I currently feed my 2 tb mares 30lbs of orchard grass daily (spread out into 2 feedings), 5lbs of shredded beet pulp 2x's daily (fed soaked), and 1lb of stabilized rice bran pellets 2x's daily. I used to also feed oats but I removed those from their diet and I am going to start them on a ration balancer.
My first question, when I start them on their ration balancer should I continue feeding the rice bran along with it or should I remove it?
Do I need to introduce the ration balancer slowly, the way I would grain?
I have also read that feeding a ration balancer can sometimes improve a horse's "mood" or "attitude", has anyone experienced this?
Lastly, can anyone recommend me a brand of ration balancer?
Thank you all in advance! :)
I think that ration balancers are an excellent way to ensure that your horse is getting all the right nutrients without the need to give them excessive amounts of feed. I've been feeding my horses Horse Guard. It's a supplement designed for areas deficient in Selenium however, so you may want to research your local Selenium levels.
Dynamite is also supposed to have good ration balancers: https://www.dynamitemarketing.com/co...ID=3&content=3
I use Enrich 32 by Purina because it's the one available in my area.
I didn't slowly introduce the RB when I started feeding it and I saw no adverse effect in my mare. I figure you're feeding so little of it that it's not really a major diet change.
You can definitely feed rice bran along with an RB. That's a really good way to add "safe fat" to the diet.
I did notice an attitude change in my mare when I started her on the RB. She's a pretty hot Arab mare and adding the RB seemed to help calm her down just the slightest bit. It wasn't a major change but it was enough that her attitude off the RB is different than her attitude on the RB.
thanks for your replies! i'll have to go to the feed store to see what exactly is available i just wanted to have some names in mind incase i come across some options rather than just going with a random one.
Why do you feed the beet pulp & rice bran? Are the horses 'hard keepers'? If not, so much high energy stuff is probably not necessary. If so, you may want to keep feeding it, and depending on what 'ration balancer' you choose, you may want to exchange part of the current for the RB, if extra energy is not needed. You may also want to consider a powdered supplement rather than a 'ration balancer', if you're 'hard feeding' anyway.
There are many different ration balancers, some which are grain based, some that aren't, some that are relatively high dose - they would be a substantial percentage of the daily ration - & some which are very low dose - eg. KER Gold only has to be fed at about a large handful per horse per day. So it depends what you choose to feed & why as to what else or what you remove from your horse's diet. An analysis with a service such as FeedXL.com would enable you to work out what your particular horses need.
As for behaviour, yes, imbalances & deficiencies, especially in minerals such as magnesium have been associated with behaviour changes & it seems that well balanced diets to affect horses positively, mentally as well as physically.
Oh & yes, it's important to change feeds gradually, regardless what they are.
@loosie, thanks for your reply. I feed beet pulp and ricebran because I was under the impression that neither were high energy feeds. Both mares were also underweight when I bought them and the beet pulp and ricebran has helped maintain their weight well. I also feed them because they are considered to be more "safe" to feed than grains.
Please correct me if I am wrong but that is the impression I was under about the 2. I will definitely take a look at feedxl.com, thank you!
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Beet pulp is comparable in energy levels to oats I think. I know rice bran is also relatively high energy, but can't remember any comparisons about that. Yes, they are 'safer' than grain, being low sugar/starch(assuming it's unsweetened) & easier to digest. If the horses are now doing well, I'd cut back on them a bit & see how they go. I'm not a nutritionist, but if you're going to get onto FeedXL, you'll also have an equine nutritionist 'on call' to answer any of your specific questions.
Rice bran and beet pulp are high fat (and therefore high calorie), but I wouldn't classify them as high energy in the sense that most people use that. Fat calories are generally considered cool calories, since they won't make your horse hot like some other high calorie feed/supplements. (In fact there is a name-brand supplement called Cool Calories that is 99% fat)
This page has a very nice list of ration balancers by brand & forage type they are meant to be fed with (grass or alfalfa) Specific Ration Balancer Products I like the Triple Crown 30% supplement personally.
thanks you guys, loosie i must have taken what you meant by "energy" the wrong way. I thought by high energy you meant it would make them hot, as apposed to the cool energy that i was told it has.
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