Stupid question on feeding warm mash - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Stupid question on feeding warm mash

For his dinner, I feed my horse his little bit of ration balancer, a joint supplement (probably does more for me than for him), an electrolyte and I mix in some soaked Timothy hay pellets to give the powder something to stick to. It's been cold so I've been adding warm water and he has been LOVING it. I've never seen him relish his food so much!

One mental process thought led to another and before I know it googling has given me some recipes for warm mashes to feed.

Are there any downsides to feeding warm mash in the winter?
Are there any benefits to it?

Basically what dangers should I keep in mind if I start mixing up mashes?

I imagine feeding a lot of bran mash would be bad. My limited equine nutrition knowledge makes me think it might throw something off in his tummy. So is there something I can use on a regular basis like quick oats or something? Or should I just stick with the hay pellets with the occasional candy cane or horse cookie or apples/carrots tossed in?
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 02:11 AM
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^^^^ Can I come have meals at your barn? Sounds good! : )

In winter I often give a warm breakfast. A little bran, sr. ration and vitamin and joint supplement. They seem to love it considering how it gets slurped up. Maybe it just makes me feel good but around here in winter there is not much green forage so it's mostly dry hay and I figure a nice warm, wet start to the day would not hurt the digestion.
I will be interested to read what others have to say also.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger

Last edited by Dustbunny; 10-27-2013 at 02:14 AM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 06:58 AM
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When the temp dips below zero or we have a wet, yucky, winter storm I make them a mash with beet pulp and their regular feed. They seem to like it and it certainly makes me feel better.
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 07:01 AM
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 07:25 AM
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For years and years we've fed horses warm bran mashes in winter and used them to hide supplements and medicines. Horses have loved their mashes and been very eager to eat them for as long as I've been alive. Now people will tell you that the mashes aren't important and don't really do any good for the horses and that we give them to make US feel good. I don't know if I agree with all that. They really seem to enjoy the warm mashes, and as long as everything is in moderation, I don't see why you shouldn't do something your horse so obviously enjoys. If you feed beet pulp, then add something high in phosphorous, like wheat or non-calcium added rice bran to keep things balanced. If you're feeding alfalfa hay, then the wheat bran is a good way to balance the high calcium of the alfalfa.
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 08:42 AM
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Bran has a taste horses seem to like but it does not act like a laxative like it does with humans. Too much bran fed daily can produce a condition called "big head". The occasional treat is fine. Our mash was bran, molasses, boiled flax, salt and boiled water. This was served in very cold weather, a treat the horses relish.
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 10:55 AM
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I have never fed bran but I do add water, 365 days/year, to the feed pan stuff to mix everything together.

During the cold months I use enough warm water to make things good and moist without being soupy; mainly because none of my horses will eat mush, much less soup. It's become a fine and persnickety line:(

Adding water and some timothy pellets is equally as good or better, IMHO, as it gives them added forage and moisture in their digestive system.

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post #8 of 16 Old 10-27-2013, 11:25 AM
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So long as you're not making a radical diet change quickly, there is no harm in a nice mash, especially if you're not including a ton of grains/quickly digestible starches. Some bran, some beet pulp, all the hay pellets they want, etc are not an issue. I follow with the line of thought that it's probably not necessary, but if it makes you happy and it makes your horse happy, then you're golden and keep it up!

My boy LOVES mashes. Dryish, mushy, soupy, no matter what is in it he doesn't care- if it is a mash, he hoovers it up. Lately with the cold snap here and their winter coats not grown in yet, I've been giving him a couple (measured dry) pounds each of beet pulp and alfalfa pellets soaked in a 5gal bucket each evening. At endurance rides, he gets whatever he wants (which is any mash with anything in it, see above) and has never turned up his nose at bran or soaked complete feeds either.

The only 'danger' I can think of is that if you soak it too far ahead of time and leave it somewhere warm, it might go rancid, but in the cool, even that is fairly unlikely.
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-28-2013, 05:21 PM
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As you've seen below, particularly Dreamcatcher & Saddlebag's posts, it depends what your horse needs nutritionally as to whether feeding *bran* is good or bad. I would only generally feed bran to balance Phos deficiency. As for feeding regular meals warm & wet, well there may not be any nutritional/health reason for it, but so far as I know, as an occasional treat I don't know of any reason it could be problematic.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-28-2013, 06:32 PM
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loosie, live out a northern New England winter in a 265 yr old house that is largely original and you will see the need for it. Been days where I wanted to stick my toes into that warm mash.
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