I have a mare who is currently getting oats and horse logic pro (supplement). She is also getting a probiotic 1x a day (platinum balance). She is moving back home because she is recovering from throat surgery, so she isn't in much work. She gets 5 flakes of alfalfa a day and about a pound of oats a day. She isn't a hard keeper.
I have had her on Triple Crown Senior before and liked her on it. I only switched from it because the barn I moved her to only fed oats. I liked her better on the TC Senior, but I don't think she needs the 5 lbs a day they recommend. Should I switch her back to grain? Maybe try a ration balancer? It doesn't need to be TC, but they do add prebiotics and probiotics to their grain.
OK, I refuse to do ANOTHER dissertation on equine nutrition and digestion. I've done enough on here that people can look them up.
so I'll give the easy answer and tiny explanation.
People have been killing horses with grain for centuries by following a European tradition that has never been good for horses. They don't die right away. We kill them by shortening their lifespan. If I fed a person a diet high in sugar, saturated fat, and trans fats they would not die for many years, but eventually it would catch up with them and it would shorten their life (if something else didn't). Horses digestive system is designed to large volume of low quality (low nutritional) long fiber....which they cannot digest except for a specific variety of micro organism that live in their hindgut (cecum and large intestine) that live on the long fiber, breaking it down into something that is digestible for the horse. Grains are high is NSC. Just as humans do nee small amounts of fat, horses need small amounts of NSC in their diet (I round up to 15% since it's easier to remember than the 12-13%). NSC (non structural carbohydrates) is present varying degrees in grass (a lot in lush grass which is why lush grazing runs a risk of creating a problem) with some types having more than other. Same with hay (avoid rich hays). Grains are loaded with NSC. Oats have the lowest % at about 40-45% (and horses only need about 15%). Don't be duped by arguments supporting feeding grain. Secretariat was put down at 19 years of age due to a severe physical condition (laminitis) cause by a diet of oats and high quality hay. A multi million dollar stud "killed by kindness", because they fed him according to traditions as opposed to has nature intended by how it designed the horse over a period of 10 million years. Are we so naÔve to belief that 2,000 years of a bad diet will undo 10 million years of evolution?
Feed things that are low in NSC. There are plenty of foods that are very low in it. For example:
Beet pulp is a popular low NSC source of fiber which is also more nutritious than the best hay you can find.
Copra is a low NSC and is so easy to digest that it goes from the foregut (small intestines) to the liver so it has little or no impact on the hindgut.
Do a bit of research to find what you feel will work best for meeting your horses dietary needs for the work demands you put. But it you're told grain just walk away. They're sending down the same path they had Secretariat take.
Hey, I did it. No details on the microbes for starch, hindgut pH levels, etc... The truth is that there is so much to it that it's taught as university courses. There's no way I could put all of it (even if I remembered it all) in 20 post.