need feeding plan advice
I recently bought a 5 year old quarter horse mare. She is in reining training and being ridden fairly often and isn't quite as toned as I'd like her to be, she seems like she is having a hard time keeping weight on. She was recently wormed and vet checked and vet said everything was okay and just to add a little extra food. So right now she is being fed alfalfa twice a day (boarding facility and don't have any other choices) and 3 pounds of Triple Crown Complete daily. She has access to a mineral block as well. Is there anything else I can give her to add some extra bulk onto her and maybe some shine? I curry comb her daily to help give her some shine. My other concern is that there is sand throughout the whole boarding facility. Her stall is mainly sand except for her feeding area which are mats that are swept off daily and she eats from a hay net. Should I be doing some sort of sand purge as well? Thanks in advance for the answers, I'm a new horse owner!
sylium will get rid of the sand in her stomach. And soaked beet pulp with put weight on her. If she is working hard Add a cup of alfalfa pellets to the beet pulp. How much hay are they giving her? Do they weigh it?
I gather the alfalfa is the hay she gets? Does she have any grazing/grass hay? How much alfalfa, grass, hay? How is it fed & how often is her hardfeed fed(how many meals daily)? Does she get any nutritional supps?
Horses are built for eating small amounts of poor grade(compared to cattle fattening grasses & high starch grains) high fibre roughage near constantly & they need a minimum of about 2-2.5% bodyweight daily in roughage, more if you want to put weight on. So I'd first consider adding more (grass)hay to her diet.
They don't deal well with big &/or infrequent 'meals' particularly if starchy/sugary - their system doesn't deal well with high starch/sugar diets. Therefore I'd feed any hard feed in at least a couple of feeds per day, more if it's a large quantity/starchy feed. Speaking of starch & sugar, I'd also ditch the TC sweets in favour of something healthier - not grain rich or smothered in molasses.
Alfalfa is a good, energy & nutrient rich feed for horses generally. But it is very high in protein, calcium & such, so needs to be fed *as part* of a balanced diet. Nutritional imbalance/deficiency can be a reason for a horse's 'failure to thrive' even when calories are more than adequate. FeedXL Horse Nutrition: The D.I.Y. equine diet planner is my favourite equine nutritional source.
Considering ulcers, stress & management are also important factors - eg if she's in a chronically stressful situation(physical or mental) this can effect her health including weight. If she's cooped up in a stable too much or otherwise restricted from free exercise, this can affect digestion too.
Knowing the typical QH competition barns, they give little roughage to avoid the hay belly. Apparently your mare needs more.
You could add some hay pellets, maybe soaked a little, rice bran will bring cool calories, flax supplement (I absolute swear by Omega Horseshine) gives her shine and the much needed fatty acids. Beet pulp too, puts on weight and gives fiber.
Her being on sand, a psyllium supplement is a really good idea.
Buy a small mesh hay net. It allows her to have near constant hay, which is healthier than having her eat it all within an hour or two.
Beet pulp will add calories in the form of roughage. Rice bran will add calories in the form of fat and add shine. Flax is good for shine.
For sand, you can feed psyllium husk. Sand Clear is one marketed for horses, but you can also use Metamucil.
Thanks for all the replies. So the most popular mix is rice bran, beet pulp and flaxseed. If I decide to use these should I stop the triple crown or add to it? Also, do they sell flaxseed in large bags for horses? Thanks!
Also, I have read it is not good to use rice bran for long periods of time, so once I get her to a good weight what can I use instead of rice bran?
Rice bran is fine to use for long periods of time IF you buy the stabilized fortified kind. Stabilized means it has a longer shelf life. Fortified means added calcium to balance the high phosphorus content.
You can find flax in many products, but the one I like best is MoorGlo by ADM, because it contains flax and rice bran.
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And you can feed with the TC. When the horse gets to a good weight, you can cut back a bit on any component of the hard feed.
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Doing some reading on equine digestion & feeding would be a good move - there're a few good online resources people have links to, but I can't pass them on personally ATM cos I'm not on my own computer. Hopefully someone else will post.
You only need to feed (fresh ground daily, or 'stabilised') flax @ round a cup daily, so you won't need a big bag - best to buy in small quantities if it's stabilised, because I don't know how long it's 'stabilised' for & it normally goes off very quickly after processing.
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