sweet feed? oats? what is best to feed & why?
Jazzy is a 13.2, 650 #, 3 1/2 year old TWH x morgan, that is currently on sweet feed. She's on this for the simple reason that it is what she was on when I bought her & I'm now starting to reconsider, as I learn more about equine nutrition.
Can you experienced horsemen out there give me some opinions on the matter? She's in pasture all day but grass is gone (winter), she gets hay & sweet feed 2xday. And apples are her drug of choice :)
Sweet feed is cheap for a reason. It's smothered in molasses to make it more palatable to horses. Nutritionally, it's nothing more than junk food.
Oats are more along the lines of actual food, but they're not what I consider to be a good choice. You'll need a ration balancer with them, because they're not a complete feed.
Feed should be considered as something to round out a horse's diet, not as a main nurient source.
My boys get a legume based, not a grain based complete feed pellet. Their main diet consists of good grass mix hay, and the feed is used to provide whatever vitamins and minerals may be lacking in the hay.
Can u suggest "next steps" ? I was told by my local feed guy basically what you said but your explanation made sense, so thanks. He said get my hay tested for protein content and go from there. Problem is I don't grow my own and my barn has several suppliers, so would the analysis be worth it?
I'm ready to make a change I'm just still unsure what to do next.
In your case testing hay would get very costly, so I wouldn't waste my money.
Yes, throw the sweet feed out to the deer and rabbits - it is worthless as horse feed:-|
Are you sure on the 650 lbs? My Arab is 13.3H and a hardkeeper. I can clearly see his ribs at 840 lbs. Your horse is 13.2H and, while still growing, 650 lbs seems pretty thin:? Horses typically grow UP and develop their bones & muscles until they're five.
It sounds as if your local feed dealer has some horse sense. I'm sure he carries something that is appropriate for a growing horse.
I hope breeders will come in with more knowledge than I have in raising a young horse in today's world - feeding babies is something I haven't done for many years:-)
Take their input and go back to your local feed dealer. Then watch your horse closely for any sort of negative reaction to the feed. By that I mean over-active, fidgety, maybe getting feisty enough that it wants to nip or kick.
And please post a picture of a cross of two of my favorite breeds; Arabs being the third:clap:
Once it's old enough to be ridden, it should gait fairly easy since Maggie Marshall, a black Morgan mare, is the Foundation Mare of Record for the Tennesee Walking Horse:-) <---Some Morgans are gaited and there is a registry for them:D
Do you know how many people refuse to believe me when I say that this mix is indeed logical, b/c TWH have Morgan in their bloodlines (!). I am so glad you took the time to reply to my post, thank you. We do ride her, and she does gait easily, but that is another post - one I have to make b/c we are progressing right along.
1. I will check her weight again. I will have someone help me for a second set of eyes. Never hurts to double check.
2. Thank you for supporting my idea that nutrition is important. Again, I get a lot of looks when I bring up nutrition - like with dry feet for example, I see so many people slathering on topical stuff and I'm sure that's fine b/c my farrier says it does no harm. But, my farrier and I agree that you heal and treat from the inside out so foot problems are worthy of taking a look at nutrition.
3. I will revisit my local feed store. The owner is an old school cowboy who will tell me very lengthy stories that begin with, "I've been a cowboy since 1951..." LOVE HIM lol. He is an equine nutritionist and does custom supplements, his own hay testing, etc.
4. So sweet feed is junk food, I got it. I will touch base with the feed guy this week and start making the switch. Yes, I am sure he will either have or suggest an alternate nutrition source.
As for sweet feed, I will keep a little on hand to hide medicine in lol.
Here is one pic I have handy and this is just a few weeks old :D
From the looks of you horse she looks almost to fat to me. My horses dont get any grain just hay in winter. And grass in summer when they were young and growing i fed no grain just provided a vit min supplament. They all grew up healthy and big. At one time i did grain but found my horses were always to fat so cut it out. All they get now is hay and a vitamin mineral supplament.Plus free choice salt and clean fresh water.
Its the pic that makes her look fat! Lol! She looks pregnant doesn't she. I think its because she is walking in the shot but anyway, I appreciate your feedback. I'm worried without any grain she will lack nutritionally, but it sounds like I'm off track in my thinking...
While I have you though, how do you determine a horses ideal weight?
What are the feeds that are available in your area? There are alot of good feeds but not all are offered at all locales.
Sweet feed is no good. Stay away from it. Our horses do very well on oats. We raise our own oats, although we had to buy a truckload last year due to the drought. Oats are whole, unprocessed feed. We crimp our oats each day when we feed. That said, our horses are turned out on pasture, and come in once a day for feed. We also supplement with hay out in the pasture when grass gets low.
The more unprocessed, the better.
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