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post #41 of 102 Old 02-14-2014, 02:06 PM
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The poison is in the dose. No horse that is fed just oats is going to live very long. No horse is going to die from chronic ingestion of 2 grams of oats per day, either. A horse's weight, overall health, environment and activity level is going to determine to a great extent their caloric/nutritional needs. There are multiple possibilities, combinations and permutation of what amount of what they can be safely and beneficially fed to meet their needs.

As to their life span, compiled necropsy results performed after the advent of wide spectrum wormers of horses that had only ever been in the hands of knowledgeable horse owners might help. Until those results indicate that feeding oats when appropriate and in appropriate quantities is life threatening, I will feed oats when I feel it is appropriate. When I have left my horses in the care of someone else that I did not know well, I only had them feed alfalfa in an effort to remove any potential problems "additional" feeds can cause.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #42 of 102 Old 02-14-2014, 05:10 PM
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I think its one of those 'it depends' things
We had a pony that my sons show jumped and then I used for hunting then semi retired him to ride out with young horses. he died in his late 30's and was fit and sound all his life but was fed oats when he was in work as was my one time bosses mare that hunted year in year out from the age of 5 until she was in her mid 20's when his own health problems forced him to slow down - she also semi retired as a hack and died in her 30's - she was euthanized when he died.
I don't remember there being much in the way of options then for a horse that was in hard work to give it the extra it needed - I'm not sure when sugar beet was first fed to horses but I can't recall it being in common use in the UK until the mid to late 70's
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post #43 of 102 Old 02-14-2014, 06:04 PM
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You can argue 'I've lived on maccas/smoked/pickled my liver for years & I'm fine' too, but is that a good argument to do it, or conclude its safe??
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Oh & agree w missy too tho; in moderation, fed appropriately, etc, I don't think it's *necessarily bad. But then it can still be problematic to some, provides little nutrition, and there are *generally better, safer options.

Last edited by loosie; 02-14-2014 at 06:08 PM.
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post #44 of 102 Old 02-14-2014, 06:22 PM
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Our department of agriculture charts list oats at about 15% protein and with the husk are a fairly safe grain to feed. The husk adds additional fiber but so many people think the horse should have crimped oats which no longer have the husk. Whereas timothy hay is around 11% protein. Loosie, in humans oats help prevent heart disease so there's got to be something beneficial in it.
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post #45 of 102 Old 02-14-2014, 07:28 PM
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You can feed your horse nothing but sweet feed for all I care personally .

You can make your own mix of 40% whole oats, 30% barley flakes, 20% cracked corn, 10% wheat brand (horses LOVE wheat brand like a child loves candy) and bind it all together with molasses. Will they die from it? Not for some time, but eventually there will be an impact.

You can argue the point of the amount makes a difference and of course it does, but the amount of oats small enough to have no impact on the hindgut would be too small to provide what little nutritional value you hoped to get from them in the first place.

What you can't change is the fact that you have to feed enough of anything to get a nutritional benefit from it (one blade of grass doesn't help much). With any grain, the amount needed is going to put more starch in the cecum than a horse should technically have (and more than it needs to have). This will always have the effect of changing the ph in favor of the microbes needed for dealing with this extra starch. That ph change will always be to the detriment of the microbes needed for digesting fiber (hay, grass, beet pulp, etc...). Those are the facts. Talking around it and saying "I don't feed more than what's needed" isn't going to suddenly change what happens in the cecum . If it did you'd need to try it with humans too. Most of the world's health problems will be solved.

Humans do not process starches like horses do, so what oats do for us has no comparison for equines. We need oats primarily as a water soluble fiber (probably it's greatest human health benefit). That's not what they are for a horse.

People often have underlying health problems that go unnoticed or undetected for years, even decades (e.g. you liver can slowly deteriorate for many years before you notice any signs or before a Dr runs a blood test that tells you something is wrong....the damage was being done earlier, but no one knew it). It's a bit like horses eating acorns in season. It doesn't kill them so it must not be too bad (like grain, some of us know it poses a health risk...just happens to be a greater one), but over time the damage to their kidneys (if memory from class serves me right it was the kidneys) does build up and it can eventually result in death.

How often does anyone (or their vet) check the ph level of the horse's cecum? If you're feeding grain you might want to seriously take a course covering the equine digestive system. Find out what the ph is suppose to be with nature's diet (no grains, low NSC, etc...) and then have it measured with your preferred diet.

Of course I'm picking on grains, but that is what this thread is ultimately about. There are other dietary issues with how we keep horses. Grains just happen to be one of the larger ones. (if it was about extruded foods used by the feed industry I'd be picking on them ).

Everyone is free to feed what they want. No one has passed a law forbidding anyone from feeding anything that has traditionally been fed before (including all the cracked, ground or whole maize a horse can eat). No matter how unhealthy, it's still legal. Killing a horse with kindness has yet to become a crime so don't worry about it.

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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post #46 of 102 Old 02-14-2014, 11:01 PM
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Okay, so an unspecified amount of oats fed in unspecified intervals to horses in unspecified condition, that perform at unspecified activity levels, with unspecified “other” dietary intake, for an unspecified amount of time pose a substantial health risk? And, this finding was published by whom?

One can assume that the pre-historic horse’s diet did not consist of a single plant type at just one stage of its growth, and that each individual pre-historic horse’s diet depended on many factors and variables. I feed three times a day. No “one feeding” contains all the daily nutrients and calories that my horses need to maintain their condition. The various cultivated “grains” of today have ancestral “cousins” that were probably available to the prehistoric horse. The quantity of “grain” available to the prehistoric horse over any given 24 hr period was obviously limited by many factors, and cultivated/processed grains of any variety never appeared before a single one of them in bucket full’s. In other words, nutrition isn’t generally about consuming/absorbing/metabolizing all your dietary needs in one 45 minute period during the day, especially if you evolved grazing the greater part of the 24 hours in a day. It is not “all or nothing”. So, factors such as "how much how often" do tend to matter.

Many studies have been performed by reputable veterinary universities that address equine diet. None, of which I am aware, indicates that it is a great idea to just feed any grain at any quantity to any horse, anywhere. Many, however, do show that there are various significant disparities between how a horse digests and metabolizes grain “x” with hay “y”, vs just hay “y”. No surprises. However, few have concluded that b/c of these disparities, no oats should ever be fed to any horse, and if they are only feed it in small quantities no nutrition/calories can be absorbed at all, regardless of the given horse’s condition.

Yes, it is true that anyone can feed anything they choose. It is also true that equine nutrition has a lot of “variables”, and just like all nutrition everywhere – all of what there is to know about it – is not yet known. I choose not to have feed corn on my property, and I stated my reasons earlier. It is my opinion that feed corn is too dangerous to consider for known reasons that I have already stated. Yes, anyone is free to feed corn, but it is best for their horse if they know just how unforgiving it is and why – if they decide to feed it. And, corn, just like oats, is included in a lot of RB's and pellets, so many ARE feeding it, even if doing so unwittingly. Your position that an “unquantified” amounts of oats is a health risk for any and all equines, and “too little” will serve no dietary purpose is an opinion.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #47 of 102 Old 02-15-2014, 12:37 AM
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^^ like, like, both posts above there's no like button on this on my fone.
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post #48 of 102 Old 02-15-2014, 08:19 AM
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I had problems keeping wieght on one of my horses since I first got him. Tried all the feeds, supplements, and the vet couldn't find anything wrong. This summer the were switched to an all grain feed. Oats, corn, barley. And while I don't see any differance in the mares, he looks 100% better.
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post #49 of 102 Old 02-15-2014, 09:48 AM
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Have feed whole oat/corn mix for years and have "never" seen a curnnel of corn in the manure.
If they are working hard then I´ll crack/roll the mix.

Grains are nothing more than seed heads just like grass.....only in a consentrated form:
Your Guide to Natural Horse Grain

America was built on blood - sweat - and a handfull of corn.
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post #50 of 102 Old 02-15-2014, 12:29 PM
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I notice in the above linked article that it suggests not to feed oats to horses with Cushings - should also include IRS and horses with laminitis - however what it fails to state is that feeding oats in the wrong circumstances or amounts is a major contributory factor in horses/ponies developing IRS or laminitis
Feeding whole oats is a waste of money because nature designed these seeds to pass through an animals digestive system softened but intact so they could grow and become new plants. Unless the horse chews them really well they will mostly be undigested
The reason you probably don't see them in your horses poop is because small rodents and birds have already eaten them
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