Can I NOT feed grain if I use a vit/min sup? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Can I NOT feed grain if I use a vit/min sup?

*Warning: I'm not a nutritionist, so I'm about to sound like a fool.

Since my question was almost too long to fit in the little boxy thing...Can I not feed grain if I use a vitamin and mineral supplement daily?

Our pastures aren't great. Mostly weeds, stemmy grass.

My mare is on the PSSM diet. High fat/low starch/low carb/low sugar. Vet's orders. She has to eat this way for the rest of her life, so I really have to find something that will work for the both of us.

Currently, it's working for her but not for me. The "grain" I use (in combination with rice bran and oil) is a super expensive, low everything/high fat supplement. To feed the recommended amount of three pounds daily, I have to buy a new 20 pound bucket every couple of days. Ouch. Right in the wallet.

I originally used it for two purposes: to get her to eat her rice bran (because Omegatin tastes way better than rice bran, apparently), and to fulfill her vitamin/mineral requirement I was pretty sure our nasty pasture wasn't going to do.

She's gotten to where she will eat rice bran straight, so I no longer need to mix it in there just for her to eat it.

Soooo... To the original question. If I add a vitamin and mineral supplement to her rice bran, is that enough?

(If not, I CAN keep up the grain hunt and look for something cheaper.)
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 02:19 PM
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What about a ration balancer? They are generally fed at lower levels than grain and you can still feed with rice bran.

Put ration balancer in the search box and it should pull up a lot of good threads.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 02:31 PM
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What type of "work" or activity level is your horse doing? If a horse is generally in good body condition and not being required to do much work, one can oftentimes get away with not feeding grain.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Most of the ration balancers I've looked at (the selection around here in limited) are too high in one thing or another. Since I'm going for possible cost efficiency, traveling to find some may be a little counterproductive. ;)


Currently, she's being worked lightly (50% trot, 50% walk) 30 minutes a day five to six days a week. This amount will be increased five minutes a week until we get to about an hour a session. After that... Well, we'll see. She use to be worked quite heavily until she got sick. She is a poor keeper when being worked even moderately. Her current body condition is great. A five.

Last edited by Brighteyes; 07-27-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 04:05 PM
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Either a high quality vitamin supplement or ration balancer are excellent alternatives to grain.

Note that expensive does not equal high quality. I learned this for myself when I got my horse. I had an almost complete bag of Dynamite vitamins (which were super expensive, partially because it's only available via mail order), which I was feeding to my horse along with just hay and rice bran. I was planning on switching to a ration balancer once it was gone, but plugged it in to to see what his current diet looked like before switching and he was very deficient in several minerals. Once I switched him to the ration balancer, his feet started growing noticeably faster within 2 weeks (which was good because before that he barely had anything for the farrier to work with)

With a special diet like your horse's, I'd recommend using to make sure all your bases are covered. SmartPak's SmartVites looked like they did a pretty good job; I'm keeping them in mind in case my horse ever starts looking too plump and I want to pull him off the ration balancer
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 04:22 PM
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hang on
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 04:29 PM
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Well according to this, you can just feed hay and rice bran and you don't have to do much else since your horse's exercise level is low because it is more for physical therapy to bring back the muscles more than anything:

Table 2. Potential rations for a 500-kg horse with polysaccharide storage myopathy.

pssm diet.jpg

From: McKenzie EM, Valberg SJ and Pagan J. Nutritional Management of Exertional Rhabdomyolysis. Current Therapy in Equine Medicine 5. ed E Robinson Saunders, Philadelphia PA, 2003, pp 727-734.

here is the link to the article - maybe you've seen it already?

they are saying you can use corn oil and it should not mess with his glycogen levels as a fat source. Personally (I ride endurance so equine metabolics are part of my daily grind) I'd feed the corn oil instead of rice bran so you don't mess with your calcium/potassium levels.

Basically, from the exercise you mentioned above, your horse is currently under the column 'Light Exercise' and under that, you've got 3 choices of diet...Diet #3 is most affordable and you could feed him a basic all around supplement. This is a perfectly acceptable diet for his current level of rehabilitation and you can modify it as his exercise level changes - and you won't go broke!

hope this can be of some use!
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 04:41 PM
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To make it easier, here is what diet #3 is (converted from kg to lbs)

15-19lbs of hay plus 4lbs alfalfa pellets with 2 cups of oil PER DAY

of course you know this, but divide the above into a morning and then evening feeding - he can't get 2 cups of oil at once or he will just poo it out with no nutritional advantage.

hope this is helpful
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Ooooh! That was VERY helpful!

I tried diet 3 for a while, but this mare just will not eat a full cup of oil. She got pretty jaded towards the oil/pellet combo and won't take a bite now.

I very much like diet 1 and just tried to see if she would eat 1.7 pounds (rough math for half a day's ration!) of rice bran straight. It was almost successful. She wouldn't eat the very last little bit and I had to add some Omegatin to get her to clean up the rest. :/ I'll keep trying for a couple days and see if it gets better. It really isn't a huge rice bran increase from what she's already getting. Hopefully she hasn't draw a line!

Also: I'll take a look at the feedLX once I'm back on my computer and off my phone! I have to be a bit short when typing with the my... Ouchy thumbs!
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-27-2012, 05:28 PM
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Was that fortified rice bran? Otherwise you run the risk of upsetting the Calcium-Phosphorus ratio. I'd go for a ration balancer and maybe some good quality hay too if the pasture isn't good.
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