Another What to Feed Question
I have a 6 yr old morgan/quarter horse gelding that gets free choice hay (we put out big round bales in the paddock for him and his buddy) and I feed him about 3 scoops of Nutrina safe choice pelleted feed a day (in two feedings) . He is in good weight and seems happy. Today I had my farrier out and he casually aked what I was feeding when I told him he said that was fine for the summer but for the winter I needed to stop feeding the safe choice and feed him whole oats and sweet feed in a ratio of 2:1. This will be my first winter with this horse, he will be staying outside all winter but has an enclosed shelter at night. I dont ride in the winter and our winters are very cold here in northern Ontario Canada. What do you folks think? I am getting confused because the people at my feed store suggested the safe choice, a very experienced horsewoman told me she has only fed good quality hay to her horses for over 50 years and they all look great and thats what mine needed , and now the farrier suggests this. My farrier also said my horse is still growing...is that possible?
If your horse is in good weight now, keep doing what you're doing basically :wink: It is fine for a horse to lose a bit of condition over winter, but if you find he's dropping off, you could feed a bit more, esp hay. No need to change to different ingredients necessarily though and I wouldn't choose sweet feed and other grain as a rule. That is high energy type feed for hard working horses, and high sugar/starch too, which can cause issues, esp if you can only feed a couple of meals daily - little & often is best & even more important when you're feeding 'high GI'.
For some good info & further sources on feeding horses, there is feedxl.com safergrass.org & Dr Kellon's site, among other good ones to learn more from.
So, my opinion is that I disagree with your farrier on the feeding note. On growing, yes, horses don't finish maturing until around 7yo & depending on the breed, that can include growing. Clydies & the likes can be still growing at 9yo! One reason I don't like starting & working babies & youngsters...
Oh, nearly forgot to mention, I'd also be giving him a good quality nutritional supp to ensure he's getting well balanced nutrition. feedxl.com is one program you can use to work out what your horse needs.
First the easy question. Yep, your horse could still be growing though not at the great rate he did when a youngster. I've had horses that kept creeping up until they were 7 or 8.
Now for the feed. If the Nutrena Safe Choice & free choice hay is working for you and your horse, I would not change nor add anything. Keep a close watch on him as it turns colder and if he starts dropping weight, then you can increase the Safe Choice to up his calories. Nutrena also makes Empower Boost which is a great source of fat calories (22% fat) so that you can boost his caloric intake with fat rather than carbs or sugar which is what your farrier is suggesting. I wouldn't have a problem with giving him whole oats to increase his intake but I'm not a fan of sweet feeds at all. They tend to be mostly sugar and or molasses and corn and not real balanced in the nutrient department.
I recommend whole oats over crimped, steamed or otherwise processed oats because they are harder to digest because of the hull being intact. That creates more fibre and because fibre is harder to digest than processed feeds,it creates heat for digestion helps them stay warm and not shivering off all the calories you feed him. Does this make sense? If not say so and I'll try to explain it better. If you can buy race track oats, they tend to be great quality and really clean. Or look for Triple Cleaned Whole Oats.
thank you for the replies I didnt think sweet feed was that great a feed and I am glad you confirned my belief. Loosie I will check out that website as well.
I absolutely disagree with your farrier!!!!
If SafeChoice is working, don't change it. I'm all for feeding LOW starch anything-and oats contain about 44% starch, which make for nutty energy and acidic guts.
And really, SafeChoice isn't really very low starch, though they market it to be that way. However, I'd choose that over oats!!!
Ummmmm.....If I were concerned, I would talk to my vet about my horse's diet and not my farrier. :?
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