A sugar free diet. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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A sugar free diet.

I would like to start my possibly foundered/laminitic mare on a sugar-free/low sugar diet.

So I have her on alfalfa hay, I heard it is lower in sugar than grass hay. Is this correct?

My big concern is grain. I need something palatable, so I can mix her biotin, joint supplement, and electrolytes in. Right now she is getting orchard grass pellets and some Safechoice. She doesn't need a lot of... nutrients in her "grain," persay, I just want something low in sugar that will encourage her to eat her supplements. I worry about adding more alfalfa in the form of grain, but since she only gets maybe a pound of grain a day, maybe it wouldn't be that bad?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance! =]

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post #2 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riccil0ve View Post
I would like to start my possibly foundered/laminitic mare on a sugar-free/low sugar diet.

So I have her on alfalfa hay, I heard it is lower in sugar than grass hay. Is this correct?

My big concern is grain. I need something palatable, so I can mix her biotin, joint supplement, and electrolytes in. Right now she is getting orchard grass pellets and some Safechoice. She doesn't need a lot of... nutrients in her "grain," persay, I just want something low in sugar that will encourage her to eat her supplements. I worry about adding more alfalfa in the form of grain, but since she only gets maybe a pound of grain a day, maybe it wouldn't be that bad?

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance! =]
A Ration balancer such as Buckeye Gro N Win would be a good choice. It is low in NSC (sugar and starches) and is a good choice for a horse with those kinds of issues. It has an NSC of 13%.

They call for .3-.5lbs of it for a 200-300 lb horse in light-no work. I would give him the .3lbs and put his supplements in that. You want to stay away from feeds with high NSC such as sweet feed (30%+), strategy (30%), safe choice (23%), etc. Stay away from whole grains such as oats, corn, etc b/c these are also high is NSC.

Alfalfa hay has more calories than a grass hay. I, personally wouldnt be feeding him alfalfa hay since minis are already prone to weight issues.

In order to decrease the sugars in a grass hay, you soak it in water for at least 30 min, then feed.

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post #3 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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She isn't a mini, she's a 1200lb Paint, lol.

Interesting about the alfalfa. I read on another thread that alfalfa was preferable because it gave energy in the form of protein, not sugar.

I had figured Safechoice was higher in sugar because logically speaking, you would need something like molasses to form the pellets.

Can you soak the grass hay longer than 30 minutes? Like, how long can I leave it soaking? I don't really have time to sit around and twiddle my thumbs waiting for it.

I'm also not inclined to feed her as much grain as is recommended. Most grains seem to require she get upwards of 6 to 8 pounds a day. She only needs enough to eat the supplements, and more importantly, she wouldn't be able to finish 3 to 4 pounds of grain per meal.

She's a super easy keeper. I suppose I should add that my other horse will likely be on the same diet, just for convenience sake. Both girls are air ferns. They are maintaining their weight on four flakes of alfalfa a day and the little bit of grain they get.

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Last edited by riccil0ve; 01-14-2011 at 07:31 PM.
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post #4 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 09:50 PM
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the only way to know the sugar level on any hay is to test it...

I would prob go with a ration balancer like Gro N Win ... being in WA you will want to look at LMF"S Super Supplement but watch the ingredient list for corn, you should also be able to get Purina's Enrich32 and maybe Nutrena's Empower BALANCER.

alfalfa can be just as high in sugars as grass hay it all depends on the hay on "average" alfalfa is lower in sugars according to Equianalytic's anaylsis from the last year :)


watch the ingredients on your joint supplements remember any of the words ending in "cose" are sugars :)

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #5 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 10:02 PM
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^^ Peggysue is right on, there. I would avoid pure alfalfa in a founder-risk horse, personally. Since several of my horses are founder risks, I feed content-tested grass hay mix with 30% alfalfa. I think using tested hay is a very important first step - since hay is the primary diet, and you have no idea what supplementation is needed if you don't know what your baseline is. It's not expensive to get the hay tested, and I've found a hay provider can usually be talked into testing the hay because he can often then charge a higher price to other clients (but not me, I suggested it, darn it lol). There are also certain practices the hay farmer can utilize that lower the sugar content of the hay (such as cutting in early morning hours).



Last edited by Indyhorse; 01-14-2011 at 10:04 PM.
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post #6 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ooh, good call on the joint supplement!

I'll look into LMF. Unfortunately, I don't think my co-op sells it. Hmm...

Thanks Peggy!

ETA: I'll look into hay testing but I really doubt I can make that work. And as I said, she doesn't necessarily need anything fancy in her grain. I wouldn't be giving her any grain if it weren't for the electrolytes, biotin, and joint supp.
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Last edited by riccil0ve; 01-14-2011 at 10:08 PM.
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post #7 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 10:15 PM
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Ricci, you could even do the hay testing yourself, it's seriously not that pricey, probably less than your supplementation bill every month. And you could probably cut out some supplements if you knew what was actually going into your horse via the hay....

Here is a link (and prices) to the diagnostics lab I (and my hay guy) use:
Equi-Analytical Laboratories - Profiling Feed for Better Nutrition


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post #8 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link, I have it bookmarked. I'll try to squirrel away some money when I can. I also want to get my girls tested for selenium and see where they stand. Horses in WA are generally low, but I don't want to provide a block plus selenium without knowing for sure, lol.

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post #9 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 10:48 PM
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if you go with ration balancer you wont' need anything to mix with it is a pelleted supplement that is designed to balance your hay type,

my laministis prone mare gets
1 1/2 lbs of Kent's Topline32(ration balancer)
1 lb timothy pellets (makes ME feel better)
MSM
remission
and her Heeves powder

with free choice grass hay

since getting this diet "set" I have been lucky and not had one flare up YET

along with feeding keep the hooves properly balanced to keep the horse comfy this may not be what others think is "right" but do what is best for your horse not what others think is best.

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #10 of 57 Old 01-14-2011, 10:49 PM
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oh oh oh

with alfalfa you want Enrich12 or the Super Supplement A

Nutrena only makes the one ....

extra protien will just be passed thur the urine so isnt' "that" big of a worry

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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