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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to horses and want to make sure I'm taking good care of them. Safe Guard was recommended to me for daily grain but I also have a local feed store that mixes horse feed. Here is what their label says:

Crude Protein Min...10.0%
Crude Fat Min...2.5%
Crude Fiber Max...10.0%

Ingredients: corn, oats, soybean meal, molasses products, condensed whey, condensed lignin sulfonate, vegetable fat product (feed grade), vegetable oil, lecithin, and many more items.

Without typing the whole list of ingredients, I'm hoping to get a good feel of if this is a good feed or not. I'm leery of corn being the first ingredient - I didn't think horses ate corn?
 

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To this basic list of ingredients I say yuck.

I don't want molasses in any feed I give.

I only give corn, oats or oil as separates if I need to for a specific underweight horse issue.

I don't think I have ever fed whey

And I won't buy food for myself or my horse with 'condensed lecithin and many other items' in the ingredients.
 
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Well.... it depends.
First of all, learning about basic nutritional needs of a horse, as amigoboy suggested, is a very good idea.
Then, as you will learn then, roughage is the most important item, hay or grass, and enough of it. Then, if that isn't enough, because your horse is a hard keeper or works a lot, or both, you need to consider adding calories.
Horses do eat corn, but most of the time don't really need it. Oats are the safest grain there is for horses, and adding a general vitamin/ mineral supplement, and salt, should cover even moderate activity caloric needs.

To give you more specific advice we would need to know what type of horse, what activity, current living condition, pasture or drylot, or stalled, body condition.
 

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deserthorsewoman is right...more information on your horse is needed including at least a climate or state/region kept in.

Horses eat corn, in fact they love corn.
We as humans though have decided that corn may not be the best thing to feed to our horses.
Corn can make a horse "hot", literally...it is a heat producing food source. It is highly condensed in "energy" so many say it makes a horse hot {hard} to handle.
Corn is a high starch component and therefore needs to be consumed in safe amounts so to not overwhelm a horse digestive tract.

If you have a horse with no dietary limitations, providing the entire list of ingredients is well balanced in vitamins and minerals...you can probably get away with feeding this.
I would have more concern that molasses is the fourth listed ingredient as that is a lot of sugar dumped into their digestive system.

Any brand manufacturer of feed is going to promote their line of products as best.
Safechoice, Dumoor, Sentinel, Purina, Triple Crown, Seminole, ADM, Nutrena...
In every line of feed there are many choices as there are many horses doing many different jobs.
Do some research of the brands available near you including those feed mills. They turn out a very nice product with good balances of daily requirements for the animal the feed is made for.
A feed mill is probably going to cost you substantially less to buy from than the packaged feeds from the named manufacturers...
By me, the local feed mill is 1/3 less the price for a nice feed mix...

As for what you have listed...
I think it is a cheaper feed...all of your numbers are honestly poor if your horse really needs feed to keep him looking healthy, you will feed more of this than a higher quality caloric dense recipe.
You need to start feeding a animal by providing quality roughage {hay or pasture} first, then if needed add a concentrate, {
many call it grain} or feed.
For me, a higher density feed in protein, fat and fiber so I can feed less of it and less chance of overloading their digestive system....= less chance of colic or laminitis episodes.
I would love to read the entire bag back...feeding amounts....
Personally, I think you can do better. For my own horses I would not buy a feed with so low a fat content or fiber content...many horse can do with a 10% protein but no less...and very few ever need more than 14% unless in extreme competition and training regiments. 12% - 14% are normal amounts in horse feeds... higher the fat and fiber percentages though the better the feed it seems.
Quality feed you usually don't get "cheap"...and you don't buy quality in Walmart either, at least by me!
I also prefer a pelleted feed not a sweet feed for the "sugar-rush" and the fact sweet feed by me can spoil easily in heat & humid conditions of summer...and my feed is kept in my barn not my a/c home!

The name Safe Guard to me when I googled it came up as horse wormer, not a feed.
SafeChoice though did come up. I looked at that and found my local Tractor Supply Store sells this brand of feed and it is manufactured by Nutrena....
Here was one of their choices. Some of the others choices had terrible numbers or none listed at all. Of all I looked at this would be my choice from this "name" available to me.
If this is what you refer to....
Nutrena® SafeChoice® Horse Feed, 50 lb. - Tractor Supply Co.
This if you read the label has much better amounts of fat, fiber and protein for $16.49 a bag.
You don't need to feed very much of it either for a average worked horse...
Some will say there are better feeds out there but that also depends upon what is available in your area.
If this is what you got, this is what you got.

Hope that wasn't super confusing...being new you need to learn so much as we all want to do the best for our animals...
Here are some articles that might help you to understand bag of feed ingredients....especially about "corn"
Five Myths of Horse Nutrition | The Feed Room
Ask the Expert -- Nutrition


Welcome to horse ownership and the endless reading to understand and do right for our animals as best we can.:wink:
 

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To be blunt, I wouldn't let that feed anywhere near my horse. It sounds like a pretty standard sweet feed, which is pretty much junk food for horses. I don't like to see molasses high up on an ingredient list, though I don't mind it being in a feed as long as the NSC (NSC = non-structural carbohydrates; essentially a measure of the sugar/starch content) remains low. I won't feed anything containing corn at all. Oats are the lesser of the evils when it comes to cereal grains, but I've yet to find a reason to feed them as there are generally better non-grain alternatives.

As to whether Safe Choice (Safe Guard?) is a good option for your horse(s), that depends on their specific needs. Safe Choice comes in a number of different varieties, as well.

Corn can make a horse "hot", literally...it is a heat producing food source.
This is a common misconception. Corn doesn't make a horse hot in the literal sense of helping it keep warm. A lot of people feed horses corn in the winter with this idea, but feeds that digest in the hindgut (i.e. hay) produce much more body heat in the digestive process. Corn only helps replace some of the calories that are burned off by a horse shivering.
 

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Corn is high in calories and as a horse burns calories keeping warm then to a certain extent it is a 'heating feed'
As for the contents of the feed (I would think it is supposed to be a Safechoice' product) its not something I would give to one of my horses even if it was in hard work or needed to gain weight - I avoid anything with added molasses and a high starch content because even horses in fitness work can have a genetic disposition to IRS and that might be enough to trigger it.
 

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Just to get some things straight:
Basic Feeding.
1. A good hay. Timothy being the nr.1 if you can get it in your area due to it´s long stem fiber and nutritious seed heads. Most horses do just fine on just hay.
The horse requires 1.5-2% feed of body weight.
2. Grains for added energy and nutriton when needed.
A. Oats being the first choice for horses. Whole, Rolled or Milled.
B. Corn. High energy due to starch content. Can be mixed with Oats for hard working horses. Suggested Corn be cracked but can be feed whole.
C. Barley, must be milled due too it´s hardness.
D. Wheat, low on the list for horses, as some horses do not do well on Wheat.
3. Salt and/or Mineral Block
4. Clean Water.
5. Reglar worming program.
6. Yearly Vetrinarian Check Up and Inaculations, Tettnis and any other vaccinations that may be needed.
7. Regular visits by the Farrier, 6-8 weeks.
8. Plenty of Out Door Time! In areas where biting insects are a problem day stalling is preferred where it is cool and insect free, the horses can be let out too graze at night when they are not pestered. Stall Feeding may be require at least once during the day.
Horses are Creatures Of Habit so a good rutin is required for their well-being.

You learn by doing - you learn as you grow.
 

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What do I think...i think it is junk...after experimenting around a while and trying this and that i stick to just the simple stuff...mixed grass and plants over a wide area {pasturing them on a field with regular grasses not one with like all one kind of grass or something} and hay when needed {drought or winter} salt/minerals out for them all the time {avoid blocks bound w/molasses, i use the plain salt, red mineral block and himalayan salt ones} and carrots and apples for treats... i stay away from processed food...processed anything...it is bad news...sweet feed NEVER...now my boys dont have any dental problems medical issues or anything so if your horse does then you have to consider that but then if ther teeth are bad i would use hay pellets instead of processed feed...just saying what works for us...good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone for the great input. I did mean Safechoice not Safe Guard. Everyone confirmed my suspicions on the feed. We read labels for our food and I suspected the molasses was too high on the list. I will stick with the Safechoice - that was recommended by the breeder. I was just hoping to give my business to the local feed store instead of TSC.

Just for further clarification, Lily (and a boarded Fresian) are on a new pasture 24/7 with shelter and an open stall available to her as she pleases. She is a Rocky Mountain, easy keeper. We were giving her only a small cup of the sweet feed daily, but will switch her over to Safechoice.

What a great source of information this site has been in a short amount of time! Thanks again!
 

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I do have a mineral block out that they have access to all the time. Should I be giving them any additional supplements?
Being out on pasture, they probably don't need much extra other than salt (which you have covered by the mineral block). If your area is specifically low in something (like selenium) you might consider adding a supplement that makes up for it.

I like to see horses that don't have access to fresh grass given supplements with vitamin A and E, as well as omega-3, since these are all things that degrade very rapidly when grass is processed into hay.
 

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The Safechoice Special Care seems to be the one aimed at horses that are easy keepers or at risk of developing IRS so that might be the best of their products
For my 'easy keepers' who have to be kept on a restricted grazing program at times of the year when we just have too much lush grass even on the smallest paddock I would want to keep a horse on I like the Triple Crown Safe Starch Forage and the Triple Crown Low starch pellets. The chopped forage is all made from good grasses and gives the horses something to really chew on and for longer than the equivalent weight in pellets
 
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