Thinking ahead to my winter horse feed, Help please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Skagit County, WA
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Thinking ahead to my winter horse feed, Help please

Hello, I am looking for some advice.
I have a little over two acres which is fine for my two horses, however we have no pasture of any kind during the winter.

I feed them local hay, which is my area is nice for horses.
I am currently Purina Strategy Healthy Edge grain also.

The thing is once winter hits my horses will lose weight, I feed them both 2-3 flakes morning and night and usually 1-2 thrown in at lunch time, as well as feeding regular grain morning and night, my question is What should I add to their winter diet to keep them from losing weight? I know some of what I am seeing is muscle loss.

I know there are some grains out there that can replace hay (not what I am looking at doing) Should I get one of those and can I add it to my current grain?

Hope this all makes sense


Rem - 9 yr old Paint gelding; Lelouch - 9 yr old Connemara X Welsh gelding; Ejie - 8 yr old Arabian mare
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 12:20 PM
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I'm not familiar with that grain but why not add more hay?
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 12:24 PM
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Agree with DA; up their hay.

My horses get more hay in the winter, to make up for the pasturage they're not getting. None of them lose weight.

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post #4 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 12:51 PM
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Do you guys get the super cheap grass hay up there, like we do here? The stuff that's just someone's random field, baled?

What I do is I stock up on those bales and just feed as much of it as Lacey wants. I make sure she always has enough to really chow down, if the mood hits her (I keep it somewhat collected in a stall corner/hay rack so it doesn't get soiled+unedible).
Then, I supplement with about 5lbs of alfalfa/day and a ration balancer, with a pound of beet pulp mixed in if Lacey appears to be loosing a bit of weight (that usually happens during the coldest bit of winter).

I find that the grass hay is cheap enough that even going through 1.5 60lb bales a week (during the coldest part of the winter, usually it's a bale-3/4 bale/week) and about half a 120lb bale of alfalfa, I very very rarely exceed my goal of not spending more than $10 on feed/week (barring weeks where I have to buy a new bag of ration balancer).
And Lacey stays a healthy weight. Not obese like she is pretty much all summer (thank goodness) but a healthy, ribs have a thin layer of fat but can't be seen through her coat, energetic weight.

In Lacey's case, the alfalfa is the real ticket. Without the alfalfa, she'll lose tremendous amounts of weight no matter how much grass hay she's eating. I figure that the grass hay just doesn't have enough protein in it for her system to function properly.
I couldn't handle, $$-wise, just feeding alfalfa (not sure how good that would be for her anyway, haha) but so far, 2 winters on this system, the results (of what? The clinical trials I've been running? ) have been exellent.
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Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 01:10 PM
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Strategy is a premium pellet, nothing wrong there. Horses use an incredible amount of energy staying warm in the winter. That is why many lose weight if the feed regimen isn't adjusted. The reason increasing hay works to keep weight on in the winter is because as horses are eating & processing the hay it creates higher metabolism there by increasing body heat and so they use less energy to stay warm in winter temps. The other possibility is to blanket and feed the same amount but once you start that you have to keep them blanketed the whole winter because it will cause a decrease in winter coat growth. there are many horse people for & against blanketing..I have done it both horses have never dropped weight over the winter ( at least visible weight)

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post #6 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks you guys I will look into beet pulp and definitely some richer hay to mix in.
Do you soak your beet pulp?
I already have blankets for them but just rain sheets.
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Rem - 9 yr old Paint gelding; Lelouch - 9 yr old Connemara X Welsh gelding; Ejie - 8 yr old Arabian mare
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-17-2012, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Thyme View Post
Do you soak your beet pulp?
I get the pellets (just to differentiate between the pellets and shreds) and I don't soak it. I do add some water right before placing it out but there's no intentional soaking.

I imagine that if you have a "bolter" you might want to soak it but I haven't had issues.
Lacey eats amazingly slowly. She takes a bite, chews it very thoroughly, takes another bite, etc.
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Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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