Feeding Commercial vs Natural

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Feeding Commercial vs Natural

This is a discussion on Feeding Commercial vs Natural within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    06-22-2011, 04:53 PM
Exclamation Feeding Commercial vs Natural

Recently went to a seminar about horses and not using "commercial grain." I did buy beet pulp and flax seeds. I need to incorporate a good supplement and maybe oats or bran? Wondering if anyone can make some suggestions. The stuff being sold at convention I can't afford. Wondering if I am getting in over my head and should just stick with commercial grain. I do want my horse to be fed well and be healthy and I am willing to put some work into it. He is kept in our backyard so I can soak and prepare his meals. Thanks for any tips!
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    06-22-2011, 05:00 PM
You are aware that beet pulp and flax seed are considered commercial products, correct?

Anything sold bagged is a commercial product. Supplements are also commercial products. Unless you're growing it or digging the minerals out of the ground yourself, all of them are commercial products.

If you want to stay away from processed sugars, stay away from sweet feed. A good dry pellet, along with hay stretcher or beet pulp, will help give your horse a balanced diet.

Or you could go completely off feed, and just give your horse beet pulp, a mineral/salt block, and good pasture. That is, if he's an easy keeper.
    06-22-2011, 05:01 PM
To add to what SR said so well, Oats are a very high NSC feed.
    06-22-2011, 05:04 PM
Sorry...yes realize they are commercial as well. I guess what I meant is staying away from feed manufactured and don't really know what they have in it! I do see list but thinking of just making his food ourselves. He is an easy keeper. I was told that the speedi-beet along with flax seeds is not enough, that a supplement was needed. He grazes all day and we supply a decent hay as well. Do I need more? We have only had him a short while and he is our first horse?
    06-22-2011, 05:07 PM
I would say look at him and see how he is doing.

We (general we) tend to over supplement our horses. (Says me whose one horse gets a way too big smartpak every day.) Good quality hay/pasture should be enough for the average horse.

If he is failing to thrive on that, then you can look further into supplements.

I was talking to a Southern States feed rep at a expo thingy and I was very impressed when I asked him what he thought I should feed my easy keeper and he responded with, 'hay, nothing else is needed is it?'. That was from a guy whose job it was to sell processed horse feeds.
    06-22-2011, 07:55 PM
I believe in keeping things as natural as possible providing my horse get's all she needs. Just like us they need a good multivitamin as the forage they get from domestic pasture and hay just doesn't meet all their mineral, vitamins, amino acids, fat, omega oils, etc... My mare was a rescue last year in terrible shape was to be put down when I met her (see comparison photos) and this is all it took to take her from emaciated and week with hurrendous feet, skin, coat, etc... to super shiny, healthy well muscled and strong...
(Amounts) are based on a 15.5 hh, 1,100 mare who is hard to keep weight on

8 flakes hay
2 lbs "Island Horse" Vitamin Mineral Supplement specifically designed based on analysis of local forage
2 cups Canola meal for omegas, lysine and fat
5 lbs Soyhulls soaked
Grazing a few hrs per day in warm months and in cold months a few mins hand grazing or eating on the trails

You might not need the soyhulls which is for extra ruffage and to help keep weight on her. If you guy is an easy keeper you can probably skip that. If this has worked so well for mine who was in really rough shape I'm sure it will work for yours who sounds reasonably healthy to start with. Good luck! And Kudos for trying to keep in natural!

Here are the photos for comparison :)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rescue filly march 2010.JPG (39.4 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg 264153_10150638947310083_572360082_19086680_6046400_n.jpg (57.6 KB, 65 views)
    06-22-2011, 08:08 PM
Sorry I mean to say 15. 1/2 hh not 15.5 lol

Here's another photo that shows the comparison too look at the difference in her neck! :)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 253666_10150638946735083_572360082_19086672_4483095_n.jpg (46.3 KB, 64 views)
    06-22-2011, 11:07 PM
WOW! Thanks. She is beautiful
    06-22-2011, 11:18 PM
Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind    
We (general we) tend to over supplement our horses. (Says me whose one horse gets a way too big smartpak every day.) Good quality hay/pasture should be enough for the average horse.

If he is failing to thrive on that, then you can look further into supplements.
I agree wholeheartedly with this. So many people overfeed with the wrong feed and over supplement and some are surprised when their horse fails to look better on so much stuff that is supposedly "good" for them. A horse's digestive track was designed for digesting stemmy fibery food like coarse grass and tree twigs. Certain grains are hard for them to digest and other things like corn don't get digested at all so it doesn't even qualify as a filler.

I am a devout believer in keeping things as simple as possible. My horses are currently getting free choice grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix hay and a trace mineral salt block. With the exception of the very hard keeper TB and the old retired guy who has other ongoing health problems (both of which we are working to remedy), they are all fat, slick, healthy, and happy. Even my colts that are getting worked every day only get alfalfa hay and they all stay shiny and healthy.

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