Feeding a Belgian Draft Horse Beet Pulp.
I have a Belgian draft named Spartacus who is 17.1 hands and about 2000 to 2500 pounds. He is a very thick boy and seems to be an easy keeper but I was told that Beet Pulp would be good for his cracked hoof, and also for his teeth he has awful teeth one of his front ones is chipped and looks terrible. They told me the pellets that he eats (he is fed 2 or more quarts of cleveland horse feed and has unlimited access to pasture and bermuda hay) may be making his teeth worse because pellets make them have to kind of grind their teeth. But anyways a friend reccomended getting beet pulp shreds adding water, molasses, and some corn oil to it and letting it sit overnight to make a soft food for him she told me it would be alot better for his teeth, hoofs, coat and everything. I just dont want him to get extremely over weight or anything because I was reading and it said it was more recommended for horses that were under weight, hard keepers, pregnant or nursing? And you already cant find his ribs at all he is so big but I figured since he is a draft that is probably normal for him. So any body have any tips, comments, pros and cons about feeding beet pulp to my draft horse?
Before changing anything about his feed, I would get an equine dentist to sort his teeth out...you never know what they can do to help, or what could be lurking.
Good luck though
Oh yes we are doing that asap when we bought him the lady couldnt tell us when was the last time they were floated or when his hoof were trimmed or anything so we just got his hoofs trimmed about two weeks ago and now are looking to do his teeth, the only problem is our local vet will do it for a really good price but someone told me I should get an actually equine specialist to do it because they have more training on horses and vets just have the overall training so I cant decide if my vet will be able to do a thorough enough job or if i should seek an equine dentist :)
I'm sure your vet can give a quick look, but for this an equine dentist would be required, I'd keep him on the same stuff for now, until you get the dentist out its not going to cause any more damage, then speak to the dentist about what needs to be done and what sort of feed he would reccomend to help prevent any further damage.
Thanks for the advice and I guess I need to start looking for a equine dentist his crack look pretty wrecked. I was actually told him was eight but when my farrier examined his teeth he said he looked more like 15 to 18 years so im not even sure of his age sadly.
I have used nonmolasses beet pulp shreds for drafts and it's fine but my mine weren't particularly fond of the taste when served alone. Not sure what Cleveland feed is but if your gelding is an easy keeper, why not drop the feed in favor of a little low sugar/low starch ration balancer, a cup of vegetable oil, and some soaked cubes?
Check out Dr. Beth Valentine's draft horse diet. It's a great starting point to work out a diet for your draft.
The dentist will be able to help with that.. I have a friend who has recently finished his trainin in America to become an equine dentist.. and I am glad your vet said that you need one rather than giving an inexperienced answer..
Before you ride, or do anything, please get him checked out.. anything could be lurking in there.
Best of luck!
It's important to have an accurate estimate of what your horse weighs when feeding. A 17.1 H draft is going to weigh closer to 1750-1850#. There are formulas that use heartgirth and body lenght to calculate it. It's usually accurate within 100#. It's also important to know for deworming and medicating (sedation).
BP is an easily digested high fiber feed. It's a good medium to mix large quantites of fat (oil) that many drafts thrive on. It's not going to fix poor quality chipped hooves. A frequent quality trim will take care of those. The bad front tooth is not going to have much bearing on his eating. He uses that tooth to nip grass not chew hay and grain. The molars crush and grind the feed with side to side action. The surface of a horse's teeth are designed to wear down constantly by chewing. Teeth will erupt (grow) throughout his life so you have to have the constant reduction by chewing . Feeding him a soupy mash if he is elderly with bad teeth will be beneficial because more than likely his teeth do not create the flat grinding surface needed to make the feed more readily digested. BP shreds usually have added molasses and are more expensive than the pellets. They are faster to soak and prepare but I'd still go for the pellets for those 2 reasons. You just have to make his meal with warm water or start it after the previous meal. Omit the molasses. That's the last thing he needs. What are Cleveland pellets?
Most Belgians are really easy keepers. A ration balancer mixed in beet pulp would do him good. I fed my Belgians beet pulp for years. Mostly because of the amount of hay they consumed. Was more of a fiber supplement for them but it did make them sleek and fat. I did give mine free choice hay and just a little complete pellet along with beet pulp. Ration balancers hadn't come out yet.
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