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Need help with variety of horses - feed/treats
Despite owning horses for over 20 years, I know next to nothing about grain/feed. :oops: Most of the horse owners in my area just give sweet feed.
My horses never have really needed grain. They get grass in the summer, and hay in the winter and don't have any trouble keeping weight on. I'd like to have something around just to offer for a "treat" now and again. I've been told to just give plain oats. Is that a good idea?
A little about my horses.
Royale: 29 year old Arab gelding. I'm thinking he might start to need some sort of supplementing soon, due to his age. A friend of mine swears by Triple Crown Senior, so I've been thinking of getting that. He's retired and doesn't get ridden. He is on 24/7 pasture (30 acres) with free choice shelter.
Cody: 22 year old QH gelding. Starting to get stiff in his rear legs. The vet's coming out soon to check him out to make sure it's not something other than arthritis. He is a very easy keeper, so I hesitate to put him on any kind of feed that will lead him to be overweight. He is on 24/7 pasture (30 acres) with free choice shelter.
Maverick: 15 year old Paint/Arab gelding (my SIL's horse). He is also an easy keeper, and hasn't been ridden in awhile. My SIL is planning on starting riding him again, but probably not until spring. He is on 24/7 pasture (30 acres) with free choice shelter.
Warrior: yearling Shetland pony colt. He will be kept in a paddock with free choice shelter until the other horses get used to him.
Scout: weanling Shetland Pony colt. He will be kept in a paddock with free choice shelter until the other horses get used to him.
Eclipse: 7 year old Paint/TB gelding. He is being boarded and is on box stall board, which means he is turned out when it's nice and in a stall when it's not. He will be entering training soon, which means he will be worked with/trained 2-3x per week. I just bought him, and his previous owner had been graining him daily.
I'm huge fan of Senior's feed. Your arab will do well on it. If he's eating well, start with 2 lbs daily then after a few days up it to twice daily if time allows. You will see little differences in about 30 days. For treats it's alfalfa cubes. Sometimes it takes a hammer and screwdriver to the big chunks to break them into wafers but horses love them and alfalfa is good for them.
I'd start out with a Ration balancer. For all of them. Then build up from there. New horse might need some extra when working, oldie Arab could benefit from a senior feed if the RB is not enough.
Oats in general is not a bad thing IF needed. Most if the time they are really not needed and the average horse does just fine with roughage and the RB.
I forgot to mention a very important thing: the Arab has choked in the past (minor, cleared without vet assistance) so that's a concern. My parents take care of most of the horses on a daily basis and my mom is currently opposed to anything that poses even the remotest choke hazard. (My other Arab had a very severe choke that took hours to clear and he ended up with a respiratory infection).
I've used oats as a "Treat" item lots of time, I mostly use it to train the horses to come when called, sometimes they get surprised with oats and it keeps them optimistic :lol:
I like Sentinel senior, I've been using it for a while now and they are not all seniors!! They look well and have the right amount of energy. I will not tolerate a horse I need to kick or whip to get it going and I'm old enough now to prefer not to have one thats leaping around. I do add sugar beet to it and some bran + hay stretcher pellets or chop plus rice bran for anything that needs some extra fat. They dont get a huge amount and if you have a horse that will choke easily you can soak them to a mush
I grew up in the days before all the complete feeds and my ponies and first horses got crushed oats, barley, bran, chaff/chop and flaked maize (corn) in the winter. Everything came from a local mill or farmer. We used to boil barley and oats for anything that needed to gain weight and add linseed or codliver oil for extra coat shine and joints. They also got sliced carrots in season.
Everything was fed according to workload and none of my ponies/horses ever got laminitis.
The only time I have ever experienced laminitis was when my mare was fed a sweet feed for the first time at a rate according to her size and workload. I nearly lost her so have never touched anything like it again.
I wouldn't start giving grain as a 'treat.' Something like grass pellets would be a better choice, especially if it's just every once in a while, since that won't significantly change their daily diet and potentially upset their systems.
I agree with putting them on a ration balancer, though. RB's are low in calories and provide the nutrition that is often missing from grass/hay. They're grain free and fed in small quantities, so can be fed in one meal daily if needed. I particularly like Triple Crown's 30% Supplement, but it seems like it can be a little hard to find in some areas.
For Royale and Eclipse, I'd also add in some rice bran or beet pulp for added calories. For Cody, a joint supplement would probably be in order.
Unfortunately there are no local retailers for the Nutrena. My local feed store does sell a couple of others I've seen recommended on this forum: Progressive Pro Advantage and Purina Enrich 32.
Question: does a ration balancer replace the need for having loose trace minerals available to the horses?
As far as supplements go, what do you guys think of Springtime, Inc.? I am really, really happy with their supplements for my dogs, and was curious as to whether anyone's tried their horse products:
Springtime, Inc. | All Natural Supplements for Horses, Dogs, and People. Springtime, Inc. manufactures and sells direct to the consumer. We use only the finest ingredients. Chondroitin sulfate, Glucosamine HCL, MSM, Boswellia, Garlic, Vitamin C, Biof
With a RB you'll give everything they need. No extras needed no more.
The Progressive I don't know but the Purina Enrich will be just fine.
Be glad you have at least one....I can't get ANY here. So I make my own. Alfalfa pellets, soaked of course, ricebran as needed, Omega Horseshine and a vitamin/mineral supplement.
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