Feed and supplements for Morgan horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Feed and supplements for Morgan horses

So I recently (almost a year ago) bought a pregnant Morgan mare. When I got her someone told me not to feed her sweet feed(that's what one of our QH eats) that too much of the sugar and something else in it was dangerous for her because of her breed. Since I knew nothing about the breed I started her on Nutrena's Safe choice Special Care feed as recommended from one of the guys at the feed store. She was previously on a all stock feed so her feed didn't change too much. I don't have any problem keeping her on this feed, but now I am wondering what weight builders and treats are safe for her? Her baby which is a QH/Morgan also eats the same feed. After she weaned her colt she had lost some weight over the last few weeks and I would like to give her some weight builder to get her back up to a healthy weight. Also I would like to give her a treat every once in a while. Right now she is fine with carrots(her favourite) but I want to know what I can and can't feed her. I have heard many different things so I am not sure which is true when it comes to her diet. She is about four years old. She isn't on free choice hay at the moment because I am about to swap her to a new pasture but as soon as I do that she will be back on a whole(huge)bale of hay(free choice). If you guys have any info or advice on the Morgan horse breed I would greatly appreciate it!


-Savie
Owner to QH's and a fairly new owner to a Morgan and QH/Morgan.

Here is Josephine "Jo" and her colt Maverick
552946_4701864065256_1476096809_n.jpg 487806_4552616374157_164217533_n.jpg

A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care - Pat Parelli

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post #2 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 08:23 PM
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It's not necessarily the breed that dictates what a horse should/shouldn't eat. High NSC (sugar/starch) feeds like sweet feed or all stock aren't "good" for any horse, really.

Safe Choice Special Care has a reasonably low NSC (15%) that would be fine for most horses (unless they're insulin resistant or have other specific dietary concerns). The only reason you might want to change it for now would be to put her (and her colt) on a mare & foal feed if she's still nursing. Those usually provide additional calories & protein needed for lactating mares and for growing foals.

Unless you're already feeding her a lot of Safe Choice, you can simply increase the amount she's getting. For an average 1000 lb horse, they recommend 10-15 lbs/day for lactating mares until the 3 months after foaling, and 7.5-10 lbs/day after that until weaning. (Be sure to break those up into as many meals as you can... it's generally not advised to feed more than 5 lbs at any one feeding) You may be able to cut back down again once she's moved to the pasture with free choice hay.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 08:40 PM
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There is a "list" of breeds that are predisposed to insulin resistance, which is comparable to Type II Diabetes in humans.

Morgans are on that list. The person who told you not to feed her sweet feed probably knows that

I can't offer any advice, except to be sure the mare is getting fed properly to support the foal's growth, without over loading the mare with starches (NSC, a/k/a non-soluble carbohydrates)

Nursing mares that might be predisposed to insulin issues, are even more at risk because of the hormone changes they experience.

Your mare is beautiful - she looks Old Timey to me and the foal is equally as stunning
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-14-2014, 09:17 AM
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All the morgans I've ever met have been really easy keepers. The foal is pulling a lot of nutrition out of her now I'd be inclined to mix her feed types. Maybe the special care and a feed for mare and foal. If she is still loosing weight you could mix more to the mare and foal feed side.

Another feed possibility is to add a supplement to her current ration made for mares and foals. One old standby that's been around for years and years..Farnams Mare plus and maybe a little rice bran or flax for fat.

I wish I had a reliable source for the safe choice special care. I had about 15 bags of it once and really liked it. Was perfect for my walker and low enough starch where if my fat old pony managed to get a few bites I didn't need to panic.

Your other horses will do better for ditching the sweet feed too. Too many calories from starch and sugar. While they might be doing fine on it now it does catch up with them sooner or later. The advances in feeds are the reason our horses life spans have nearly doubled just since I was a kid.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-14-2014, 06:30 PM
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Hi & welcome,

In addition to other's good info, yes, 'sweet feed' is the junk food of the equine market, generally. It is not good for any horse, just that some types/breeds, like Morgans, heavies, ponies, etc are more likely to develop serious issues from unhealthy diet than others.

Horses are built for 'low grade'(compared to 'improved' cattle fattening pastures we've got used to) roughage & are not made to cope well with high sugar/starch, grainy feeds or infrequent feeding. Generally a healthy horse should do well enough on grass/grass hay and appropriate nutritional supplementation for it's situation.

If extra weight is needed, a little lucerne, copra, rice bran & other 'low GI' options are generally better than grain or junk food. That your horse retained her weight well enough when feeding the foal & only lost a little when she weaned him makes me think she's a very 'easy keeper' & it was just the stress caused weightloss. Therefore I wouldn't be in any kind of rush to pump a 'weight builder' into her, or for that matter, add to what she's getting now. You may find that free access to grass hay is too much for her. A small holed net over it can take care of that, by slowing intake.

I would however, get her on a good 'ration balancer' or other nutritional supps appropriate for her situation, including extra magnesium(look up magnesium for horses), as the foal will have pulled the nutrients out of her.

Also being just 4yo with an already weaned foal, I'd want to get a good vet chiro to check her & her foal out ASAP, as immature mothers can have/cause in the foal extra body issues, which can more likely/successfully be treated while they're still immature.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-21-2014, 04:55 PM
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Welcome to the world of Morgans! You will love them.

Most of our Morgans do well on a Ration Balancer along with a flax supplement. Some of them also get alfalfa. We fed Safe Choice for years, but in the last year or two switched to Progressive Ration Balancer and love it! The horses look better than ever.

Love your mare and foal!
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