Is her diet ok?

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Is her diet ok?

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  • 1 Post By waresbear

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    12-29-2011, 07:00 PM
Is her diet ok?

14.3 hh Arab mare
Ten years old
Not currently in ridden work due to lack of saddle but is trotted up in hand daily and lunged twice a week for twenty minutes of walk, trot, canter transitions. Also ten minutes of join up prior to lunging.

She has two slices of hay per night (the same again in the afternoon if weather is too unsafe for her to be out) - this is from a standard small bale of good quality hay.
Also one scoop of Mollichaff original and a quarter scoop of cool mix for her breakfast @8.00 am, and the same again for her tea @4.00 pm.
Out in the field from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm, fresh water on tap at all times. Drinks around 14 litres of water per night, and probably more whilst in field.
She gets NAF General Purpose Balancer with her tea, and a couple of carrots (weaning her off these as she gets far too excited at the sight of them!) whilst brushing her down.

She is a nice weight and condition at the moment, with a thick silky winter coat. When I bought her, she had rain scald and mud fever, hence the balancer. Both conditions are clearing up well. However, she is still growing out some flaky edges to her hooves so will be on the balancer for a few months yet at least.
Is the Mollichaff really ok? Or would she be better with a non-molassed chaff? She isn't fizzy and only gets spooky in high winds. I worry in case it is bad for her hooves (the molasses, not the wind!).
Also, when I start to bring her back into work (January) what changes should I make? She was out at grass for the past five years before I bought her, with no hard feed and just hay in winter.

It just seems that she may be needing a more complex diet, but I tend to over think these things. Advice appreciated - hope you got this far!
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    12-29-2011, 07:34 PM
Sounds like your taking great care with the feeding of this horse. I have never heard of any of your feeds as I am assuming this is in the UK? But as long as the grain you are giving her is a pelleted form & not raw grains, which it sounds like a protein type pellet, I think she will continue to bloom for you. My goodness, a horse that gets a tea time, gee, I don't even get that!
Arizahn likes this.
    12-29-2011, 08:07 PM
Yes we are in UK - Northern Ireland.
I like to keep organised and Ali has improved with having a set routine. She was pretty rough around the edges when we got her.

The cool mix is processed grain; I figured she needed to put on some condition. She no longer looks like a pony - finally resembles a small horse! I even trimmed her tail today...

She spits out any big bits of molasses. Very fussy about her chaff, lol! Her old owner said just to feed her a bit of hay when she was in her stable and no hard feed at all I put her on the chaff so I could give her the balancer and my YO recommended adding the hard feed on top.
    12-29-2011, 08:28 PM

I'd be feeding hay in the morning too, unless she doesn't finish her night time meal long before the arvo feed. If the horse is not too fat, I generally like to opt for free choice hay/grazing.

I would definitely change the molichaff for unsweetened. It's not just her feet it's bad for, but feeding regular junk food, as is the case with people, can cause metabolic problems & it is this that can cause laminitis. Sugary, starchy feeds can potentially cause ulcers & hind gut acidosis, which can also lead to lami. So as with kids & lollies, small amounts occasionally aren't generally a problem, but feeding them as regular meals aren't so good.

Don't know what 'cool mix' you're feeding, whether that's also a high starch/grain based feed, whether it comes under the same sort of banner as above, but while it's important to feed all feeds to horses little & often, it's particularly important with starchy feeds, to minimise risks such as the above. So I'd be feeding those type ingredients in at least 3-4 small feeds daily, or if that's not possible, keep to the low starch, high fibre 'health foods'.

Originally Posted by Arizahn    
Not currently in ridden work due to lack of saddle but is trotted up in hand daily and lunged twice a week for twenty minutes of walk, trot, canter transitions. Also ten minutes of join up prior to lunging.
Curious about this, as people have different ideas/approaches - she's 'trotted up' for 20 mins daily - do you run backwards & forwards with her, lead her from a car...? What does 10 mins join up mean? Is that 10 mins of fast circles, 10 mins moseying around, 10 mins of hanging out with her in a round pen? Why is she lunged for 20 mins twice a week?

and a couple of carrots (weaning her off these as she gets far too excited at the sight of them!) whilst brushing her down.
Instead of weaning her off them because she loves them, you could always use them to train her to be better mannered about them, or some such.

Also, when I start to bring her back into work (January) what changes should I make?
Depends what work. Generally if a horse is healthy & not in hard physical work, they shouldn't need extra calories for the usual kind of pleasure riding. You don't need to get complex about diets most of the time. Generally IMO. A healthy horse shouldn't usually need any more than hay/grass and a good nutritional supplement. If/when problems begin to arise with that diet - the horse is losing too much weight or such - then you can add other ingredients. I find to be a great service/program for heling work out what's required & when, including specific considerations for specific horses & diseases.
    12-29-2011, 08:51 PM
Unfortunately, my YO won't put hay in in the mornings unless the horse is not going out to graze.
The Mollichaff was worrying me cos of laminitis; I file that under foot problems. I wasn't aware of the risk of ulcers!
Her cool mix is high fibre and low starch. She was happy enough without it so probably won't mind coming off it.
I need to use some sort of chaff to put the balancer in or she ends up sneezing and refusing to eat it. But I'm going to buy a non-molassed one instead. Just need to find one now...

She gets trotted up with me or my husband running alongside. It helps us keep her polite on the lead rope and she seems to enjoy it. Good exercise for us too! Join up is in the sand pen with no lead rope. We are still at the walk phase - teaching her to halt and walk on on command. It's just warm up before lunging.
She enjoys her lunge sessions and it is letting us bond with her. She was pretty much a field companion for five years so groundwork is pretty vital to her routine. She's a ten year old with the life experience of a five year old.
The carrots...she was spoilt by her old owner who gave her way too many carrots and not enough boundaries. Plus they are sugary too, so I only allow her them as an occasional treat now. She was eating half a kilo a day!

Riding wise, I hope to school for half an hour each weeknight and hack out for a couple of hours on a Saturday. Plus dressage lessons:) Sundays are going to be her day off. I know I have to build up slowly to this amount of exercise. This is another reason we lunge her.

I will check out, thanks!

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