Suggestions for Feeding New Mare
   

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Suggestions for Feeding New Mare

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        01-03-2014, 12:03 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Suggestions for Feeding New Mare

    Hi there,

    My name is Mary. I'm new here and have recently gotten back into horse ownership (only the second time around for me). I have fallen in love with a Belgian mare named Fancy. She's about 17.2+ and needs to put on a little bit of weight. She hasn't been grained in a few years, so I will have to gradually get her back on it. She is at about 1800 lbs right now, and her top needs to be filled out a little. I plan on getting her into shape. I have a few questions, since she is so large and I'm not a Belgian expert I would like to know how much to feed her. She will be in pasture with hay. I have Purina Strategy and rolled oats purchased, but I'm having a hard time finding how much oats to feed in conjunction to the pellets. (She should be getting to her pasture on Sunday). How much grain should I be working up to? Strategy states not to use less than .35lbs per 100lb of horse a day. If I did this I should be feeding about 6.5+ lbs minimum, but if I fed it with the oats should I adjust the amount lower or just add it on since I'm trying to get a little weight on her?

    Thank you in advance!
         
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        01-03-2014, 02:53 PM
      #2
    Yearling
    You do not feed a draft like other "light" breeds of horses truthfully and honestly.

    Please read anything you can find online by Dr. Beth Valentine, an expert on draft horse nutrition.
    Here's one of her articles (there are several):
    Draft horse, mule, oxen power, back to the land and sustainable living - Rural Heritage online

    These four rules of feeding are a must for all drafts: HIGH FAT, HIGH SOLUBLE FIBER, LOW STARCH, LOW PROTEIN (especially in hot or humid climates).

    Visit RURAL HERITAGE online for more info on drafts.
    This site covers many, so many issues pertaining to drafts in all aspects of their life.

    Welcome back to horse ownership and Enjoy...

         
        01-04-2014, 07:22 AM
      #3
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by horselovinguy    
    You do not feed a draft like other "light" breeds of horses truthfully and honestly.

    Please read anything you can find online by Dr. Beth Valentine, an expert on draft horse nutrition.
    Here's one of her articles (there are several):
    Draft horse, mule, oxen power, back to the land and sustainable living - Rural Heritage online

    These four rules of feeding are a must for all drafts: HIGH FAT, HIGH SOLUBLE FIBER, LOW STARCH, LOW PROTEIN (especially in hot or humid climates).

    Visit RURAL HERITAGE online for more info on drafts.
    This site covers many, so many issues pertaining to drafts in all aspects of their life.

    Welcome back to horse ownership and Enjoy...

    That's as much as I got. I was going to ask my dad or grandpa but they're both sick and have no idea I bought a Belgian. I figured that the Strategy food would be good but I've been hearing differences in amounts to feed. I heard a few cups twice a day or 2lbs between 2 feedings a day to 10lbs a day. I was hoping to get a direct answer to that. I guess I'll go and gauge it out.

    Thank you for the links! I've ordered some books and have been reading on the internet. :)
         
        01-04-2014, 09:44 AM
      #4
    Yearling
    In the meantime go to the Purina website.
    There is a "contact us" place that gets you in touch with their feed nutritionists. These are feed gurus and highly educated professionals who will help you to make good choices and teach you also about what makes a diet so special for a draft.
    They have helped me tremendously {for free} when I had a emaciated on a scale of 1 rescue...with their help, guidance from my vet and them working in unison we were able to save that horse from death and it was knocking on the door hard!
    It is great that you have family to ask but sometimes well intentioned advice could not be accurate and information about diet needs for drafts has come a very long way in a few short years. Feeding correctly can keep the healthy healthy and get the unhealthy healthier and maintained.

    Best of luck.
         
        01-04-2014, 01:06 PM
      #5
    Started
    I can't disagree more than you can not feed a draft the same as a light horse. What you feed is a big part of it but I have fed 25 drafts and part drafts in a herd situation mixed with light horses on one diet with no ill effects. What's their diet? 24/7 grass pasture when possible and when they need supplemental hay, it's 50/50 grass alfalfa. I feed concentrates on a rare basis unless I have a nursing mare than she will get a minimum of 12# a day. Otherwise they get a free choice vitamin mineral blend and carrots for treats. Sounds pretty close to what a lot of people feed their light horses.

    I am familiar inside out and backwards on Dr Valentines publishing but there are holes in it. She states that 2/3 of drafts show the gene for EPMS microscopically. What does that mean? 2/3 of which drafts? The ones that presented at the clinic, the ones who submitted samples for testing or did they gather information from random horses standing out in the pasture from coast to coast? What was the breed breakdown? Lineage? Of the 2/3, how many actually developed EPSM? Was the diet changed and when was it changed....? The main publications are also 15 years old. Where is the current research? As we collect more data on Quarter Horses afflicted with PSSM are we going to put all quarter horses on a high fat diet as well? I think we are going to make some interesting discoveries with the new testing. The limited protein is also a contradiction to some of her other work. She recommends 10% protein overall for a draft whereas a light horse is 8%. Make sense as a draft has more muscle mass and if the horse is EPSM it has muscle wasting and needs the additional protein to rebuild muscle mass. You can't build muscle with oils.

    I have seen large herds of Percherons managed from Alberta to Iowa as well as the big show and pulling hitches from across North America. I have yet to see one horse fed a high fat EPSM diet. I won't deny that there haven't been horses that had obvious signs of the condition and should of been on a high fat diet. The bottom line is limited NSC to under 15% which is relatively easy to do with a pature, grass or grass/alfalfa diet alone.

    The bottom line is simplicity. She is not a high octane horse that needs a large amount of concentrates to maintain or achieve her performance potential. 24/7 pasture is ideal with some hay thrown in when necessary. If you board, you will not find a BO willing to go the extra 20 miles and feed your horse an EPSM diet. Trust me on that one. I had one aged EPSM Percheron gelding that I loved to death but couldn't of been happier when his owner moved him home.

    Accurately estimating weight is important. If you can't get her on a scale, I have found that using: girth x girth x length divided by 330 to be amazingly accurate. 1800# is just about ideal for a 17.2 mare.
    greentree likes this.
         
        01-04-2014, 06:29 PM
      #6
    Teen Forum Moderator
    The biggest thing for her is going to be hay. She is going to need a LOT of it. At 1800, if she needs to gain weight she should be eating at least 2% of her weight in forage (hay and/or grass), possibly more. Remember that you should be feeding 2% of the animal's IDEAL weight so if she needs to be...say...100 lbs heavier (1900 lbs) you're looking at 38+ lbs of forage daily, or better yet- free choice until you get her up to weight. Is she going to have grass to graze?

    With enough hay, I'd work up to feeding her the minimum amount on the bag for her IDEAL weight, then adjust as needed. The thing about feeds like this is that they are designed to be fed at certain rates in order for the horse to get the correct amount of vitamins and minerals, so you really do need to feed at least close to the minimum unless you want to substitute it with a supplement such as Omega Horseshine, Dumor Ultrashine, or Sho Glo. Unless she was extremely thin I'd actually personally not feed any concentrated feed at all, but since you already have it and since Strategy is a decent feed, you might as well feed it. If you want something that you don't have to feed so much of, and she is gaining weight well on the hay, you could always give her a ration balancer that is usual fed in a few ounces per 100 lbs. She'd probably need a maximum of 2 lbs of that daily.

    Not sure about the rolled oats, I've never used them and I've heard they're just empty calories, but I could be wrong.

    Oh, and I demand pictures! 17.2hh Belgian mare? Helllloooooo gorgeous. Hope she's a gentle gal- those must be some BIG feet!
         
        01-04-2014, 08:00 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Thank you everyone! I'm currently trying to find some hay guys, I'm new to the area just coming from Kansas but people in the NOVA Southern MD area are really accommodating.

    She will be in a pasture with LOTS of grass to graze on, I've got a great deal in her boarding for free with the exchange of purchasing hay for her and 2 small arabians. I wanted to make sure she's getting a good balanced diet, but I've noticed how different it is with drafts.

    The reason I was going to ask my grandpa and father was because they have owned Belgians, almost continuously on my grandpa's farm.

    What I know about her is that:
    1. She hasn't been grained for years (but LOVES it)
    2. She has maintained her weight fairly well in that time on just hay.
    3. She will have a low to moderate work level (I'm going to be working her in the round pen for about 30 minutes a day, then work up to riding at least once or twice a week)

    So she's a pretty easy keeper with no health issues or vices.

    For the oats, I know that they are low in starch, rich in fat, and has a fair amount of digestible protein.

    And she is super gentle and just a love! I fell for her hard and I am anxiously awaiting tomorrow! (though it might not be until next weekend)

    I'll be posting lots of pictures of her.
         
        01-04-2014, 08:32 PM
      #8
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FancytheBelgianMare    

    For the oats, I know that they are low in starch, rich in fat, and has a fair amount of digestible protein.
    100% backwards. Oats are extremely high in starch (50%), low in fat (3%) and low in protein (11%). As a comparison, the Strategy is 25% starch (still fairly high), 6% fat (still low in by book. I like 10%) and 14% protein.
         
        01-04-2014, 08:53 PM
      #9
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons    
    100% backwards. Oats are extremely high in starch (50%), low in fat (3%) and low in protein (11%). As a comparison, the Strategy is 25% starch (still fairly high), 6% fat (still low in by book. I like 10%) and 14% protein.
    Okay. That's completely opposite from what I've been told/read. So I'll probably not use it then...
         
        01-04-2014, 08:57 PM
      #10
    Foal
    This is the best picture I have of her right now. (She has a partial blue eye as well)

    IMG_20131229_164433_150.jpg
         

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