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I have a mare who is currently getting oats and horse logic pro (supplement). She is also getting a probiotic 1x a day (platinum balance). She is moving back home because she is recovering from throat surgery, so she isn't in much work. She gets 5 flakes of alfalfa a day and about a pound of oats a day. She isn't a hard keeper.

I have had her on Triple Crown Senior before and liked her on it. I only switched from it because the barn I moved her to only fed oats. I liked her better on the TC Senior, but I don't think she needs the 5 lbs a day they recommend. Should I switch her back to grain? Maybe try a ration balancer? It doesn't need to be TC, but they do add prebiotics and probiotics to their grain.

Thank you
 

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That's the only kind of grain I feed now, is oats. Half cup that's it, and Hoffman's minerals, soaked beet pulp, alfalfa cubes. Sometimes I even skip the oats.
 

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Oats are a grain.
Grain is the product you get from cereal crops, oats are cereal crops.
Things like TC Senior are a mix of various things including added vitamins and minerals. It claims to be grain free but it does contain wheat middlings and brewers grains

If you don’t want to spend time balancing your horses feed you’re better off to use something like that. Oats on their own aren’t a balanced feed.
 

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As jaydee says, nutritional balance is important & oats & alfalfa don't give that on their own.

But especially(not only) if you're not feeding 'recommended quantity', I don't believe generic 'complete feeds' do either, necessarily. Despite marketing hype. Depends on not only what the feed is, it's analysis, but what the horse is getting from their basic diet - hay/grass & alfalfa for eg. So I think it's. Important to do at least a basic diet analysis before knowing what supplementary feed or supp will best 'fill the gaps'. To that end, Feedxl.com is one good online option for working that out.

Oats, being easier to digest & lower in starch/sugar than other grain, are the best cereal grain for horses, should you feel the need to feed an 'energy feed'. They're also high in phosphorus so can be a good part of the nutritional balance if fed appropriately.

While if your horse is an easy keeper I'd reconsider the need, if you're only feeding 1lb a day, over at least a couple of feeds(important to feed esp ingredients like that little & often), might be appropriate to keep them.

Alfalfa is a good, rich, high energy, reasonably low sugar feed imo. Being high energy, often too much for 'easy keepers' tho. Being rich but not well balanced nutritionally for horses, it should be considered carefully as to if/how much is best. Generally, according to a nutritionist friend, it's best to be no more than about 1/4 to 1/3 of the forage ration.

In addition, legumes can sometimes cause issue due to them containing 'phytohormones' so some don't like this - particularly soy - because of that.
 

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I have a mare who is currently getting oats and horse logic pro (supplement). She is also getting a probiotic 1x a day (platinum balance). She is moving back home because she is recovering from throat surgery, so she isn't in much work. She gets 5 flakes of alfalfa a day and about a pound of oats a day. She isn't a hard keeper.

I have had her on Triple Crown Senior before and liked her on it. I only switched from it because the barn I moved her to only fed oats. I liked her better on the TC Senior, but I don't think she needs the 5 lbs a day they recommend. Should I switch her back to grain? Maybe try a ration balancer? It doesn't need to be TC, but they do add prebiotics and probiotics to their grain.

Thank you
OK, I refuse to do ANOTHER dissertation on equine nutrition and digestion. I've done enough on here that people can look them up.

so I'll give the easy answer and tiny explanation.
NO GRAINS.....EVER.
People have been killing horses with grain for centuries by following a European tradition that has never been good for horses. They don't die right away. We kill them by shortening their lifespan. If I fed a person a diet high in sugar, saturated fat, and trans fats they would not die for many years, but eventually it would catch up with them and it would shorten their life (if something else didn't). Horses digestive system is designed to large volume of low quality (low nutritional) long fiber....which they cannot digest except for a specific variety of micro organism that live in their hindgut (cecum and large intestine) that live on the long fiber, breaking it down into something that is digestible for the horse. Grains are high is NSC. Just as humans do nee small amounts of fat, horses need small amounts of NSC in their diet (I round up to 15% since it's easier to remember than the 12-13%). NSC (non structural carbohydrates) is present varying degrees in grass (a lot in lush grass which is why lush grazing runs a risk of creating a problem) with some types having more than other. Same with hay (avoid rich hays). Grains are loaded with NSC. Oats have the lowest % at about 40-45% (and horses only need about 15%). Don't be duped by arguments supporting feeding grain. Secretariat was put down at 19 years of age due to a severe physical condition (laminitis) cause by a diet of oats and high quality hay. A multi million dollar stud "killed by kindness", because they fed him according to traditions as opposed to has nature intended by how it designed the horse over a period of 10 million years. Are we so naïve to belief that 2,000 years of a bad diet will undo 10 million years of evolution?

Feed things that are low in NSC. There are plenty of foods that are very low in it. For example:
Beet pulp is a popular low NSC source of fiber which is also more nutritious than the best hay you can find.
Copra is a low NSC and is so easy to digest that it goes from the foregut (small intestines) to the liver so it has little or no impact on the hindgut.
Do a bit of research to find what you feel will work best for meeting your horses dietary needs for the work demands you put. But it you're told grain just walk away. They're sending down the same path they had Secretariat take.

Hey, I did it. No details on the microbes for starch, hindgut pH levels, etc... The truth is that there is so much to it that it's taught as university courses. There's no way I could put all of it (even if I remembered it all) in 20 post.
 
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If you're interested in giving your horse the best diet, you can check out Dr Kellon! She offers online courses for equine nutrition, haven't taken it yet personally as it's $200 and I don't make money yet, but compared to the money you spend on horses anyway, I think it's well worth it :D

www.drkellon.com
 

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Actually there are several courses offered and EACH course is $225. She also offers mini courses $55 each. As they are ongoing you pay $55 every two weeks for access if I read it correctly. She condenses the material and offers a question and answer format. Not sure how that works. As with any expert you are looking to learn from do your research to see if they are truly worth the investment of your time and money.
 

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I have a mare who is currently getting oats and horse logic pro (supplement). She is also getting a probiotic 1x a day (platinum balance). She is moving back home because she is recovering from throat surgery, so she isn't in much work. She gets 5 flakes of alfalfa a day and about a pound of oats a day. She isn't a hard keeper.

I have had her on Triple Crown Senior before and liked her on it. I only switched from it because the barn I moved her to only fed oats. I liked her better on the TC Senior, but I don't think she needs the 5 lbs a day they recommend. Should I switch her back to grain? Maybe try a ration balancer? It doesn't need to be TC, but they do add prebiotics and probiotics to their grain.

Thank you
I feel like a broken record.
Do you know history repeats itself? BECAUSE NO ONE WAS PAYING ATTENTION THE FIRST TIME.
Do you know why people still feed their horses wrong? BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE TO JUST FOLLOW BAD TRADTIONS. After all, everyone did for 1,000 years so it must me right. People did surgery with dirty, bloody instruments for 2,000 years, but that didn't make it right.
NEVER feed your poor horse ANY grain unless there is absolutely nothing else (not even enough weeds) and you need to prevent starvation. There is NOTHING that they can get from grain that they can't get from better sources which are not unhealthy for horses (ALL grains are unhealthy for horses....even oats). They all have massive amounts more of NSC than a horse should get (think fat in humans....we need it...brain has to have it...but we need only small amounts). Too much NSC is the silent, invisible killer that slowly kills horses (shortens their live span). It is 100% avoidable, but then that would not benefit the people who sell the oats (and other grains), rich hay, etc.... which puts too much NSC into their digestive tract.

I have refused to write any more of the full blown decertations on equine nutrition and digestion that I did on here a few years back. While very long, they were still shorter than a Reader's Digest version of what is in the university courses on the subjects. But it is a bit of that information from a thread I posted on last week.

I just wish people would stop believing all this crap that has been around and pushed for so long that it's accepted as truth. Even the parts that are true are horribly distorted (and I cover that in this thread I'm going to put the link to on here. Read the bacon example (I like that one....but I love bacon LOL)

This link is long, but it's shorter than the more detailed explanations I once would do (and it's microscopic compared to the courses on the subject LOL)

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-nutrition/grain-vs-hay-pellets-807391/page3/#post1970789371
 

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LMAO....I didn't realize I'd already posted here.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have a mare who is currently getting oats and horse logic pro (supplement). She is also getting a probiotic 1x a day (platinum balance). She is moving back home because she is recovering from throat surgery, so she isn't in much work. She gets 5 flakes of alfalfa a day and about a pound of oats a day. She isn't a hard keeper.

I have had her on Triple Crown Senior before and liked her on it. I only switched from it because the barn I moved her to only fed oats. I liked her better on the TC Senior, but I don't think she needs the 5 lbs a day they recommend. Should I switch her back to grain? Maybe try a ration balancer? It doesn't need to be TC, but they do add prebiotics and probiotics to their grain.

Thank you
I feel like a broken record.
Do you know history repeats itself? BECAUSE NO ONE WAS PAYING ATTENTION THE FIRST TIME.
Do you know why people still feed their horses wrong? BECAUSE PEOPLE LOVE TO JUST FOLLOW BAD TRADTIONS. After all, everyone did for 1,000 years so it must me right. People did surgery with dirty, bloody instruments for 2,000 years, but that didn't make it right.
NEVER feed your poor horse ANY grain unless there is absolutely nothing else (not even enough weeds) and you need to prevent starvation. There is NOTHING that they can get from grain that they can't get from better sources which are not unhealthy for horses (ALL grains are unhealthy for horses....even oats). They all have massive amounts more of NSC than a horse should get (think fat in humans....we need it...brain has to have it...but we need only small amounts). Too much NSC is the silent, invisible killer that slowly kills horses (shortens their live span). It is 100% avoidable, but then that would not benefit the people who sell the oats (and other grains), rich hay, etc.... which puts too much NSC into their digestive tract.

I have refused to write any more of the full blown decertations on equine nutrition and digestion that I did on here a few years back. While very long, they were still shorter than a Reader's Digest version of what is in the university courses on the subjects. But it is a bit of that information from a thread I posted on last week.

I just wish people would stop believing all this crap that has been around and pushed for so long that it's accepted as truth. Even the parts that are true are horribly distorted (and I cover that in this thread I'm going to put the link to on here. Read the bacon example (I like that one....but I love bacon LOL)

This link is long, but it's shorter than the more detailed explanations I once would do (and it's microscopic compared to the courses on the subject LOL)

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-nutrition/grain-vs-hay-pellets-807391/page3/#post1970789371


I guess I should have been more specific. By grain, I mean concentrate. She is now on Triple Crown Senior, as stated above, which is a low NSC concentrate. I cannot give her the calories she needs in just hay, even alfalfa. She already gets 3 meals a day, but she gets worked enough that she needs some supplementation.
 

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I guess I should have been more specific. By grain, I mean concentrate. She is now on Triple Crown Senior, as stated above, which is a low NSC concentrate. I cannot give her the calories she needs in just hay, even alfalfa. She already gets 3 meals a day, but she gets worked enough that she needs some supplementation.
If she isn't keeping weight on with alfalfa and TCS, add another low-sugar concentrate -- beet pulp, rice bran, copra etc. You could also start adding a little fat such sunflower seeds or oil, or a commercial "weight builder" which is basically fats, I think several companies make them. You don't need much to have an effect. She should also have grass hay in front of her at all times. A horse in light work which is not able to keep a good weight with just alfalfa is a hard keeper.

But don't bother with grain, including oats.
 

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Oats are a good source of energy as well as easy to digest. So if you feed oats, make sure they are whole oats. A good concentrated feed is Lifedata Labs Barn bag. Lots of good articles on nutrition on their website.
 

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I can not agree more with the people who have suggested testing nutrition and then altering your horse's diet based on the nutrition analysis.

I'm not going to say this or that is a bad thing to feed because I feel that is entirely dependent on the horse itself, hay analysis and situation. Alfalfa is a good source of protein and calcium, but the high calcium can unbalance phosphorus if your not careful. Oats can be a great source of energy, but are high in NSCs. Both can be beneficial in the right situation, but could cause a horse to founder in the wrong situation.

That being said, it is simple to mess a horse's nutrition up and not even realize it (Not saying you, specifically have, but that it is a very common occurrence). All too often I've seen people adding supplements/ other things to a horse's diet without realizing that It will unbalance ratios. I had a friend who had her horse on lots of nice, expensive supplements, alfalfa etc. Her horse wasn't putting on weight, so she'd add oils and more alfalfa etc. Then, she added a biotin/ zinc supplement for the hooves and her horse's coat became dull and hoof quality deteriorated. Well, turns out her horse had excess zinc, among other things. The calcium/phosphorus ratios were also off. Once the horse's nutrition was balanced, most issues went away and she was spending less that she ever had on her horse's diet!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If she isn't keeping weight on with alfalfa and TCS, add another low-sugar concentrate -- beet pulp, rice bran, copra etc. You could also start adding a little fat such sunflower seeds or oil, or a commercial "weight builder" which is basically fats, I think several companies make them. You don't need much to have an effect. She should also have grass hay in front of her at all times. A horse in light work which is not able to keep a good weight with just alfalfa is a hard keeper.

But don't bother with grain, including oats.
I never said she wasn't keeping weight. She is in good weight. She's on concentrate for her topline, prebiotics, and probiotics, especially as she enters back into work. She is a big mare -- 1300 pounds when she isn't fitted up, 1400 when she is.
 

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If you are like me, who cannot have hay analyzed, I would probably go with a ration balancer. If your mare is not having any problems created by nutrition and you want to continue to feed alfalfa, go for a ration balancer that balances out the alfalfa only diet. They make specific balancers for alfalfa. Beet pulp can be a good thing but I would not add it to alfalfa as they are both higher in calcium and too low in phosphorus. This is why many also feed oats beside alfalfa as oats are higher in phosphorus than calcium. I personally would not feed oats because of the high sugar/starch. Beet pulp by itself is pretty void of necessary vitamins and minerals. It is not something that I would totally replace hay with without adding vitamins/minerals to the mix. I don't agree that beet pulp is more nutritious than hay for a horse. Many senior horse feeds have a big percentage of beet pulp ingredient but they also balance out the nutrition with other things added.

For me, analyzing hay would not be beneficial because I don't have the means to store large quantities of hay at one time right now. If I could, I would go that route.
 
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How tall is your mare? 1400 pounds is a big horse,or she's way to fat. My gelding is 15.2 and 985 lbs That's weighed on a truck scale.

If not in work all most horses need is hay & a vit/min mixed in a small amount hay pellets or beet pulp.
 

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Even if you don't want to analyze your hay, there are things you can learn about your general environment (assuming your hay doesn't come from too far away). I don't have to have my hay analyzed to know that in my area, the soil is extremely high in iron, but completely deficient in selenium. Therefore I avoid adding anything that contains iron (it will unbalance other minerals like zinc) and that includes salt licks (I only buy the plain white blocks and add plain table salt to their feed). So no prepared feeds or ration balancers for me. On the other hand, my horses do need selenium (you can find this out through your local dept of Agriculture or by researching papers written about your area, mostly for commercial livestock purposes, but the information can still be valid for horses). My solution: timothy-only hay cubes (I'd rather not feed alfalfa) + beet pulp + a custom mineral mix from Mad Barn. This is soaked and fed twice a day, and I provide hay in slow-feeder nets 4 times a day so they are never very long without food. This also allows me to add certain things that are needed for each individual horse (feed buckets are colour-coded). My senior with runny stool gets pre and probiotics and slippery elm bark, for example, but the other two do fine without them. My moody mare gets magnesium and B12. They all get ground flax seed in the winter (but not in summer when they can get more from fresh grass).

This highly customized way of feeding may be a little more work, but once you have it all organized, it's not so bad. If needed, you can prepare small baggies of supps for each horse for the week, but I just do them up as I go. The feed is prepped and soaked after each feeding and kept in a cool place (my garage is perfect right now, just above freezing) until the next feeding time. It's cheaper, and you're not giving your horses anything extra or leaving something out that a particular horse might need. You can make slight modifications depending on season, whether you're heading to a show (I give one horse electrolytes a few days before shows), etc.

In the end, a one-size-fits-all feed is rarely a good solution for each individual. I suppose it is probably more convenient, but I've never done that so I wouldn't know. Once you get used to mixing your own feed, it's not a big deal. I should also specify that I did start with a hay analysis and worked with an equine nutritionist (who charged me all of 60$) to come up with the customized nutritional plan I needed. I'm not suggesting people do this on their own. It's well worth paying someone a little to make sure you have everything balanced. The challenge can be finding an equine nutritionist who does not work for a feed company, but there are some out there who freelance.
 

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Yes, alternatively researching soil analysis of your area/ area hay was grown would give you a bit of an idea of vitamins/minerals that are high and low in your area. Like Acadianartist, my area has soil analysis of high iron, which also means low copper, and low vit E and selenium. It doesn't give me an entire picture of my horse's nutrition needs, but It gives some indication of what I need to look for (low/no iron, sufficient copper and supp. vit E). Soil analysis should be available online for your area.

If possible, I'd also suggest pairing that with a blood assessment to have a better picture. I do find that blood assessments are not entirely accurate on their own because they vary throughout the day and can get influenced by other factors. For example, true iron deficiency (from decreased intake/absorption or external blood loss) is a less common cause of low serum or plasma iron concentrations. Some drugs can cause iron to appear low, time of day, copper deficiency (an essential cofactor of hephaestin, which permits release of iron from intestinal cells), zinc excess (inhibits copper uptake) being a few examples. So, it is preferable to have environmental values as well in order to get a broader picture of what is actually needed. Keep in mind that hay analysis can vary too.

Also, like Acadianartist, I can also find no ration balancers in my area that fully suite the nutritional values in my area. Most, if not all are extremely high in iron and others with low/ no iron are deficient in a number of other nutrients needed. I ended up going with a vit/min supplement (Horsetech, who also does custom) and soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes to carry it. You will need something with a little more substance. I'd suggest finding out what is needed in terms of minerals/vitamins lacking and overly abundant, then structuring your horse's diet around that, which may take a bit of work and learning, but highly worth it in the end.

Feed XL is a good online (and free) program that has many feeds on file and helps you balance your horse's diet. More roughage is generally the best idea (and easiest to digest) for putting weight on. Roughage such as more hay, timothy/alfalfa cube mix (better Ca:p ratio), beet pulp are good ideas) and cool calories (oils- mainly omega 3s would be beneficial) would help keep weight, but all should be balanced.
 

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Oats are a good source of energy as well as easy to digest. So if you feed oats, make sure they are whole oats.
Afraid to say, oats are not actually that easy to digest. They are just easy *compared to* other grain, as they are lowest in starch/sugar(so if you feel the burning need to feed grain, they are the best option). They are supposedly the only cereal grain that can be somewhat digested if fed whole, but they, like other grains, are far better fed processed(rolled, micronised, etc), NOT fed whole.
 
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