View Full Version : For those who feed no grain - what do you feed?

Nov. 27, 2009, 06:40 AM
Just curious, I was hoping to hear about what you feed your horses on a daily basis including hay, supplements, etc. Do you base it on hay testing?

I'm currently feeding my guys a few handfuls of ration balancer as a base for Platinum, MSM, Quiessence, and Vit E and am thinking about switching the base to alfalfa cubes or pellets or beet pulp without sugar (still only a handful) and adding in some oil if they seem to need more weight (hard to imagine though with my easy keepers).

One horse is also a draft cross and I'm thinking I should try to incorporate more fat into her diet anyways (EPSM). She isn't showing any symptoms but I know it's a good diet, and the other is a Pony who tends to be heavy.

I'm calling today about some hay that sounds good - first cut (which is what I prefer to feed so they can have "free choice"). This hay is 12% crude protein and 98% DE. Currently I am feeding first cut that I have not tested because I didn't get much of it. Both horses are in perfect weight.

Can I heard your diets for your grain-free horses?


Edited to add that I did a search and read all the hits (a lot of them!) but still didn't get all the answers I was hoping for.

Tamara in TN
Nov. 27, 2009, 09:02 AM

I'm calling today about some hay that sounds good - first cut (which is what I prefer to feed so they can have "free choice"). This hay is 12% crude protein and 98% DE. Currently I am feeding first cut that I have not tested because I didn't get much of it. Both horses are in perfect weight.

an RFV of about 85-90 would be helpful also;) I'm puzzled at the 98 %DE...are you sure that is not a typo ??


Daydream Believer
Nov. 27, 2009, 09:16 AM
Probably 90% of my horses live on good grass mix hay, some pasture grass, and a lb or so of alfalfa pellets a day. I was feeding whole flax at one point but had to back off of that for a while for budget control. I do feed a little oats to some who need a bit more energy like the weanlings and yearlings but no mature horses get oats at all.

Anyway, I have tested my forage and balance to that. I add magnesium, copper and zinc in a loose salt base. I'm not feed vitamins at this point but do remember they are easy keepers and get a lot of good fresh hay and some pasture. My horses look much better on this program than they ever did on a commercial feed mix before.

Nov. 27, 2009, 09:31 AM
Many of my horses get no grain for most of the year. They're mature horses with no special needs, and they don't do any work. They get pasture and mixed grass roundbales when pasture is lacking. The hay is not tested, but it comes from several different fields so the grass mix is different from each location. They get no supplements other than their mineral salt block. I'll start feeding grain pretty soon- and that's just a mix of shell corn and calf feed with a handful of Diamond V yeast thrown in for good measure. Most are ASBs and not especially easy keepers so they need grain through the winter months. My draft mare would do just fine if she never saw a kernal of concentrated feed. They're all in good weight and have no issues.

Nov. 27, 2009, 10:46 AM
My mare is on round bales of quality grass hay for winter, in the summer she gets 24/7 grass pastures instead of hay.

She gets Mega Cell, a multivit/min supplement, once a day, mixed with about a cup of Kent Dynasty Pride. The Pride is just to mix the supps in with, it's a complete feed that's top ingredients are beet pulp and soy hulls, so good roughage. :)

Nov. 27, 2009, 05:40 PM
5 horses, 3 ponies, ancient minidonk and 3 goats -- all get raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds 'salads'. The 28 yo. OTTB gets Poulin Senior with his salad; the 25 yo. gets Forage Extender with her salad and the rest just get the salads - once a day. Plus they all get as much hay (Timothy/Grass/Alfalfa) as they want. Goats get oats and cracked corn (and sometimes on cold nights I'll add cr. corn to the old guys' meals, too) ... the other horses range from 3 yo to 12 years old. The donk is close to 50. No more supplements since I started the salad diet for them. All have GAINED weight, stronger hooves, silkier coats.

Nov. 27, 2009, 06:11 PM
I am currently feeding ADM feeds-they are not grain based.

Pocket Pony
Nov. 27, 2009, 09:55 PM
I feed alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, and rice bran - depending on the horse I feed a combination of all three or just rice bran. All get a custom Vit E/Selenium/Biotin/Zinc, etc. supplement along with MSM. All horses are shiny and healthy and fit for their work.

Nov. 27, 2009, 10:17 PM
Two ounces of Farnam Vita-plus, 1/3 cup of flax, one also gets Remission and another gets Cosequin. They get pasture 12 hours a day in summer and 10 hours in winter. They also get timothy hay in summer and winter and in the coldest months when the grass is not growing they get alfalfa/timothy mix in addition to the timothy. One older thoroughbred gets alfalfa pellets in addition to the hay and Vita-plus. They all have access to white salt blocks and fresh water at all times.

Hampton Bay
Nov. 27, 2009, 10:29 PM
Mine get alfalfa cubes and SmartVite, plus very nice coastal hay. My big mare gets rice bran, and anyone else who looks a bit thin gets some rice bran as well. I also add some of Morton's Salt Balance when it's warm out, or I notice them spending more time at the salt block than normal.

Nov. 28, 2009, 12:25 AM
I feed a ration balancer and local grass hay, some get an alfalfa grass blend. In my opinion you do need to give enough balancer to make sure they are getting the desired vitamins and minerals. You can always run a mineral analysis to make sure they are in all within normal range.

Nov. 28, 2009, 05:51 AM
My QH mare (we suspect she has EPSM tendencies) gets soaked alfalfa cubes and a cup of corn oil per feeding with a cup of Equalizer thrown on top. In summer she is on 24/7 pasture, in winter she gets all they hay she can eat (round bale outside, square bales inside). She used to be a very hard keeper and I tried every grain and supplement going. She didn't start to gain weight until I took her off the grain, and now she is at a good weight and has had no trouble maintaining it.

Nov. 28, 2009, 10:09 AM
For winter, free-choice mixed grass round bales, one lb ration supplement, half-dose of smartpak ez-keeper grass vit supp since not feeding full recommended amt of ration balancer. In summer, I replace the hay with good pasture.

Nov. 28, 2009, 10:09 AM
Mine are on only grass and hay about 70% of the time.

I spend most of the year managing grass grazing by restriction and so feeding hay.

When it's winter they do have their hay supplemented with a hard feed diet which is barley based and with carrots, swede, cabbage (or other green leaves) salt, vegetable oil and molasses. Anything that needs extra to maintain condition may have boiled linseed additional.