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overpriced garbage feed
So, this may be a bit of a soap box, but at the same time, we all are consumers when it comes to feeding our horses, and let's face it, when our horses need some groceries, by golly, we want to see them get fat and sassy in a hurry. That being said, I'd just like everyone to start looking at the ingredients of the fancy shmancy supplements, weird weight builders, and oozie oily potions.
I recently acquired a three year old TB gelding that just needed some bulk, I'd say 50-80 lbs or so... me, being a hippie and eating organic and whole foods myself decided to try to feed my horse the same way. So, I started looking at labels and I'm appalled at the PRICE TAG of the GARBAGE at the feed store. Here is what I learned:
Weight Builders: Main ingredients... flax meal (great stuff, omega 3's, $5 for a bag at the grocery store...), OIL....usually vegetable or corn..., then some ugly fillers like soybean hulls... have you ever eaten a soybean hull? they are NASTY and have ZERO nutrition! Price tag? $66.00 for a 35 pound bag of "Cool Calories"
*Look at Cool Calories ingredients ""HYDROGENATED Vegetable oil" is their claim to fame. NOT. EVEN. KIDDING.
Here's a question, how many times do you have to process a vegetable to get OIL from it?????? And then hydrogenate it? did you know that bodies CANNOT process hydrogenated oil? It just sits and rots and rots and causes cancer and inflammation of joints?
NOT TO MENTION, if you really do want to feed your horse oil (which isn't good for them... they don't have a gall bladder and can't digest fat properly!!!!) You can buy a economy size vat of lard for like $16 at Walmart!!!!! (this price does not include the vet call, vet bills or the cost of your next horse you'll be buying...)
I kept looking at different things at the feed stores... mainly weight builders and hoof supplements and they are all the same... some sort of creepy oil, some flax for real nutrition, and then maybe some added vitamins, which you should already be feeding your horse, so the extras they are just peeing out... and then top it off with some molasses so that horses can choke it down and they can make a buck.
Get real, you nasty feed companies.
I started making my very own feed mix for my boy and it's roughly $75 for 200 lbs of feed... that includes flax, vitamins and a probiotic, has protein from alfalfa and beet pulp for a weight builder and I can properly pronounce everything that's in it. :)
Just remember, there isn't going to suddenly be a miracle product that hasn't already been around forever. They may come out with amazing packaging, promising results, but honestly, at the bottom of this, the guy getting the paycheck doesn't really care about your horse...
Okay. I'm done. Not very many things rile me up... but this is definitely a sore subject.
I am not an organic hyppie! But feeding a horse is very simple!
1. Quality Hay!
2. Fresh Water!
3. Good and Basic Mineral Package!
4. A little Basic Grain(oats, barley, corn, etc.) if you are working the animal hard!
Anything else is just to make you feel good.
The best thing for the gut, feet, teeth, and mind.
This made me chuckle. I've been complaining about the price and quality of commercial horse feed for quite some time. In our attempt to keep feed simple, we seem to have over reached ourselves, but at least the horses aren't being fed garbage. Keep in mind, ours are somewhat hard keepers, and one is a nursing mare.
They get, in addition to decent quality prairie hay (bermuda grass, big and little blue stem and other native grasses, and a bit of clover in the spring cutting), soaked beet pulp, alfalfa pellets (except for the really poorly one - he can't have it) and oats. We also feed "Paddock", which is a commercial feed with 14% protein, but it's full of garbage and once it's gone, it's gone. They all also get Omega Horseshine (flax meal, psyllium and other goodies) and Red Cell. The nursing mare and poorly colt (no relation) also get boss.
Our simplification got a bit complicated.
Actually, soy bean hulls are very good for horses. They are high in fat and have little starch or protein. Horse nutrition and human nutrition are two very different things. Humans are not herbivores, and we derive our energy sources from food very differently from horses.
Before mixing your own feed, I highly suggest you talk to an EQUINE nutritionist, who will be able to assist you in balancing the minerals in the feed to ensure you are not endangering your horse.
As much as the bottom line is money, many feed companies are pouring research into equine nutrition and are doing a lot of good, and developing good products. They do actually care about your horse because many of them have horses, and use the same products their company is developing.
I feed good quality 20% alfalfa hay, a ration/mineral balancer/probiotic (soybean hull based), and water. My horse is in f/t training and keeps weight with a shiny coat and plenty of energy. Horses derive energy and weight from fat, keep that in mind. When you are buying a pre-made feed, you are also paying for the expertise of the many equine nutritionists behind it.
I'm certainly not a nutritionist but about 2 months ago I got fed up with feeds not being consistant and on the recomendation of the county ag agent here switched to Total Equine feed. It is largely alfalfa, but has really made a huge difference, no hotness, coats look great, less waste in fecal output.
Along with that they each get alfalfa hay and grass hay, and are out on pasture.
I do give the new guy (QOS's Red came to live with us) powdered rice bran to get some weight before winter, and they get pure flax oil.
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cake mom I don't know what you are paying for that but it contains Corn which is a no no IMO and forage products like soyhulls
I feed similar to Production Acres recommendations. Quality hay, first and foremost (in my area that is alfalfa and sometimes I add some bermuda too). Clean water, a free-choice mineral block, and barely/oats.
Sometimes if Purina sends me coupons, I buy Purina too. I have never had a problem with Purina products, and I do believe they put a ton of research into their feeds. The problem is, at $17-25 a bag, it is hard to afford on a consistent basis. Barley/oats run $11-14 a bag where I am at.
I also feed psyllium and sometimes corn oil (the gallon size containers from Walmart).
And carrots/apples/horse cookies. Can't forget the treats. :lol:
I'm paying $16 a bag, and although I have always shied away from corn I tried it on his recomendation and I've honestly never seen my horses flourish more than they do now.
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Which brings up a very good question, before we would go out and buy good hay and feed(natural from a mill) Why is everyone switching to processed pellets and feed?
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