What to feed??
Hi I have a 15 year old paint/belgian draft cross. I'm trying to figure out what to feed him. Currently he is on a half cup (yes 1/2 cup) of oats twice a day, and msm and is fat!! He has had potassium issues in the past (not hypp, been tested), so that's why his previous owner put him on an oat diet. I think the oats are making him fat. He eats a good quality grass hay at free choice, and is worked 4 times a week, and does dressage, he is also out at least a half day, everyday (on a dry lot with hay). He has also had some other weird stuff, like last year he was peeing a lot and didn't shed well, so I had him tested for insulin resistance, which came back fine, but he was anemic?? So then I had his kidney's tested, because as a nurse I know anemia in people can be caused by kidney problems, that test was fine as well. I would like to completely take him off the oats. Do you guys have any opinions? Will he get enough vitamins and everything from his hay? I've considered putting him on the smart pak easy keeper vitamin supplement, to ensure he is getting everything, has anyone tried it?
The oats aren't making him fat. They are contributing less than .2Mcals daily. Free choice decent hay is another matter. In theory, it would be nice to be able to have hay in front of them 24/7 but some horses never get full and eat and eat and eat. Mine can put away 70-100# of hay EACH when I offer them unlimited hay. I would start by cutting back on his hay.
The non shedding and peeing are symptoms of Cushing's disease (pituitary gland tumor) not IR. Quite common in aged horses and will compound the weight issue.
I think all horses need some type of vitamin/mineral supplementation. I wouldn't spend my $$ on SP. There are some good quality vit/mineral blends out there that cost less than $.25/day. My favorites are ADM's Moorman's Grostrong and Progressive Nutrition's Grass mineral blend.
Flaxseed is one of the breathroughs in the horse care industry. It is a natural source of all essential elements needed by growing or old horses to strengthen their performance, or provide a solid foundation for better immunity. This is not new, but not too many are aware just how beneficial it can be. It is therefore a good option if you prefer something natural to feed your horses.
What I would reccomend is a small mesh hay net, providing hay basically throughout the day but limited intake. They cant get hooves stuck in it (unless they are shod- there shoes can get stuck in it) and you can hang it low. You will save money as they arent trampling it! And yes DEFINATLEY test for cushings, that could be the culprit :-) Also when you go to test ask your vet for recommendations for feeding. Limit the treats, feed maybe two handfulls of oats to feed with vitamins if needed with your hay. You can have your hay tested to see if it will fill up nutrient requirements.
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