Adding protein with Alfalfa pellets?
So quick background on my mare - we did an allergy panel and she is allergic to (among other things):
Soy bean/soy products of all types
I board her, where she gets about 5-6 flakes per day of pretty decent quality hay, with no alfalfa in it (mainly orchard/timothy grass mixture). She gets more hay when she's out all day grazing as well, since they are dry lots (no fresh grass, boo) :p
Anyway, because I can't feed her molasses or soy I had to create a meal for her, all the commerical feeds use one of the other unfortunately. So I feed her:
3/4 scoop of rolled barley (mainly just to mix her supplements with) 2x/day
And she gets a SmartPak of these supplements to add in her vitamins/minerals:
Tri-Amino (to add protein): http://www.smartpakequine.com/triamino-8489p.aspx?cm_vc=Search
SmartVite (for her vits/mins): SmartVite Performance Grass Pellets - Horse Multi-Vitamin Supplements from SmartPak Equine
SmartShine Ultra (for coat health): SmartShine® Ultra - Horse Skin & Coat Supplements from SmartPak Equine
Now, the SmartShine Ultra I'm not sure is really doing anything and if it is, I haven't noticed a difference yet, so I may give up on that one. But the tri-amino really made a huge difference - made her put on some much needed weight over the winter when she was getting kinda ribby looking.
She is an Eventer and gets worked for at least an hour 3-4 times per week, shows almost every weekend so she definitely is fit! My only complaint is she's starting to look a little on the skinny side again (just a tad though) and her coat is still kind of dull looking (she's a buckskin who was a gorgeous deep gold color back before we found out about her allergies and had to take her off the sweet feed the barn was feeding her; now she's a washed out light cream color).
A friend suggested Rice Bran, but the nutritionist at the local feed mill said they'd have to eat a LOT of it to make a difference and suggested to add more protein to her diet, in the form of Alfalfa pellets. I'm going to give it a try, but wanted to see if anyone else had any experience with Rice Bran? My friend swears by it, so I'll probably try it after the alfalfa just out of curiosity but just wanted to see if anyone else has any experience as well?
And does anyone have any other recommendations for a shiny coat? I know flax seed has been mentioned before, but I can't make it to the barn every single day and the barn isn't going to spend their time grinding flax seeds for me when they have 40+ mouths to feed! (and I've heard if you grind them up and leave them sit, they're pretty worthless to feed since all the oils come out and go away).
Oops one correction to the above - she is NOT on SmartShine, she's on SmartOmega3! :) SmartShine has soybean oil in it so we couldn't go that route!
Smart Omega takes a little time but should work. Doesn't that have the flax seed in it? I could be wrong but I thought it did. as for the rice bran, I thought it worked GREAT, & I dont feed my guys that much of it. Just the daily dose. I use the the rice bran oil tho. Sometimes regular corn oil helps too...
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I called SmartPak and they did say she's only been on the SmartOmega3 for about a month and a half now, and it usually takes a couple months, so maybe I just haven't given it a chance to work yet? They also said they'd recommend alfalfa pellets over rice bran, but I didn't ask them about rice bran OIL, not sure about that!
It's pretty hard to keep the light colored horse from sun fading. If you've had the heat many of us have had the horses and other animals often lose weight.
Grrrr alfalfa was apparently not the best idea for my mare!! She reacted pretty badly Monday to something, hives all over her butt/sides/stomach and I couldn't figure out why...until I asked the BO when the last shipment of shavings came in and it was MONDAY! I called the allergy company that did the testing when we found out she was allergic to molasses and soy, because I seemed to remember her having a tree allergy in there somewhere and VOILA I find she's allergic to Birch mix.
Soooo I will be purchasing bags of pine shavings today for her stall, and signing her back up for allergy shots once again :p
Anyway had them give me the entire list of her allergies again and wouldn't ya know it ALFALFA pollen is on there!! Soooo guess someone's going to be getting a free bag of alfalfa pellets at my barn ugh...
Boy, that is a pickle to be in - allergic to soy and alfalfa both:-(
Do you have access to an equine nutritionist that is NOT affliliated with any sort of feed or supplement product? And that includes not asking anyone from SmartPak.
If you have a university in your state (hopefully on your side of the state so they are familiar with your soils, allergies, etc.) that has an equine progam, my best suggestion is to call and ask to speak to an equine nutritionist.
You can buy many things to get fat on the horse, but your dilemma is protein and amino acids that the horse needs to maintain muscle health.
I do use timothy/alfalfa cubes on my 24 yr old that has metabolic issues and can't have soy. I feed him EquiPride vit/min supplement because it is soy-free. He suffered a lot of muscle mass loss when the EMS exploded on him, but adding the tim/alfalfa cubes did an amazing job of building him up again.
Point-being, hopefully an accredited equine nutritionist can help you formulate a program that will support your horse's muscle health:-)
EDITED TO ADD: Hopefully she's not allergic to Vitamin E because I would start pumping her full of it. I have read a few articles that say it's ok to feed 10,000 IU daily as a maximum, but I think they are being conservative.
I feed the EMS horse I mentioned 12,000 IU daily during the summer months and cut him back to around 3,000 or 4,000 IU daily during the winter. I never jump him from 4,000 to 12,000 but increase the amount gradually.
Vitamin E is a great immune booster.
Vitamin D is also a great immune booster. There was a lady on another forum that fed her Mule massive doses of Vitamin D because the mule's allergies were so bad she was practically hairless. BUT is was also under a Vet's directions because Vitamin D can be toxic.
Good to know, thanks walk! I am probably having the vet come out today anyway because she now has mysterious hives from God knows what lol...we were thinking it was the shavings since the day she got them was the day a new shipment had come in, BUT just talked to the barn manager and apparently that new shipment wasn't put into their stalls until a day AFTER her hives showed up. The stuff in her stall has been the same stuff for weeks now, and she has never had a reaction to the shavings at this barn before (or the shipment that's been in there for weeks).
She's actually never even had HIVES before!! Her allergic reactions are usually in the form of these single cyst-like lumps (collagen granulomas) that don't go away.
Agree with the others. Just wanted to point out that you want gradual weight gain. Fast weight gain is just as bad as rapid weight loss. Maybe in the off season you can pack on a few extra pounds to give her a cushion going into the Eventing season? Just a thought. Let us know how your feeding regimen works. It's a PITA to struggle with problems like this. It ALWAYS seems like you are the only one with the problem. :wink:
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