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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For his dinner, I feed my horse his little bit of ration balancer, a joint supplement (probably does more for me than for him), an electrolyte and I mix in some soaked Timothy hay pellets to give the powder something to stick to. It's been cold so I've been adding warm water and he has been LOVING it. I've never seen him relish his food so much!

One mental process thought led to another and before I know it googling has given me some recipes for warm mashes to feed.

Are there any downsides to feeding warm mash in the winter?
Are there any benefits to it?

Basically what dangers should I keep in mind if I start mixing up mashes?

I imagine feeding a lot of bran mash would be bad. My limited equine nutrition knowledge makes me think it might throw something off in his tummy. So is there something I can use on a regular basis like quick oats or something? Or should I just stick with the hay pellets with the occasional candy cane or horse cookie or apples/carrots tossed in?
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^^^^ Can I come have meals at your barn? Sounds good! : )

In winter I often give a warm breakfast. A little bran, sr. ration and vitamin and joint supplement. They seem to love it considering how it gets slurped up. Maybe it just makes me feel good but around here in winter there is not much green forage so it's mostly dry hay and I figure a nice warm, wet start to the day would not hurt the digestion.
I will be interested to read what others have to say also.
 

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When the temp dips below zero or we have a wet, yucky, winter storm I make them a mash with beet pulp and their regular feed. They seem to like it and it certainly makes me feel better.
 

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For years and years we've fed horses warm bran mashes in winter and used them to hide supplements and medicines. Horses have loved their mashes and been very eager to eat them for as long as I've been alive. Now people will tell you that the mashes aren't important and don't really do any good for the horses and that we give them to make US feel good. I don't know if I agree with all that. They really seem to enjoy the warm mashes, and as long as everything is in moderation, I don't see why you shouldn't do something your horse so obviously enjoys. If you feed beet pulp, then add something high in phosphorous, like wheat or non-calcium added rice bran to keep things balanced. If you're feeding alfalfa hay, then the wheat bran is a good way to balance the high calcium of the alfalfa.
 

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Bran has a taste horses seem to like but it does not act like a laxative like it does with humans. Too much bran fed daily can produce a condition called "big head". The occasional treat is fine. Our mash was bran, molasses, boiled flax, salt and boiled water. This was served in very cold weather, a treat the horses relish.
 

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I have never fed bran but I do add water, 365 days/year, to the feed pan stuff to mix everything together.

During the cold months I use enough warm water to make things good and moist without being soupy; mainly because none of my horses will eat mush, much less soup. It's become a fine and persnickety line:(

Adding water and some timothy pellets is equally as good or better, IMHO, as it gives them added forage and moisture in their digestive system.
 

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So long as you're not making a radical diet change quickly, there is no harm in a nice mash, especially if you're not including a ton of grains/quickly digestible starches. Some bran, some beet pulp, all the hay pellets they want, etc are not an issue. I follow with the line of thought that it's probably not necessary, but if it makes you happy and it makes your horse happy, then you're golden and keep it up!

My boy LOVES mashes. Dryish, mushy, soupy, no matter what is in it he doesn't care- if it is a mash, he hoovers it up. Lately with the cold snap here and their winter coats not grown in yet, I've been giving him a couple (measured dry) pounds each of beet pulp and alfalfa pellets soaked in a 5gal bucket each evening. At endurance rides, he gets whatever he wants (which is any mash with anything in it, see above) and has never turned up his nose at bran or soaked complete feeds either.

The only 'danger' I can think of is that if you soak it too far ahead of time and leave it somewhere warm, it might go rancid, but in the cool, even that is fairly unlikely.
 

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As you've seen below, particularly Dreamcatcher & Saddlebag's posts, it depends what your horse needs nutritionally as to whether feeding *bran* is good or bad. I would only generally feed bran to balance Phos deficiency. As for feeding regular meals warm & wet, well there may not be any nutritional/health reason for it, but so far as I know, as an occasional treat I don't know of any reason it could be problematic.
 

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loosie, live out a northern New England winter in a 265 yr old house that is largely original and you will see the need for it. Been days where I wanted to stick my toes into that warm mash.
 

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My 2 get a mix of fibre beet, calm and condition and alfalfa with oil and a multi vit and mineral. All mixed together with warm water - quite sloppy - and they love it!
Whether they need it warm or not, it makes me feel good seeing them tuck in especially now the weathers cold. Thats morning and night xx
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All summer long my horses get a dash of regular temperature water in their "treats." The treat bucket usually consists of senior feed, Strategy or SafeChoice or similar. Maybe with some carrots chopped in there too. So they have a slightly wet mash in summer.

In winter, I take a bucket of warm water with me and pour some in their regular treats. All of those things....senior feed, Strategy, SafeChoice, etc, makes a wonderful mash with a little warm water. And I feel like it helps get some water in them too, since in winter I worry about impactions and such.

So my guys get a wet mash year round, every evening. The only difference is the amount and temperature of the water. I make things more sloppy in winter because the extra water is good for them. In summer, I basically just get it a little wet and crumbly.

Yes, I enjoy spoiling my horses! :D

PS. I DO feed pretty much 100% alfalfa hay, but I am unsure how much bran would be safe to add to their diet to balance the calcium/phos ratio. Does anyone know what a safe amount would be to feed daily in an alfalfa diet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So far, he's been loving it. I've been using the timothy hay pellets, toss in a horse cookie or two, his ration balancer, electrolyte and MSM, then I add some mashed peppermints, or chopped apple or chopped carrot on top. He gets so into his bucket he's closing his eyes while he eats and is oblivious to everything else, LOL. I have some quick oats at home I will try tomorrow.

I swear if he could go NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM, he would.
 

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Warm mashes mostly make us feel good and will not add warmth to the horse. Of course if you are adding delicious things the horses will like it more!! But health wise there are no benefits to a warm mash (besides the actual feed and qualities of the feed). My horses get their food wetted down to soak in the supplements, but that's it. How you can keep a horse warm in winter is to provide more roughage (aka hay). As they digest the hay, it produces heat and they will stay nice and toasty! Now to convince my horse to let me snuggle under his blankies as I am always cold and eating hot mashes and tea in the winter!!
 

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The main benefit I see to hot mashes in winter is to get water and salt, which will get them to drink more water, into them. I had a mare who was such a Princess that if the water got too cold, she would refuse to drink. She also got impacted and lost a foal as a result of that, so I'm very careful to use tank heaters outside and heated buckets inside the barn. To make sure they drink enough, they get a little soaked beet pulp with salt added to their nightly feed and in winter I make it with hot, steaming water. By the time I get it out to the feed barn and into their feed it's cool enough to eat. They seem to really relish it at dinner time. So while I don't think it warms them, I think it does "go down easy" because it's warm and it gets water into them. Same thing with any other mash in winter, it gets water into them which will help keep their guts moving.

When I fed Alfalfa, in CA & AZ can't use local alfalfa here, I would make a bran mash a couple times a week and put a little vegetable oil and carrots & apples in it. I was feeding 10 horses at a time on it, so I'd put a couple of pounds of the bran and soak it down until it was oatmeal consistency and feed a little to every one. If I didn't think it was enough I added more to make the amount I wanted to feed.

It wasn't a real scientific process, and we didn't give a lot to any one horse. The only way you can be real precise is if you, 1 test every batch of alfalfa for its CA:p ratio, 2 weigh the alfalfa precisely each time and then figure out how much P is in each bag of bran. The idea is to not overload them with bran, but most alfalfa is pretty high in CA so, you bring in some bran to even things out. You know that ideally you want 2:1 CA:p, so just eyeball it and give a reasonable amount. Horsemen have been feeding bran for years with no ill effects, it just has to be in moderation.
 
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