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Kelly - Purebred Arabian - Ex endurance racer - Training to barrel race
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Hi there! I'd like some serious help with determining how good my horse's diet is. I've felt like lately, he's just been receiving too much artificial supplement. I read one of Jessi Mead's books and learned that the horse's digestive tract works too quickly to absorb artificially added supplements such as straight minerals.

So, here goes!

Background: I own a twelve year old Arabian gelding. He's an easy keeper and receives exercise almost everyday. Forage-wise, I feed Orchard grass (this round of three bales was terrible hay) along with an added half a flake of alfalfa on the colder nights. I was actually trying to switch him all the way over to alfalfa, but nobody is carrying it right now. He gets access to pasture 10 hours a day.

For grains, I feed DuMor Calm and Steady at about a 1/4 quart to 1/2 a quart. He gets an added 2 ounce scoop of HorseGuard (this is the artificial supplement I'm speaking of) and I think it's like an ounce or two scoop that DuMOr's FlexMor provides. Anyhow, I've been looking into providing him a healthier diet and I feel like he likely gets plenty of what he needs from just his forage and his main grain. I feel like the HorseGuard is overkill and that I might even just be wasting my money on it. There are only one or two natural ingredients in it and that kind of worries me a little bit.

I'm not sure if I'm just looking into this wrong either. Oh! I'd also like to learn how much ppm or % of a vitamin or mineral is good i.g. phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, calcium, etc.

Thank you guys lots!
 

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I'm not a nutritionist or anything, but I've found the best way to go about a horse's nutrition is to test the hay, look at provincial/state soil reports and customize your own "best fit". The reason being is that every area differs in what they are high and low in and the general feeds, whilst good, can often not be the best fit for your horse's particular environment. Another reason I'd suggest this route is that you will learn lots by just discovering how to balance your horse's nutrition according to his needs and you might be able to at least save yourself from buying the un-necessary.

Personally, one of my own horses, who is also an easy keeper has done best on timothy/alfalfa cubes (carrier) and a customized vitamin/mineral supplement from Horsetech or their high/point grass mix. We also add a amino acid supplement and that seems to have been a good fit for him. His coat, energy level and hooves have never looked better. We have tried grains and ration balancers in the past and he is just one to always gain weight on all of them. He is at his best weight and health on his current feed.

ppm (parts per million) and can be thought of as mg/kg. I'd recommend looking up recommended amounts of selenium and magnesium, then the ratio between phosphorous: calcium (1:2). Selenium is I believe recommended below 5mg per day and excess may cause selenium toxicity, so that is one to watch for. Another group of minerals to look at would be copper: Zinc: Iron (1:4:4) with copper being at least 100mg. Magnesium is somewhere around 10g per day, I think.
 
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