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azhorseluvr1222 01-10-2011 09:13 PM

Clueless about horse nutrition
I know lots and lots about dog and cat nutrition but I know next to nothing about Horse nutrition. I will tell you about my guy. He is about 16.2 and 1100 pounds, I am guessing on his weight. He looks to be on the thinner side and he doesnt have good muscule either. He is fed just pellets and Integrity Lite (more as a treat than an actual supplement). I have already addressed this on another thread but I can't give him hay. Haycubes are a possibilty though. Do any of you have good suggestions on a feeding schedule? His hooves and coat are a little dry also. I don't want to be adding too much supplements and all sorts of different things, I am looking for something that is simple and effective for giving him proper nutrition with out giving hay. Just as FYI, I don't have anything against hay I just can't get decent hay and the hay we can get is too expensive for what it is. Thanks

trailhorserider 01-10-2011 09:42 PM

I personally think horses need some type of roughage to keep their digestive track working well, but the next best thing would be pellets. I know here in AZ, every feed store I've found sells alfalfa pellets. Some have grain with them, others are straight alfalfa, others mixed with bermuda. So that is what I would feed if I couldn't get hay for some reason. It basically IS hay, it's just ground up and processed into pellets and is usually sold in 50 or 80 lb. bags. They might have added vitamins and minerals too, I would guess it depends on what kind you get.

I know what the hay situations can be like here in AZ. Mostly you are lucky if you can find alfalfa. Bermuda sometimes, and other kinds of hay almost never! I generally feed alfalfa. My horses always have good feet, muscle and overall body condition. :-)

You could also top-dress the pellets with a little drizzle of vegetable oil for extra calories and coat condition.

Do you have a mineral block? I don't mean a salt block, although that is very important too. But there are some blocks that are just mineral blocks for horses. I think the one I buy is called Purina Nature's Essential's 12:12. It costs around $25, but lasts a long time, and then you can be sure he isn't lacking anything.

So, based on my limited knowledge of your situation, I would say get him a mineral block, a salt block, and some type of alfalfa pellets or cubes. Top dress is a drizzle of vegetable oil (just the kind you get at Walmart) over the pellets. This is basically what I do and my horses are FAT with good coats and hooves. Don't be afraid to give him alfalfa. Everyone I know feeds it- it's practically all we can get and the horses do well on it.

If he still looks poor, after doing that, then maybe you aren't feeding enough?

I feed twice a day, but three times is even better if you are home in the middle of the day. :-)

azhorseluvr1222 01-10-2011 09:48 PM

He is on Bermuda/alfalfa mix pellets but I need to up that. I will look into the mineral and salt blocks. I am on the colorado river and though there are alfalfa and grass hay fields all around the quailty is poor and most is shipped to chino hay market and used for dairy farms and so isn't the best for horses.

flytobecat 01-10-2011 10:04 PM

You might even try some timothy pellets. Flax seed is also good especially for their hair coat, some of the processed feeds have flax already in them.
My horses both have a good hair coat & strong feet.
Right now, I feed a little alfalfa, a processed feed, and then mostly bermuda.

azhorseluvr1222 01-10-2011 11:20 PM

The pellets I feed are complete, with vitamins, minerals, and fats along with the alfalfa and bermuda hay. I am going to up it a little and see how he does. Has anyone tried Equidae feed it is made by canidae (for any dog food fanatics out there)? It looks pretty decent to me, not too many sugars and unnessecary fillers. I am thinking I am going to stop the Intregrity and slowing add in something like equidae or just rice bran. I want to add some healthy fats to his diet for coat and some calories for lean muscle. Correct me if any of this sounds wrong but I have been crazy searching on the internet to see what people have to say about feeding horses. I don't take everything as gospel but if it has good evidence behind it and makes good sense then I can accept it. I do stand corrected however about not having good hay around here by my DH that there is good hay here but we can't buy it as the fields have already sold in advance for commercial use, one being by the mill used to make the pellets I buy. So much to learn and it will probably drive my hubby nuts in the process :D.

flytobecat 01-10-2011 11:45 PM

I've never tried it, but if its by canidae then its probably good.

walkinthewalk 01-11-2011 08:41 AM

My first thought would be for you to contact an equine nutritionist in your area -- generally found at a local university that supports equine studies.

I would say your vet, but vets in general honestly don't know as much about good nutrition as they should or if they do, they often won't say anything because they don't want to offend the horse owner that is doing everything wrong and wondering why their horse is sick.

That all being said, this link might be a good foundation to progress from:-)

Feeding Mangement for Horse Owners

luvs2ride1979 01-11-2011 09:36 AM

Pellets do not provide enough long stem forage. Cubes are best or bagged/chopped hay. Your feed store or tractor supply should be able to get both.

Good article on hay cubes:
The Horse | Hay Cubes as Alternative Forage Source

I already gave you my advice for feeding on your other thread. A good multi-vitamin would help his coat and feet, or you can feed that TD-10 product. I'll repost what I said on your other thread.


You're not feeding enough of the Ingrity Lite to do any good. Looking at the brochure, you should be feeding a 1,000 lb horse about 5-7 lbs of this feed. Since you're likely only feeding about 1lb, or less, it's really not doing you any good. If you want to stick with something from this same mill, you should feed TDI-10 Supplement. You feed just 2 lbs a day for full nutrition. You don't have to feed any other feed, just hay or hay and hay pellets.

Or, you can feed a pelletd vitamin supplement in his hay pellets, such as one of these.
SmartVite Maintenance Grass Pellets - Multi-Vitamin Supplements from SmartPak Equine
Mega-Cell - Multi-Vitamin Supplements from SmartPak Equine
Micro-Phase - New Products - View All Equine from SmartPak Equine
Select II - Multi-Vitamin Supplements from SmartPak Equine
Quick Links
Equi-Base Grass Pellet
You NEED more than just rice bran. Your horse needs real nutrition, vitamins and minerals. Rice bran is great for weight gain, but not as good for coat/feet. Flax meal works better for coat health.

So your grandfather knows, the hay replacer pellets that you are feeding should be fed at the rate of 1.5-2% of the horse's bodyweight. Here's the feeding sheet.

Other good options form the same supplier as Integirty would be Integrity Low Starch or Simplicity. Again, you need to feed at the bag's recommendations for full nutrition.

Peggysue 01-11-2011 09:54 AM

Horse Nutrition Explained

Purina's Enrich32 is a good option since you aren't wanting anything complicated... it is a ration balancer and while not the "best" one I do know you should be able to get it in AZ :)

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