moving my almost 3yo to a boarding barn for the winter, should I change his diet?
Jacoby is going from a large paddock with a run-in shed to a boarding barn where he will be going out every day (weather permitting) but in a stall all night...
Right now he gets about 4 cups of grain in the am and pm (not my choice, a long story). He does need to put some muscle on him. He had never had grain until this fall and it has helped him put some weight on him. He gets a vitamin supplement with his grain in the pm and he always has hay. At the barn he will get hay in the am and pm as well....
So the question:
I really don't think he needs that much grain, but I feel he needs some. How and how much should I change?
P.S. please do not turn this into a thread that just argues about whether to grain at all or not. I've read them all and I know he needs something, but not sure what...:wink:
how old is he and what breed, what kind of hay will he be eating at the new place, and how much do you ride during the winter?
He will be three in January. He is a rocky mountain gelding. I will be working about 30 min a day. He is too young for much more than that. Not all of that will be riding. We have a lot of ground work to do still. I do not know much about hay...I know that it is really good stuff but I don't know what kind. They will be giving him 3-4 flakes, twice a day.
Ok thanks :)
As far as I am aware of, Rocky Mountain horses are fairly easy keepers, so you probably won't have much to worry about.
I would feed between 1 to 5 percent of his body weight in good quality hay. The richer the hay, the less you have to feed. So if he's 1,000 pounds, you're probably going to want to feed 15 to 20 pounds, and I would recommend 1st or 2nd cutting orchard, timothy, or a mix of that. A grain hay, such as oat hay, or what is called 3 way (sometimes 4 way) is also an excellent choice, especially in the winter time. I don't know if they offer alfalfa mix on the East Coast, but from what I've heard over there, I wouldn't feed that. Since he is only being used lightly, I would stick to hay for the moment and re-evaluate in a few weeks.
If he's eating all the hay and looking for more, add more hay with each feeding. If he's leaving a lot, then you can cut back. Once you have established how he holds weight and works with just hay, then you can start looking at additional supplements. If you want more weight, you can add from 2 to 5 pounds of soaked beet pulp, which is very popular on the east coast. A feed store employee can show you how to soak it so don't worry about that. Beet pulp is considered a forage and not a grain, is almost sugar free, has a very high fiber content, lots of calcium, and a decent amount of fat.
Honestly, I would start here. See what happens in a few weeks, and if you want to add something to the hay then start independent research and try some of the things suggested on this board. A lot of people recommend vitamin supplements but from everything I've seen, unless the horse is exhibiting a deficiency or being worked hard, he's probably not going to need it.
Oops, I meant to ask if you already had something in mind to feed him or if you are just looking for suggestions?
Being in MA look for Blue Seals Sunshine Plus it is a vitamin/mineral supplement with added amino acids you will only need to feed 1 to 2lbs per day ... many times when we increase nutrition our horse's body better utilize the calories they get therefore needing less :)
Here's the problem, he is already on a grain, that I don't think he really needs....
My brother started him on a grain that is high in fat because he was a bit scrawny. Now he is adding a grain that has more protein to build up some muscle. I don't think it is a good idea to take him off this completely. Won't it mess with his system? Do you think it would be a good idea to just cut it in half and give him it in the evening after being out all day? or is morning better?
I think the hay is just grass hay, they have second and first cut there so I am not sure which one he will get when...
Peggy Sue, I think I have seen that at the local TSC. I will have to take a peek..but I don't want to totally mess with the diet either...
If he'll be getting some kind of grass hay, then adding some alfalfa pellets (2 qts AM and PM) to a small portion of the high-fat grain (1 qt AM and PM) and his supplement would be good. Alfalfa provides quality protein for muscle building and growth.
If the hay has alfalfa in it, then I would just stick with a small amount of grain (1-1.5 qts am and pm) with your vit/min supplement in it. If he loses weight, ask the barn management to increase his hay. If they won't, then add a fat supplement to his diet like flax meal or rice bran (1-2 cups a day should be enough), and a digestive aid like Fastrack.
I am a grain-free advocate, but I know you can't always control your horse's diet to a "t" when in a boarding situation. The above is what I would do if he were mine.
If you don't want him on the grain take him off... then tell your brother how YOU have adjusted the diet for his age and work level.
if its just 4 8oz/day...that really isnt a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.....
that being said what are you calling grain? Oats, Barely, corn?? ..or a pelleted feed? As this will make a difference on amount he requires as not all grains, or pelleted feed will have the same effect or desired results
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