Mash Benefits?

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Mash Benefits?

This is a discussion on Mash Benefits? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Healthy alternative to bran mash
  • Health benefits of mash

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    05-08-2012, 04:56 PM
Mash Benefits?

Okay, so my mare has been on the same diet ever since we bought her a month ago (1 flake Alfalfa in morning and night, mashes 4-5 times a week). She was on a similar diet when we first got her, we only adjusted for regular exercize. She get 2 qts Red Wheat Bran Mash, 1 ounce MSM, 2 ounces electrolytes. I was just curious about the health benefits of the mash part of the Mash. Thanks in advance! :)
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    05-09-2012, 05:38 PM
I would have to ask you a whole bunch of questions lol to answer yours!

How old is your mare?

Does she have any special needs such as worn molars, requiring a mash diet?

How much exercise, roughly?

Is she otherwise stalled full-time? Is she on pasture or have any turnout?

What is her ideal weight, and is she at that ideal weight and maintaining it on her present diet?

How much is "one flake?" How many pounds of alfalfa per day?

Does she have a salt/trace mineral block?

I've never heard someone feeding a wheat bran mash on a regular basis. Is she getting any type of pelleted feed? I want to pass on this short article and commentary, there's a little info and discussion about alternatives to wheat bran, you can also use well soaked beet pulp (got to be careful as it ferments quickly in warm weather): Warm Mashes for Senior Horses | The Feed Room

Just some ideas for you. If you decide to make any changes, I would check with a vet of course, and make any changes gradually.
    05-09-2012, 05:49 PM
Mash usage

I use the SafeMash by BEET-E-BITES because it contains NO BRAN!!! It is tested to be low carb, low sugar and it has one dose of perfect balance electrolytes in it. I use it when I event to replace the loss in the sweat.
Giving wheat bran daily can upset the calcium/phosphorous balance and eventually rob the bones of calcium. Wheat bran has also shown no laxative effect in the gut. Please visit online veterinary magazine for more info.
    05-09-2012, 06:43 PM
She is 9 years old, I'm not sure what condition her teeth are in (I can find out), exercised (round pinned or ridden) roughly 4 times a week, kept in a 24X24 corral, 1000-1100 lbs (her weight is sometimes inconsistent, and therefore hard to accuratley say), a flake is roughly 5-7 lbs, and has constant availability to a mineral black.

Her diet seems to work for her, seeing as she is healthy and happy, I was just curious to the effests:) Thanks for the replies so far!
    05-09-2012, 08:22 PM
The main reason for keeping her on this, um, shall we say unique diet (I know it is very different, from others, haha) is because I'd prefer to keep her on the MSM and electrolytes and am clueless when it comes to what grains to feed a healthy, happy, and (this is where I'm at loss) YOUNG mare. I keep her on the MSM because with Barrel Racing, joint support is always welcome to me, and helps her an awful lot, and electrolytes because she can bee a dodgy drinker and the freguent exercise. I never questioned the mash because it always seemed to just be there, in her diet.

But now the more I read about it I realize it DOES have kind of more of that 'hot chocolate on a cold day' quality, but for horses. So I am now changing my question to what woud be a good grain to feed her? I really want to keep another constant in her diet because she eats well, but sometimes it seems hard for her to keep up her weight. Thanks again!
    05-09-2012, 08:30 PM
Green Broke
Grain will make her 'high'. You need to look for a processed feed I like the LMF brand, or find something similar that will add calories and that you will be able to add the msm. I would be very careful with the electrolytes. I give bran when my horses start to act off feed/colicky and then it is a very wet mash.
Go to your local feed store and compare feeds.
    05-10-2012, 12:02 AM
Here's my 2 cents on some things she might like if you and your vet ok them:

Some grass pellets or grass hay in addition to her alfalfa - if she's corraled and only out to exercise when she's worked, it would give her some extra "something to do" as well as round out her diet without her getting a hay belly on you. It wouldn't necessarily have to be high quality hay, just a low protein grass for munching.

You may only need to supplement her with a 9-12% protein balanced pelleted feed which can be easily soaked, and she likely wouldn't need more than 2-3 pounds 2x a day if that's how often you feed, well before or after she's been worked. If you decide to try beet pulp, she probably wouldn't need more than 1 pound (dry) 2x a day, as after it soaks it expands 3 to 4 times, so you could soak half a pound of beet pulp pellets for one feeding, and another half pound at night, if you feed 2x a day. These are pretty affordable and safe alternatives for a mash. Some thoughts or ideas for you. Oh, something else you and she might like are some microbials to add to mash.
    05-10-2012, 03:44 AM
Green Broke
I agree with the above suggestion to give some additional hay. Ideally, a horse should have free choice hay available 24/7 (slow feeders are great for this), but it's not always possible for everyone.

If your horse is an easy keeper and you can provide at least 1.5-2% of the horse's body weight in forage daily, then you probably don't need a grain at all. Ration balancers are grain-free pelleted feeds that provide all the necessary nutrition left out by the hay; they're better for the horse and usually cheaper than feeding grain because they're fed in much smaller amounts (typically ~1 lb/day). You can add your MSM and other supplements in with it, too.

If your horse is a moderately hard keeper and/or only needs additional calories at certain times (during heavy training, etc.), you can add beet pulp and/or rice bran to the horse's diet to get additional calories without moving to grain.

If your horse is a hard keeper, you may not be able to avoid some grain. Safe Choice is a good one from what I've heard.

I'd switch away from the wheat bran, for the reasons flightpath mentioned.
    05-10-2012, 09:59 AM
Okay, thank you, everyone! :) I'll definetly talk to my vet about her diet Friday. Thanks again for the advice!

benefit, help needed, mash, nutrition, question

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