Roughage, complete feeds and supplements, oh my! - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 7 Old 09-27-2011, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 713
• Horses: 2
Roughage, complete feeds and supplements, oh my!

Iím going to apologize in advance for the sheer length of this postÖ Iím in the final few weeks before my Heart Horse comes home and Iím trying to create a feed plan for her. Iíve been researching like crazy and Googling like a mad woman and all Iíve accomplished so far is a headache. The more I read, the more confused I get and I feel like Iím spinning in circles. Iím hoping someone can help me a bit, maybe point me in the right direction.

The Horse:
Vanna is a 16 year old Standardbred mare. She raced as a youngster and then spent the next decade as a broodmare. She is in decent shape, but needs to be conditioned. She also has a bit of a hay belly going on. She is up to date on all her vaccinations and deworming. Her current diet includes free choice grass, hay and some grain. She lives outside year round. As far as I know, her teeth are in good shape and she doesn't have trouble with hay, cubes, or grains.

Her Activity Level:
Currently, she is pasture fit and spends her days ambling around a field. Very, very occasionally, she is hooked to a cart and driven around. When she arrives at my barn, she will be moved to an individual run for a month-long quarantine period and then into a semi-private pasture with 2 geldings. Her activity level will be increased gradually as she transitions from a broodmare to a riding horse. I plan to walk and trot her at increasing increments as she is able, and gradually add hill work and trails to the routine. At any given time, her activity level will be considered light to moderate, never heavy.

Goals to Accomplish:
The ideal diet plan will help maintain her body condition and weight year round. I do not want her to become overweight, but I do not want her to be underweight either. I want her to look like a well-loved pleasure horse, with a shiny coat, healthy hooves and a balanced appearance. I would like to keep her in optimum health, prevent joint pain and reduce any existing arthritis symptoms she might have.

Available Feed:
Once she arrives at my barn, she will be provided hay and free choice grass. Iím almost positive that the hay isnít the best quality, so I wish to provide alternate roughage for her in addition to the provided hay. I am open to complete feeds as well. After much thought, I have created two diet plans for your review. Please modify them however you wish, but explain why; I would like to learn.

Option #1: Alfalfa hay cubes and grain, with free choice hay/grazing
I am most familiar with this feeding plan, since it is modeled loosely after the diet we used for the racehorses. With the racehorses, we also added sweet feed to the mix, but I would prefer not to add it to my mareís diet. In addition to the roughage, I would like to add a top dressing of Equine Choice probiotic mix to maintain proper gut movement and beneficial bacteria, and HorseSTART mineral supplement for pleasure horses.

Option #2: FrontRunner Cool Command Complete Feed, with free choice hay/grazing to eliminate boredom
I am not as familiar with complete feeds, but I like the idea behind them. This particular one includes alfalfa, soy hulls and beet pulp and is completely corn free. Protein is approximately 13% and a lower level of sugar and starch. Also on my list of complete feeds to consider is FrontRunner Phase 5 Senior which contains 14% protein and beet pulp. I spoke to a FrontRunner distributor and she recommended Cool Command for my girl, just because she will remain in steady work. To this, I would also add a top dressing of Equine Choice and HorseSTART.

Further Information:

Equine Choice - Aurora Wind Feeds Equine Choice Probiotics
HorseSTART -
FrontRunner Phase 5 Senior - Front Runner - Phase Five
FrontRunner Cool Command - Front Runner - Phase One

If she was your horse, what would YOU feed?
Courtney is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 7 Old 09-27-2011, 03:36 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Vidor, Texas
Posts: 2,805
• Horses: 3
My horses are on pasture (hay in winter). I also give them Life Data's Barn Bag, which is a pelleted feed concentrate for horses on mainly a forage diet. I'm feeding about 1/2 cup. I also give whole oats....the amount depends on their condition and how much work they're doing. I am having very good results.

I've never fed alfalfa and don't know anything about the other stuff you posted. But I agree, horse nutrition can be very confusing!
gigem88 is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 09-27-2011, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 2,355
• Horses: 2

I would reccomend option 1- but I would change it just a bit.
Your version:
Alfalfa hay cubes and grain, with free choice hay/grazing
. In addition to the roughage, I would like to add a top dressing of Equine Choice probiotic mix to maintain proper gut movement and beneficial bacteria, and HorseSTART mineral supplement for pleasure horses.

Mine (note: it is written as if I were you- this is not my plan ):
the season and how often I ride would determine how much alfalfa/grain i feed , for example, in winter maybe a little more afalfa, and in summer maybe because you have more riding time(and at least here the grass dies). I would be careful with feeding the alfalfa, and wont feed more than about the equivalent of half a flake. (I only feed my horse half a flake of alalfa when she works hard!). In addition to the roughage, I would like to add a top dressing of Equine Choice probiotic mix to maintain proper gut movement and beneficial bacteria, and HorseSTART mineral supplement for pleasure horses, but would be careful with mineral usage in spring and fall, espically spring,(but grass DOES get green in fall to!) as the grass has more nutrients in it.

I hope it helps! And well, dont feed to much aflafa as #1 as you might know some horses dont process it as well and therefore get "hot" from it. #2 its quite high in calcuim- therefore good for younger growing horses and broodmares- and basically has no phosphorous, which can be very detrimental to the horses health. Oh and, be careful with those probiotics, make sure it isnt like chemicals- try to be as natural as possible for your horse.
Good Luck!
~PLEASE send me a message if you have more questions! : ) ~

ďGood things come to those who waitÖ greater things come to those who get off their ass and do anything to make it happen.Ē - Unknown

Last edited by caseymyhorserocks; 09-27-2011 at 10:23 PM.
caseymyhorserocks is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 09-30-2011, 10:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Beautiful rural NSW, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 163
• Horses: 2
What makes you think the barn hay is poor quality?

No matter what road I travel, I'm going home and if I'm riding a horse I am halfway there.
Day Mares is offline  
post #5 of 7 Old 09-30-2011, 11:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: East Coast
Posts: 766
• Horses: 1
you said she is 16, what about a senior feed or supplement and i would definitely add a joint supplement because of how she raced when she was younger and was used as a broodmare for ten years. Thats a lot of foals and a ton of extra weight she carried around for ten years on top of how she used to race.

Your horse is an extension of you.
nicole25 is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 10-05-2011, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 13,394
• Horses: 0 & are great resources for diet & nutritional advice. So sympathise that the more you read, the more confused you get! There are just so many different & conflicting opinions out there & of course every feed company wants you to beleive you need to buy their feed... So that's why I think it's important to learn from an actual equine nutritionist who is independent of feed co's. is actually the program I use to take the headache & confusion out of it & it's great to have a qualified nutritionist on call to ask questions of!

Basically horses being evolved as 'trickle feeders', eating high fibre, low starch/sugar roughage, tend to do best on that sort of diet. Grass hay/grass is about the best 'staple' for them & if they're healthy & not in hard work, they don't tend to need much more in the way of calories. If they do, alfalfa, beet pulp, soy bean meal & such are generally appropriate & safer alternatives for extra energy as opposed to grains & molassesy feed, which being high starch/sugar, can be bad news for a horse's digestive system - & also their feet.

So I'd start with hay & grass & add a good (grain free) complete nutritional supp or 'ration balancer' and add extra high fibre, low 'GI' feed only if necessary. Remember if she's not a high octane performance horse, like a race horse or endurance horse or such, don't feed her like one. If you do find she needs extra energy & grains & such may be in order, it's especially important to make sure it's fed little & often rather than only a couple or so big, infrequent meals daily.
loosie is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 10-05-2011, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 17,193
• Horses: 0
Dietery needs have to be adjusted periodically. I understand that by feeding 1/4 cup of soybean meal can help get rid of the big belly. I agree about feeding senior's, since it is designed for the older horse. it contains beet pulp, probiotics and extra oils. Dampening the pellets a bit makes them easier to eat and less chance of choke. I would recommend you start her out on the grass and hay that's available then as you begin her conditioning program, add to her feed if she starts to lose weight. It's best to keep it simple to start or you may be making expensive poop.

Last edited by Saddlebag; 10-05-2011 at 11:24 PM.
Saddlebag is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Top Feeds ? perfecto Horse Nutrition 5 08-11-2010 10:37 AM
Pellet feeds? ShannonSevenfold Horse Health 16 01-02-2010 01:06 AM
LMF Feeds dimmers_double Horse Health 5 10-31-2009 02:34 AM
Feeds and Supplements Jessie567 Horse Health 1 09-27-2009 06:23 PM
Right Feeds? SilentBravery09 Horse Health 2 06-02-2009 10:44 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome