What to feed, what to feed - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-16-2014, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Location: California
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Question What to feed, what to feed

Hi all!

So I'm nearing my wits end as far as feed decisions go for my horse. I've finally decided to come here and ask for advice. Yes he is wormed regularly an has his teeth done annually. We have *finally* found a trainer that works really well for the both of us and I can feel a definite improvement in my horse, specifically with dressage (which is a miracle). We are working on building up his severely lacking topline.

A little background information:
I work my horse 5-6 days a week. We are currently jumping once a week (BN/novice height), have a dressage lesson once a week, and the other 3-4 days I work on the flat or over caveletti. We trail ride about twice a month, but I'm hoping to bump that up. Also I'm probably going to eliminate one of my rides and have my trainer help me with his dressage once a week. My horse is a 14 y/o TB. Although he is older, he has pretty low miles....he was used as a very beginner lesson horse for most of his life. He gets fed hay 3X a day, 2 flakes in the morning 1 at lunch and 2 in the evening. The hay is very good quality orchard grass hay (no alfalfa available at the barn) He is in a pasture 24/7 which is just starting to sprout some grass. I am currently feeding him 1 cup of rice bran and 1 cup of LMF gold AM/PM. My overall goal is to provide him the adequate calories and supplementation he needs to build muscle and maintain his current weight(maybe even gain a little) with the work he is in.

My questions:
Should I incorporate beet pulp into his diet? I have had him on beet pulp before as a filler, but didn't notice a great difference. However in the past we weren't on such a structured work routine. Should I add a joint supplement to his feeding? I've been told before that feed through joint supplementation doesn't have any hard science backing it up. When I had Blazer on SmartPak smartflex pellets I honestly didn't notice much of a difference. HOWEVER, he wasn't in the level of work that he is in now. I'm honestly just mostly concerned about preventing injury at this point. Our ultimate goal is to compete at prelim, so maybe I should have him on some sort of joint supplement now? My trainers use cosequin ASU and love it, does anybody else have opinions on that particular supplement? Does anybody have any experience feeding black sunflower seeds? I hear they can also be good for adding weight and are great for the horses coat.

So! Anybody have any suggestions? If you've managed to read through my whole feeding rant, that is!

Thanks! =)
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-16-2014, 04:46 AM
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Was there anywhere you mentioned his weight & condition?? Can't tell you whether what he's getting is adequate or not, without knowing how he's been coping with it.

2 cups of ricebran daily is not much at all, if you're wanting to add calories. It may well be adequate if he's getting that to balance phosphorus or such. The LMF, I don't know it, but a quick squiz at their site & it seems to be a 'fat supplement', so guessing you do think the horse needs extra weight. Again, a couple of cups daily is not going to make a huge difference. As it has ricebran & sunflower seeds in it, among other stuff, I'd be considering whether nutritional balance was right with what he's getting, and adding a 'ration balancer' or whatever that was going to 'fill the gaps' in his nutrition.

Unless there is adequate grazing, the horse should be getting at least 2% bwt daily in grass hay, more like 3 for weightgain, and if not fed free choice, should be fed little & often or in a slow feeder, to ensure the horse doesn't go hungry for any length of time between 'meals'. That's bad for horses, and one cause of ulcers, which is one cause of 'failure to thrive'.
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-17-2014, 05:21 PM
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LMF gold is a regular horse feed. I've heard of it but I'm on the wrong coast to have seen it. Sounds fine to me though too much seed grain in it for my horses who do next to nothing.

Gold - LMF Feeds

High fat and high fiber. Already has lots of beet pulp.
Orchard grass makes nice hay. I'd actually try adding more hay to his diet first and then try some beet pulp or alfalfa pellets if that doesn't work.

Horses are made to get most of their nutrition from fiber type things. The concentrates are really just insurance that they are getting enough of the needed calories, vitamins and minerals. Our domestic horses can't wander across 100's, 1000's of acres like the wild ones do. They get what we give them. The wild ones wander into a spot that has high calcium soil then a few days later they in a spot where there is lots of phosphorus and so on as they wander. Our domestics still have the same gut the wild ones have. By far better off having the bulk of their diet come from hay or grass.
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-20-2014, 04:56 PM
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I use beet pulp to fatten my little horse up, if that is what you're looking to do beet pulp can help with that if fed the correct quantities.

Also, if you don't want to feed a supplement then flax seed is a good alternative. It's pretty cheap if you buy it in a 50 lb. bag and it helps with joint health. it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, helps boost the immune system, and has a few other beneficial properties as well.
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