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Hello!! I've recently had an epiphany.. as many of you know by now, my gelding does have hock arthritis. I was initially looking to see if there was anything I could supplement his diet with to help him. I actually asked my mom (who has pretty severe arthritis that she has alleviated with eating gluten free) what she did for herself as a person. She obviously told me eating less gluten had made the biggest difference for her, even above prescription grade things she had tried.
This got me to thinking, what exactly are we feeding our horses??
Arthritis completely aside, I got to looking. I found this interesting article Feeding an Anti-Inflammatory Diet | The Naturally Healthy Horse
It stated that things like excess carbs (in hay or forage sources), too many Omega 6 fatty acids in relation to Omega 3s, corn, wheat, almost any vegetable or seed oil, and soybeans were ALL contributors to inflammation in horses.
This prompted me to read the ingredients labels on what I am currently feeding and on many of the name brand "top of the line" equine feeds out there. I actually found out that my horses current JOINT supplement contained corn as a filler and grape seed oil, which seems very contradictory to the "anti inflammatory" affect it is supposed to be having on his arthritis. This was also true for many of the top end joint supplements, including Devils Claw.
After this I started searching feeds, I could not find one single conventional feed which did not contain some of these unnatural "fillers" or inflammatory ingredients besides one. And that would be Thrive Feed. Ingredients: Quality Is Key! « Amazing Thrive Feed
I actually discovered in my searching that Seaweed is a very strong source of the anti-inflammatory Omega 3s that are so good.



Anyway, I guess this just leaves me wondering, what can I do for my horse... and this is why I turn to this forum.. Would it be at all reasonable to feed 24/7 high quality hay with the only "hard feed" being alfalfa pellets (as a "filler"), some type of seaweed (in a form horses would actually eat obviously), and some kind of joint supplement that did NOT contain inflammatories to the hard keeping senior horse that is still in work.. but this seems like a big leap. Thoughts? Would this be enough calorically to maintain his weight (his teeth are good)?
 

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I have tried Thrive feed for my horse that was a senior and had cushings. It was always hard to keep weight on her so I wanted to give it a try. They say that quite a few rescues use this feed on severely underweight horses and that they can eat as much as they want without ill effects. My horse wouldn't eat it very well. They say that a horse will start eating it if not offered anything else but hay. In my case, there were other people feeding my horse that weren't cooperative components so that made it more difficult for the transition. Another con for me with this feed was the soy meal in it, it was hard for me to get and it's pretty pricey.

At the moment, all of my horses are on mostly grass hay. They also get a couple of pounds of alfalfa pellets that I put California Trace and Yea-Sacc in. My baby horse gets a little more alfalfa hay and extra amino acids . All three of them are calm, shiny and healthy with good muscle tone. Source FocusHF uses kelp in their mix. I used to give my horses FocusHF but when my mare was pregnant I was a little worried about the iodine amount with a growing foal in her, so I put them on the California Trace. They did do good on it though.
 
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Anyway, I guess this just leaves me wondering, what can I do for my horse... and this is why I turn to this forum.. Would it be at all reasonable to feed 24/7 high quality hay with the only "hard feed" being alfalfa pellets (as a "filler"), some type of seaweed (in a form horses would actually eat obviously), and some kind of joint supplement that did NOT contain inflammatories to the hard keeping senior horse that is still in work.. but this seems like a big leap. Thoughts? Would this be enough calorically to maintain his weight (his teeth are good)?
Haha, I am curious if my other post had anything to do with sparking this :wink:

That is pretty much how we feed our horses. They live in the desert and have no grazing, aside from some trees and shrubs, but they only have access to those when I let them loose out of their 15x30ft stalls to clean them.
We build custom wooden slow feeders with Nibble Net tops. The horses cannot harm or tear the nibble net, but are still able to get at their food. They tore everything else we used. When they do manage to get the net detached from the wood frame (we haven't perfected that part of it yet), they overeat a bit, but not too bad. The bad thing is that they like to pull it all out and throw it everywhere! Horses LOVE to waste hay, so the boxes help with that more than anything else.
So they get free choice bermuda in the slow feeders, 1/2 flake alfalfa for protein, 1/4 cup soaked whole oats.

Shan is the one who had arthritic problems last year. As you know, I put her on 1tbsp of butter per day and the problem went away within a week and has not been back since. She gets this mixed in with the oats and her ration balancer which is also a joint supplement, along with Animed Immuaid for her summer allergies.
Soon we will be out of the ration balancers, and if all goes well not going back to them. I will be starting both horses on carob, and they have free access to mineral and salt blocks.
They will also be given Source, which is a seaweed supplement for horses, once my mom is out of her current hoof supplement.

I was not aware that seaweed is anti-inflammatory, so thanks for that! I should have known though. Seaweed is such an amazing food. Too bad it tastes like death. :lol:
 
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Haha, I am curious if my other post had anything to do with sparking this :wink:

That is pretty much how we feed our horses. They live in the desert and have no grazing, aside from some trees and shrubs, but they only have access to those when I let them loose out of their 15x30ft stalls to clean them.
We build custom wooden slow feeders with Nibble Net tops. The horses cannot harm or tear the nibble net, but are still able to get at their food. They tore everything else we used. When they do manage to get the net detached from the wood frame (we haven't perfected that part of it yet), they overeat a bit, but not too bad. The bad thing is that they like to pull it all out and throw it everywhere! Horses LOVE to waste hay, so the boxes help with that more than anything else.
So they get free choice bermuda in the slow feeders, 1/2 flake alfalfa for protein, 1/4 cup soaked whole oats.

Shan is the one who had arthritic problems last year. As you know, I put her on 1tbsp of butter per day and the problem went away within a week and has not been back since. She gets this mixed in with the oats and her ration balancer which is also a joint supplement, along with Animed Immuaid for her summer allergies.
Soon we will be out of the ration balancers, and if all goes well not going back to them. I will be starting both horses on carob, and they have free access to mineral and salt blocks.
They will also be given Source, which is a seaweed supplement for horses, once my mom is out of her current hoof supplement.

I was not aware that seaweed is anti-inflammatory, so thanks for that! I should have known though. Seaweed is such an amazing food. Too bad it tastes like death. :lol:
Wow thanks so much for the awesome answer!! Do you think much of what you are doing would also work for an outside horse? Mine lives outside as much as I can get away with it because moving helps his joints:) but I'm sure I could always feed him inside or something. Also thanks for the actual seaweed supplement suggestion! That's awesome, why did you pick oats for your extra feeding above some other things?
 

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I don't know why anyone thinks their horse needs grain or commercial feed. I only feed hay, grass (in the summer) and soaked hay cubes (timothy only because my gelding doesn't do well on alfalfa). For the light riding we do, that's all they need. Oh, and of course, their supplements, but these are as basic as I can get. One ingredient in most. My trimmer, who is also an equine nutritionist, put together a supplement plan individualized for each of my horses after I could not longer get Cal Trace in Canada. I also had their hay analyzed so we could put together a very precise diet without needless extras inevitably found in all commercial feeds. I actually find my Arab is calmer since last summer when he was still on commercial feed. Much easier to handle by my 12 year old daughter now.

I feed spirulina, which is blue-green algae. Maybe that's not the same as seaweed. I put it in their soaked timothy cubes and mix it all in along with the rest of their supplements. They never turn their noses up at it because they LOVE their soaked hay cubes!
 

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I don't know why anyone thinks their horse needs grain or commercial feed. I only feed hay, grass (in the summer) and soaked hay cubes (timothy only because my gelding doesn't do well on alfalfa). For the light riding we do, that's all they need. Oh, and of course, their supplements, but these are as basic as I can get. One ingredient in most. My trimmer, who is also an equine nutritionist, put together a supplement plan individualized for each of my horses after I could not longer get Cal Trace in Canada. I also had their hay analyzed so we could put together a very precise diet without needless extras inevitably found in all commercial feeds. I actually find my Arab is calmer since last summer when he was still on commercial feed. Much easier to handle by my 12 year old daughter now.

I feed spirulina, which is blue-green algae. Maybe that's not the same as seaweed. I put it in their soaked timothy cubes and mix it all in along with the rest of their supplements. They never turn their noses up at it because they LOVE their soaked hay cubes!
Soaked Timothy cubes definitely sound like a good alternative!! Do you know nutritionally how it compares to alfalfa?
 

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Wow thanks so much for the awesome answer!! Do you think much of what you are doing would also work for an outside horse? Mine lives outside as much as I can get away with it because moving helps his joints:) but I'm sure I could always feed him inside or something. Also thanks for the actual seaweed supplement suggestion! That's awesome, why did you pick oats for your extra feeding above some other things?
These are outside stalls. I would prefer to have a larger area, and BO is working on a turnout, but in the meantime we just have to deal. There should be no reason why it won't work for an outside horse. For supplement feedings, you just have to separate him from other horses or animals who will take his feed.

I'm not sure why I have the oats, quite honestly. I know the small amount I am feeding will not harm them, and I know that the hulls from the whole oats help to remove sand and dirt in the intestines, which is what causes sand colic (fairly common out here). I remember that I read some really good things about people feeding oats and having good results. I don't know that I have enough research or evidence to justify a second bag once this one runs out. The horses do look awesome, but that may have next to nothing to do with the oats. Grain in any large quantity is dangerous to horses, so you have to be careful with it.
One thing I just thought of: the oats do give them a tiny bit more 'pep in their step', made the horses just a tad more forward. I used to feed a 1/4 pound of soaked oats, but then they got too hot even on that small amount so I cut them way back. Now they do just fine. I do think the oats help disguise the butter and other nasty supplements for my horse. She won't eat her supplements unless they are on top of wet alfalfa though.
 
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Soaked Timothy cubes definitely sound like a good alternative!! Do you know nutritionally how it compares to alfalfa?
Alfalfa is high protein. It tends to help keep weight on better, but in my experience many horses get very hot on it if fed alone. I think of it as a grain alternative, as it has a somewhat similar effect to grain but minus all the problems grain causes.

I don't have any experience with timothy, since out here the only people who feed timothy have a very very padded wallet.
 
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Alfalfa is high protein. It tends to help keep weight on better, but in my experience many horses get very hot on it if fed alone. I think of it as a grain alternative, as it has a somewhat similar effect to grain but minus all the problems grain causes.

I don't have any experience with timothy, since out here the only people who feed timothy have a very very padded wallet.
Interesting! I'm thinking alfalfa is more along the lines of my specific needs.. thanks!
 

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Sorry it took me a while to get back to this thread. Obviously, you are looking at feeding for very specific needs so I think a hay analysis might actually be useful. I had one done for less than 100$ (and I'm in Canada where everything costs more). So I know exactly how much protein, sugar, starch, etc. is in my hay, along with things like selenium and other minerals. That's a good starting point.

AS horseluvr2524 points out, alfalfa is a legume so is higher in protein than timothy. Here's an article on timothy: Why Timothy is your horse's friend - Horsetalk.co.nz It is recommended for horses that may have laminitis. No idea what effect it would have on your horse's hocks.

I feed timothy because my horses don't need additional protein. I feed a hot Arab and a spooky QH mare, neither of which needs extra energy for the light riding we do on them. My Arab also tends to have runny stool, which appeared to be exacerbated by alfalfa.

However, if you google it, you will see that many claim alfalfa has anti-inflammatory properties. So maybe worth a try for you!
 

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Sorry it took me a while to get back to this thread. Obviously, you are looking at feeding for very specific needs so I think a hay analysis might actually be useful. I had one done for less than 100$ (and I'm in Canada where everything costs more). So I know exactly how much protein, sugar, starch, etc. is in my hay, along with things like selenium and other minerals. That's a good starting point.

AS horseluvr2524 points out, alfalfa is a legume so is higher in protein than timothy. Here's an article on timothy: Why Timothy is your horse's friend - Horsetalk.co.nz It is recommended for horses that may have laminitis. No idea what effect it would have on your horse's hocks.

I feed timothy because my horses don't need additional protein. I feed a hot Arab and a spooky QH mare, neither of which needs extra energy for the light riding we do on them. My Arab also tends to have runny stool, which appeared to be exacerbated by alfalfa.

However, if you google it, you will see that many claim alfalfa has anti-inflammatory properties. So maybe worth a try for you!
Wow thank you!! And yes I think I need to actually decide where I'm getting my hay from before I have it tested, but I do think that would be helpful!
 
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