Recommended Diet for a Draft Cross? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-15-2018, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Recommended Diet for a Draft Cross?

Hi Everyone!

I've had my Percheron/Paint for almost 13 years and moved him from Washington to Northern California 2 1/2 years ago.

In Washington, he was on orchard grass (about 4-5 flakes a day) + a little bit of grass in the pasture, and a scoop of grain.
He was calm, predictable and a bit lazy, and required A LOT of leg when riding him. Once warmed up is a great mover!

In California, he's another horse. He's been on Oat Hay for AM, and Alfalfa/Grass mix or just Alfalfa in the evening. I since have been reading that Drafts shouldn't be on high sugar/starch diet, so I give him a complete feed that is mainly a grass mix with vitamins and some rice bran (just a tiny bit with vitamins added). The barn does not want to feed grass at all, and I was doing a low-carb grain until it became difficult to get it with a new baby (the grain he is on now is delivered but they don't have a low-carb option/high fat).

In Cali, he's hyper. So hyper that he can become difficult to handle at times leading him, and with a 17.2 hh Percheron Cross, it can be hard to hold him back. He also neighs all of the time now when I have him away from his new herd in the day turnout (he was turned out with geldings in WA, and now he's turned out with mares as well in Cali).

I'm trying to figure out if his wild behavior is from the hotter hay, or if it is possibly from being turned out with mares? All gelding turnout isn't an option at my new barn, and grass hay isn't an option unless I really, really push for special treatment (which the owner doesn't really want to do).

Just trying to figure out a solution, and what is best for him, since the vets don't seem to know much about draft horses around here. Also, he's become really difficult to shoe, and I'm so thankful to have found someone who even wants to deal with shoeing him (this never happened in WA).

Any suggestions? Since he's not full draft, I'm not sure if he needs the diet recommended by Beth Valentine, and it would be tough to pull it off with the whole hay situation at my barn.

Looking forward to your feedback!
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-15-2018, 01:11 AM
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Beware of the alfalfa hay! My mare is like your horse. Calm, predictable, a bit on the lazy side but add a warmup and some leg and she will move out well. On alfalfa hay she's a nut! I've yet to own and work with a horse that isn't a nut on alfalfa hay. Especially this western stuff, it is very high quality, very rich, and makes them super hyper. Some horses can act perfectly fine on alfalfa. I think yours is like mine, where they just don't handle it well.

So if you can, try to get him away from the alfalfa, or seriously cut back on it. It might help.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-15-2018, 08:36 AM
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Oat is a grass and has one of the higher NSC contents for hays. I'd say you need to look at how to address this with the BO and figure out what works for your horse. Many horses benefit from the diet Valentine recommends not just drafts.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-16-2018, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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@horseluvr2524 Thank you! I had an Arab/Appy on alfalfa when I was younger and he was extremely spooky. I didn't realize it was possibly the alfalfa because I was ignorant about feeds, but now that my draft cross has become hot, I can't help but think it may be the hay. Really appreciate your input. :)
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-16-2018, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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@QtrBel thank you so much. I'm thinking that if he won't budge on the hay, I may need to put my draft cross out to permanent pasture and then catch him to have fun/ride him. But then again, I worry he'll become herd bound. Such a tough situation!
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-16-2018, 12:11 PM
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Make catching him a rewarding experience. On a phone and between classes. Will come back.
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