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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone! How is everyone?

These past few months have been... crazy, haven't they? But, wait! There's more! For me anyway....

Unfortunately, I am currently in the middle of a drought and it is effecting my horse. My generally easy-keeper pasture puff has been losing weight and muscle and having bouts of diarrhea due to a lack of grass and poor-quality hay. She was recently vetted (worming, teeth, vaccines, etc.) and cleared, so I do believe that this is due to the drought and not health problems.

I am a relatively new horse owner (less than ten years); I have never had to substitute grass and hay before, so I do not know what to feed. I do not know much about horse nutrition but I have read that high fiber is good for weight gain and helps with diarrhea. I have read that fiber comes from many sources, including, but not limited to: alfalfa, beet pulp, copra meal, hulls (e.x. cottonseed, legume, oat, rice, etc.), timothy, etc. I am not sure which one to feed. Which fiber is better: digestible/soluble or indigestible/insoluble?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
 

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I'd just feed a complete senior feed and not worry about the rest. If you wanted to add a pelleted or cubed forage that could help too.

The way we deal with drought and poor pasture is to put round bales out and those that need extra on top of that get separated out for feeding that extra.

If that doesn't turn your horse around then time for a more thorough vetting. I'd probably do one any way but that's me.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!!

The most basic of basic feeding of horses is...
Hay/grass and pasture makes up the bulk of the nutrition a horse gets and needs to survive and thrive.
You feed hay, grass or pasture that is common to your area for ease of getting it, cost and well, most horses get to graze someplace and if they eat similar grasses then less chance of digestive upset occurs.
Horse do not need the most nutrient dense a product unless they are working extremely hard in training or competition, daily riding chores done.
Horses evolved with eating less quality and more quantity and still do best with more fed less quality....a delicate balancing act to get.
Today it is few fields that are not enriched with fertilizer and controlling weeds by spraying during the growth stage to enhance production amounts, tastiness to the horse and cost containment.

So, you feed the bulk of needed nutrition by hay or pasture.
If the horse is not getting enough calories and nutrients to thrive by looking healthy then you then introduce feed appropriate to your horses workload and missing nutrients needed given.
If the horse is thriving and doing well just eating hay/pasture then you feed a ration balancer aka vitamin/mineral supplement so the animal is getting a well rounded diet.

Now, no idea of where you live...
I live in Florida where sand is a given and horses ingesting it occurs no matter on pasture of fed hay.
So we treat for sand accumulation in the gut, which lines the intestinal tract reducing nutrients absorbed, increases greatly chances of sand colic and can cause diarrhea in horses often when present.
A simple test that costs nothing can let you know whether sand is a possible problem or not...and if it is how to treat to reduce issues... https://www.drgarfinkel.com/client-education/equine-care-and-anatomy/testing-the-horse-for-sand
Another here deals with a horse who gets chronic diarrhea every year when he comes off pasture to be fed hay for winter... @Acadianartist I alerted to your post so she can offer what she does for her horse who suffers too.

For me, for their great size horses digestive tract is very delicate.
Because of that, I would consult your vet for what they would like to see you address as a solution to the diarrhea issue.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd just feed a complete senior feed and not worry about the rest. If you wanted to add a pelleted or cubed forage that could help too.

The way we deal with drought and poor pasture is to put round bales out and those that need extra on top of that get separated out for feeding that extra.
Which senior feed would you recommend? Which is better: pelleted or cubed forage? What pelleted or cubed forage would you recommend?

There is a free-choice round bale currently available, but the hay is of poor quality.

Now, no idea of where you live...
I live in Florida where sand is a given and horses ingesting it occurs no matter on pasture of fed hay.
So we treat for sand accumulation in the gut, which lines the intestinal tract reducing nutrients absorbed, increases greatly chances of sand colic and can cause diarrhea in horses often when present.
A simple test that costs nothing can let you know whether sand is a possible problem or not...and if it is how to treat to reduce issues... https://www.drgarfinkel.com/client-education/equine-care-and-anatomy/testing-the-horse-for-sand
Another here deals with a horse who gets chronic diarrhea every year when he comes off pasture to be fed hay for winter... @Acadianartist I alerted to your post so she can offer what she does for her horse who suffers too.

For me, for their great size horses digestive tract is very delicate.
Because of that, I would consult your vet for what they would like to see you address as a solution to the diarrhea issue.
:runninghorse2:...
I live in a relatively sandy and clay-y area. Thank you for the link. I will try the test. I will also consult the vet. If there is sand accumulation, what would you recommend doing? FeedXL recommends feeding psyllium husks. Is this a good idea?
 

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For ease of use...
Go to any store and buy Sand Clear product either name brand or store brand and follow the directions on the container on how to give and when.
After you use the product repeat the sand test and see where you are in results...
If you are still seeing a large accumulation of sand call the vet for further guidance.
You need to read labels and follow directions cause just like diarrhea can strip the intestines of needed flora & fauna, aka bacteria beneficial, so can using to much of the sand clear products irritate the gut lining.


Sand clear products are those husks but in a easily dispensed container with a scoop for sizing per meal/day done.

:runninghorse2:...
 
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