Feeding Oats (United States horse folks) - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: For horse owners/care takers in United States: Does your grain ration include oats?
I don't feed grain to my horses 8 29.63%
No because I don't think oats are a healthy grain for horses 7 25.93%
No, but I would be open to switching to oats. 1 3.70%
Yes, my grain ration includes oats. 11 40.74%
I don't know. 0 0%
Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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post #21 of 32 Old 01-26-2013, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Originally Posted by LisaG View Post
My article isn't focusing on horse nutrition. It's focusing on markets. I am always curious about what other horse owners think, but our subscribers aren't horse owners.

I am aware of Hoffmans. In fact, I'm planning to buy some of their minerals tomorrow to try out on my horses.

Thanks for that link, Trinity.
Well markets change because of equine nutrition. The decline of the use of oats has little to do with lack of advertising and a lot to do with people getting educated on equine nutrition and the rise of websites like FeedXL. If you want to write a well rounded article then talking about the reasons behind the decline in use of oats would be a good idea. The layman thinks you just chuck a horse any old feed when the truth is that high NSC feeds, like oats, can be extremely detrimental to horses. This provides the best explanation as to why oats should not be marketed to horse owners. The best selling feeds are advertised as "grain-free" "low-NSC" "no Sugar", etc..
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post #22 of 32 Old 01-26-2013, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by LisaG View Post
If you don't feed any grain, you could also pick the non-grain option.
I do buy a pelleted feed but it's legume and not grain based, so it's not that I feed ONLY hay. I also give beet pulp to my oldster to help keep his weight up, but only in the winter when he's burning extra calories to stay warm.

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post #23 of 32 Old 01-26-2013, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: New Mexico
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Okay, here it goes.. ..
I've been around horses for more than 45 years. Back then, horses were fed pasture in summer, hay and grain in winter. According to their work load. Main grain was oats. Whole oats in general.
Up until 5 years ago, I have seen two cases of laminitis/ founder, both ponies.
I fed my herd of 14 good meadow hay, many different plant species and lots of herbs, as a base. Then soaked alfalfa pellets with a little wheat bran to balance Ca:Ph, 50 grams each of soy bean meal and linseed, and oats, barley and corn as needed. Usually by the ounce, not pound. I fed pregnant mares with that, raised babies, fed oldtimers and easy keepers, got my hard keeper OTTB up to weight with it. Two couldn't have oats, would go nuts, others could eat 10 lbs and wouldn't do a step too fast. All my horses were in perfect weight, were shiny and had really good barefoot hooves.

What I've noticed is that somehow somebody made oats the culprit for any diet related problem there is. New fad diseases pop up left and right. New fad feeds also.
I personally think it's not the oats who make horses insulin resistant. It's the " productive" pasture/ hayfield. Too many nutrients, grass seed mixes developed for cows, to produce milk or meat.
I came here, to Cali, from Italy. Hay in Italy and Cali is pretty similar...highly productive. Before Italy I lived in Germany. Bavaria. Hay from mountain meadows. Beautiful hay. Rather meager, protein wise. But all necessary vitamins and minerals. Easy keepers did just fine with that. No need for supplements. Then I went to northern Germany. Dairy land protein rich grass. Again, for cows. Soil depleted of nutrients, supplements needed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is not to blame oats or grain in general for the myriads of diseases our horses are prone to get. Rather the man-made changes in everything.
Back to nature...........
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post #24 of 32 Old 01-26-2013, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Oats dont have a bad name here..Its corn. But we are in corn country and oats are not highly prevalent I supposed. Def. area dependent.

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post #25 of 32 Old 01-26-2013, 04:12 PM
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I have seen corn cause colic and laminitis. Not oats though.

Carpe Diem!
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post #26 of 32 Old 01-28-2013, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
Well markets change because of equine nutrition. The decline of the use of oats has little to do with lack of advertising and a lot to do with people getting educated on equine nutrition and the rise of websites like FeedXL. .
The declining equine oats market actually has a lot to do with declining supply (farmers aren't growing as many acres of oats for a few reasons, one being yield), and the fact that other grains are competitively priced. Farmers need better-yielding varieties to grow oats rather than other crops.

You may be right about the nutritional value, but to cover it properly, I would have to dedicate at least one in-depth article about that one issue (but I am always interested in horse owners' personal opinions on this). However, I think I will ask a feed company for comment.

Personally, my horses mostly get hay and pasture, plus minerals. I'm now trying out Hoffmans Minerals on one group, and my regular stuff on another (between my dad and me, we have six horses right now which are split in two groups). Our horses only get oats when they're working, and then they don't get a lot.

Maybe we're lucky or some sort of idiot savants, but we've never had colic, and the only diet-related lameness issue we have is with rich grass, so we always watch the weather and the grass conditions.

Thank you everyone for your opinions.
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post #27 of 32 Old 01-28-2013, 08:03 PM
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I would not mind feeding oats if they were not so expensive. They cost more than mixed feeds that are higher in protein and have vitamins added. They just are not cost effective. If I did feel the need to feed large amounts of grain, I would consider oats because they seem to be relatively safe.

Carpe Diem!
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post #28 of 32 Old 01-28-2013, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: North Carolina
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I have been reading all the recent posts on ration balancers lately and this thread as well. I'm not a nutritionist by any means but I have wondered if all this commercial ration balancer is more of a new fad, trendy thing. When I got my Standi mare last year, very underweight I chose to feed oats, beet pulp and free choice coastal bermuda hay as the safest (imo) way to put the weight back on her. The girl that picked up her pasture mate on the same day went on and on about how she was putting her mare on TC ------ , the very best any horse could get and long story short, her horse is dead and mine is still with me and not one problem ever. They were within 2-4 yrs in age, mine the older(20yr) they came from the same place, I don't know the cause of death in her mare, she never did say exactly so I can't know if diet was a factor. I do know that horses have been fed oats hundreds of years and my choice of slow and safe for weight gain is still here to greet me when I walk out the door everyday, that's good enough for me.I still believe oats are one of the safest grains you can feed.Oh I did throw in a little Manna Pro supplement and she has a coat that shines even before grooming her.
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post #29 of 32 Old 01-29-2013, 12:21 AM
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The one problem with feeding cereal grains (and using the reasoning they have been fed that way for hundreds of years) is that this is no longer "hundreds of years" ago.

Horses are NOT the primary mode of transportation anymore and working for a living. Many of them are just back yard horses and kept in less than ideal conditions for a horse like a stall or small paddock and fed only twice a day. Many of them get little exercise. Not to mention they are not made to digest large amounts of starches all at once. Back in the day a horse was aged by his teen years and ancient by 20. Times change. We know alot more about what is actually healthy for horses now then in the past. ]

For anyone really interested in proper equine nutrition, Id like to recommend this free course. It just started today.

Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)
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post #30 of 32 Old 01-29-2013, 12:33 AM
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My personal horses don't get oats (as they're blimps on just hay and ration balancer) - but at the rescue I work with EVERY horses there is fed a mix of crimped oats and Alfalfa pellets - except one cushing's pony doesn't get oats. They're all Quite healthy and happy.
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