I have 3 totally difftent types of horses. I have two 3yo's, one is an air fern and the other.....uses his calories, and one 17 yo that seems to be a hard keeper. I have been caring for horses my whole life and don't have a problem with sweet feed per say, but I do know there are better things out there.
My feed plan has a good amount of sf in it and I would like to get them on a better diet. Please give some thoughts on ration balancers, I've done some research, but Im not sure what is avaliable to me. I can get stuff from TSC and I also have access to Kent products.
Everyone is on turnout and have free choice hay. These feed schedules are broke down into 2 feedings.
How would YOU feed my horses?
Char, 17 yo, high energy, rarely used, semi hard keeper. She is a big girl...easy 17 hands. She is getting 9qts of kent senior and 3 qts of sweet( just to break up the senior...its much stickier than the sf?!) I also add 1/2 cup cocosoya and 1 scoop of omegatin. She seems to be at an ok weight now, but I know it could be better.
Cole, 3yo, high energy, in training. Saddlebreds are a late growing breed and I am concerned about bone and joint development. Also going to be a big guy, 16 hands now...I expect him to get 16.2 - 17 hands.
He is was getting 3 scoops a day of sf when I got him. I have switched him to 2 scoops of mare and foal ( neturena) and a scoop of sweet to get him to eat the powdered vit's.
And.....the air fern
Suzie, 3yo arab, in training
She is getting 1 1/2 sweet feed a day. She was thin when I got her, but that was a while ago. She also has issues with rain rot, from my research, I've learned this may be from a copper deficintcy?
They all also have access to a mineral block, but I know it may not be enough.
Any thoughts would be greatly appriciated.
My opinion? Throw the sweet feed in the trash can. It is very high in NSC (starch+sugars) and low in nutrition and really isnt helping any of your horses at all.
In a lot of cases, once you get proper nutrition to them, they don't end up being as hard of a keeper as you thought.
I am a firm believer in RB's. I feed one and honestly, my horses have never looked better or felt better. I have noticed a HUGE improvement/change, especially this winter. BUT, a RB may may not be right for EVERY horse.
If I were you, I would TRY a quality RB and see what happens. *Work op to these amounts slowly of course*
I would start Char on 1.5lbs of a RB (My recommendation is Buckeye Gro N Win, but Purina Enrich 32 is comparable and is Purinas best product). I would work up to 4lbs of soaked alfalfa pellets (weighed before soaking). About 2 1/2 cups of GnW = 1lb
About 2 cups of alfalfa pellets = 1lb
I would start Cole on 1.5lbs of RB as well and maybe 2lbs of alfalfa pellets.
I would start Suzie on 1lb of RB.
Keep them on free choice hay. If you find that any of them are gaining too much weight, then back off on the alfalfa pellets. If they arent' maintaining weight or you want weight gain and are not getting it, increas the alfalfa.
Other things you can add would be up to 1cup of flax per horse per day as well. Flax is very high in omega 3.