Luvs2ride, he looks great. (LoL, and what's this? A thoroughbred-Arab that is docile enough for a child to manage? I thought this was simply impossible...J/K ;) Yeah, I agree, gaited horses always have that look, especially TWH's and Saddlebreds. A horse that can go and go for hours at that pace just isn't going to have the look of say, a quarter horse. I think I'm going to go with alfalfa, then feed about 25-30 lbs. Of timothy (way more abundant here than bermuda). Since the flax seed is in such a small amount, I would like to try that as well. What would you say the main benefits of the flax seed are? I have read a few articles that say it can (rarely) be dangerous. Any ideas on that?
Also, could somebody clarify the benefits/cons of alfalfa pellets to alfalfa hay? Obviously the pellets are going to be more condensed...can this be dangerous (as in, lead to colic or foundering)?
He is a sweetie on the ground, just don't try and ride him, lol.
The flax gives Omega 3 fatty acids, which are deficient in hay, and provide good fat for slim or growing horses. I get Nutra Flax from HorseTech.com--Horse Nutrition Supplements--Equine Nutrition on the Net
It's a high quality flax that has a balanced CA:P ratio. Omega Horseshine is another that's made for horses that's good. You can feed 1 cup of either product a day.
Flax grown in the USA or Canada is fine. Linseed (almost the same as flax) grown in the UK or Australia can be poisonous if fed in large amounts in the whole form (from what I have red anyway), but the same does not seem to be true of the Flax grown in North America. The last stable I boarded at regularly fed whole brown flax, 1-2 cups a day, to horses needing weight. They all did fine on it.
You can buy plain flax from most feed stores in 50 lb bags. If finances are tight, you might find out the cost and compare that to the milled/ground flax from horsetech or the Omega product, and see if you can shave off some cost. I'm not sure how much whole flax weighs, but you basically want to feed 4-8 oz by weight a day of whole flax. So a 50 lb bag would last you 100-200 days, depending on how much you feed. You need to keep it in an airtight containter, with a towel thrown in next to the bag to absorb any moisture that gets in the container. The whole flax can go bad if you have humid or rainy weather.
Alfalfa pellets are just what I can get, and they're easy to work with. You can mix your flax and vitamins with them easily, just add some water to make it all stick. A 2qt feed scoop of most pellets holds about 2.5 to 3 lbs. I like using them so I can feed the vitamin supplement I like (I can't get a good ration balancer around here) and the flax.