Your LOW SUGAR/STARCH Feed Preferences? Please? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Red face Your LOW SUGAR/STARCH Feed Preferences? Please?

I'm seeking a lower sugar, lower starch feed for my almost (in April) 5 year old QH mare.
When I bought her in June, she was wonderfully calm and quiet-- even when I took her to her very first shows that summer, and the first times she had ever been trail ridden.

The previous owner and trainer had her on generic 12%, hay and a few hours of pasture, and she looked and acted great. She was even slightly lazy in the arena until she warmed up. I kept her on the same feed and hay regimen and worked her up to 10 hours of grazing a day during the summer.
She started getting hotter and more anxious in the fall, but many of the horses at our barn were acting that way with the cooler weather and I attributed her energy to her age and the cooler temps.

She lost a little weight when she was moved to the paddock from the pasture this winter, so I increased her hay (free choice hay all day while she is in the paddock, plus hay at night in her stall as well). I also changed her feed about two weeks ago to a higer fat and protein feed (DuMor Equistages)- which I believe is only making the issue worse. I'm now researching feeds like Tribute Kalm 'N EZ and possible magnesium deficiency, since she does display several symptoms. She is generally not picky about feeds and usually ravenous for her grain and eats hay like a gelding.

I want to be sure she can continue to gain a little weight and get all the nutrients she needs as a younger horse, but also go back to her calm and relaxed personality. I also don't want to go broke trying to feed her. What do you like to feed in these situations? Thanks for your input!
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 12:40 PM
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So...a few things come to mind...
You are a new owner to her, you ride her differently than any trainer I bet did and you have never owned her solely before coming off a winter time or just with your dedicated work and riding schedule. You are now a few months into owning, riding and caring for her exclusively and see changes...
This is a mare, it is springtime and mares have started cycling again and that can change personality in some. They can smell the springtime in the air... and just feel good about it.
You just came off winter, actually are still in winter and I bet the horse is not out moving around in a pasture eating grass for 12 hours a day but cooped up in a smaller enclosure. Yes?
So, some energy to burn and you are still feeding her hard feed and just increased her energy level by upping her protein level....
Is her work load the exact same, the same amount expended as it was before winter???
She was out wandering the pasture grazing and you riding for how long daily and how often????
The change in the weather does affect some too.
You have just increased protein levels and this feed is also pretty rich in molasses content although not "sticky" it is in it in decent amounts. I did feed it briefly myself and did not like the weight loss my horses had...
There is no ingredients list per say but there is a 18% on average sugar/starch number known...
Not knowing what ingredients were used... you will get fluctuations because of ingredient changes that can compound personality issues you now see.

So...out grazing also expends energy while she eats...
She lost weight coming off pasture so you upped her hay {is it real quality hay always in front of her?} and pushed feed to fatten her back up...and now she has energy to burn.
"Ravenous" to me describes a horse not getting their food needs met....

Today, it seems a fad to think their horse has a magnesium deficiency if they exhibit any enthusiasm or excitability...
Is your horse having muscle tremors, un-coordinated, flighty or nervous...those are the biggies.
Is she sore backed? Body tense?
Does she react like you struck her hard when you touch her or pull away from any touch?
Here is a good article to read about magnesium deficiency in horses..
Magnesium: The Mineral Superhero - Performance Equine Nutrition | Focus, MagRestore
Unless you have done blood work and chemistry and had a vet make that!
Please, please don't put a label on her unless she warrants it after testing and a veterinary medical examination.
Good grief she is not 5 years old and has some life in her....don't start looking for endocrine problems because she is young and feels good.
I don't mean that to be harsh but think about it....
She has barely reached adulthood, is coming out of winter and is loving springtime and life.

Since you are feeding Dumoor you are purchasing in Tractor Supply Stores...
There is a lot better feeds available in that store, always.
Go to the Tractor Supply website, put in your area and see what is actually carried in your particular store routinely..then make some decisions based upon what they have.
Go to the individual feed manufacturers websites and do comparisons and use the internet to do side by side different brand to different brand're not the first one looking for this information.
TS also can and does special order for customers if you ask them {store manager does this}....there is a more extensive line available from many manufacturers just not space to carry everything in the TS store.

Me, I would look for a lower sugar & starch feed but not be searching for only recipes based on a IR horse unless your horse is showing signs of that...with medical documentation to back up that theory.
Lowering starch & sugar, yes....
Up the fat number.... and add a higher fiber number. Yes...

You want to stay in Tractor Supply Stores...
Look at Strategy Healthy carried in many stores.
12% protein, 8% fat, 18% fiber are decent numbers.
Energy dense so not needing as much to have desired results and with correct amounts of essential vitamin and minerals.
I know many who feed this feed or regular Strategy with excellent results and no "hot" horse.

I actually feed Purina Ultium to my hard keeper.
He is 16 years old, 16 hand Thoroughbred, burns off his food easily.
He isn't worked hard by any means but he requires a dense calorie feed with higher fat and good fiber...the lower protein in my case works well.
I feed 4 pounds total a day of this right now.
He is calm when you ask of him but "calm" in personality.
Once my pasture returns he will go down to 2 pounds a day and be not so much unless he eats more!
Pellets, a fixed formula and nutrient a win-win for me.
I will not buy feed made by any company that does not have dedicated manufacturing plants to just horse feed. There have to many "accidents" in my area of monesin style contamination and I won't take the chance of killing my horse because of a "oops!"...
My feed is also affordable but more than you pay.... the saying of "you get what you pay for"'s true..
I have other brands available too but cost, availability and just plain my horse won't eat some brands all have me purchasing what I do...
Good luck.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Agreed...

Thank you for your response. I must not have clarified very well, as I think we agree on every point. Let me attempt to better elaborate:
I fully agree that MOST of her issues stem from the weather and changing seasons, as it is obvious that most/all of the horses at the barn are frisky and extra hot this time of year due to pasture changes and reduced exercise.
I would not run out and put her on magnesium supplements, however as I mentioned she does exhibit symptoms: i.e. very tender to the touch, appears uncomfortable and sensitive when brushed etc., and only mention it as some may ask if there were a possibility of the deficiency.

Honestly I'm not blaming her whatsoever for this change. I understand she is young, and all that comes along with owning a young horse ...and a mare at that.
She has been with me for 8 months, so I did ride/own her at the end of spring/beginning of summer, and acknowldge that it has not been a full year-- and her mood and attitude will vary from month to month and situation to situation.
I believe the last feed change was unresearched and hasty on my part, and believe changing her to a lower sugar/starch feed would be beneficial all around, so long as it doesn't cause weight loss. My goal is to add real world testimonials to my research this time around.

Have you ever had geldings that were excited for their food? That's how she acts. I didn't mean to exaggerate, just trying to be descriptive. She's a silly young horse that loves food. All I meant by that was that she was a healthy eater and doesn't have the issues a picker eater might.

Being new to the area and not knowing the local feed stores, I went to Tractor Supply initially, but am checking out two local feed stores today, which should give a better variety. I simply was hoping to get a few stories from others who may have tried these lower starch and sugar feeds and get some feedback on their favorites. I don't expect it to magically make her drowsy or counteract a mare's natural winter/spring friskiness, just hoping it would be a better alternative to the feed I am not pleased with currently. I also linked the feeds mentioned to their pages for nutrition comparison, if that helps.
Thanks for your thoughts!
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 02:00 PM
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From the very article linked:
"Only approx 1% of magnesium is stored in the blood, the rest is stored in soft tissue and bone and the body is very efficient at maintaining that level in the blood stream to facilitate organ function. This is why blood level magnesium tests are rarely indicative of an animalís true magnesium status. A horse would be severely deficient and would be very ill by the time a blood test would indicate a shortfall."

The reason people supplement thinking their horse may be deficient is because it is a very common problem and it's not easily tested for so the protocol is to supplement and see if there are any results. It's not something you're really going to oversupplement and cause harm. The reason people are so "hyper" about it is due to it being an agent in calming supplements so people say "clearly my horse needs it!"

While it wouldn't hurt for the OP to try that, and definitely wouldn't hurt to keep the diet low starch/sugar (ALL horses benefit from that! it's nothing to do with IR) I agree it sounds like there are multiple factors.

Unless she really needs the grain why don't you get her on a ration balancer and supplement beet pulp for weight?

I think you are overthinking gelding vs mare lol, a horse is a horse, they are all the same at the end of the day.

I don't know what you have available or what your mares needs are but agree that the Ultium is a good food. I've never used it on my own horses though because they don't need much. So if she needs it go for it, but if not consider something like what I said above. The Dumor appears low quality but is NOT high in starch/sugar, get her on something that can meet her needs but with better ingredients will help. I'm just thinking a horse that was a good weight on hay/pasture alone and is not currently in work (if that's accurate) would need something like Ultium.
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 02:18 PM
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If you have Tractor Supply nearby, Nutrena Safe Choice Special Care is a good, fairly inexpensive choice.
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Yes!

YES YES YES! 100% Agree.
I was literally just trying to answer some common questions others may have in response. The mare eating like a gelding was just a similie. I always joke she eats like a gelding. She had never been on what I would consider a "quality grain" but didn't seem the worse for it and I was hesitant to change her diet up with the "if its not broke" mentality. Now that she is acting jumpy and hot, moreso than would be expected with a horse of her age or situation/season, I blame myself for not researching feeds the first time around; and hope to correct that now.
As you said, a low starch and low sugar feed would be beneficial for most horses and I hope mine is one. My only concern was weight loss. She's not underweight per se, but personally I'd like to her a little more filled out.
My only hesitation with beet pulp is the prep. My barn owner doesn't do much prep work and I'm worried she won't feed it if she has to soak it. Plus I'm not looking for massive weight gain, just subtle. I'm sure she'll be fine when she goes back to pasture in the spring.
Again, just want to ensure that switching to low sugar/starch won't cause weight or nutrition loss in horses like her. Thanks so much!!
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Wink Thanks!

Originally Posted by 3Horses2DogsandaCat View Post
If you have Tractor Supply nearby, Nutrena Safe Choice Special Care is a good, fairly inexpensive choice.
Perfect! Thanks for your recommendation! I will look into that and really appreciate it
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 03:25 PM
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What are you calling grain?
Eating like a gelding?
Well, if you are already feeding a fat source for calories, versus 'grain', you are already feeding cool calories. It is hot calories, contained in what is 'real grain', that cause mood highs,as grains are high in sugar (grain, being GRAIN, as in oats, corn, barley , and not bagged feed called grain for convenience ) I don't know how much endless confusion this causes, using 'grain' to describe any bagged feed, including those containing little if any grain
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 03:30 PM
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I see that Durmore shows protein amount and fat(cool calories), but do you know the NSC content< as that would be the concern, far as any sugar highs due to that feed
Can you post complete analysis ? Certainly, if that feed is bound together with molasses, you have concentrated sugar right there
Protein doe snot cause mood alterations-that fact was disproved way back in the eighties. All excess protein does, is be heavy on the pocket book, as excess is excreted, or on a horse, due to that fact, who has kidney disease.
It is hot calories that are directly associated with mode highs, risk of laminitis and colic, directly in proportion to amount fed

Last edited by Smilie; 02-08-2017 at 03:38 PM.
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-08-2017, 03:43 PM
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Calories are what regulates weight in horses, same as in people. Feed just the right amount for daily activities, and you have a stable weight, less and the horse looses weight, more, the horse gains
Calories come in two forms, hot and cool, thus, why many senior hrose feed, fed to horses with metabolic issues, but need more calories, are fed high fat feeds, as they can't be fed hot calories. So, no, your horse won't loose weight, if you substitute cool calories for hot calories
You can also just add flax or canola oil , for those calories, if needed
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feed , magnesium , starch , sugar

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