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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
well there was a debate about sweet feed that i reading last week and it got me thinking about what i feed my horses. and as of right now we we mix to types of feed for them. but i will list the name and the ingredients and such. and i would like your guys opinion on what we feed them. and i am gonna type exactly as the label is written so it may make it easy to understand.
first we have:

BARTLETT
Pasture horse 10
A Texturized Sweet Feed
For mature Idle Horses or Pleasure Horses
Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein, (min)......................................................... 10.00%
Crude Fat, (min).............................................................. 3.00%
Crude Fiber, (max) .......................................................... 10.00%​
Calcium, (min) ................................................................ .75%
Calcium, (max)................................................................ 1.25%
Phosphorus, (min)............................................................ 0.6%
Copper, (min).................................................................. 30ppm
Selenium, (min)................................................................ 0.35ppm
Zinc, (min)...................................................................... 100ppm
Vitamin A, (min).................................................... 3,500 IU per pound
INGREDIENTS
Grain Products, Processed Grain by-products, forage products, roughage products, plant protein products, molasses products, calcium carbonate, salt, vegetable oil, yeast culture, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, copper sulfate, sodium selenite, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganous sulphate, zinc sulphate, calcium iodate, cobalt carbonate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamine E supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K), thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium pantethenate, pyriodoxine hydrochloride, choline chloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, d-Biotin.

and this is the grain we mix that with.
Circle M Feeds
All Grain
Horse Feeds
Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein, not less than............................................. 10 %
Crude Fat, not less than.................................................. 2.50%
Crude Fiber, not more than............................................... 8%
Ingredients
cut yellon corn, oats, barley, molasses, calcium carbonate, salt, propionic acid, ammonium hydroxide, manganous oxide, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, mineral oil, ethylenediamine dihydroiodide, cobalt carbonate, sodium selenite.

so if i use just one which is better?? or is it good just to keep mixing them like i am? and just give me your opinions!​
 

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I don't like feed that says "products" or by-products on the tags. It's too arbitrary and vague for me. The feed company could use any ingredient that fit in to that category. I want to know exactly what's in my horses' feed, not "roughly" what's in their feed...

The All Grain is fine, though it's very high in sugar and starch. I wouldn't feed much of it. It would be find to mix a little of it with a good vitamin supplement, to round out your horses' nutrition. Something like GrandVite or SmartVite Maintenence Grass (from SmartPak). The All Grain doesn't have much in the way of vitamins, so you'd need to add some. I would only need maybe 1/2 of a 3qt feed scoop a day of it though. Much more and you can end up with carb/sugar overload.
 

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If the horses are in a healthy weight and maintain their weight then they are fine. Mine are on a straight sweet feed and have been for many, many years. Everyone is healthy, happy, and sound. If it's working well for you, don't change it. Like my grandmother says: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
 

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Our horses have been on sweet feed for most of their lives, Cowboy Crunch. We recently switched to a mixed feed, pellet and some grain, which I don't know the name of. The switch was because of some sensitivity in our older rescues.
 

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Think of sweet feed or almost any kind of processed feed like fast food or pre-packaged food for people (hot pockets, processed lunch meat, hamburger helper, or microwave dinners come to mind). Many people think eating that kind of food for 2 meals a day, every day, is just fine. Many people do just fine on this kind of diet for themselves. However, most of these people are not performance athletes ;-).

Even "pleasure horses" that get ridden 1-2 times a week are more active than your average American. People who work out and/or play sports (competitively or for fun) generally eat better than what I described above. Most people who try to eat "healthy" eat fresh or frozen vegtables, lean meats, healthy carbs, and healthy fats for the majority of their meals.

We used to think that sweet feeds and grains were good for horses. Now, with more research on nutrition, we're learning that high starch grains and high sugar diets are NOT good for horses. So the argument "I've always feed sweet feed" (or something similar) is bogus. Sweet feed (and similar high starch diets) along with overbreeding and inbreeding is why we have horses today that have problems like insulin resistance, cushings, uclers, and so many cases of founder/laminitis. Based on one study, it's estimated that 85% of horses that regularly participate in shows (ANY show, or rodeo) have ulcers!

A healthy horse will have a soft, shiney coat year round. A (typical) healthy horse will not need extra supplements for hoof growth, coat condition, weight gain, or "calming". A healthy horse will not get thrush, rain rot, or other skin/hoof conditions often, even in less than ideal living condtions.

A horse's "healthy" diet should consist of 85-95% forage (pasture, hay, hay cubes, hay pellets, beet pulp, etc.) with very little in the way of starch or sugar. A little bit of whole oats, pelleted feed, or even sweet feed in a horse's diet is usually okay. But it should be in small amounts. No more than 2 lbs a day, and only if the horse is worked often enough to burn the energy and calories from that meal (3 days a week of work). Pregnant mares, breeding stallions, and senior horses may need extra as well.

That said, "extra" can come in the form of a healthy fiber, like hay pellets or beet pulp, or healthy fat. All of which is more easily diested by the horse.

Every hard keeper I've had or helped has suddenly turned into a "normal" keeper once we took away all of the grain and feeds, including senior feed, and put them on free choice (or nearly so) hay.

Anyway, I'm rambling. My point is, there's horse nutrition "revolution" going on. Even the big feed companies are hopping on the bandwagon with new "low starch" or "safe starch" feeds, "lite" feeds, and "ration balancer" supplements, all of which conform to the new studies showing horses do better on high fiber, low sugar/starch diets.

Good reading:
MyHorse.com - Let Your Horse Eat Hay - There are three pages to this article.
Grass: It's What's For Dinner For Your Horse
The South Pasture Diet: Low Starch Feeding – Blue Seal Feeds Tech Talks
Horse Nutrition
http://www.admani.com/AllianceEquin...se Feeding Practices are being Challenged.htm
Equine Nutrition for Health and Happiness

Here's a great site to help you build your horse's diet for the best results.
FeedXL Horse Nutrition
 

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Think of sweet feed or almost any kind of processed feed like fast food or pre-packaged food for people (hot pockets, processed lunch meat, hamburger helper, or microwave dinners come to mind). Many people think eating that kind of food for 2 meals a day, every day, is just fine. Many people do just fine on this kind of diet for themselves. However, most of these people are not performance athletes ;-).

Even "pleasure horses" that get ridden 1-2 times a week are more active than your average American. People who work out and/or play sports (competitively or for fun) generally eat better than what I described above. Most people who try to eat "healthy" eat fresh or frozen vegtables, lean meats, healthy carbs, and healthy fats for the majority of their meals.

We used to think that sweet feeds and grains were good for horses. Now, with more research on nutrition, we're learning that high starch grains and high sugar diets are NOT good for horses. So the argument "I've always feed sweet feed" (or something similar) is bogus. Sweet feed (and similar high starch diets) along with overbreeding and inbreeding is why we have horses today that have problems like insulin resistance, cushings, uclers, and so many cases of founder/laminitis. Based on one study, it's estimated that 85% of horses that regularly participate in shows (ANY show, or rodeo) have ulcers!

A healthy horse will have a soft, shiney coat year round. A (typical) healthy horse will not need extra supplements for hoof growth, coat condition, weight gain, or "calming". A healthy horse will not get thrush, rain rot, or other skin/hoof conditions often, even in less than ideal living condtions.

A horse's "healthy" diet should consist of 85-95% forage (pasture, hay, hay cubes, hay pellets, beet pulp, etc.) with very little in the way of starch or sugar. A little bit of whole oats, pelleted feed, or even sweet feed in a horse's diet is usually okay. But it should be in small amounts. No more than 2 lbs a day, and only if the horse is worked often enough to burn the energy and calories from that meal (3 days a week of work). Pregnant mares, breeding stallions, and senior horses may need extra as well.

That said, "extra" can come in the form of a healthy fiber, like hay pellets or beet pulp, or healthy fat. All of which is more easily diested by the horse.

Every hard keeper I've had or helped has suddenly turned into a "normal" keeper once we took away all of the grain and feeds, including senior feed, and put them on free choice (or nearly so) hay.

Anyway, I'm rambling. My point is, there's horse nutrition "revolution" going on. Even the big feed companies are hopping on the bandwagon with new "low starch" or "safe starch" feeds, "lite" feeds, and "ration balancer" supplements, all of which conform to the new studies showing horses do better on high fiber, low sugar/starch diets.

Good reading:
MyHorse.com - Let Your Horse Eat Hay - There are three pages to this article.
Grass: It's What's For Dinner For Your Horse
The South Pasture Diet: Low Starch Feeding – Blue Seal Feeds Tech Talks
Horse Nutrition
http://www.admani.com/AllianceEquin...se Feeding Practices are being Challenged.htm
Equine Nutrition for Health and Happiness

Here's a great site to help you build your horse's diet for the best results.
FeedXL Horse Nutrition

Pertaining to the bolded part, our horses don't get thrush, have nice shiny coats all year long, don't get rainrot(and in the summer they stay out in almost all conditions) and don't get any supplements. Annie get's a joint supplement, that's it. All of them get less that 5 lbs per day of feed, split into two feedings. Everyone is fat and healthy and happy. Like I said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

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Pertaining to the bolded part, our horses don't get thrush, have nice shiny coats all year long, don't get rainrot(and in the summer they stay out in almost all conditions) and don't get any supplements. Annie get's a joint supplement, that's it. All of them get less that 5 lbs per day of feed, split into two feedings. Everyone is fat and healthy and happy. Like I said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The problem is, you won't notice that it's broke until the damage is already done in most cases. Why gamble with the chances of your horses developing Insulin Resistance, Cushings Disease, Laminities, Ulcers etc. when it is possible not to?

The reason a lot of horses appear to live healthy lives being fed pounds upon pounds of sweet feed is because horses, on the whole, don't live long enough for the damage done to manifest.

As long as your horse is getting adequate forage, a small amount of sweet feed won't be the end of the world (Unless your horse ties up, is prone to laminitis, has EPSM, etc.). But it is NOT the best or healthiest feed choice out there.
 

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Okay so don't trust 30+ years of experience with zero cases of founder, lamnitis, IR, etc. They don't get pounds upon pounds of feed. 2.5 lbs of feed isn't all that much. And they get probabably 15 lbs each of forage per day, per horse. I'm not trying to get bitchy, but seriously. If we haven't had any problems, why in the world would we change what we're doing, potentially causing problems? Magic has been on the same amount of sweet feed and hay for the past 15 years. She's 17, had her since she was 2. She's a shetland, very prone to Cushing's. No signs of it, whatsoever. She's the happiest, pluckiest pony alive. And the vet approves of our diet, and he is the top vet in the area.
 

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Ingredients:
Rice Bran, Whole Soybeans, Ground Corn, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Vegetable Oil, Brewers Yeast, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Oxide, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Fenugreek Seed, Artificial Flavor, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganous Sulfate, Manganous Proteinate, Cobalt Proteinate, Biotin, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (a source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite
Crude Protein (Min.) 12.0%
Crude Fat (Min.) 10.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.) 6.0%
Moisture (Max.) 10.0%
Calcium (Min.) 2.0%
Calcium (Max.) 2.3%
Phosphorus (Min.) 1.2%
Magnesium (Min.) 0.8%

Sodium (Min.) 0.5%
Sodium (Max.) 0.6%
Copper (Min.) 150.0 PPM
Selenium (Min.) 0.9 PPM
Zinc (Min.) 500.0 PPM
Vitamin A (Min.) 22,000 IU/lb.
Vitamin D (Min.) 1,700 IU/lb.
Vitamin E (Min.) 450 IU/lb


Cost per day of feeding is less than $.80 a day.
In most cases I have looked at it is pennies difference in feeding a sweet feed with alot less risks. In some cases if you are feeding more than 5# of sweet feed it is actuall cheaper to feed.
 

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Okay so don't trust 30+ years of experience with zero cases of founder, lamnitis, IR, etc. They don't get pounds upon pounds of feed. 2.5 lbs of feed isn't all that much. And they get probabably 15 lbs each of forage per day, per horse. I'm not trying to get bitchy, but seriously. If we haven't had any problems, why in the world would we change what we're doing, potentially causing problems? Magic has been on the same amount of sweet feed and hay for the past 15 years. She's 17, had her since she was 2. She's a shetland, very prone to Cushing's. No signs of it, whatsoever. She's the happiest, pluckiest pony alive. And the vet approves of our diet, and he is the top vet in the area.
Relax - I'm not attacking you. It's just frustrating that you keep touting sweet feed as a perfectly healthy diet choice when in fact, it isn't. And as long as you keep doing so, I will keep rebutting because it is a subject I feel strongly about.

I already said that if your horses are getting enough forage that small amounts of sweet feed probably won't be a problem. I don't know how much 2.5lbs of sweet feed is - We use metric here, kilograms, not pounds. I just used pounds as a figure of speech.

I used to feed sweet feed, in very small amounts. I would have sworn black and blue that is was a great feed, my horses were healthy, happy, etc. But then I got Bundy - One of his many problems was the fact that he was tying up on the small amounts of sweet feed he was getting. Not enough to be hugely apparent - Just enough for it to be incorrectly seen as soreness from the saddle. He was reluctant to move out/forward and quite lethargic.

On professional advice I cut out all sweet feed and to be even safer, all grain. I changed my other two over as well because it didn't make sense to be feeding two totally different products.

Guess what? All of Bundy's problems cleared up - He is now a willing athlete who is doing extremely well in his discipline's. I can ride him a full three day competition, working hard, with no soreness in the kidney's. It only used to take one day for it to show up.

The others? I saw minor improvements - Hoof health, coat health, etc. I was like you - Before the change I would have sworn that they couldn't have been healthier. I was wrong. It was minor, but it was an improvement.

The chance of having a horse that will be affected by sweet feed is a lottery with much better odds. I would rather not enter the lottery to begin with, than risk my horses health because I thought that it would never happen to one of my horses.

The research into feeding practices is still new - They are still discovering more and the information is only getting out there slowly. I don't doubt that there are many, many industry professionals who haven't heard/don't trust/choose not to believe the information that is now coming to light. I would genuinly love to have a conversation with your vet about feeding - Presenting all the concrete evidence and research that is coming to light showing that high-starch and high-sugar diets are unhealthy for horses and can cause all of the above mentioned disorders - And then asking why they believe that a high-starch and high-sugar diet is the best choice.

In fact, i'll ask you the same question - Not trying to be bitchy either, but genuinely curious - Why do you believe that a sweet feed (High-starch, high-sugar, high-NSC's) diet is the BEST choice for your horses, as opposed to a more natural, low-starch, low-sugar, low-NSC diet?
 

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Seriously, because a) it's way, way cheaper than pelleted feeds, and b) we have tried other feeds that are available in our area for a somewhat reasonable price and didn't have good results. More colics, duller coats. I am not paying $20+ a bag for feed, not with the money I make. And don't even say that I shouldn't have horses because I can't afford to care for them properly, because I can. I'm just in a little slump at the moment, just starting a new job and not making very much. It's the best choice for the price that we can afford to pay. My grandmother, who is 61 years old this year, has been feeding the same feed for 30+ years, like I said, with zero health problems because of it. And I HAVE asked my vet about it, he says it is fine for them.

And 2.5 pounds = 1.13398093 kilograms. Not very much, at all.
 

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Seriously, because a) it's way, way cheaper than pelleted feeds, and b) we have tried other feeds that are available in our area for a somewhat reasonable price and didn't have good results.
Pelleted feeds are not the only alternative to sweet feeds. Hay and a mineral block is sufficient for most horses - Those who need more can use things like Speedi-Beet and Copra. I've been feeding Speedi-Beet now since before October last year and I am not even halfway through a second bag. I love feeds that swell :]

And don't even say that I shouldn't have horses because I can't afford to care for them properly, because I can
I would never, ever comment on anyones financial situation, it is not my place.

And I HAVE asked my vet about it, he says it is fine for them.
You mentioned that earlier - But as I also said, this is only new research, and there are many that don't know, or don't want to know. I wouldn't just ask - Why do you reccomend sweet feed - I would sit down and lay out MY point of view, along with the evidence, and then ask why they choose to forgo scientific evidence and advise contrary to what it shows. A bit different :]

Please don't think i'm attacking you - I really have nothing against you. I am just very passionate about this subject as it is a very important part to ensuring the health of your horses is as good as you can make it.

Which other products have you tried?
 

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Local pellets(can't remember the brand) and Blue Seal Strider pellets. Both had negative effects on the horses. It's basically trial and error, we feed what works for us. You keep saying that just hay will be sufficient, when really it isn't even logical for us. No matter how much hay we put out for everybody it all gets devoured within a few hours. We have zero pasture, only dry lots with some weeds and a mineral block. I don't even have a CLUE what Speedi-Beet is, is it like beet pulp? If so, my grandmother will refuse it. Like I said, she is 61 years old and set in her ways. My horses DO get the best care that I can possibly give them. I've already had bad experiences with other feeds, and I don't want to risk my horses colicking on a regular basis again. All these problems you say it causes have never(and I'm drop dead serious) happened with us, yet it happens ALL the time in the barn I worked at that fed Blue Seal Strider. My grandmother even fed 16% protein feed to her trail string at one point. All beginners horses that weren't hot in the least bit. And all of them lived a long, healthy life. Yes, I have read the information and research, and for right now in my life it is doing just fine, so I feel no reason to have a big argument with my grandmother over feed choices and risk her telling me to go somewhere that I will have to pay upwards of $400 a month for board per horse. I pay $100 total in board if I keep them there. Seems like a much better thing to do for myself and my horses. I understand where you are coming from, but I am also very passionate about many of the myths and misconceptions of sweet feed.
 

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Alright I'm the new guy here and just wondering if I should be doing something differant. My mare is around 1300 pounds or so I'm guessing. She gets all the hay she can eat and one coffee can of sweet feed per day. She's been getting the same sweet feed for about 3 years now so it's not causing any problems that I know of, but who knows what's really going on inside. Should I start moving her over to something else? Her hay is of moderate quality, but I have some very good alfalfa that I give her a nice sized flake of every day. She also has about 8 acres of pasture if she doesn't feel like eating the hay anymore, although it's pretty short this time of year.
 

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Pertaining to the bolded part, our horses don't get thrush, have nice shiny coats all year long, don't get rainrot(and in the summer they stay out in almost all conditions) and don't get any supplements. Annie get's a joint supplement, that's it. All of them get less that 5 lbs per day of feed, split into two feedings. Everyone is fat and healthy and happy. Like I said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Kassie, you need to get off my case. My statements are blanket ones, not in reply to you. OBVIOUSLY if a horse is truely healthy (and the owner is unwilling to think about anything different), then there is no need to change the diet. My post was not aimed at you or anyone else in particular. If you follow me on the different boards that I'm on, you'll see that I always recommend against sweet feed, even among people who agree with me.

You've already made your point. Yeah for you. Other people are now allowed to express their opinion as well, even if it doesn't agree with yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
lol jules you use a coffee can??? ahaha me too!! lol i feed about 2 quarts which is 1 coffee can so i don't think the feed is enough to hurt them. all of my horses are easy keepers. although we are having problems with one of our horses feet. they are just all cracked up and not in very good condition over all. i thank you guys for not making a huge fight out of what could have been a bad one.

wild spot i totally see where you are comming from and of course it wouldn't hurt to try it. whats the brand of grain/feed do you feed and i'll have my parents look into it and the price and see if we have a place here that sells any.

kassierae i am in pretty much the same boat you are in. but it's not grandma it's an older lady that just wanted her land being used. so we use it for free. of course money is always tight for us but we always make it work for our horses. but wild spot if the feed you use is around the price of my regular food. the bartlett is 8.50 for a 50 # bag and then circle M is about 7.50 for a 50 pound bag. then i'll definitely consider using it. my pastures arn't completly dry. BUT they are pretty darn close. the horses have eaten it down to the ground but they get a bale of hay a day and it works for them. so whatever works for them works for me!
 

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Kassie, please calm down and just quit posting on these threads if you're going to take the comments personal. No one is trying to tell you to switch. We're just trying to give alternative view points to the ORIGINAL POSTER (NOT YOU!), based on research. You're the one that posts back to us, getting in to the conversation.

If you can't handle reading this kind of thread, then you need to stay off the message boards. You might be able to find one or two with like-minded people you can get along with, but this one obviously isn't it.
 

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Please exercise what we call conscientious etiquette when you post. This means that you keep the objective of preserving the forum's friendly, fun, helpful environment in the forefront of your mind as you write your message.

If your post is nasty, condescending, rude, etc., regardless of how subtle, and whether shrouded in the form of opinion or otherwise, it is subject to be removed and your access to the Horse Forum may be restricted.

 

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Alright I'm the new guy here and just wondering if I should be doing something differant. My mare is around 1300 pounds or so I'm guessing. She gets all the hay she can eat and one coffee can of sweet feed per day. She's been getting the same sweet feed for about 3 years now so it's not causing any problems that I know of, but who knows what's really going on inside. Should I start moving her over to something else? Her hay is of moderate quality, but I have some very good alfalfa that I give her a nice sized flake of every day. She also has about 8 acres of pasture if she doesn't feel like eating the hay anymore, although it's pretty short this time of year.
You're doing fine. I don't like sweet feeds, too much sugar, but if thats what you chose to do its ok. I assume you mean a 1lb coffee can? If your feeding a 5 lb can at one feeding you may want to re-think that and split it up into several smaller feedings. Maybe morning and evening feedings.
Mine get 1 lb. (I weigh it) of a pelleted complete feed once a day and are on 24/7 good quality grass hay. In the summer months they get less of the supplemental pellet. I've spent a lot of time getting my pasture growing a nice variety of grasses and legumes so they don't need anything else.
 
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