Need Help with Feeding Advice
Hi Everyone, I am new to horse forums and sort of rookie with horses;) I have an amazing 5 year quarter horse who is very healthy and athletic. I have been feeding her a sweet mix from our local feed store with 12% protein, and a good quality hay. She seems to be maintaining her weight just fine with me riding her at least twice a week. Since it is winter she isn't getting worked as hard as she will be in the summer as we will begin barrel racing, my question is should i look for a feed or supplement that will give her the energy she will need in the spring, possibly add alfalfa to her diet? or leave her diet the same? i know other barrel horses who are suped up on all kinds of stuff, but I only want whats best for her health;) any suggestions on hay, feed, supplements would be greatly appreciated!!
What feeds are available in your area?
There are your local stores that carry the basics like Tractor Supply and then I have access to a store that can order just about anything.
If she's on a sweet mix and a good hay ration, she's probably as amped as she is likely to get.
Generally, for most pasture and lightly ridden horses, all the hay they can eat and a ration balancer is all they need. Really easy keepers might need limited hay or turnout to keep them from getting fat. The balancer is essentially a vitamin supplement in grain-looking form to supply anything missing in their grass/hay like selenium. Horses that are skinny, hard keepers or are more heavily worked (more than 5-7 hours a week) might need some extra calories from grain or fats. As their workload goes up, their calorie demands go up and they have less time to sit about eating hay, so providing supplements like grain or fats becomes more important to help them maintain weight and nutrition.
I personally do not like sweet feed too high in sugars/starches....
I have my boys on Enrich 32 ... but there are other ration balancer...Triple Crown, Grow 'n' Win etc... you can feed up to 2.5 lbs - if your horse is an easy keeper like my guys then I give 1/2 lb in the AM and 1/2 in the PM - if I am working/training them everyday I might bump it up to 1.5 -
You can also add beet pulp, rice bran, alfalfa pellets... if you need more calories...
If you're finding that he's a really hard keeper then you might need to look into like a complete feed.
Good quality hay is all your horse needs over the winter as this is what their guts are primarily designed to assimilate. I keep a bag of alfalfa cubes handy and break them up into small wafers. When doing groundwork I offer these as a reward. As you ramp up your conditioning program in the spring, instead of a sweet mix. consider just plain oats. They've unjustly been given a bad rap but they are the only thing that will help heal ulcers in the hind gut. Even ulcer meds can't do that. It also provide additonal protein. Whole oats are fine and are relatively cheap. Don't get caught up in loading your horse with fancy "supplemental" feeds as you are just making expensive manure.
Ration Balancer here's a link to understand RB's....
Thanks, for all the help!! So as long as she has plenty of good quality hay I just need to supplement with a little grain, that has the nutrients the hay is lacking? Correct me if I am wrong;) In my area fescue and bermuda are the most common, which is better?? and if I cut out my sweet mix any suggestions on a good all around ration balancer?
Also the Enrich 32 that is considered a ration balancer? I am going to do some research on it and I had her on triple crown feed this whole first year of owning her but its just too expensive, do u think the RB is more economical?
I give 1/2 scoop sweet feed (12%), and 2 flakes of hay in the morning and late afternoon. In between those feeds, however, I give a generous portion of lightly soaked alfalfa cubes (late morning and early evening). With the alfalfa, are of course a handful of carrot nubs/apple chunks as well.
It seems to work very well for my horse, and gives a well rounded nutritional diet.
I used to give her 1/2 scoop of oats mixed with sweet feed, but in my mare's case, it made her hyper even though I excersised her regularly. Each horse is different, with various needs based upon many circumstances.
This simple formula seems to be working very well for my mare, and with the cold winter temps, is still maintaining a good weight!
1/2 scoop sweet feed, 2 flakes hay : early am
generous scoop soaked alfalfa cubes : late am (carrots/apples)
1/2 scoop sweet feed, 2 flakes hay : late afternoon
generous scoop soaked alfalfa cubes : early evening (carrots/apples)
*Now that we're into frigid winter temps, I warm the alfalfa cubes in the microwave, and she loves that as a special treat!
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