What should i feed my horse to restore his health? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 5 Old 07-29-2012, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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What should i feed my horse to restore his health?

I have a 12 yr old thoroughbred gelding who is 16.2, and I would really appreciate some advice as to how to feed him. He is my first horse and I have had him for 4 years now with only soundness issues. His lameness has cleared up, but until recently I have not taken his nutrition into my own hands. I am very well educated in human nutrition and a holistic-health enthusiast. However, my horse just had a sporadic twisting of his colon and had to have a surgery only 50% of horses survive afterward. He has pulled through like a champ.BUT I am now taking the iniative to learn how to change his nutirtion and lifestyle so that he can be healthy and never have this happen again. I am fully convinced the "sporadic" twisting (lodged between his kidney and spleen) was due to acid production in his stomach because he has been living in a stall/small padock type scenerio since january. Prior to that he has mainly been on open pastures. The last 3 years he has been inconsistantly worked due to his lameness. I had just started him on a 3x a week exercise program for a month before the colic and surgery.

I will be moving him next month to my family's new place on 30 acres so that he can have pasture and better supervision. I also want to get him off of grain completely. He is currently; on stall rest with 3 30min walks/grazing a day, 1/2 scoop strategy and 1/2 scoop sweet mix AM and again PM (total 6lbs),and 2 flakes coastal hay twice a day.I also just started him on probiotics to restore gut health.

He is in the process of gaining back the weight he lost from the surgery. Before the surgery he was consuming 9lbs of grain a day.

At the end of the month I plan to move him to a corral that has grass in it and then after about 2 weeks put him out to pasture. I would love for his diet to be 100% forage, maybe some beet pulp too though (as I have heard this is good stuff).


So, my question- how do I wean him off of this grain he is on before I move him out in a month? Give more hay? Start beet pulp? How much grain should he be getting in the first place?

The reason I don't know all of this is because I have a guy who has been caring for him for me since january since I have school and work. I want to educate myself though so that I can be assured.


Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-29-2012, 11:30 PM
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With the history of your horse I would discuss this with your vet. He will guide you in the best direction to go in. He knows your horse. Good luck with him. Be safe.

TRR
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-29-2012, 11:50 PM
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I'm havinf feeding issues with my pony as well. I would take him off strategy. I've taken classes on equine nutrition and I personally would never keep my horse on a purina or nutrena feed. It is high starch (corn, lots of corn) which is not good for horses. A little corn is okay. But never too much. Tribute, Semionle and Progressive feeds are the highest quality feeds on the market right now and they are low starch. If you are going to keep him on grain, I would look into one of their feeds. For him I'd keep him on a combo of Semionle Wellness Equi-Safe Forage and high quality T/A or Timothy and maybe even a grass balancer or ration balancer. Take him off costal. Costal is known to cause colic related issues in horses, and which his condition I would never chance that.

EDIT - I'd slowly take him off grain, and put him completely on forage if that is what you want. Beetpulp is good and will keep weight on him if that is an issue. Remember on average an adult horse needs to eat between 1.5% - 3.5 % of their body weight per day. It all depends on the horse and the living/working conditions. Talk to your vet.

Last edited by loveinhorses; 07-29-2012 at 11:58 PM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-30-2012, 02:32 AM
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Be very careful with taking them completely off grain or putting them on beet pulp (this is me being paranoid)

1. I don't like beet pulp.. so many horror stories of choking. So if you do add it to your horse's diet, please be careful and SOAK IT.
2. Sometimes hay doesn't have everything a horse needs.. which is why we supplement. Supplements usually go well as a grain dressing.. or even there are supplements INSIDE the grain which help cover any gaps as far as deficiencies go.

Please talk with your vet and then if you are able, after talking with your vet, get him tested to see what he is lacking.. what he is having too much of.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-30-2012, 01:46 PM
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I agree with feeding horses low- to no-grain diets whenever possible. It can be a little bit tricky with hard keepers, though. Thoroughbreds are stereotypically hard keepers and sensitive to alfalfa, although this may or may not be the case with your horse.

You can transition him off the grain over the course of a couple weeks and switch to a ration balancer (or vitamin/mineral supplement). For extra calories, I like beet pulp, rice bran and/or alfalfa (hay, pellets, or cubes). For beet pulp, weight it dry and then soak it before feeding.

I found FeedXL.com very helpful in figuring out a new feeding plan for my horse. It is a paid service, but isn't very expensive for one horse.
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