Thanks so much @Acadianartist
. I will be sure to not let her run over me ;) I spoke directly to the instructor today and she said they literally only do a few hours a week and don't accept novice riders in the first place. I'm very much looking forward to my next ride on Katie... once I get some tack hah!
But I am having another slight dilemma now regarding FEED. The seller says that Katie is on whatever grass is available outside and ad-lib haylage because quality hay is a problem and she's tried two different suppliers and waiting on a 3rd. She's on no hard feed but that isn't to say she wasn't before when she was in Ireland. I will be waiting to see what the new yard offers on Friday but if anyone has any starter recommendations I'd be super gra♠teful. I will be looking more to balancing her diet and keeping that gut active as it should be but just need a place to start off!
Thanks a bunch :)
en, most often, folks overdo it with grain or pellets when it isn't really necessary. I'm a big fan of keeping the diet as simple and "natural" as possible (quotation marks are because no diet provided by humans is really natural). For us, soaked hay cubes (timothy or timothy-alfalfa) work great. Fed twice a day, they provide a vehicle for supplements and because you're essentially just feeding them hay, it won't cause stomach upset. They don't need a lot! I feed mine 100g dry twice a day (yes, I weigh it, and it does really expand when wet). In the winter, more like 250g per feeding for each horse. I add salt, a farrier's mix of cobalt, zinc, copper and magnesium, biotin, flax and selenium+vitamin E because our soil is selenium deficient. Then I add spirulina for immune health (not necessary, but I think it has helped mine) and a pre/probiotic mix for my gelding with ulcers.
However, before you start feeding a bunch of supplements, you need to make sure you know what your horse needs. Ideally, you get your hay analyzed for content so you know what to add, and what NOT to add (which can be just as important). For example, we have a lot of iron in our soil, therefore in our hay. Too much iron can cause a lot of problems so the last thing I want to do is feed something that contains more iron. On the other hand we have no selenium so I need to add it in. The reverse might be true where you live. If you aren't sure yet what hay you will be using, you can still get a pretty good idea of the mixtures in your area by talking to someone who is knowledgeable. An equine nutritionist (try to find one that doesn't work for a horse feed company though) or a good farrier/trimmer can help.
The best thing to do is to keep the horse's diet the same at first, and introduce anything new slowly. If you don't know what the horse was eating, best to stick to hay or haylage, but you can't go wrong by adding a few hay cubes as long as they're just compressed hay. Sprinkling some salt on the hay cubes is a good idea too, and won't hurt. That will allow the horse to get used to the hay cubes before you start adding supplements. If your BO won't soak the hay cubes (some think this is a hassle), you might consider hay pellets fed dry, but it's not ideal. There are ration balancers that give you decent overall benefits, though I prefer the more analytic customized approach.