Does Soy really help the topline?
Hello! I have a 15 y/o TB who I used to event, but am lucky to get out a few times a week nowadays (oh, how I hate being an adult!). He is a typical high withered TB, so without being in consistent work his topline is beginning to suffer. Right now, he's on 75% bermuda grass and 25% alfalfa. I know it should be weighed, but I just go on 'feel' on how heavy they flakes are :P
Anyways, I know a lot of people put their horses on soy meal because it helps build and maintain the topline. Does anyone know if this is true? I'm always hesitant to add things to any of my horses diets unless it's absolutely necessary (a couple bouts with laminitis will do that to you!!) but I hate seeing his back become more and more swayed. I guess it just snaps me back to the reality that even though he still acts like a 2 year old, he's still getting older every day :(
No food alone builds up topline, that is only done by correct work and a healthy diet.
I feed my full tb , unmolassed sugarbeet, hay,brewers yeast and she is out 24 /7. She used to have a fabulous topline when in work, and it is ok now, but I haven't ridden her much so it is not what it should be, I need to get riding!
Soy is the protein source for 99.9% of horse feeds, ration balancers, etc.
It is high in amino acids which is good to help maintain muscles.
However, soy can also exacerbate inflammation, and have negative personality affects on some horses. I have a horse with soy intolerance; he turns into a real nut case if he eats anything with soy in it.
Alfalfa is the next best choice for feeding high protein and amino acids. That can be over done as well.
Many horses cannot tolerate eating a lot of alfalfa as it amps them up too much.
Also, you know you're feeding too much alfalfa (or soy) if the urine starts to have a stronger than normal ammonia smell. That is how the horse dumps the extra protein his body doesn't need.
At 15, your TB may be old enough to tolerate some extra alfalfa and then again, he might not:-|
When my now 25 yr old TWH was 15, the one pound daily of alfalfa cubes he now gets would have sent him right thru the barn roof.
He also has metabolic issues but is one of the metabolic horses that can tolerate alfalfa (soy is completely out for him).
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) strikes at muscle mass and the alfalfa has helped him to some degree. I don't ride him but he has 15 acres of hills to wander on, so gets plenty of daily exercise.
These pics were taken for his 25th birthday last Fall. In spite of his health issues, he's doing very well and I think his topline looks pretty good, all things considered.
Is the one pound daily of alfalfa I feed him, the magic bullet? No but I feel like it has helped:-)
I actually feed Red barley for his topline but what keeps it good is good connected work at the walk and trot.
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I prefer to feed roasted or flaked soy beans over the soy bean meal. The flakes will still have the high fat content and not have any residue from the oil extraction process the meal has. It will also not go rancid in hot weather like the meal does.
Protein is the first thing you think of when it comes to building muscle, but it's not the only factor. Soy is a very concentrated source of protein, but if sufficient protein wasn't the problem causing the lack of muscle development, then adding more protein into the diet isn't going to fix it. Since he's already getting 1/4 alfalfa hay, he's probably getting enough protein already to maintain decent muscle tone. But, if your horse isn't in regular work, then keeping a developed topline will be a challenge no matter what you're feeding.
Other nutrients are also important to muscle development and maintenance, so if he doesn't seem to be developing muscle on a proper workout schedule, he might be lacking in something else. Is he getting any type of vit/min supplement, ration balancer, or fortified grain?
We do plan on getting them back on Platinum Performance multi-vi, so we'll see if that helps at all. Thanks!
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