too many different feeds.... what should I feed her?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 11-29-2008, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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too many different feeds.... what should I feed her??

I've been thinking of changing Jubilee's feed. Right now she is fed sweet feed with flax in the morning. She was getting a full coffee can twice a day but she recently colicked and because of the winter, I decided to decrease her feed to half can in the morning and half in the evening. But now I'm thinking that maybe the sweet feed was what made her colic (even though she's been fed this for years without a problem) and maybe I should change to a different one. Basically everyone I've talked to does not recommend sweet feed, and everything I've read about it seems negative.

But what to do?? I was looking up different feeds and there are soo many. I don't know much about nutrition and its overwhelming!

Here is some more info about her:
- she's a TB, and I'm not sure if she's technically a "hard keeper" but she is TB, and prone to be skinnier (although she is the perfect weight right now)
- she's 18 years old
- she is on 24/hr turnout and has access to hay and water all day
- she is ridden once a week (probably twice now because I will be able to get out there more now)

What should I feed her??? I want a feed that:
- gives her all the nutrients she needs
- keeps up her weight
- is affordable

Also, should she be on a senior feed? And what is a "complete" feed?

I would really appreciate your suggestions. Thanks in advance!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Jubilee Rose is offline  
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post #2 of 23 Old 11-29-2008, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Iowa
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I'll be waiting for the answers to all these questions, too. Thanks for asking them! I have a TB also--who needed fattening when we got him last summer--but now is the perfect weight. I also am doubting sweet feed and thinking about switching to pellets. Mojo appears to be an easy keeper, on 24/7 turnout with hay--could almost do without grain, even though he works 3-4 days a week. He is nine yrs old, it's cold, he's working--seems like he should be getting some kind of feed...sorry, this is your thread!...I'll be checking in for your answers. Good luck!
mojo7777 is offline  
post #3 of 23 Old 11-29-2008, 07:19 PM
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How much does your horse weigh? Do you know the kind of hay? What do the pasture's look like?

Find out what kind of hay and what cutting it is.. then look up the nutrient content of that particular hay. (Let me know, I have a chart.)

When you find out how much your horse weighs, find out how much energy/nutrients they require.

Does your hay provide enough digestible energy? protien? calcium? phosphorus? lysine? If not, then consider adding grain.

Any grain that meets your horses nutritional needs should be fine. Sweet feed is fine but if your horse sorts his grain go with a pellet. If your horse has had laminitis issues it would be safer to go with a low sugar pellet. The key is to meet your horses requirments and make feed changes gradually.

Milling companies load feeds down with vitamins and minerals so supplements are not usually necessary (unless your adding a fat supplement).

A complete feed has alot of added fiber which substitutes for hay. If your horse has free choice hay... you won't need a complete feed so don't get it.. your horse will blow up like a balloon (to much fiber causes "hay bellies".)
starlinestables is offline  
post #4 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Mojo - Thanks! You too!

starline - Thank you so much for your insight. It was very helpful! I did not know that about complete feeds, that makes a lot of sense. I think her hay has fiber, so that would probably not be a good idea. She's never had laminitis and she does not "sort" her grain. She loves it. I'm just not sure about all the sugar content.

Does anyone know if there's a type of grain exactly like sweet feed but without the molasses on top? Thanks!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Jubilee Rose is offline  
post #5 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 02:50 AM
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Location: Minnesota
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I have a 17yr TB. On 24/7 turnout freechoice hay and water.Up till this winter was only worked 2-3 times a week (now 4-5).When he turned around 10 he started collicing. (He was on sweet feed at that time) they looked at different things after he had done it a few times and when they switched his feed to Progressive which is a ration balancer he has not done it since.(knock on wood) The ration balancer gives him all the nutrients and minerals he needs and the only thing I have had to add is rice bran this winter. This is the first time I have had to add it because we just moved to a new barn at the end of Sept. and we started to get really cold rainy days in mid Oct. and with being in a new place he just started loosing weight quickly. He gets 2 cups of his Progressive a day, and it is a 50 lb. bag so it lasts 25 days. the cost for me is $30 every 25 days. I don't know if that is expensive or not but from what I hear from everyone I tell this is one of the best feeds you can get. Also I was at a clinic last month about senior horses and they said if your horse is not dropping his feed in anyway then he does not need to be on senior feed.
Hope this helps and good luck with your TB!!!

I am owned by the Sandman
prbygenny is offline  
post #6 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 04:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Wyoming
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Feeds are hard to judge with as many selections there are!

It is a bit of a pain trying to get your horse onto a feed that works for you and him/her. Each horse is individually different. My biggest piece of advice first.. research your feeds! I would definately step away from sweet feeds though. Aside from what you already know about them, my biggest problem with them, and especially with my babies, is that sweet feeds have an effect on their behavior. When it comes to training you can tell the difference in their attitudes and behaviors if they are on a sweet feed, as they act hotter and paying attention is more challenging.

Now, in researching your feeds, stop in at a feed store and spend some time reading, or on the net. Big manufactorers like Purina, Nutrena, Kent and so on provide litature on their products over the net. Line them up side by side. Research what each composit has what benefits. When it comes to weight with older horses and young ones, ingrediants containing protien help keep weight on, as well as help the little ones develop. Also, look to see what feeds have filler products, such as corn and corn byproducts. As said before, many feeds now have the vitamins and mineral already added. So it may not be necessary to use supliments.

Looking below, here is a ingrediant and nutrition value label for the feed I am currently using. Now I do "grain heavy", as I have ones that show, so a nice top line is important. Hay and grass work with the bottom line of the horse. But looking here, one thing I look for is the Protien content. This feed sits at 12%. Now thats not bad at all. I still use a suppliment or performance enhancement to boost up to 14%. I tried out the 12% and was getting some weight, but with a non-worked horse. When I work them, I noticed by adding a suppliment, I regained that nice top line again.

Crude Protein, min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.0%
Lysine, min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.65%
Methionine, min.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.25%
Threonine, min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.45%
Crude Fat, min.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.0%
Crude Fiber, max.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.0%
Calcium (Ca), min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.6%
Calcium (Ca), max.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1%
Phosphorus (P), min.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.6%
Salt (NaCl), min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5%
Salt (NaCl), max.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.0%
Copper (Cu), min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 ppm
Selenium (Se), min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.55 ppm
Zinc (Zn), min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 ppm
Vitamin A, min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,000 IU/lb
Vitamin D3, min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 IU/lb
Vitamin E, min.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 IU/lb
Biotin, min. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5 mg/lb


Wheat Midds, Soy Hulls, Soybean Meal, Linseed Meal, Dehydrated

Alfalfa Meal, Corn, Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles, Cane

Molasses, Vegetable Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium

Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Yeast Culture, Brewers Dried

Yeast, Brewers Fermentation Solubles, Salt, Yucca Schidigera

Extract, L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, L-Threonine, Vitamin A Acetate,

Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Menadione

Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite (source of Vitamin K Activity),

Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate,

Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid,

Choline Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Magnesium Oxide,

Zinc Methionine Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex,

Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Calcium Iodate, Manganese

Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Oxide,

Cobalt Carbonate, Selenium Yeast, Natural and Artificial Flavors,

Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Citric Acid and Rosemary Extract.

The green highlighted areas are what I pay most attention to. These are the base important ingrediants you want you feeds to contain for performance, health and appearance. Looking at the blue highlighted print, you will even see an Alf-Alfa addition. Thats where you get the most protien from.

Now here is another feed I used to go with. It contains pretty much the same on the top label as for ingrediants, but there are minor differences I noticed. Some other ingrediants I noticed made a difference and wanted to be as best as possible, especially during the colder months, was the Crude Fat. Looking at the first Value tag up top here, and then second one below, I noticed a big difference of the fact that important ingrediants were missing where the top label has them.

Crude Protein, %

not less than 14%

Crude Fat, %

not less than 6.0%

Fiber, %

not more than 12.5%

Calcium, minimum %

not less than 1.0%

Calcium, maximum %

not more than 1.3%

Phosphorus, minimum %

not less than .60%


not less than 80 PPM


not less than 280 PPM

Vit. A, IU/lb

not less than 3000


not less than .6 PPM

Now some feeds will state they have the vitamins and minerals, but when you look at the ingrediant list, there are no real solid numbers to compare. I stay away from that as I want to know what I am giving mine.

The first product I described runs me about $13 a bag, while the second product ran me about $17 a bag. I buy in bulk, one ton at a time. Some manufactorers will give you a discount for bulk buys, some wont. Another key thing I like when looking at feeds, is consistancy. The first feed I listed has a formula lock guarentee, and stand behind the fact that each production batch is the same as the one before in content specs. I like stable type feeds where I dont have to worry about adjusting as I go when the content changes.....

Dixon's Red Hot Ember
Midwest Paint is offline  
post #7 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 04:18 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Wyoming
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Hay and Alf-Alfa:
This was a big issue for me for some time, LOL! Now everyone will have an opinion about this one, but here is what I have. Again, working with little ones, any Grass/Hay I was throwing, I would get that nice round appearance on the underside of the belly, or "Hay belly". Not a real good thing in the show ring. After some guidance, I found that the grass is what was causing that. So I had to research other options. One thing that I immediately improved on was what I was giving them in the way of foilage. I stopped using grass/hay completely. I now use 2nd cutting alf-alfa. Some I have seen used third and fourth without problems, but second cutting had the leaf content where the protien is that I wanted. I get a lot less stems and more flake.

Another addition to my grains at each feeding, I add the same amount of grain to the amount of alf-alfa pellets I give. Pellets are a more concentrated form then the cut and bailed. I was also able to measure accurately what I was giving. Pellets are great sources of ash and protien that aid in digestion and in development with weight. I have an aged mare (17yrs) who has teeth issues. So getting her to eat bales is a bit tasking. I got her under wieght, and started her on the grain and pellets. The pellets were great in that she started gaining weight in the right areas and looking much healthier. She was able to get a good intake of nutriants even with her mouth sensativity. The pellets were soft for her to eat. You can also use cubes too......

Dixon's Red Hot Ember
Midwest Paint is offline  
post #8 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 04:19 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Wyoming
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You may have to not only check out the labels, but try some feeds over a period of time and find what works best for yours. One thing I did notice with some of the much cheaper feeds, or even the sweet feeds, was the content in ingrediants such as sugars and sweets. The one below here if you look at the difference, not only has molasses (which i am not too fond of as it is another variation of sugar) but it has sugar on top of the molasses. This is something I avoid, again as I get a hot temperment. Even though this product has more protien and other great vitamins, it has too much sugar for me to consider.
Crude Protein, min...........……...….......…..15.0%
Lysine, min…………………………………….0.5%
Crude Fat, min…...…………………………...3.0%
Crude Fiber, max……………………..…..…11.0%
Calcium, min…………………………..……....0.5%
Calcium, max……………..………….………..1.0%
Phosphorus, min……………..……………….0.5%
Salt, min……………………………….……….0.5%
Salt, max……………………………………….1.0%
Zinc, min…………….……………….……200 ppm
Copper, min………………………….….….40 ppm
Selenium, min……………………….…….0.1 ppm
Vitamin A, min……………..………......5,000 IU/lb
Vitamin D, min……………………...…..1,000 IU/lb
Vitamin E, min……………………...….…..15 IU/lb
Wheat, Wheat Midds, Dehydrated Alfalfa, Corn
Gr Yellow, Cottonseed Meal, Sugar,Molasses
Products, Brewers Grain, Iron Oxide, Sunflower
Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Condensed
Ligning Sulfonate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin
D Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin
B12 Supplement, Vitamin K Supplement,
Biotin, Choline, Folic Acid, Niacin Supplement,
Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin Supplement,
Thiamine, Roughage Products, Ethoxyquin,
Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate,
Copper Proteinate, Flavoring, Zinc Sulfate, Manganous
Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Chloride,
Ehtylenediamine Dihydriodide, Cobalt Carbonate,
Selenium Yeast, and Brewer’s Dried Yeast .

Some of the more warmer type breeds, such your TB may have an issue when it comes to sugars. My filly has a lot of TB background and she has a very high motablism. I give her sugars and listening can sometimes be out of the question.

If you are trying to switch feeds, and you want to build up to 12lbs a day, which is normal for me and mine as most of mine are at or slightly above 12-13lbs a day in feed, build up slowly, at one month intervals. Go lightly on the build up as well. But pay attention to how they progress in their weight.

If you do use any suppliments, add it to the feed. I wouldnt worry too much as said before here, horses will pick through what they want. I use a mineral suupliment, and depending on how mine are doing, sometimes its left in the bottom of the bucket, and sometimes its spotless clean!

I hope some of this may help!

Dixon's Red Hot Ember
Midwest Paint is offline  
post #9 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Minnesota
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Here is Progressives label. I agree with MWPaint always check labels!!
Progressive Nutrition - High Quality Horse and Animal Feed
MWPiant wow great explanation!!
12-13 lbs a day wow!! How many bags do you go through in a month. lol I am so use to my boy getting a ration balancer that when I hear what reg. feeds are it blows my mind!! lol

I am owned by the Sandman
prbygenny is offline  
post #10 of 23 Old 11-30-2008, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Thanks everyone! Especially Midwest Paint, you gave a lot of useful information. However I am still finding this INCREDIBLY daunting. It's like I don't even know where to begin. I went to the Purina website, because that's the feed I'm familiar with and they said there are 4 main kinds of feed:

- complete feed
- textured sweet feed (I think what she has already)
- pelleted grain mix feed
- supplements

I can't do complete feed because she's already got 24/7 access to hay. I guess I would need to go with a pelleted grain mix feed??

*If its any help her old owner used to give her Omolene 200 Purina Mills Omoleneฎ #200 Performance horse feed (It's a sweet feed).
- When I bought her, my BO said that the Omolene contained the same ingredients as the sweet feed she gave her horses, so I've just been using that. (She checked the bag of Omolene, because I was originally buying that for her).

Anyway ... here are all the Purina feeds:
Complete Product List
Which one do you think would be appropriate? Like I said, I need a feed that needs to be supplemented with hay, not a complete or sweet feed.

Thanks again in advance, guys.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Jubilee Rose is offline  

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