Bringing up horse's weight; feed selection (may be wrong forum) - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-19-2012, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: New Mexico
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Horseman's Edge is a Purina product, I know that most of their new line of feeds with the "Amplify Nuggets" brought out in the last 2-3 years actually incorporate beet pulp and rice bran in the feeds, I couldn't remember if Horseman's Edge was one of these feeds or not. My best advice is to keep your horse on the Horseman's Edge, perhaps reducing the amount, and start adding your choice of beet pulp, rice bran or both. My reasons for this are:

1, Nationally recognised feed dealers create nutritionally balanced feed designed by equine nutrition specialists to have the vitamins and minerals your horse needs in proper proportions. This doesn't mean your horse couldn't benefit from a few additional calories that would be provided by beet pulp or rice bran, you can add these in moderation without the fear of throwing your horse's nutritional balance off.

2, It is always best to make transitions in your horse's feed gradually to give your horse's system time to adjust to metabolising the new feed. Also many horses are suspicious of new feed(especially beet pulp) Mixing it with feed they recognise makes the transition easier.

Brand name stabilised rice bran, like Maxi Glo, has feeding instructions on the package to help you to decide the amount you should feed your horse given his size/weight and your reasons for feeding. Beet pulp is harder to define amounts for, since it is frequently used as a hay replacer and feeding directions are usually written with that use in mind. 1 1/2 lbs of hay can be replaced by 1 lb of beet pulp, as long as beet pulp does not exceed 40% of the horse's daily forage ration.

Like so many other things involving horses, you will probably have to experiment some to decide what is best for your individual horse.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-19-2012, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Maryland
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I actually spoke with an equine nutritionist :)...didn't even know there WERE equine nutritionists out there. Anyhow, she indicated that the ingredients in pellets are almost the exact same thing as what is in the textured, or sweet feed. She suggested top dressing with a Pre- and probiotic as well as rice bran pellets..starting at a cup of the rice bran per day for a few days, then upping it to 2 cups etc until getting to the 8 cup max ration (though I don't think I will need to go quite that high) over a period of about three weeks. The reason being is the horse's metabolism has to get used to the extra fat content.

As for the feed, I don't have a dealer of Edge nearby..the barn he is at now gets it out of Kentucky. I may cross over to a pelleted feed like Legend or Triple Crown Mature with roughly the same mixture (Edge is 10:6; the Legend equivalent is 11:6 and I think the Triple Crown was the same as the Legend) and start adding that to the sweet feed being used at our barn..doing a gradual substitution until he is completely on the sweet feed.

I am getting things ready as he is transferring over to my barn on Sunday and the PPE is on Monday. All this may be moot if he doesn't pass the exam but at this point I don't have reason to suspect he won't.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-19-2012, 08:11 PM
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I'm glad you found the help you needed. It sounds like your nutritionist has you on the right track! I hope your new horse works out and gives you years of enjoyment.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tlkng1 View Post
Now, I fully realize that as horses add weight they can become proverbial fruit loops, ....This horse was brought in off-track and was very thin..I saw the pics.
Firstly I'd consider, if this was a horse recently off the track, he was likely in racing fitness, which would indeed look thin to many people but is not necessarily underweight. He also may still be a growing baby & going through a lanky phase. Also coming off the track into a more normal life(I assume), you may find that that is all he needs to settle & gain some weight.

No, I wouldn't say that adding feed/weight to a horse turns them into fruit loops, but feeding the wrong foods can. Of course, the simple equation of energy in=energy out also applies, so they also need to get enough exercise, or they can go 'stir crazy'. Traditionally what we tend to give to horses to put on weight is grainy, high starch/sugar diets. For energy levels, same sort of effect as people eating junk food, they tend to give you 'spikes' of energy. Also for horses who's system is not well designed to cope with high starch & digest large, rich meals, this sort of feed can cause digestive & other health issues. Feeding large &/or infrequent meals can really worsen the problems.

I'd be opting for healthy, natural feed & feeding practices, sticking to free choice hay/grazing and low starch, high fibre hard feeds fed in small meals. If for some reason you do want to feed a high grain/sugar diet, it's especially important to feed little & often, which will help reduce the problems.

As the horse, having been a racehorse was likely fed and kept quite unnaturally & on a 'high octane' diet, it is quite possible he has ulcers or other digestive problems, so I agree that a pro biotic is a good idea and particularly if he continues to have problems on a healthy diet, I'd talk to your vet about ulcer treatments.

He is eating Horsemen's Edge which I gather is a pellet only. My barn feeds a sweet feed mix or senior pellet depending on the horse in question.
Can't comment on Horseman's Edge(being a Purina feed, they don't tell ingredients) or the senior pellets, not knowing what's in them, but sweet feed is sugar coated junk generally. Someone likened it to McDonalds - nice as a treat, but you wouldn't be too healthy living on it regularly! I'd stick to feeds that are high fibre, low starch, as per info above. I'd also opt generally for basic feeds over pelleted, to give the horse more to chew, for one.

The horse is vetted out regularly and watching him eat his dinner last night he didn't outwardly show signs of teeth (tooth?) issues. :) Obviously a PPE would tell for sure.

I've seen the beet pulp and rice bran mentioned before. What is the basis of those feeds?
Not sure what you mean 'vetted out regularly'. You can't necessarily see tooth problems just from watching them eat, but horses generally need their teeth 'floated' yearly. Some, especially the young or very old may need it more frequently.

Beet pulp(unsweetened) & ricebran are both high fibre, low starch feeds. Soy hulls are another popular option. All of these feeds are high in energy, for putting on weight without the problems associated with high sugar/starch.

Now, the next question is how to portion. The horse is currently on Horseman's Edge as I indicated. Due to schedules I haven't been able to talk to my barn manager about the feed. Would there or should there be a grain/pellet portion change in order to accomodate the Rice Bran?
Not entirely sure what you're asking there. How to portion? I'd be portioning the daily ration into at least a few small meals. I'd feed over a minimum of a couple of feeds daily, but if that makes the meal too large(I wouldn't feed more than app 8 litres in a feed) & especially if you are going to be feeding anything starchy/grainy, I'd be feeding it over at least 3-4 meals daily.

Grain/pellet portion change? Do you mean would you feed so much Horseman's if you're feeding ricebran or such as well? No, if he's doing OK on the amount he's on, you want to maintain that, not add to it. It's very important, the way a horse's hind gut works, to change feed gradually, over at least a couple of weeks, starting by adding a small amount of the new. That includes weaning them off different feed too.

I actually spoke with an equine nutritionist :)...didn't even know there WERE equine nutritionists out there. Anyhow, she indicated that the ingredients in pellets are almost the exact same thing as what is in the textured, or sweet feed.
Oh, so I imagine the pellets aren't great then either. If this is a nutritionist from a feed co, you may want to consider looking at independent advice & info, through or such.

Triple Crown Mature with roughly the same mixture (Edge is 10:6; the Legend equivalent is 11:6 and I think the Triple Crown was the same as the Legend) and start adding that to the sweet feed being used at our barn..doing a gradual substitution until he is completely on the sweet feed.
Don't get why you'd want to do that. TC is a sweetfeed anyway. TC, Legend & all other sweets that I know of are also grain based & otherwise high in starch. Legend also has a high percentage of corn in it, which is one of the starchiest & hardest to digest grains for horses.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-20-2012, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Let me clarify some points here :). First, I am not completely new to this. This will be my sixth horse and I go back as far as the early 80s ('81 to be exact when I got my first horse) in this process. MANY things have changed in those years :) My previous horse at this same barn did very well on the sweet feed though admittedly I had added supplements for aged horse related things, joint, digestion, vitamins etc.

The horse is not and was not in a racing fit standard. While I realize racehorses are kept lean, there is a significant difference between lean and well in shape and just plain underweight. This horse has also reached his full growth. I was finally able to get help to read the tattoo, as well as possible anyway, but the year letter was very definitive..unless this horse was born back in 1979, this horse actually just turned 7 so I am guessing the vet, when the horse was first brought in, did a teeth age estimation and never ran the tattoo age identifier. I admit I was suprised (and pleased) when I saw the letter to age year chart on the JC website.

As for being vetted out regularly, I meant that the horse has been seen on a normal cycle of de-worming, vaccinations etc. I know the vet and know how he does things. He always does a quick standard vitals check prior to doing whatever he came to do in the way of maintenance vet care as well as does a quick run of his fingers in the mouth to check the teeth. When I indicated that the horse didn't seem to be having problem eating, it was just a quick observation on the night I tried him.

As for the feed and answer from the nutritionist; I didn't go into a feed store and just chat with someone..this was a registered equine nutritionist. In her response she indicated that the contents of the pellet is much the same as the textured feed in that the ingredients, barley, oats, corn etc (or some mixture thereof) are common in both types. She indicated that molasses may be added to some pelleted feed but not necessarily all. A pellet is simply a crushed and then formed version of the grains. I did a little further research just to clarify some points and what I found indicated that pellets are easier to digest as they break apart easier than full grains but the actual contents, and admittedly, as with any feeds some are better than others, are essentially the same. The only difference is that instead of seeing the molasses outright in the sweet feed, it can be hidden in the pellet which can be the same or even higher in percentage of sugar than even in the visual sweet feed. Label reading in other words is the way to go :)

As for the free choice hay, not an option. The horse is and will be boarded and while hay is tossed into the paddocks for turnout, they don't have a free choice system; that is standard for boarding barns in the area. They are given hay at the morning feeding, hay during turnout, hay at the afternoon feeding and then again at night before the barn closes for the night. So they are getting, definitively, at least 6 flakes in their stalls and the amount in the paddock is given at a large enough amount that I would say the horses are getting another 2 flakes outside. If there are 4 horses in the paddock, 6 hay locations/piles are made to help with the food hoarding some horse like to do. The actual hay quality I would consider average, as it is a simple grass hay, but the bales are about 60 pounds each and are fresh smelling with no moldy scent or dust. The color of the hay is also good.

I also don't have the storage capacity, either at home or at the barn, to store large amounts of grain which is why I am trying to compromise here slightly. When I mentioned the Legend, TC and other grains, I didn't clarify that I was going to get pelleted forms. I have not stopped the research to try and determine which one to use as yet, I was just tossing out names of the alternative brands available in the area. There are others in the Purina line that I haven't finished researching as yet that are available but I had focused on Edge.

The only definitive thing I know I am working with is the Rice Bran pellets and as indicated, use it as a top dressing rather than as a substitution. Just as indicated earlier, I am going to have to play with things a bit. I really wish I could go back to a feeding program like we had at the barn with my first horse. That manager, think of the gruff 60 something guy who hates anythng commercialized, had a very good feed mix that, no matter the age of the horse, from 2-18 (at the time), worked very well. All horses were tested in the barn, 26 at the time, and not one of them had a vitamin deficiency. His mix was simple. The basic portion/recipe/mix was one bag of whole oats, one bag of crimped oats, a half bag of bran and a half bag of sweet feed just to cut the dust. He would dump these into a feeding cart, about twice the size of the one's being offered today :) in layers and then would physically mix the layers with a shovel he used only for that purpose. (He made upwards of 400 pounds of feed at a time). Seeing as that we were in New England, specifically Connecticut, he would add a bag of cracked corn during the colder winter months usually from mid-december to about mid-March. His exact words of bagged and commercialized horse feed..."it's garbage." Remember, this was back in '81 and equine nutrition and health information has definitely improved with the commercialized companies following suit in how they make up their grain mixes.

The research continues....:) and I do appreciate the responses.
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