Will a change in feed/supplements calm my horse?
I'm new to these fourms, and any advice is appreciated :-)
I own a five year old Quarter Horse gelding. In the summer he is my dream horse, calm, athletic, and willing with a fantastic personality. In the winter though it's a complete change. He becomes nervous, spooky, hyper and irritable. I'm wondering if this could be from two many calories or sugar in his diet? (I know very little when it comes to horse nutrition:-|)
I have only had him for a year, and we are going into our second winter together and I would like this winter to be much better then last.
He is kept on full time turn out with good quality grass hay and ridden 5 times a week even in the 20 degree weather. I do a lot of ground work, but that has only helped me to a certin point. He is also fed Red Cell (an iron supplement) because he is has a low blood count with out it. (there was no behavior change when I started this supplement). He also is feed a 3/4 of a scoop of a grain blend. (I have exact details of this feed if needed, it is the same brand feed that came from his original owner, I have never taken him off of it.) He is on the skinny side so I don't feel like I can cut out is grain completely.
I tried SmartCalm Ultra with no effect. I tryed this only because it was just more vitamins and would have no bad effects on my horse. Before I go try any herbal supplements (like oralx calm and cool) I wanted to try changing his feed instead, as it is the safer option, and I only want whats best for me and my horse.
Some things I have thought about trying are...
Cutting out the grain but subsituting it with hay cubes.
Feeding raspberry leaves.
A thiamine supplement.
As you can tell I am rather clueless:-| on this subject, and I am open to any ideas. Please ask any questions.
My 14 yr old TWH mare has also done the same exact thing! She has NEVER bucked and I ride her almost everyday, But since it has gotten cold out she is spooky and when asked to canter she bucks! No a "get off me" buck but more of a happy buck lol I dont get it.
What feed is he on and how much weight wise?
Think lower sugars and starches(lower grain) higher fat
About a year ago I started my mare on raspberry leaves and they have helped her SO much. They didn't dumb her down or anything, they just took the edge off.
Depending on the grain, he might not be getting enough to really make a difference weight-wise. It'd also be helpful to know exactly how much this 3/4 scoop of grain weighs and the brand of feed. :)
Personally, I've had great results having my mare on a ratio balancer (which is basically a vitamin+mineral supplement that you only need to feed about a pound a day of) and when she needs weight, I just add beet pulp. Beet pulp really packs the pounds on her. Another plus is that there's nothing in BP that encourages her to be hot, unlike grain with all it's sugars and starches.
:-)I have my mare on Mare Magic (raspberry leaves) and I love that stuff! It's also good for riggy geldings. BOTH my geldings get grumpy in the wintertime (???) - one is retired - he's 32 now so he's excused! All my guys have been running in the pasture and bucking and crow hopping around - I attribute it to the cooler weather. I feed a low starch feed and it does really well for my horses - recommended by my Vet. My older gelding has a problem keeping weight on also but he does great on the low starch feed. I've tried calming supplements over the years but never had much luck with any of them until I tried the Mare Magic - THAT does work for my mare! You'll get it figured out and you will find a lot of friendly people on this forum to help you! Good luck!
I forgot to add this to my post:
I used to have my mare on Mare Magic but that was getting kinda expensive which was a bummer. Then, someone happened to mention to me about looking up raspberry leaves on Ebay, since Mare Magic is just raspberry leaves, and people sell raspberry leaves as a natural human remedy all the time.
So I found this person: BEST BUY!! RED RASPBERRY LEAF CUT & SIFTED-1 LB-100% PURE & NATURAL-ALBANIA | eBay
She's the cheapest raspberry leaf person on Ebay and since you only need to feed about a 1/8 cup of the leaves a day, a pound lasts for over 3 months. And, with shipping, the price is the same as if you bought a 30 day supply of Mare Magic, so it's crazy cheaper! The quality is really good too so you're really not sacrificing anything for price.
But yeah, Mare Magic/Raspberry leaf tip! :)
I'm not sure what any of this means... but this is what the back of his feed bag says:
It's call Assurance Equity Blend
Calcium (max)... 1.1%
Vitamin A./..5000 IU/LB
Vitamin E...100 IU/LB
As far as his weight he's normal, I just don't want him to loose any.
Horses do get spunkier naturally in the cold, so I the weather is probably most of the problem.
From everything you say, I would not arbitrarily start adding or subtracting supplements. I would get rid of as much sugar from his diet as you can but not the supplements.
When you say he has a low blood count, does that mean a vet monitors him with some frequency? Unless there is recent laboratory proof that he needs the Red Cell, I would also question that.
There's always the possibility that the cold weather is, indeed, helping him to be spookier, but with all the riding you are doing and the fact that he's out 24/7 ---- well ---- something's not adding up; I just don't know what.
One of my TWH's hadn't been ridden in a year. Thanksgiving Day was cold and really windy. We fussed for almost an hour with the new saddle before giving up. My 9 yr old niece rode him bareback in the roundpen; my SIL can't ride, she jumped on him bareback and went down the road with me.
This horse is only out during the day. Point being, he never gets ridden and acted like perfect gentleman to two non-riders, so I think there's more going on with your horse than just the cold weather.
If you can afford to, I would have the vet come out and draw blood for a complete CBC. That won't be cheap but again, unless there are already current lab documents regarding blood work on this horse, I would want some.
I would also have his eyes thoroughly checked by the vet. It might be happenstance that a vision problem might have cropped up just when the weather turned and his issues aren't weather-related.
Again, that's probably not the case, but something to consider.
At any rate, I'd have the vet give him a thorough exam before I start changing his supplement regimen. Except for the sugars - ditch as much sugars as you can:)
He does need Red Cell. I work with my vet to moniter his condition we have tested before and after the Red Cell supplement, and before he was high and low in different areas. With Red Cell he is balanced out and in all his normal levels. His last blood test was in October. Red Cell will probably be a life long supplement, as with out it he was prone to calapse when being worked in warm temperatures. (This is what alerted me to the problem in the first place) Needless to say one calpse and my vet was called.
By elimateing sugars does that just mean get rid of his grain all together? I was thinking of useing hay cubes to give him his supplements, and to help keep some weight on... or will that equal a lot of sugar too? (again... totaly clueless:wink:)
Also thanks for all the great feed back everyone!
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