvonne Welz is the publisher/editor of The Horse’s Hoof Barefoot Hoofcare magazine, operates the barefoot website TheHorsesHoof.com, and was co-founder of the “naturalhorsetrim” yahoo group, the most popular barefoot chat group on the internet.
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post #29 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 07:47 PM
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Mine get oats, two types or chaff, lin seed, hay and mums mare gets weight gainer with it.
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post #30 of 34 Old 06-25-2011, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Overall, they were fed 8-12 pounds a day split into two feeds as well as free choice hay and they were all out on pasture 24/7.

We feed 4 pounds of rolled oats with 1/2 cup of flax seed- split in 2 feedings. This is for our 16 hand QH mare. She also gets 2 flakes of Alfalfa morning and night and one at lunch. She gets the flax seed for her immune system mostly but it certainly has also put alot of shine on her coat as well. She was underweight quite alot when we bought her but is now almost ideal weight. We have fecal cultures done quarterly to determine which wormers to use and will be doing a blood culture shortly to see if she needs anything added to her diet. She is the most laid back, good natured horse in the barn. She is turned out when supervised because she is boarded but we spend a minimum of 2 hours a day riding and doing other things with her.
and for the record I dont think anyone is more interested or involved in nutrition than I am. I live to make sure our animals are cared for properly and compassionately. If I had one doubt in my mind that feeding Whole Oats would be detrimental to one of our horses health I sure would make a change! :)
Thanks all for all the comments.
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