Feed Help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-21-2020, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
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Feed Help

Hello! I am new to HF, and I am in need of feed help.

Backstory:
I recently moved from a business barn to a private barn. At the previous barn, my horse was out on grass 24/7 and fed some sweet feed twice daily. At this new barn, we have to provide our own feed. She is still on the grass, but now she is also on hay (mixed grass, I think) and a red and Himalayan salt block 24/7 too. I always just used whatever the barn provided (bad horse owner, I know). Apparently, sweet feed is just sugary corn.... So, that is probably why my horse is fat....

Current:
This new barn is a co-op. We feed once daily. Although, since it is only about ten minutes from my house, so I can feed twice daily if needed. We feed separately in stalls. She is currently just getting a handful of very spread out timothy hay pellets to keep her occupied (she relentlessly paws at the door otherwise).

I have read that one should do a hay test at the very least. Although, a pasture and/or body (hair and/or blood) test for an extra measure is also recommended. There is one major problem with that: I am a minor, so my parents are will need to do most of the work (footing the bill, shipping, etc.), and they do not want to "deal with that."

What should I do? I have read that a ration balance or supplement(s) is a second-best to a fully custom diet. The problem is that there are literally hundreds on the market, all with different nutritional make-ups. How do you know which one to choose? I have read that everything is a balance between other vitamins and minerals. How do you know what is "balanced" without a hay and pasture analysis?
Tronik is offline  
post #2 of 3 Old 09-21-2020, 09:55 PM
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Hi & welcome Tronik,

Great that she's off the sweets - yeah, just 'junk food'. Depending on the grass/hay she's getting, it's possible this is too 'high carb' too, but much better to avoid actual grain & sweets.
I don't know what a 'red and Himalayan salt block is(know what Himalayan is) but I'd imagine if it's red it may have iron in it, which is not great(usually horses have too high iron in their diet already). Generally speaking, horses don't get a lot from blocks, assuming they're well balanced anyway - they'd have to lick & lick all day. So I put out loose salt(&/or some in their feed if they get any) and use a powdered mineral mix that I add to a very small feed(mine don't need extra calories either).

To work out what may be needed nutritional supplement-wise, you're right, that it's best to do a diet analysis - hay/pasture etc - to accurately know what your horse is getting, to know what she needs to 'fill the gaps'. But if you can't do that, talking to local feed merchants or agricultural places may give you a good idea of what's likely in local grass/hay. Then you can choose whatever 'ration balancer' or otherwise is most appropriate. There's a program/service called Feedxl.com that is really helpful.

If you are only feeding once or twice daily, whatever it is needs to be small & easily digested - not grain or such, not that it sounds like she needs anything like that anyway.
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loosie is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 09-22-2020, 02:14 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2020
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I second the comment about iron. It is common for there already to be too much iron naturally in feed for our horses to need any extra, and the red salt blocks are full of extra, unneeded iron.
Look at a feed like Safe Choice or Triple Crown Naturals which is low in sugars but still gives the horse the nutrition and probios it needs. A general multi-vitamin supplement is always a good option, I personally use Leg Up as they don't have any added iron.
Timothy and alfalfa pellets are good too, as they again are low in sugar and don't cause a ton of weight gain.

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