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Jore 08-26-2012 07:58 PM

Opinions on Equiline feeding programs..
So, I need to look at other options besides Triple Crown because I'm having zero luck finding any local.. however, there is a Shur-Gain Feeds n' Needs. I went to their website and found the equine feed that they carry, so I'd like some advice on what type looks most suitable for a ten year old mare who will be in moderate work. She's also prone to ulcers, as she cribs.. so I'd like something low starch.

Equine Feeding Programs

Thank you for any and all help!

PunksTank 08-26-2012 08:15 PM

Personally I avoid mixed/processed feed. I'm one of the very few who do so don't take my words too seriously. But having had a horse killed by a purina mix that was made with moldy corn (along with a number of other horses in our neighborhood, all on the same diet at the same time) I decided to look at other options.

We (the BO and me) looked at the common ingredients in all processed feeds and designed the diet for our typical sized horses (an appendix at 1150pounds being the normal) we vary the quantity of it depending on the horse's size and needs (our OTTB gets far more)

We feed this mix 3 times a day (to help avoid potential colic):
1 cup Crimped oats (crimped or crushed or cooked all work, but whole oats aren't easily processed)
1 cup Dehydrated alfalfa pellets (not cubes! those need to be soaked!)
1/4 cup barley (every season except spring, it's always moldy in the spring)
1/8 cup of crushed/cracked corn (personally I'm taking my horses off this, it's just starchy filler)

then for supplements we give Brewer's Yeast and MSM to all the horses and specialized supplements to the ones who need it.

We do this because then we know for sure that each ingredient int heir feed is clean and wholesome - it's hard to not notice if the something is moldy in a giant bag of it! but it's easy to miss when processed. We also do this so we can specialize the supplements for each horse, rather than giving them all a dose of everything.

My personal opinion is that what we are feeding them is too much for their sedentary lifestyles (they're all retired unsound rescues), but if they were working even a normal amount this would be a quality diet (IMO)

ETA: the alfalfa pellets will help with her ulcer-prone issues, but i'd suggest adding Magnesium to her diet or some other ulcer protector as a supplement. Also, another fantastic reason we mix our own grains is that we CAN change the diet for each horse, the Cushing's horses we've got are all on no-carb diets, getting only Alfalfa pellets and hay stretcher (+supplements). If you're looking to really crack down on starch you can eliminate both corn and barley from that diet and still maintain a healthy working horse. I have a small draft horse on just alfalfa pellets, crimped oats and supplements (and free choice good hay) and she is quite chubby xD but she also Never works!!
And of course free choice quality hay throughout the day.

Jore 08-26-2012 08:26 PM


I was hoping to get her on some rice bran (as she is a hardkeeper and I've read that rice bran is a healthy way to get and keep weight on) plus hopefully a ration balancer and an overall supplement for joints, coat, digestion, etc. I think I'll be stopping into the Shur-Gain on Tuesday to see what they can order for me, as I'd love to keep everything local. Plus, the seller told me that Shur-Gain has good prices on rice bran. (or so she heard)

She also told me that horses should be fed some sort of grain.. but I'm thinking as long as she's getting all her vitamins/minerals and has some sort of feed other than the pasture and hay to rely on, she'll be good. I'm thinking maybe getting some rice bran, alfalfa pellets (if I can find some) and then a ration balancer plus the supplement.

Can I ask what Brewer's Yeast does for horses? I'm looking for a reliable joint supplement that I'd be able to easily find. :) I'm also probably going to discuss an ulcer preventative with the vet, as Amanda said U-Gard doesn't seem to make a difference for her.

ETA: She'll also be on 24/7 pasture until winter months where the horses are kept in their stall with hay. I'm thinking of perhaps buying a hay net so that the hay will last her longer.

Jore 08-26-2012 08:35 PM

Would a combination of rice bran, beet pulp pellets and alfalfa pellets be a good "staple" for her diet? I'd have to work out the amounts, and split it in half as she'd get fed twice a day. I'm thinking we'll just start her out on an overall supplement at first, and then further discuss with a vet about an ulcer supplement or treatment of some sort.

I'm now wishing that I just had a giant horse mart across the street with every type of bran and supplement that you could imagine... if only. :)

PunksTank 08-26-2012 09:05 PM

That sounds like a quality diet - Rice bran is a fantastic weight picker-upper. Be very Careful with it though! Very often our ricebran come moldy or even once we got it with TONS of moths in the bucket!! they must have harvested/processed it while the moths were cocooned and they all came out by the time we got it! what a nasty surprise.

the BEST joint supplement I've ever found has been MSM, if she has bad joints already MSM with Glucosamine is the best option.
MSM is: MSM contains sulfur in a form the body can readily use. Sulfur is necessary for the production of collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin, all of which are building blocks of cartilage. Sulfur is necessary for the formation of all connective tissue in the horse's body, including cartilage in joints. Sulfur also works with thiamine, pantothenic acid, and biotin to promote metabolism and communication between nerve cells. Sulfur is found abundantly in keratin, a major component of hair, hooves, and skin, and it's included in some horse skin, coat and hoof supplements. Sulfur is also necessary in the formation of glutathione, which functions as one of the body's best natural antioxidants.

My mare has a serious reaction to bugs, and gets ripples on her belly where the collagen has deteriorated from twitching and rubbing so much. When I started her on MSM this got Immediately better! Most horses these issues will cause permanent ripples in their skin, hers are gone completely.

As for Brewer's Yeast: It isn't for joints or anything, it simply makes it easier for them to process their feed. Here's a good link that explains it best:

Also for horses with ulcers (Of Course! Speak to you Vet!!) but I find Magnesium helps a great deal. Here's a fantastic link about Magnesium. This is an all-to-forgotten supplement that horses Need. Magnesium- The Mineral Superhero

Looks like you've got a good understanding of it all :)

Jore 08-26-2012 09:11 PM

I'll have to look into the MSM! She does have good joints, but the flexion test revealed a bit of soreness in a front fetlock.. so the vet recommended a supplement. He said it may bother her or it may not, just to keep her on supplements so it's less of a worry. And she also seems to get pretty nasty reactions to bug bites.. at her current barn, it's surrounded by trees and lacks grass so the bugs are pretty crazy. It'll be much better up where I am, but the fact that MSM helps with that is a huge bonus. :)

I'll have to look more into magnesium and see what the vet says. I know they say that every horse is different, but hopefully it'll work for her. I think if she does have ulcers, they're not too major, but I want to keep them that way.. or even better, non-existent.

Amanda said she was pretty high maintenance but I think the diet change will make it a bit better.. plus it might end up being cheaper than all the grain. She said she feeds Indie about $110 worth of grain a month.. but I'm thinking that the rice bran/beet pulp/alfalfa pellets will be considerably cheaper compared to that. :)

PunksTank 08-26-2012 09:25 PM

Oh definitely sounds like a great mix :) good luck! You are very wise not to just take stuff off the internet :) Talk to your vet, hopefully those things will work for you!

I've got an elderly Arabian mare at our rescue who's joints had just been completely ruined in her previous life. There isn't a single joint in her body not riddled with arthritis. MSM has truly saved this mare. She has recently been sound enough to let some of our tiny volunteers plod around on her for a little while.
But again I feed it preventatively to all my horses. :)

Jore 08-26-2012 09:30 PM

Yeah, I definitely wouldn't want to mess up anything.. even if I have the very best intentions! I don't want to accidentally give her too much of anything, especially the vitamins and minerals as I've read about toxicities and such. I'm also thinking that I'll probably pre-mix a week's worth of feed just to make it easier for my instructor and her dad, who usually do all the feeding. :) Hopefully the Shur-Gain is able to order all this stuff in, or at least direct me to a place that does.

deserthorsewoman 08-27-2012 02:31 PM

I'd get about 10 days worth of her current feed and start slowly mixing in the new stuff to avoid digestive upset from change if feed. Also with she currently on grass? If not, start out slow with it, too.
With pasture 24/7 she'll do much better with the ulcers and alfalfa really helps as it buffers the stomach acid. I've had huge success with Omega Horseshine, a flaxseed supplement, don't know if you can get it tho.
I've learned from two hardkeeper TB's that hay/pasture 24/7 plus alfalfa, fats and little oats are the key.
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Jore 08-27-2012 08:48 PM

Thanks! I was thinking of asking if I could get a few days at least of her current feed. I know that dogs usually need to be gradually switched over, although my two handle an abrupt change just fine.. so I figured that would apply to horses.

How should I mix it up while I'm still introducing the new feed?

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