Nutrients without the extra spunk! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Nutrients without the extra spunk!

So I am bringing home my new girl this tuesday. She is a 4 yrs old standardbred mare. She was started and trained down but deemed below mediocre as a racehorse. Therefore the owner (my boss) gave her to me for free.

She is a naturally "level headed" horse. She does spook at the odd thing (like a bush) but nothing out of the ordinary. She is about 15.3hh and 1111lbs*

I am curious as to what diet will help her maintain her weight while keeping to her nutritional needs without causing an excess of energy, atleast for now. I don't want a hot headed horse to break to saddle if you know what I mean.

Currently now she gets a half scoop of sweetfeed in the morning and half scoop for supper, and inbetween is given unlimited hay as well as turnout time.

Is this a sufficent diet for her? Should I stick to this diet or should I find a diet that more or less meets the criteria im trying to reach?

Btw yes I know a diet change must come slow and gradual. Im just wondering if anyone knows of a better diet that will, as stated before, meet her nutrional needs and maintain her weight without the added "spunk"?

* This was taken by an "old fashion" measuring tape. You can measure their height as well as weight by putting the tape around their girth. Not 100% accurate but gives you a round about figure.

Thanks in advance =)

A Dog looks up to a man,
A cat looks down on a man,
But a patient horse looks a man in the eye and sees him as an equal
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 12:37 PM
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My favorite choice for feeding horses is a good quality hay and then a supplement that is designed to balance out the diet for the hay being used--commonly called ration balancers. These supplements are forage based and not high in sugars. Then if a horse requires more calories to keep weight on or provide energy I would add a little vegetable oil which is a slower more sustained energy release rather than a high and then low like you get with sugar/grain feeds.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryle View Post
My favorite choice for feeding horses is a good quality hay and then a supplement that is designed to balance out the diet for the hay being used--commonly called ration balancers. These supplements are forage based and not high in sugars. Then if a horse requires more calories to keep weight on or provide energy I would add a little vegetable oil which is a slower more sustained energy release rather than a high and then low like you get with sugar/grain feeds.
Agreed!
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 04:50 PM
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I am not a fan of ration balancers for my own horses, or any feed that contains corn, wheat, grain byproducts, or grain sweepings. I like to feed plain whole oats, some alfalfa pellets (if she's on grass hay), and a vitamin supplement. That will round out her diet properly without adding bad things to the diet like molasses or corn.

I feed my easy and hard keeper the same, and they both do well on it. They get about 25-30 lbs of grass hay a day each, 1.5 lbs of whole oats, 1.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets, Grand Vite, and a custom blend of NutraFlax and BioFlax ($58 for a 20lb bucket). Both of my horses are a good weight, shiney winter coats, and good hoof growth. Their muscle tone and topline are also good, without much work. My hard keeper is an Anglo Arabian who is VERY high strung if you give him ANY feed with corn in it or high sugar content. He even got crazy on Ultium!

Horse Tech is supposed to have a new version of PhotoFinish out. I might try that when my current supply of Grand Vite is done.
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I also used SmartPak's Smart Vite Maintanence Grass with good results.
SmartVite Maintenance Grass from SmartPak Equine

If you wanted to do a Smart Pak, you could use that one plus Smart Shine or Omega Horseshine.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 05:51 PM
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Luvs,
What is the problem you see with ration balancers? Ration balancers are forage based protein/vitamin/mineral supplements. Their value over the supplements that you are using is that they are designed specifically to compliment the different types of of forage that a horse is eating so that they balance out the diet rather than being a "one-size-fits-all" sort of supplement that doesn't take into account the nutrient profile of the forage you are feeding.

And why do you feel oats are superior? Considering that oats are high in the same thing that makes corn a poor choice, it seems strange that you would think it ok to feed oats but not corn.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-25-2009, 07:15 PM
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Most RBs have corn or other grain products, small amount of molasses, and some have whey or egg product, which IMO is not healthy to give to an herbivore.

I have yet to find an RB that is free of all grain products, has NO molasses, and is 100% vegetarian, AND is good quality (ie. High in nutrient values and NOT made by Purina). If there's one out there that meets those criteria, I'd be happy to suggest it ;).

By weight, oats are lower in digestible energy than corn, and it's a more "natural" feed for the horse.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-26-2009, 01:58 AM
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I can't really suggest a better option for feed, but I tried to shift my rescue standardbred from sweetfeed to trotter, and he threw a fit. After 5 years of yummy molasses and sugar he refused to move to anything else. He picked the sweet feed out and scattered the trotter then literally threw his grain pail across the barn. He managed to hit me with it a few times. Good luck

The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back ---Abigail Van Buren
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-26-2009, 08:00 AM
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In Canada look for Agri Brands Purina's Equalizer.... The Phase feeds offer all phase, there is also one called All STep

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-26-2009, 07:21 PM
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Being British and rather sleepy right now I totally read the title the wrong way.

If you believe everything you read, better not read.
Japanese Proverb
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-27-2009, 10:46 AM
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Oats are hardly a natural feed. Horses weren't designed to eat grains.

At least ration balancers are by an large forage based--alfalfa or beet pulp--which is a better choice than an all grain (non-natural and harder for a horse to digest) diet.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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