Organic horse feed - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-06-2018, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Xenia, Ohio
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Organic horse feed

I am reentering the horse world after a 20 year hiatus or so. We have bought a 14-year-old quarter horse gielding named Abe Abe is a very sweet horse who has been ride for trails mostly which is what we want.

We were buying 10% sweet feed to give him more as a treat than any thing half a scoop twice a day. He has a great pastor that he spends most of his time and when I’m not riding. He has a stall he can go into also.

My neighbor who is also into horses and other livestock, believe strongly in organic feeding of his animals. He sold us recently some of his mixed horsefeed that he purchases. From the Feedmill. It looks and smells great and seems like it would be a good idea.

Here is the combination of what is in it per him “The feed I am using comes from Hillsboro Master feed it is they're dry 12 mix the ingredients are corn oats protein pellet and oil and a small amount of molasses they use 5 pounds of molasses per ton of feed mix to knock down the dust. I bring that home and then mix it 50-50 with Spelt. As I'm researching I will probably change the feed more closely to the mixture that is mentioned in the book, “natural horse care” by pat Coleby. “

What are your thoughts on this combination of feed.

Thanks for any help or insight on what you do to feed your trail horses in or other horses. Thanks so much

"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a woman !"
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-06-2018, 07:04 AM
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I answered this on your other thread. Organic or not, I would never feed corn or molasses to any horse. I have never heard of feeding spelt.

Just because it's organic doesn't mean it's healthy.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-06-2018, 07:13 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum:).

Xenia, OH ---- I was living in Trumbull County when the 1974 Super Outbreak of tornadoes pretty much leveled Xenia ---- then you folks got hit again on that 44th anniversary date this year:(. I hope you and yours escaped harm and damage.

Feed: everyone on this forum who has our noses deep in equine nutrition are going to say the same thing ---- NO absolutely not to the sweet feed and NO absolutely not to your neighbor's idea of what he thinks constitutes a good feed. Much has changed regarding diet in the 20 years you have been on hiatus from the horse world:)

Spelt: I had no clue what that is so I Googled it. Spelt is essentially an old time type of wheat. Wheat is a grain which makes it bad for a barely working horse, along with corn, oats, and barley. Worse yet it is high in gluten. That's really not good for a horse that might be thinking about developing metabolic issues.

Just because something is organic does not make it healthy or the thing to feed a horse or ourselves:)

If your QH is an easy keeper, my thought is to either buy a grain-free ration balancer and feed him the minimum amount to give him the guaranteed analysis on the bag, or buy a concentrated vit/min supplement and mix into a measured cup of Timothy pellets

PLEASE don't make the mistake of feeding your horse to make yourself feel better (more is not healthier:). Hearing a horse moan from the pain of founder is not something you want to experience.

On the plus side, many kudos to you for asking this very important question:). Please keep asking:):)
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-06-2018, 07:34 AM
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What was he fed in his last home? If you have good pasture and he is used to being on grass then likely that is all he needs. A ration balancer like Purina Free Balance 12 12 can be fed on top of alfalfa or timothy pellets to get it in him. 2 ounce powdered serving so you need a carrier. Most horses won't lick it up. Their Enrich comes pelleted in a palatable carrier and fed at a pound per serving (Always read the directions work load, age and size can change the serving size somewhat). Unless he is a hard keeper that will ensure he gets his vitamins and minerals. AS everyone else has said the cereal grains are a tick to founder and laminitis for some horses. A large scoop half full 2x a day would probably mean 3 or more pounds of that feed. I'd be more concerned with the grains than the molasses. 5 pounds to 2000 pounds is such a small fraction it is negligible.

Natural or not I would be very careful using a blanket recommendation based on soils in Australia to feed a horse on American soil just because it has X,Y or Z. You need to know your soils and have your grass and hay analyzed to find out IF there are deficiencies in your area and what they are.

Last edited by QtrBel; 06-06-2018 at 07:39 AM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-06-2018, 08:10 AM
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So first off...WELCOME to the Forum...

I never heard of "Spelt" honestly so did a quick fact finding tour of some sites for a education.

I found a site which does comparisons of food for humans.
What I found amazing in just this comparison was how much more nutrient values were not there that I expected to be.
I feel like it is a "empty calorie" thing for people and that is why the popularity is making the comeback so many sites I went to made mention of...weight loss being a big reason.
I'm not sure why you would be adding it or feel it is advantageous added to a horse food....
I also kept finding references to facts from other nations but not here in the USA or by our food producing rules and regulations...

In a horse food...seriously I question the "organic" and need for it since the rain that nourishes the land is filled with the pollutants of the planet...
Horses graze pastures that pull nutrients from the water source that no farm has control just is there or not.
For horses, unless you plan on not vaccinating, nor using fly spray, medications for injuries and antibiotics for illness, tested results known worming medication...then I see no point in spending the extra for "organic" of anything.
Being organic is not necessarily the better way to do for a animal.

So your feed mix with the number one ingredient being corn is great for livestock and ruminant animals, but not so good for horses.
There are many here who can far better explain the pro and con of feeding a feed rich in corn & oats versus other ingredients to horses....horses is the key word.
I also am not a lover of feeding actual molasses in any amount to my horses.
To moisten feed that may be dust particle probable there are far more choices in fats I would use...
The horse does better with a high fat and fiber diet with low sugar and starch is a proved concept today.

Now onto your "feed-mill"...
I have a feed-mill near me too.
He will mix and does mix all kinds of feed products, mostly for cattle.
What I can tell you is unless the entire line is taken down and apart and cleaned thoroughly between mixes, your organic feed has traces of added nutrients because there is always residue on the feed line left someplace.
What I personally would be making positively sure of is there is no additive on the premise used in any feed that could cause harm and death to your horse...namely Rumensin or Monesin and any of the variety of this additive.
In the tiniest amounts consumed by equines, death is a real issue and possibility.
As the feed mill does livestock feeds, Rumensin/Monesin is commonly part of those feeds made would make me not purchase and never knowingly buy products from this mill.
The feed mill by me does not allow that product on his premise ever and that takes out that worry to me.
However, since he mixes only sweet feeds I no longer use the mill just because I don't feed that composition anymore.
My horses do better on true horse pelleted feed with the added in vitamin and minerals they need to thrive and do their best on.
That puts me in commercial mixed feed, my local grown hay fed along with pasture grazed.
I just don't do sweet feed anymore.

I gave you several articles about Monesin poisoning so you can be informed and very aware as you buy from a feed mill, which processes livestock feed.
Any feed, commercially made needs safeguards in place to protect our horses.
There are hundreds of articles and references to see and read.
Sadly, in my state alone their have been several devastating occurrences of contaminated feed fed and many horses lost to horrible deaths...please, please be aware and so very conscious in what you feed and from where it comes.
I happen to only purchase feed that has dedicated horse feed other animal feed is made on premise so there is no chance of contamination peace of mind!
The links to just a few articles of hundreds...
Monensin Poisoning | HorseDVM Diseases A-Z
Horse Owner Today | Monensin: Fatal Feed

Keep on asking those questions and we, the members will try to answer them and give our opinions for you to think about and consider when making your decisions.

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post #6 of 9 Old 06-07-2018, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Xenia, Ohio
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big bean

To al the great folks who replied to me - THANKS so much ! I am learning so much from all of you. The vet was just here to float his teeth (Which hadn't been done is quite awhile) and to make sure we did a good job cleaning his sheath yesterday - we found a big bean yesterday so i wanted vet to check to be sure all looked good and no infection.

With smooth teeth and clean sheath, Abe should be feeling much better about everything soon. I think this guy was pretty much just standing in a pasture before me. I plant to handle him a lot and trail ride - but am gently bringing him to being used again (just a suspicion that he wasn't being ridden much if at all...)

Anyways, on the food - the vet said absolutely not to be feeding him the mix just like all of you ! She said corn especially is no good and will make horses hot among other things. She recommended Equine Senior by any of the major food makers.

What specifically would you feed a 14 year old gelding? WE have very good pasture. My husband is testing the soil to know exactly what he needs to add, but very green and very few weeds.

In some posts some of you mentioned pellets, can someone educate me on those.

Last edited by horsemamma; 06-07-2018 at 03:35 PM. Reason: correction
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-07-2018, 04:13 PM
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What was he fed in his last home and how long have you had him and had him on the feed you were talking about? If he had been completely switched over to that I wouldn't hesitate to quit cold turkey. What you put on the soil doesn't always make its way into the grass or hay. You would want that tested as well. If your grass is good then that plus a ration balancer may well be all he needs. if by his condition the vet thinks a senior feed is warranted then Purina makes a two Senior feeds. One that can be fed as a complete feed (red bag) if there is no forage available and a Senior Active that needs to be fed with a forage. You feed much less of the Senior Active than the Senior even with forage available. I've fed both depending on availability but prefer the Active as I feed less. It doesn't keep my hard keepers in flesh though. The red bag senior does better but I have found for the price switching to Ultium worked for them. Most of mine get Strategy. Nutrena has a good line of feeds as does Triple Crown, ADM Patriot, Seminole - there are many out there and everyone has their own reasons for their preferences. I don't like ADM because of issues they had with feed contamination but my child's BO swears by it and her horses always look amazing. I use Purina but have used Nutrena when Strategy wasn't available and found it worked well. Post a picture or two of him. One we love seeing everyone's horses and two it helps us help you by giving better advice based on where he is at condition wise.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-07-2018, 04:33 PM
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YAY Abe! How great he got a clean bill of health and kudos to your vet for nixing corn and your neighbor's concoction, lol. She must have more nutritional knowledge than the average vet:)

Anything pelleted is an extruded product. There can be a bit of molasses in an extruded product but it is minimal for flavor.

My horses do not get bagged feed. One is in insulin resistance remission, the other an air fern who could go IR.

Their base feed is Standlee brand straight Timothy pellets and a condensed vit/min supplement that only requires three ounces for each horse to get its daily nutrional intake.

I keep a household measuring cup in the Timothy pellets bag and measure out 1-1/2 cups, to mix their supplements in, twice daily.

My Tractor Supply carries Standlee brand Timothy, orchard grass, Timothy/alfalfa pellets so hopefully yours does, too if you're interest.

My horses are 22 & 24. The 22 yr old is an accident waiting to happen, the 24 ur old has some stifle issues so they both get MSM.


Agree on the senior feed if that's what you want to feed BUT buy from a well known brand like Triple Crown, Nutrena, Purina, and read the ingredients list on the back of the bags to be sure they are at least corn-free. The first three ingredients are ALWAYS the biggest contributors to the formula.

Soy is the protein source for 99.9% of every bagged feed or ration balancer known to mankind. Some horses have serious sensitivity to soy. It can manifest itself in anything from bad behavior (think A.D.D.), to mild laminitis. My 24 year old is both soy and grain sensitive, the IR horse can't have any of that either, so the vit/min supplement I buy is soy free and checkbook heavy, lol

As long as Abe is not HYPP, HERDA, or has any sort of metabolic issues, he can eat from the top quality feeds or ration balancers that don't have corn in them.

If he is of good weight, and having been a pasture horse all his life, my thought is to feed him the bare bones minimum required to get the guaranteed analysis on the bag, so he doesn't gain weight and his metabolism doesn't go haywire:)

Something you could think about doing in this heat, is to feed him finely chopped watermelon and the rind. My vet told me that last year. I chop the rind about the twice the size of my thumbnail and mix about 3/4 cup In their feed pans twice daily. I also remove as many of the seeds as I can. It is time consuming and not needed ---- just an extra treat with citrulline in it, if you want to start that bad habit, lollol.

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-07-2018, 05:58 PM
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The vet report sounds fantastic...
Abe is healthy and good to go now..

As was mentioned by one of the previous posters...Some manufacturers have shared lines of manufacture for livestock/ruminant and horse feeds and have had incidence{s} of contaminated horse feed that resulted in deaths...
Learn what manufacturers have dedicated equine lines, or true safe-guards in place to protect our horses.
My suggestion is to try to stay with a line of feed that does not share manufacturing who use/include that Monesin product or like products so you never have to face that outcome for your horse.

Now onto the "goodies" of this post...

Senior feed, from what ever manufacturer....don't let the name throw you..
Senior feed is safe to feed to any equine 5 years of age or older...
One of the things that makes it special is how it is made...the processing of the ingredients is done in such a way that digestion, absorption and utilization of the food is easier on the horse and very beneficial.
Senior feed is usually also a more dense in calorie diet too so if Abe needs to gain any weight, he can.
Most senior feeds are also made that they can be fed with forage, pasture or hay, or just as the sole source of food and the horse will thrive if fed enough of it..
Regular horse foods are not like Senior and must have forage provided...

So, manufacturer brands were given, please add Seminole Feeds to that list of quality producers.
They are not available everywhere though.

Every manufacturer has a different recipe for their feeds they use, company secrets...
Regardless of whose food you use, read bag back for feeding suggestions for optimum results achieved.
All horse food, whether feed or forage is fed by weight not volume.
Most of us have done the measured amount then weighed so know how much a certain scoop or can holds...
The only other piece of accumulated over time advice I share is...
Horses, our normal activity horses do not need the highest levels of protein..

Our average exercised and ridden horses can do very well with protein in the 10 - 12% range...horses in heavy training and extreme work need those higher levels but not average use animals.
What all horses/equines do better with is a feed that has higher fiber and fat levels...that is cool calories for weight gain and energy shared/disbursed and used by the body to slow release not dump into their digestive system.
As you learn more {oh the reading you shall soon be doing} you will also learn lower starch and sugar amounts is kinder to the horse and better for their digestion, same as humans,.. they don't need it.
A lot of information I just dropped on your to figure it out and then apply it.
Bottom line is, sweet feeds are not the best for horses to be fed except for under certain living and working conditions, truth. Your vet is so right.

Forage, pasture & hay should make up the majority of the horses diet...
Add feed if the horse can not maintain their body condition on hay/pasture alone.
Daily vitamin and minerals are needed by the body to work most efficiently. Feed quality ones if you only need these.
Salt licks/blocks or loose salt along with daily fresh water are the necessities of life...
Oh... and add in love and attention from us owners and you have a happy, healthy and spoiled horse.

Again, WELCOME to horse ownership!!

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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