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12,267 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was spending money at the locally owned feed store Saturday and perused the list of feeds on the wall while waiting my check out turn.

"12% Sweet feed" $9.85/50lb

"15% Sweet feed" $15-something/50 lb.

Is it any wonder people buy sweet feed in this lousy economy and they're trying to do their best to hang onto their horse?

The first thing a person sees is the initial bottom line to savings, instead of the long-term results and the fact that more expensive, higher quality feed requires less pounds per feeding:-|

I went thru a period like that. The the owner of the feed store, where I lived back then, kindly pointed out I my horses would be far better off eating something else. He prefaced that by saying just because he sold the stuff didn't mean he would ever feed it to his own horses:shock:

So I switched to something he recommended for the work (or lack of) my horses did at that time. That was a very wise feed store owner.

These days I hand mix everything because I have two metabolic horses but my point is sweet feed at $9.85/50 lb bag in this day and age can't be good.

2,934 Posts
A 50 lb bag of ration balancer cost me $28 but I'm feeding a cup at each meal to a 16 hand horse as opposed to several quarts to a horse the same size in the same work.
My old pony gets 1/3 cup.

I bought 2 bags in mid November. I still have just under half a bag feeding 3 horses and 2 goats out there in frigid wet New England temperatures. They have free choice grass hay. Way more feed for the $ by far!!

Because they need so little ration balancer they think I'm being stingy with the food. They are used to a full tummy after mealtime. You can fill them up with a low carb hay stretcher or hay pellets. I got lucky and one of my local dealers has a hay stretcher that is 3.9% NSC. I have to actually add a little fat using rice bran.
The pony only gets what she can steal for rice bran. She just doesn't need but a mouthful or two. But I can give my skinny one her ration balancer and rice bran and have her finish it in a 10 or 15 minutes and then let horses be horses and think they are stealing something when all they are getting is a low cal bunch of fiber with the hay stretcher. So easy compared to mixing this and that. It's 6 degrees out with the wind blowing. I was able to bail out of the barn fast. Used to take me 3x as long.

I haven't fed sweetfeed since the late 70's. I stumbled on a complete pellet that worked well and it turns out it was and still is one of the lower starch ones out there but I had to feed quite a lot of it to meet nutritional requirements. Something the old pony didn't need. Good food but not the bargain it once was. I'm also not able to spend my days in the saddle like I did in the 70's. Then my horses burned the sugar and calories. My horses now don't.

this is an older list but the counts are probably still in the ball park.
from 2008

Carb Guard - less than 11% (Sheri Becker Equi tested – NSC 6.4%)
1.9% simple sugar and 4.6% starch

Vintage Gold - 32%
Vintage Mare Foal - 33%
Vintage Senior - 20%
Vintage Racer - 30%
Vintage Sweet - 35%
Vintage Victory 36%
Demand - 26%
Contender - 34%
Hunter - 33%
Trotter - 25%
Sport 40%
Strider - 42%
Charger - 39%
Pacer - 48%
Rider - 44%
Horse 10 - 45%

BOSS - Black oil sunflower seeds. NSC 5.6%. 15-16% protein, 40% fat. 6 oz cup
weighs 3 oz.

Safe n’ Easy - 12.5% NSC pelleted, 16% - texturized (non tested)

Dynamite H.E.S. Pellets test at NSC 10.90% (Linda in Calgary with A&L labs)

Platform Senior - 16.1%
Platform Mini & Pony - Total starch 18%, sugar 2.5% = NSC 20.5%

NSC 12.8%, (12.2 sugar, .6 starch)

KER (Kentucky Equine Research and Flint River Mills)
Cool Balance - NSC – 29% (from company rep)

LMF - Low Carb Complete Stage 1 - 11% or less (current 2007 tests average 6-8%)
LMF Senior - 30%


MAC- PLAIN Beet Pulp - 13.4 sugar, .6 starch = 13.9
NSC (tested by melanie April-17-06) Probably a 2005 batch

MAC - PLAIN Beet Pulp (batch# K628202-03) meaning (K) Crookston plant, (6) meaning 2006, (282) meaning the 282nd day of the year and the (02) meaning the shift. 18.6% sugar, .8% starch = 19.4% NSC. This was tested twice for sugar as Dairy One did not believe the results of the sugar. 11-21-06 (tested by Melanie)

MAC – Plain Beet Pulp – ESC – simple sugars 7.1% seems to always been under 1% starch so total NSC should be 8% or less. Batch K7182 (Melanie Equi tested 8-3-07)

NSC 9.7%, 9% sugar, .7% starch (tested by Joan and Dazzle)

SafeChoice - 22.8% (6.4% sugar, 16% starch) ( Solper)
Lite Balance 17.1% NSC (12.8% starch) Info from Nutrena

NSC – 14.1% (Sheri Becker tested with Equi – 5.2% simple sugar and 8.9% starch)

Senior 31.3%
MVP - 17.4% (27% protein)
Stablemate 14 complete - 16.3%
Endure 10:12 - 33.7%
Endure 10:8 - 33.9%
Carb Safe - 10% or less

ProAdvantage grass formula (ration balancer): 13%
Lo-carb: 19%
Senior pelleted: 22%
Senior Textured: 24%
(was told they use Dairy One for testing) Chanda

Horse Chow 100 - 16%
Horse Chow 200 - 18%
Strategy - 28%
Omelene 100 - 40.5% (eeegads!)
Equine Adult - 20%
Equine Jr - 23%
Equine Sr - 22%
Complete Advantage 22.9% (beet pulp based)
Nature Essentials (Mare & Main) supplement - 16% (protein about 12-14%)
Nature Essentials Born to Win 16% (but 32% protein)

REVOLUTION Feed - 19% NSC - Katy Watts - 12% fat (Equi tested)

Happy Hoof - 15%

Low Carb Complete (pelleted - hay) - 8.6%

10% performance - 41.5%
14% performance - 38.2%
Complete 21.7%
Senior - 15.7%
Growth - 19.8%
Low Starch - 15.0%
Lite - 15.9%
12% - 29.7%
Safe Starch Forage 10% or less guaranteed

VITAROYAL - Linsey McLean
Hi Pro Plus (14.8-14.9 NSC) - high protein supplement- 29%
Hi Pro ULTRA ( 13.5% NSC)

Senior: NSC = 21.9%, (7.3% simple sugar, 14.5% starch – Tested by Chanda Brandt –Equi-Analytical)

127 Posts
No it is not any good. In my opinion sweet feed should just be used as part of a horse diet....if your going to put it in their feed only give them a small amount with the regular grain. I used to board my horse at a farm where the women who owned it was trying to save every penny. She fed all the horses who were full boarded there an exspensive grain. But all the pasture board horses got sweet feed. She gave my 6 yr old mare 1/4 cup of sweet feed twice a day. 1/4 cup!!!!! when my horse moved their she was a perfect weight and had a shiny healthy coat. But about a few months later she lost A LOT of weight, her coat was dull and so was her additude. I moved her out of that farm and switched her upped her hay and she is so much healthy now. She gained about 55 lbs. in 8 weeks of being on the new grain.

8,362 Posts
I stopped feeding any sweet feed a while back. My main reason wasn't nutritional concerns, it was b/c I kept getting bad bags with bugs (ugh) - Purina, which is my prefered brand for everything! I have never had that problem with straight oats, or cob. So, no more sweet feed, ever. I only feed oats or the like in the winter, though...just as an "added yummy" in the evening for the "cold night".

1,724 Posts
Sweet feed, in my opinion, is nothing but crap.
I would rather feed my horse chicken and biscuits then sweet feed.

Rolled Oats are better and just as cheap, even if more then half do not get digested fully.

If I could wave my magic wand I would banish all sweet feed!

Do not get me wrong I like a nice well balanced nutritional textured feed, but that stuff they call sweet feed where I live is none of the things I just listed.

715 Posts
We board horses here and the boarded horses get sweet feed. Why? EVERY person in my barn believes their horse needs 6 lbs of grain a day (one scoop am and pm) regardless of what it is and what type of work they are doing. Most of these horses are pets and owners are out to ride them a couple of times a MONTH if that. We also only charge 250 for board which is about what we can get in this area (rural) and between feed, hay and bedding costs we are spending about 150 a horse just to take care of them. Which means we have a profit of about 100 a horse.. and take off incidentals off that
(crap breaking which i swear happens daily)
and you are dang near working for free :)

and that is why we feed sweet feed. My horses however are fed something different
Right now we are getting 12% sweet feed for about 7.50 a bag.
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