I thought I'd get a few more opinions on this. The barn where I keep my horses now feed them Oats, Barley(only in the winter), Strategy(not sure what kind), and Equine Senior (for calories) They also get yeast culture, salt, and a few more things I can't think of at the moment.
Anyway, you might know that I've been working on a barn in my backyard, and I'll be moving them home in a few months. SO What do you think? I've heard that oats and barley are bad for horses, but the lady who owns the barn has been feeding her horses that for 30 years and her horses usually live to be at least 35 without a lot of health problems. Any ideas?
Also, I might get a miniature horse by maybe June. Any tips on feeding minis?
Got no advice on minis, except that they seem to get really rotund on air. I know they make special mini feed now but not sure what it's called or who makes it.
The oats and barley, used to be fed as COB - corn oats barley, is very common and I don't feel that it's all that bad for horses, though I don't use it. I feed Strategy GX and grass hay, with a little salt. My horses are all pretty well fleshed, maybe even a little round. If I had an older horse that had trouble keeping weight, I'd feed Equine Sr. but I don't have a need for it with my guys. They're all fairly easy keepers.
Firstly, do some homework on equine nutrition & feeding. You will see that high starch diets, such as you describe, aren't the best for horses and can cause/contribute to a wide range of health probs. As some people seem to cope fine with a long term high carb/sugar diet, not all horses are likely to suffer serious health probs from it, but there are a lot of probs(in humans as well as horses) that go unrecognised or discounted if not acute/chronic.
Oats are a pretty good grain for horses, being digestible for them without processing, assuming you need to feed them, but they're still rather high starch so I think it's best to avoid them(along with other starchy, sugary feed, including Strategy & most senior feeds) if possible & if you need the extra energy for hard work or such, there are other 'low GI' healthier alternatives such as more hay, beet pulp, alfalfa, ricebran...
Re nutrition, it depends on what the horse gets in their diet, inc pasture/hay, as to what they may need in nutritional supplements, so there is no 'one size fits all' there either.
In the summer when my horses are working i do feed oats they get up to 4lbs twice a day but they are working hard. Plus they get all the hay they can eat and some pasture every day. I also use TC senior but only feed a 1 lb per horse its to spendy to feed alot. My oats are cheap enough and not far to go get them so thats why i feed oats. I know maybe not the best feed but it keeps my horses from getting to skinny in summer. They work to hard not to be fed grain 5 to 6 hours of hard riding. They come home dripping sweat from head to toe.
I'm not saying don't cut feed costs where you can, but my firm belief is, I'd rather spend it on the feed company and keep them healthy than to cut back so far I have to spend it on the vet.
We did a quick and dirty calculation of what it costs me to feed each horse for a month, it comes out to approx $100/month per horse. That includes all hay, Strategy, Salt, and Multi Vits.
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