Is this enough???
Ok so I need some tips. I'm not used to feeding my own horse. Back when I lived in KY it was much different and the BO took care of all the feeding requirements for me, and the horses were on pasture for half the day. But here in Southern CA it is much different. There is no pasture whatsoever for the horses to feed on. She is a very HOT mare an so I am very wary of feeding her anything that would give her a higher energy level. Currently I feed her 1 flake of Orchard every AM + PM, about 2 lbs. of Safe Choice feed every AM along with her couple of supplements. She is a 14.3hh 7 yr old Arabian with TONS of energy. I worry though is this really enough? When I got her back in July she had a HUGE grass belly because the guy was feeding her 5 flakes of Alfalfa everyday on top of feed and ricebran oil and alfalfa pellets for lunch. I have gotten her down to the weight she needs to be at (ie gotten rid of the belly), but I don't want her losing more weight. Would adding an extra flake help? She doesn't do that much work, when I ride her it is usually only for about 30min-1hr a few days a week, she is just used as a pleasure horse. Or possibly giving her some Timothy pellets for lunch (if so how much?)? Any tips would greatly be appreciated.
Here is what she looks like now:
I would up her hay - she's really not getting enough. If she's not on grass, she probably needs at least 10 pounds + a day in hay. Better to up the hay than the Safe Choice. I can't remember for sure, but you might want to check the label on the Safe Choice. It seemed to me that it had a lot of sweet stuff in it. Not good for a horse that is already hot. You might want to give her some soaked beet pulp and alfalfa pellets. That will up her protein and not make her so hot. Works wonders for daughter's super spooky, high energy Paso Fino mare...
How much beet pulp should be fed?
the amount of safe choice your feeding is not meeting her nutritional needs... I would increase the hay and go with a good ration balancer and you could prob get rid of some supplements by doing this.. depending on what you are giving her... ideally you want her to have 1.5% to 2% of her ideal body weight in hay a day
This winter, we will likely use a different bucket to soak the feed - one without holes in the bottom. We'll soak the beet pulp in the house using hot water, and probably won't drain it. The excess water will moisten the alfalfa pellets when we mix the feed, and the horses will have a nice warm meal.
Also - it's just a matter of preference - but we buy pelleted beet pulp. Occasionally, we don't have time to soak the beet pulp, and the horses are just as happy with the whole pellets dry. I would hesitate to feed the shredded beet pulp dry - it could cause choking...
Find a good mixed grass and legume hay and feed about 14lbs a day (depends upon the size of the bale/flakes, so I hesitate to say "x" amount of flakes). You don't need to feed a horse straight alfalfa unless it has special needs (needs the excess nutritional value), or is extremely active. People do it, but I hesitate because legume hay is very rich.
Also: I have not read the entire thread, but I did see mention of beet pulp. I don't understand the mention of beet pulp? The horse is only 7... she seems to be maintaining her weight and not looking emaciated... level out her hay at about 14-16lbs (you can kind of gauge for yourself as the days go on). I think of beet pulp as being for hard keepers and/or elderly horses with awful teeth... at least in my experience: not for everyday maintenance.
We feed all but one of our horses a mix of alfalfa pellets, soaked beet pulp and oats. We have one that can't have any alfalfa - it's actually toxic for him - and he can't have any commercial complete feed that has alfalfa in it- which is virtually all of them. I found a source of timothy hay pellets, but they are pretty pricey, so we are waiting to see how he does this winter on just the beet pulp and oats. We may have to add some rice bran to his feed if he can't gain the weight he needs.
None of our horses are old, but I guess you could say that for one reason or another, they are all hard keepers... :-)
Thanks for the info everyone. All of this helps me a great deal in understanding a bit more.
I thought horses need to consume 5 to 10% of their body weight?
I would just up her hay...Now depending on the size bales she is fed from, you may only need to add one more. Just experiment and see what seems to work best for her. Where I was at last year had the huge 120-150 lb square bales...my 15.3 hh QH cross mare ate 4 sections per day...1 am, 1 afternoon, 2 at night. She also got a 1 qt scoop of alfalfa pellets with her supplements in the am.
As far as upping the grain, that would not be "my" first choice...if you are giving it to give her the supplements, the amount she is getting is more than enough. Start with the forage.
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