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I'm seeking a lower sugar, lower starch feed for my almost (in April) 5 year old QH mare.
When I bought her in June, she was wonderfully calm and quiet-- even when I took her to her very first shows that summer, and the first times she had ever been trail ridden.

TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS:
The previous owner and trainer had her on generic 12%, hay and a few hours of pasture, and she looked and acted great. She was even slightly lazy in the arena until she warmed up. I kept her on the same feed and hay regimen and worked her up to 10 hours of grazing a day during the summer.
She started getting hotter and more anxious in the fall, but many of the horses at our barn were acting that way with the cooler weather and I attributed her energy to her age and the cooler temps.

She lost a little weight when she was moved to the paddock from the pasture this winter, so I increased her hay (free choice hay all day while she is in the paddock, plus hay at night in her stall as well). I also changed her feed about two weeks ago to a higer fat and protein feed (DuMor Equistages)- which I believe is only making the issue worse. I'm now researching feeds like Tribute Kalm 'N EZ and possible magnesium deficiency, since she does display several symptoms. She is generally not picky about feeds and usually ravenous for her grain and eats hay like a gelding.

I want to be sure she can continue to gain a little weight and get all the nutrients she needs as a younger horse, but also go back to her calm and relaxed personality. I also don't want to go broke trying to feed her. What do you like to feed in these situations? Thanks for your input!
 

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So...a few things come to mind...
You are a new owner to her, you ride her differently than any trainer I bet did and you have never owned her solely before coming off a winter time or just with your dedicated work and riding schedule. You are now a few months into owning, riding and caring for her exclusively and see changes...
This is a mare, it is springtime and mares have started cycling again and that can change personality in some. They can smell the springtime in the air... and just feel good about it.
You just came off winter, actually are still in winter and I bet the horse is not out moving around in a pasture eating grass for 12 hours a day but cooped up in a smaller enclosure. Yes?
So, some energy to burn and you are still feeding her hard feed and just increased her energy level by upping her protein level....
Is her work load the exact same, the same amount expended as it was before winter???:-?
She was out wandering the pasture grazing and you riding for how long daily and how often????:-?
The change in the weather does affect some too.
You have just increased protein levels and this feed is also pretty rich in molasses content although not "sticky" it is in it in decent amounts. I did feed it briefly myself and did not like the weight loss my horses had...
There is no ingredients list per say but there is a 18% on average sugar/starch number known...
Not knowing what ingredients were used... you will get fluctuations because of ingredient changes that can compound personality issues you now see.

So...out grazing also expends energy while she eats...
She lost weight coming off pasture so you upped her hay {is it real quality hay always in front of her?} and pushed feed to fatten her back up...and now she has energy to burn.
"Ravenous" to me describes a horse not getting their food needs met....

Today, it seems a fad to think their horse has a magnesium deficiency if they exhibit any enthusiasm or excitability...
Is your horse having muscle tremors, un-coordinated, flighty or nervous...those are the biggies.
Is she sore backed? Body tense?
Does she react like you struck her hard when you touch her or pull away from any touch?
Here is a good article to read about magnesium deficiency in horses..
Magnesium: The Mineral Superhero - Performance Equine Nutrition | Focus, MagRestore
Unless you have done blood work and chemistry and had a vet make that determination...no!
Please, please don't put a label on her unless she warrants it after testing and a veterinary medical examination.
Good grief she is not 5 years old and has some life in her....don't start looking for endocrine problems because she is young and feels good.
I don't mean that to be harsh but think about it....
She has barely reached adulthood, is coming out of winter and is loving springtime and life.

Since you are feeding Dumoor you are purchasing in Tractor Supply Stores...
There is a lot better feeds available in that store, always.
Go to the Tractor Supply website, put in your area and see what is actually carried in your particular store routinely..then make some decisions based upon what they have.
Go to the individual feed manufacturers websites and do comparisons and use the internet to do side by side different brand to different brand comparison...you're not the first one looking for this information.
TS also can and does special order for customers if you ask them {store manager does this}....there is a more extensive line available from many manufacturers just not space to carry everything in the TS store.

Me, I would look for a lower sugar & starch feed but not be searching for only recipes based on a IR horse unless your horse is showing signs of that...with medical documentation to back up that theory.
Lowering starch & sugar, yes....
Up the fat number.... and add a higher fiber number. Yes...

You want to stay in Tractor Supply Stores...
Look at Strategy Healthy Edge...now carried in many stores.
12% protein, 8% fat, 18% fiber are decent numbers.
Energy dense so not needing as much to have desired results and with correct amounts of essential vitamin and minerals.
I know many who feed this feed or regular Strategy with excellent results and no "hot" horse.

I actually feed Purina Ultium to my hard keeper.
He is 16 years old, 16 hand Thoroughbred, burns off his food easily.
He isn't worked hard by any means but he requires a dense calorie feed with higher fat and good fiber...the lower protein in my case works well.
I feed 4 pounds total a day of this right now.
He is calm minded...life when you ask of him but "calm" in personality.
Once my pasture returns he will go down to 2 pounds a day and be thriving...now not so much unless he eats more!
Pellets, a fixed formula and nutrient amounts..is a win-win for me.
I will not buy feed made by any company that does not have dedicated manufacturing plants to just horse feed. There have to many "accidents" in my area of monesin style contamination and I won't take the chance of killing my horse because of a "oops!"...
My feed is also affordable but more than you pay.... the saying of "you get what you pay for"...it's true..
I have other brands available too but cost, availability and just plain my horse won't eat some brands all have me purchasing what I do...
Good luck.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Agreed...

Thank you for your response. I must not have clarified very well, as I think we agree on every point. Let me attempt to better elaborate:
I fully agree that MOST of her issues stem from the weather and changing seasons, as it is obvious that most/all of the horses at the barn are frisky and extra hot this time of year due to pasture changes and reduced exercise.
I would not run out and put her on magnesium supplements, however as I mentioned she does exhibit symptoms: i.e. very tender to the touch, appears uncomfortable and sensitive when brushed etc., and only mention it as some may ask if there were a possibility of the deficiency.

Honestly I'm not blaming her whatsoever for this change. I understand she is young, and all that comes along with owning a young horse ...and a mare at that.
She has been with me for 8 months, so I did ride/own her at the end of spring/beginning of summer, and acknowldge that it has not been a full year-- and her mood and attitude will vary from month to month and situation to situation.
I believe the last feed change was unresearched and hasty on my part, and believe changing her to a lower sugar/starch feed would be beneficial all around, so long as it doesn't cause weight loss. My goal is to add real world testimonials to my research this time around.

Have you ever had geldings that were excited for their food? That's how she acts. I didn't mean to exaggerate, just trying to be descriptive. She's a silly young horse that loves food. All I meant by that was that she was a healthy eater and doesn't have the issues a picker eater might.

Being new to the area and not knowing the local feed stores, I went to Tractor Supply initially, but am checking out two local feed stores today, which should give a better variety. I simply was hoping to get a few stories from others who may have tried these lower starch and sugar feeds and get some feedback on their favorites. I don't expect it to magically make her drowsy or counteract a mare's natural winter/spring friskiness, just hoping it would be a better alternative to the feed I am not pleased with currently. I also linked the feeds mentioned to their pages for nutrition comparison, if that helps.
Thanks for your thoughts!
 

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From the very article linked:
"Only approx 1% of magnesium is stored in the blood, the rest is stored in soft tissue and bone and the body is very efficient at maintaining that level in the blood stream to facilitate organ function. This is why blood level magnesium tests are rarely indicative of an animal’s true magnesium status. A horse would be severely deficient and would be very ill by the time a blood test would indicate a shortfall."

The reason people supplement thinking their horse may be deficient is because it is a very common problem and it's not easily tested for so the protocol is to supplement and see if there are any results. It's not something you're really going to oversupplement and cause harm. The reason people are so "hyper" about it is due to it being an agent in calming supplements so people say "clearly my horse needs it!"

While it wouldn't hurt for the OP to try that, and definitely wouldn't hurt to keep the diet low starch/sugar (ALL horses benefit from that! it's nothing to do with IR) I agree it sounds like there are multiple factors.

Unless she really needs the grain why don't you get her on a ration balancer and supplement beet pulp for weight?

I think you are overthinking gelding vs mare lol, a horse is a horse, they are all the same at the end of the day.

I don't know what you have available or what your mares needs are but agree that the Ultium is a good food. I've never used it on my own horses though because they don't need much. So if she needs it go for it, but if not consider something like what I said above. The Dumor appears low quality but is NOT high in starch/sugar, get her on something that can meet her needs but with better ingredients will help. I'm just thinking a horse that was a good weight on hay/pasture alone and is not currently in work (if that's accurate) would need something like Ultium.
 

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Yes!

YES YES YES! 100% Agree.:iagree:
I was literally just trying to answer some common questions others may have in response. The mare eating like a gelding was just a similie. I always joke she eats like a gelding. She had never been on what I would consider a "quality grain" but didn't seem the worse for it and I was hesitant to change her diet up with the "if its not broke" mentality. Now that she is acting jumpy and hot, moreso than would be expected with a horse of her age or situation/season, I blame myself for not researching feeds the first time around; and hope to correct that now.
As you said, a low starch and low sugar feed would be beneficial for most horses and I hope mine is one. My only concern was weight loss. She's not underweight per se, but personally I'd like to her a little more filled out.
My only hesitation with beet pulp is the prep. My barn owner doesn't do much prep work and I'm worried she won't feed it if she has to soak it. Plus I'm not looking for massive weight gain, just subtle. I'm sure she'll be fine when she goes back to pasture in the spring.
Again, just want to ensure that switching to low sugar/starch won't cause weight or nutrition loss in horses like her. Thanks so much!!:love:
 

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What are you calling grain?
Eating like a gelding?
Well, if you are already feeding a fat source for calories, versus 'grain', you are already feeding cool calories. It is hot calories, contained in what is 'real grain', that cause mood highs,as grains are high in sugar (grain, being GRAIN, as in oats, corn, barley , and not bagged feed called grain for convenience ) I don't know how much endless confusion this causes, using 'grain' to describe any bagged feed, including those containing little if any grain
 

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I see that Durmore shows protein amount and fat(cool calories), but do you know the NSC content< as that would be the concern, far as any sugar highs due to that feed
Can you post complete analysis ? Certainly, if that feed is bound together with molasses, you have concentrated sugar right there
Protein doe snot cause mood alterations-that fact was disproved way back in the eighties. All excess protein does, is be heavy on the pocket book, as excess is excreted, or on a horse, due to that fact, who has kidney disease.
It is hot calories that are directly associated with mode highs, risk of laminitis and colic, directly in proportion to amount fed
 

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Calories are what regulates weight in horses, same as in people. Feed just the right amount for daily activities, and you have a stable weight, less and the horse looses weight, more, the horse gains
Calories come in two forms, hot and cool, thus, why many senior hrose feed, fed to horses with metabolic issues, but need more calories, are fed high fat feeds, as they can't be fed hot calories. So, no, your horse won't loose weight, if you substitute cool calories for hot calories
You can also just add flax or canola oil , for those calories, if needed
 

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"I'm just thinking a horse that was a good weight on hay/pasture alone and is not currently in work (if that's accurate) would need something like Ultium."

Would NOT...'scuse me!

Love the feed just not sure it's appropriate for her. I'm honestly not a big fan of the Safe Choice. It's not horrible but it's very low quality and really not as "safe" as it sounds, could do worse but I think you could do better. If you're feeding for weight feed for weight and if not get a ration balancer. A horse that doesn't need a quality grain (I have 4 easy keepers, well 2 need a tad more care with age but overall very straightforward) should do perfectly on a ration balancer/vitamin and mineral supplement along with as needed (minimum 1.5-2% of body weight) quality hay. So I would definitely start there.

Low sugar starch honestly just means "healthier" while many feeds low in NSC (sugar + starch ratio ="non structural carbs") are also low fat intentionally as many horses that have the needs of low NSC (horses with metabolic issues) are also overweight and as such need low fat feed. However, that doesn't mean anything aside from what I said -MOST (not all) low NSC grains are designed to be low fat, there are some that are not and some that while not intentionally designed that way (Ultium) are just healthier feeds so lower in NSC even though that's not the focus of the feed. So just look at the overall #s and ingredients.

Where you mare does not have an actual health issue you also don't have to panic about "how much is too much" for example my gelding does have issues and his grain is at 14.5%, while that is far lower than most feeds I am always worrying it may be too high for him despite the fact it was carefully researched and vet approved and he's doing well on it. A grain that is at 14.5% would absolutely be appropriate for any horse without issues, many grains are much more.

Also remember it's not the NSC that determines hotness (though that number may be relative, a feed with say corn and oats will naturally have a higher NSC).

I completely get where you're coming from but think you're overthinking some. What is she currently getting?

My mare was a nutcase at her new barn last winter and I cut back her feed to 1/4 qt 2x/day, basically a handful....it did not make any difference as it wasn't the problem.

I would hesitate to say "more than to be expected for her age/weather" as they really can surprise you :)
 

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aggielady;9745602My only concern was weight [I said:
loss[/I]. She's not underweight per se, but personally I'd like to her a little more filled out.
My only hesitation with beet pulp is the prep. My barn owner doesn't do much prep work and I'm worried she won't feed it if she has to soak it. Plus I'm not looking for massive weight gain, just subtle
You're right....think we are on much the same page after reading your expanded comments. :wink:

So, her "filling out" may have more to do with her maturing and still growing happening.
As a older 4 she is still maturing, still needing those extra ingredients so she continues to develop those bones, muscles and cartilage....

The "beet pulp prep" should be non-existent if fed in a "feed" made already.
I can vouch for Strategy, Ultium and many Senior feeds that have beet pulp as a large composition of the feed that there is no "prep" of soaking needed...
If you choose to soak your feed it will get mushy, wet, damp or whatever consistency you want but does not need it.
Feeding straight beet pulp is different and if I fed it it would be soaked prior to being fed.
My horse doesn't like beet pulp so takes that choice away for me. :x
If, if you do beet pulp read the bags carefully as some is mixed with molasses as flavoring I guess and that defeats the "low sugar" you were wanting.
I know it is processed to eliminate much of the sugars but there is some still in it.
I know from reading here and other forums that Smilie fed and still feeds beet pulp with great success to her special needs horse{s}....
There is a secret to that because mine flat out walked away from what I offered fresh every meal over 10 days time...just won't eat straight beet pulp.:sad:

I can tell you though that my horse does wonderfully on Ultium.
It has so much Amplify in it. It is why I use it...the cool calories of fat, Amplify fat nugget pieces.
I started to see a improvement in 5 days and he had a great deal of weight to gain.
Now he maintains it with not much needing fed along with his hay ration....
Can't wait though for our pasture to really start growing again....soon, soon, very soon!

The best of luck with your mare.
Enjoy!!!
:runninghorse2:.....

 

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If I May Redirect...

Yes, she is getting work and exercise. Just not at the level she receives in the summer. Again I'm not blaming the feed for her change and spirit, but am acknowledging it could be a factor. I just don't like her current feed overall.

Simply put, the goal of the original post is seeking a healthier alternative to generic 12% and DuMor feeds; and wanting specific name brands and formulas for low starch/sugar feeds that it's users recommend, and why you like it. Of course I'm hoping the change will have a positive (even if its slight and negligible) improvement in excess energy, but I do not have any unrealistic delusions considering the time of year. I treasure the reviews and real-world testimonials from various low starch and sugar feed users, and if this would be a beneficial situation to try it. The consensus seems to be it would.

Quickly touching on beet pulp, of course I have no concern using it as a feed ingredient, but I was assuming the reference was to feeding it seperately, which I'm not really interested in doing at this point if I can avoid it. Again, at her age, growth could be partially responsible for her being slighly thinner than I'd personally prefer. I'm not overly stressed over it. Just don't want her to lose weight.

I have researched and fed issue-specific "higher-end" feeds to my older horse who had different needs (Purina Senior, Strategy etc); and while I'm smart enough to know I'm not a vet or nutrition expert, I did study Agriculture at Texas A&M University: one of the top equine and vet schools in the nation (yes, I got an A in Equine Care and Nutrition LOL). Going forard I feel confident considering and choosing a feed based on the infinite factors of my horse's situation and health. I am a researcher by nature, and know better than to randomly change feeds at the last minute without doing my homework, as I did on a whim last time. So I'm attempting to remedy that now by requesting your feed recommendations and reviews. My hope was if there was an overwhelming consensus for one feed formula over another, that I could focus on researching that feed first before considering other similar brands.

I certainly appreciate everyone's input on the subject, though! I'm sorry for any confusion regarding the goal of the OP.
 

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I don't think you will find a general consensus as it's all so dependent.

Triple Crown is a top quality brand that hasn't been mentioned. But even the best brands have a million different products.
 

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If she is only five you might find she fills out naturally on her own as she comes into her true marehood.
 

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Neat, thanks for sharing!

And lol @ this: "as she comes into her true marehood" though I do agree with the point! Sometimes young horses look scrawny and it is what it is, you don't want them too heavy.

Do you have a pic?
 

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Thanks everyone!

You're welcome! I just thought it was so neat that TAMU was in the news after mentioning them earlier in the day. I'm sure we all have that one horse we'd love to breed or have young again. I know I sure do! Ironically enough, this mare we're talking about, is the personality clone of my 31 year old gelding, so I have been given that opportunity it seems (maybe that's where all my comparisons to geldings are from :wink:). I've never known another horse to have ALL the strange and unique "-isms" that Jack had before Lucy. They even have the same unique dot in the middle of their star (see photo below)

There are some photos in my album Good N Spicy Hot, but those were from this summer/fall when she looked in better body shape. I attached two from a couple weeks ago, but they aren't the best angle to look at weight or body condition. Honestly I'm not stressed about her weight whatsoever, but you all are so sweet to consider it :love:
I know she is still growing into herself and that horses lose weight. My only concern on the topic was putting her on a feed long term that caused trouble maintaining weight, since her work will increase with the temps.
Thank you for the recommendation of Triple Crown Feeds. I have heard good things about that brand too and will check it out!
 

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1. I would not want to see her any "fuller" than she is. She looks similar to the old Poco horses I used to trail ride with, years ago.

I had two metabolic horses and still have one. I am not a fan of full or fat. She looks great just as she is:)

Grazing land in NE Ohio is a far cry from areas of Texas. What county are you in? If she's out on Ohio pasture, that could be why she seems a bit "up". All that candy compared to where she was in Texas, even if she had grass:)


I've been gone too many years to know the private feed stores. My best suggestion is to see what each feed store has available ( not TSC:(:(, THEN figure out what you want or need to feed her.

At five, she is pretty much done growing and bones are solid so feeding for a growing horse isn't needed.

A high quality ration balancer would likely be the thing, unless she starts losing weight, once in work. Then I might add some equine rice bran or beet pulp:)
 
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"I'm just thinking a horse that was a good weight on hay/pasture alone and is not currently in work (if that's accurate) would need something like Ultium."

Would NOT...'scuse me!

Love the feed just not sure it's appropriate for her. I'm honestly not a big fan of the Safe Choice. It's not horrible but it's very low quality and really not as "safe" as it sounds, could do worse but I think you could do better. If you're feeding for weight feed for weight and if not get a ration balancer. A horse that doesn't need a quality grain (I have 4 easy keepers, well 2 need a tad more care with age but overall very straightforward) should do perfectly on a ration balancer/vitamin and mineral supplement along with as needed (minimum 1.5-2% of body weight) quality hay. So I would definitely start there.

Low sugar starch honestly just means "healthier" while many feeds low in NSC (sugar + starch ratio ="non structural carbs") are also low fat intentionally as many horses that have the needs of low NSC (horses with metabolic issues) are also overweight and as such need low fat feed. However, that doesn't mean anything aside from what I said -MOST (not all) low NSC grains are designed to be low fat, there are some that are not and some that while not intentionally designed that way (Ultium) are just healthier feeds so lower in NSC even though that's not the focus of the feed. So just look at the overall #s and ingredients.

Where you mare does not have an actual health issue you also don't have to panic about "how much is too much" for example my gelding does have issues and his grain is at 14.5%, while that is far lower than most feeds I am always worrying it may be too high for him despite the fact it was carefully researched and vet approved and he's doing well on it. A grain that is at 14.5% would absolutely be appropriate for any horse without issues, many grains are much more.

Also remember it's not the NSC that determines hotness (though that number may be relative, a feed with say corn and oats will naturally have a higher NSC).

I completely get where you're coming from but think you're overthinking some. What is she currently getting?

My mare was a nutcase at her new barn last winter and I cut back her feed to 1/4 qt 2x/day, basically a handful....it did not make any difference as it wasn't the problem.

I would hesitate to say "more than to be expected for her age/weather" as they really can surprise you :)
What in the heck is a low NSC grain??????
ALL grains are high in NSC, compared to forage, with the % of NSC stated , using oats as the standard, and giving it an arbitrary value of 100

Understanding carbohydrates:

'First, we should deal with terminology when discussing carbohydrates. Sugars and starches are carbohydrates, but so is fiber. Fiber carbohydrates are known as structural carbohydrates and, for the most part, are provided by the grass and hay that the horse consumes.

Sugars and starches are classified as non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) and, for the most part, are provided by grain in the horse's diet, although some also are found in grasses. Most of the NSC are broken down in the small intestine to become glucose, which is a simple sugar that provides energy. After being absorbed into the bloodstream, glucose is transported to various tissues of the body, where it is used as fuel immediately or stored as glycogen or as fat. The glycogen is stored in the muscles or liver, where it can be called upon as fuel when needed.'

So, on to formulated bags of hrose feed, which are not "GRAINS!!!!!!

Many of the senior formulated feeds, are actually high in fat, as many senior horses become hard keepers, but since they also often can't be fed hot calories, as IN GRAINS, due to a metabolic condition, they have formulated feeds that are high fat, thus provide cool calories, and are low NSC and use beet pulp.as the fiber, as it is easy to digest

It is perfectly fine to feed good quality bag feed, bit you have to know how to interpertate that label

NSC-hot calories, cause sugar highs, for obvious reasons. Alfalfa, being a forage that is highest in NSC, can also cause that mood high, and many horses that are metabolic, can't have alfalfa hay. There is another factor, not completely understood, as to why many metabolic hroses have problems with alfalfa, even when the sugars appear in safe range ,, and of course, other hays can be high in NSC also, depending on maturity

Cool calories do not cause that sugar high, and why they are used when a horse needs more calories then the forage provides. Thus,cool calories in the form of fats, are also used for performance hroses, with no metabolic issues, to avoid that sugar high
'
I know I am a stickler on this point, far as using the term' grain,' to conveniently refer to any bagged feed, which often contains little or no grain, but it is "HUGE', far as causing confusion when discussing an equine diet.
Low NSC grain, is an oxymoron , just as bad, if not worse then shanked snaffle!
 
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