Help me pick a grain?
Time to adjust my horse's diet! I've had my OTTB for a year and a half now. He started at age three and raced until he was nine years old (last race November 2011). He has always been very hard to keep weight on :-(
BUT... We have finally gotten to a point where I'm pretty happy with his weight. It was a long process, lots of vet visits, phone calls to equine nutritionists, chiropractics, dentistry, ulcer treatment, etc.
I'm hoping to be able to cut out his "junk food" now that he looks good... But I'm just worried his weight will fall again, as it drops very easily.
Currently, he is ridden 6 days a week for about 45-50min at a time. This is broken down into two days of hard work (one jumping and one interval training), three days of moderate work (two dressage and one hillwork), and one day of light work (hack, flat, etc.).
His current ration (I know, I know - junk food :oops:)
AM Concentrate: 3lbs Triple Crown Complete, 2 Tablespoons Super 14, 1/2 cup Canola Oil*
PM Concentrate: 3lbs Triple Crown Complete, 2 Tablespoons Super 14, 1/2 cup Canola Oil*
24hr turnout on good quality, green grass (unless terrible weather - in which case he comes in and gets free choice good quality Timothy hay).
*The Canola Oil WAS recommended by our vet
Here's what I'm looking to do:
1. (Most important) Cut out the Canola Oil
2. Find a grain with lower levels of starch and high calories
3. Replace Super 14 with flax (easy enough, but would love to hear opinions on best way to feed it!)
So I'm looking for recommendations/experience/insight/whatever you have as to how to go about this.
Ideally, I would find a high fat, low starch, well balanced grain that would allow me to cut out the oil, but I'm open to just about anything!
And off topic, but just want to brag a bit. My little guy is growing up - we just passed our C2 pony club rating! :happydance:
Triple Crown Senior is a great feed with half the NSCs of the Complete but also 2% less fat. Im not sure on the calories per LB. However you could feed more of it. I think up to 10 lbs a day.
Is the horse only maintaining on what you are feeding him now or is he still gaining? If you cut calories, he may loose. Id try to keep the same calorie count. Upping the amount of Senior may do it.
That sounds like a good idea! I was also looking into TC Low Starch... Which do you think would be better? He is only maintaining, so I understand that I will need to compare and balance the calories.
I was just looking online and saw that some people like Nutrena SafeChoice. I haven't talked to anyone who has used it. Do you know anything about it? And another I saw is Blue Seal Sentinel Performance LS... I don't really know anything about either of these, so any input would be great.
The Senior is lower than the low starch believe it or not for NSC values.
If it's working and he's not too hot, why change anything? Especially with a known hard keeper, I tend to stick with, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.". If you mess with his feed he could end up dropping 300 lbs before you can snap your fingers and you'll be back to square 1. I especially would not cut his oil calories.
You can figure the calories and slowly switch over. I dont see why youd have a problem personally. The senior feed is a great feed. I personally would rather feed more of the senior than oil myself. If i have to add a fat supplement, ive leaned towards cool calories. About 3 scoops a feeding with a shot.of oil or liquid joint supplement as a binder.
Also, alfalfa is prime for hard keepig tbs. I dont see that in there. I always feed them about 5 to10 lbs of it in with free choice good grass hay or rationed hay in slow feed nets. Easy way to add calories and protien.
However your initial diet isnt bad. Why do you want to change it? Idk what super 14 is however.
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I guess not changing could be an option... I have been getting a lot of grief for what I give him (empty calories, high starch, etc.). The main reason I want to change is that the vet recently pointed out that his type is prone to founder and ulcers (already had ulcers once - treated once I got him). So I wanted to alter his diet to avoid these things.
The senior sounds like a good option! He gets a bit of alfalfa when he comes in, but I could throw him a couple flakes when he's out, if that would help.
Oh and Super 14 is just a skin/coat supplement with a high price tag -- hoping to replace it with flax (since flax has more than just skin/coat enhancing qualities), but I don't know much about feeding flax.
With a hard keeper, I'd look very carefully at my feed plan and only make small changes, very slowly, so he doesn't all of a sudden drop a bunch of weight. I'm not familiar with Triple Crown feeds, so can't give you any recommendations there. I'd keep the oil in the feed, if nothing else those are cool calories that won't make him hot or founder him.
Honestly, I think I'd keep him on his current grain. TC Complete is 20.6% NSC, which would be a problem if he had any type of metabolic issues, but should be fine for a healthy horse. It's lower than some of the commonly fed pelleted feeds (Nutrena Safe Choice, Purina Strategy, and Purina Equine Senior are all a little bit higher NSC) but because those aren't textured feeds, people tend to think they're not as sugary.
Unless you can add a 3rd feeding, I'd be hesitant to switch to another feed where you have to give more of it. 3 lbs per feeding is a good amount, I wouldn't want to go much higher than that unless absolutely necessary, and if you want to replace the oil with something else, you're probably going to be adding some more bulk already.
For the oil, there are a few options. If you want to stay with fat, flax seed is a great source of it. Not only is flax 35-40% fat (depending on if you're feeding freshly ground or stabilized) but it's a healthy fat. There are varying opinions on whether or not whole seeds are fully utilized or if grinding is necessary, but the seeds do lose their nutritive value very quickly after being ground unless you buy a stabilized ground product (like Triple Crown Omega Max). If you can't grind it fresh before each feeding, go with either stabilized ground or whole.
Rice bran and Cool Calories are other alternatives. Both are higher in omega-6 than omega-3, but that's less of an issue since your horse is on fresh grass (mine isn't, so it's a bigger deal for me). Rice bran is 20% fat, Cool Calories is 100% fat. Rice bran should be at least stabilized (it goes rancid very fast otherwise) and ideally it would also be fortified (added calcium to offset the high phosphorous).
1 cup of oil is 218 grams of fat, so to get the same amount from one of the alternatives, you'd need feed 1.4 lbs of Omega Max, or 2.4 lbs of rice bran, or 0.5 lbs Cool Calories. Which one you choose would depend on your personal preference as well as prices/availability in your feed store.
Someone also mentioned alfalfa, which is a great idea. A flake or two a day in addition to his normal pasture/hay should be enough to reduce (or even eliminate) the need for a fat.
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