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Shenandoah 10-12-2010 01:12 PM

Some of the people at my barn feed supplements. Most don't.
What are your thoughts?

Here's his situation. He's on pasture 24/7 (except when I'm messing with him :lol:). The pasture is just natural, not very lush, stuff to pick at. There are also several grass round-bales available at all times. Right now they mostly ignore the round bales, but I imaging come winter they'll be spending most of their time on them.
Twice/day he gets brought in for a half scoop of feed(*). The feed is a basic grain, no molassas or other sweetener added in, that comes from a neighbor's fields.

He came to me somewhat overweight 1.5 months ago, but is slowly dropping it, as he went from being walked a couple times/week to walk, gait/trot almost daily with some canter thrown in. He's otherwise healthy, but is a cross of two breeds prone to Equine Metabolic Syndrome (Morgan and Paso Fino) - so I keep a close eye out for any signs of that, including checking his digital pulse on all 4 legs daily. Our farrier loves his feet, says they are really healthy and strong. His joints are fine. He's 5 years old, and has never had any problems.

His previous owners did feed him some supplements, but I don't know which ones.

What are your thoughts? Would you have supplements given to a horse in this situation? If so, which ones?

(*)I know "half-scoop" isn't a measurable amount, but no precise method is used - the barn manager goes down the row of 10 standing stalls and throws a small bit in each. It's not to give him any real nutritional value - it's just the basic amount every horse gets to keep them orderly when the herd comes in for meal time. Then once they are all in their spots, the horses who actually need it are thrown extra of that feed, different feed, supplements, and/or medication.

Speed Racer 10-12-2010 02:29 PM

As long as he's getting good forage, clean water, and has access to a mineral block, there's no reason to supplement him.

I think people over supplement their horses and believe it's doing some good. Well sure it is, for the companies that sell supplements! :wink:

It's gotten out of hand, especially with people who think those who don't supplement are being cruel or neglectful.

Unless a horse needs something specific recommended by a vet, there's no reason to stuff them full of supplements.

Shenandoah 10-12-2010 02:39 PM

I don't think he gets much access to a mineral block.
There are a few in the field, but he's fairly low in the herd structure - plus I almost NEVER find them anywhere near where the blocks are (it's a large field, and their two favorite spots are on the opposite side from the blocks).

Does that change anything in your opinion? Or still the same?

I think 4 of the 15 horses on pasture supplement (10 standing stalls, the other 5 are special needs and have to go elsewhere for meals). It's more common for our barn horses, of which 8 or 9 of the 12 get supplements (even those are pretty much only in for meal times, or in heavy rain - on pasture the rest of the time).

When I had my PPE, the vet gave me a bunch of flyers for one type of supplement. He's a dealer for it, though, and you need a vet's referral to order it. So I thought that was pretty suspect :?

Speed Racer 10-12-2010 02:41 PM

Well, he has access to the mineral block, and is probably getting to it at some point.

I say as long as the horse is healthy, in good weight, has a shiny coat, an interest in life and plenty of energy, then the need for supplements is nil.

Shenandoah 10-12-2010 06:20 PM


I got a mineral block on my way to the barn this evening, then put it in front of him when I was grooming him down after my ride. Other than trying to take an initial chunk out of it, he just gave it two licks and ignored it.

I think I'll just do that every few days and see if he shows any interest in it, and otherwise leave things as they are.

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