to grain or not to grain? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-16-2010, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Western MA
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to grain or not to grain?

I have two Rocky mountain horses, 3 and 2. My uncle is harassing me to grain them. They are on full pasture all day long, good grass. They have never been grained before and when my uncle tried sweet feed (against my wishes) the younger one was INSANE! It was like he was on speed! He has stopped the 16% and is still giving them a hand full of 12%. What do you guys recommend? I am having a hard time getting good advice from places that aren't biased (grain sellers)...

PS. my uncle has his three horses in the same pasture as I do
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-16-2010, 07:31 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2009
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You really shouldnt have to do anything you dont want to. As long as their weight is fine and they get vitamins/minerals of somesort, they should be fine. If it becomes such a hassle, grain them a cup. That shouldnt get them hot. Keep the % low. 12% is low. But honestly if they have been fine without, I dont see what the big deal is to have to grain them.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-16-2010, 07:43 PM
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I personally believe that most grains and sweet feeds are completely unnecessary. 90% of horses do just fine on a diet of nothing but forage feeds (hays). The only horses that could possibly benefit at all from any kind of sweet feed are the heavily worked performance horses who are ridden hard every single day, sometimes for several hours. IMHO, no horse that is less than moderately worked needs any kind of specialized feed other than perhaps a weight builder for those hard keepers. No excess sugars or carbs. Sweet feed carries more risks than benefits, between founder/laminitis, EPSM, or insulin resistance it is just too big of a risk. I prefer to feed a diet of only hays; grass or alfalfa with a free choice trace mineral block and all my horses are happy and healthy. We don't have issues with diet related illnesses or diseases, never had a case of founder and haven't even had a bout of colic since we stopped feeding sweet feed about 16 years ago. If a horse does need a more balanced or specialized diet, then there are much safer options out there like complete feeds that are properly balanced for the activity level, age, and necessity of the horse.

If it is just given as a treat, then there are safer and cheaper options. You could get a bag of alfalfa cubes or pellets and feed a handful of those as a daily treat.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-17-2010, 12:03 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Arkansas
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I don't grain any of mine, and most are in moderate to heavy work. They have free choice grass hay, a bit of grazing, and I mix my own "feed." I use alfalfa pellets, flax meal, and a vitamin supplement. One mare gets plain whole oats too, but only because she is LAZY and needs the extra energy, lol. Most of my horses are on 1-2 qts of alfalfa pellets plus 1/2 cup of flax meal, and they hold their weight nicely without having any excess energy or negative behavioral changes.

Look for a complete vitamin like GrandVite or SmartPak's SmartVite Grass. You'll get more and better vitamins/minerals than those sweet feeds, and you'll know your horse is getting all the vit/min he needs. A few handfulls of sweet feed isn't doing them a lick of good...
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