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View Full Version : Feeding the event horse with the "less is more" philosophy



yellowbritches
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:25 PM
I'm interested to hear what people think/do about this. I was at a high end h/j/big Eq barn today and got to talking to the trainer about her feeding program, which was remarkably simplistic but effective. Basically, it amounted to as much very high quality hay as the horses will eat (big ol' like on this- saw the hay. I'd eat it), a pretty basic ration balancer in the AM, and Blue Seal's "Mite-A-Vite" in the PM, and some amount of soy oil. Her horses were lovely, shiny, and very, very happy (considering I was there to show Vernon, this made me VERY happy as a potential home for him).

This is obviously a program that is working for these high end hunters and jumpers. The boss and I were talking about it on the way home and I was wondering if a program THAT simple could keep good weight on our horses but also give the higher level/harder working horses enough energy (I am sure it would work on the majority of our BN/N horses since they are all pretty easy keepers). He's skeptical, but he also admits that he is very old school (MORE FOOD!!!!). I don't know what to think.

For the record, while I feed more than this trainer does, even my hard keepers get a lot less feed than a lot of other peoples "normal" keepers, and I try to base everyone's diets on lots hay, unless they must lose significant weight. But the simplicity of this program intrigues me.

Thoughts?

Horsegal984
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:35 PM
Neither of my horses were really performance horses, but the most I ever fed was to my 2 yo growing TB cross, who ate about 2 lbs of strategy once a day. I also always pasture board. I like them to be out, and honestly, I think they are healthier that way. They stay on maintained pastures, and were supplemented in pasture with hay when needed. But I'm totally one of those who thinks less is more when it comes to concentrates.

grzywinskia
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:42 PM
My intermediate horse (currently ** fit) gets a handful of a 12% sweet feed and a cup of platinum performance twice a day with free choice coastal hay and 1/2 flake alfalfa twice a day. She is also turned out 6 hours a day.

She looks awesome, has plenty of energy, etc.

I am a big believer in less is more, although I know not every program suits every horse

Dr. Doolittle
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:52 PM
"Less grain, more hay", in all ways, a good philosophy. I remember feeding a *lot* of grain back in the '70's and 80's (we didn't know better back then, also didn't know about ulcers. And a lot of other stuff.) Hunter folks back then fed TONS of sweet feed, myself included (runs, screaming, hides head in shame.) Even in Pony Club, we fed WAY more concentrates than most people do today--we didn't know any other way to feed, tradition, stupidity, etc.

Basically, GOOD hay, fed free choice (this is when and if you can find it! Helps to do an analysis on your hay, so you know what it's missing) and supplements (like Accel) in order to balance the nutrients they receive (most easy keepers need *only* good quality hay/grass and a ration balancer), and pasture. Most pasture--at least around our area--is so grazed down that you can't sustain a horse on it. Especially not an event horse, who will need hay AND probably additional vitamins and a source of fat and additional carbohydrates, unless it is a LL horse or a Draftie.

Feeding fat has NO downside, unless the horse is already fat and doesn't need additional calories. I like ground Flax (from Horsetech), but some of my students use oil to add feed to the diet. Obviously alternative fat sources are beet pulp and rice bran. Preferred oil sources are *not* pure corn oil because it contains more Omega 6 than Omega 3 (but you already know all of this, I'm sure! :D)

The hunter folks like 'em fat, eventers less so :winkgrin: Anyway, the hunter horses tend to expend fewer calories (unless they are being longed into the ground), and they certainly don't do trot/canter sets or conditioning hack or hillwork on a regular basis. Personally, I like to see a little more flesh than many eventers, who like that "long lean TB appearance", but this *can* be achieved with great forage, and plenty of it! (And I have two Whippets; that's about as much long and lean as I would like to look at, and these two are in GOOD flesh--too good, if we are talking Sighthound purists ;))

katie+tru
Apr. 7, 2011, 08:56 PM
My trainer owns multiple horses that have run Prelim and Intermediate and every level below. We feed homegrown hay, sweetfeed, and the very active event horses got Advantage during show season. That's it.

echodecker
Apr. 7, 2011, 09:12 PM
I've become kind of a back to basics feeder since my mare unequivocally told me a few years ago that even basic 10% pellets had to much extra stuff in them for her to be sane...thankyouverymuch!

So...she gets all the good quality hay she can eat (about 25-30 pounds daily), beet pulp, alfalfa pellets (1 to 2 ratio, all soaked) plus 1 pound stabilized rice bran daily. She's getting about 2 qts dry volume alfalfa pellets and 1 qt beet pulp dry volume daily right now. She gets a vitamin/mineral supplement to balance everything out since this is not a "complete feed" and ensure the calcium/phosphorus stays good. It's a lot of food, all blown up and soaked, but it's not "concentrated" so she can eat it slowly or quickly and it basically digests like hay for her.

She is a HARD keeper in that she needs her forage, but will not tolerate processed grains to fatten her up. So, I'm loving this diet. I can see what she's eating, it's basically all forage, the protein from the alfalfa builds muscle and the fat from the rice bran gives her the extra calories she needs to keep building it and not steal from her muscle building to stay warm. This is the first winter in 4 years that she has not dropped significant weight...but I also decided to blanket her like it's the arctic :) And, she's a hot horse, but the alfalfa doesn't seem to stress her out. Last winter, this diet helped her gain about 200 pounds over the winter after we moved from the barn that quit believing in hay and she plummeted while on stall rest in about 3 weeks. Thanks guys!

My little guy gets 8 qts whole oats and a few handfuls alfalfa pellets (all soaked) daily plus lots of hay. He's still growing like a weed, so while he's putting on muscle, he's not getting fat yet :) Also minerals for him.

I'm basically to the point where I will use those four feeds, plus barley if needed (All hot soaked) for whatever horse I have. Rice bran for fat and vitamin mineral supps to round it out. Now that's not a simple as a scoop of sweet feed, but I truly believe it's healthier and more in the vein of what they want to eat.

Some horses may have a hard time transitioning to this right away, especially if they have always eaten molasses based feeds. The loss of sugar will make the food taste a little bland at first I think. but...eventually they get past that. And, the alfalfa/oats combo helps combat ulcers...plus all that hay :)

elizabeth Callahan
Apr. 7, 2011, 09:14 PM
My horses get a ration balancer, a grass mix hay, pasture and that's it. Did 2 long format CCI* on just that...

RunForIt
Apr. 7, 2011, 09:33 PM
This is basically what has worked best for my OTTB gelding too - plain shredded beet pulp, Tiple Crown Lite (to get the vitamins and minerals), Tri-Amino (to get adequate protein) dressed with 3/4 cup Rice Bran oil, and all the hay he can/will eat. We don't have a good hay source in my area but he's eating a nice grass hay supplemented with orchard alfalfa. I may begin alfalfa pellets over the summer. Rasta looks fantastic and is very, very sane on this diet. :cool:

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 7, 2011, 10:17 PM
It really depends on the horse.

I've had my horses in barns that had similar feeding. Highest quality hay and as much of it as they will each and very good pasture and a good ration balancer. Most of the horses did very well....my big red horse STILL had to have more. He was one of the ones who had to have a ration balance, more grain (barley), fat supplement etc.....and this was before he was in heavy work.

His one TB half sister is the same. Other big horses who were fox hunting didn't need much extra.

So I do think you have to adjust to the individual.

Divine Comedy
Apr. 7, 2011, 10:21 PM
This is an interesting thread for me right now. I've never considered my TB a hard keeper in the sense that I always felt like he was at a really good weight. But in the off season, he wouldn't gain weight, even though he was on no work, all the hay he can eat, and the same amount of grain he had during the season.

So basically, every season he lost a little bit of weight getting fit....and never gained it back.

Now, he's getting CCI** fit, and he is too thin. Not just tucked up like he's fit, he's ribbier than I want and he looks slightly hollow through his hindquarters.

He's on free choice Coastal, 1 flake of alfalfa, 6 quarts of 12% protein feed AM + PM, 1 lb of Amplify AM + PM, and 3 quarts (measured dry, then soaked) of beet pulp AM + PM. The alfalfa, Amplify, and beet pulp is new on Monday, I plan on upping the beet pulp once he starts becoming more enthusiastic about it. Right now he just picks at it, and eventually finishes it, but it takes several hours.

It's definitely something that's constantly on my mind, and while I would prefer to do less is more, for some reason free choice hay just doesn't seem to be cutting it for him. :-( I'm hoping I can cut out the Amplify and the alfalfa once he gets up to more weight, and just leave the beet pulp as part of his permanent diet. Luckily, I don't really worry about his energy level too much, although Ultium made him ridiculously spooky. So no Ultium for him.

cleozowner
Apr. 8, 2011, 07:05 AM
The hunter folks like 'em fat, eventers less so :winkgrin: Anyway, the hunter horses tend to expend fewer calories (unless they are being longed into the ground), and they certainly don't do trot/canter sets or conditioning hack or hillwork on a regular basis. Personally, I like to see a little more flesh than many eventers, who like that "long lean TB appearance", but this *can* be achieved with great forage, and plenty of it! (And I have two Whippets; that's about as much long and lean as I would like to look at, and these two are in GOOD flesh--too good, if we are talking Sighthound purists ;))

Ever so slightly OT, but do you get people that come up to you and chastise you for not feeding your dog enough? If I take Antony (my IG) to a public place like Petsmart, little old ladies will come up and say "you need to put some meat on those bones!" which is both a) untrue and b) slightly creepy. People aren't used to seeing sighthounds at healthy weights when every lab, beagle, etc. is obese these days.

To keep this relevant, I have a draft x, so not the population of horses typical in eventing, but he's on as much timothy as he wants + about 1.5 lbs of LS feed divided between two meals, mostly so he gets something when everyone else eats.

yellowbritches
Apr. 8, 2011, 08:19 AM
Ever so slightly OT, but do you get people that come up to you and chastise you for not feeding your dog enough? If I take Antony (my IG) to a public place like Petsmart, little old ladies will come up and say "you need to put some meat on those bones!" which is both a) untrue and b) slightly creepy. People aren't used to seeing sighthounds at healthy weights when every lab, beagle, etc. is obese these days.
I got this a lot with Stella, though it has toned down a bit in the last couple of years since she eats a tiny bit more and runs a tiny bit less (she's just a mutt, but VERY fit and not a big eater). My all time favorite, though, was when I had her in the vet office for a lameness and got seen by the young vet on staff. She was very worried about Stella's low heart rate and wanted to do an EKG!!! :lol: I said "She's the freaking Lance Armstrong of the dog world! Of course her heart rate's low...SHE'S FIT!!!!" For the record, Stella's normal vet at that practice LOVED her weight and fitness and wanted to show her off to all his fat dog clients. :lol:

But horses, right...interesting stuff here. I'm tempted to do a trial run on a couple of horses, but it makes me nervous! I'm all for feeding less grain, but it just seems like such a stretch that they'll have enough of what they DO need. Oy vey...I sound like one of those fat dog owners now!!! :winkgrin:

pegasusmom
Apr. 8, 2011, 09:27 AM
Have drastically changed what and how we feed over the last year, as a result of dealing with a very "gut-sore" OTTB we could not get any weight on.

Our horses are mostly high performance (three A grade polocrosse mares, a CDE pony) and the guy with the tummyache. We feed the very best hay we can get our hands on, currently a gorgeous high plain orchard that is scrumptious, beet pulp, the pony gets a ration balancer, the others get a small amount of a 10% pellet and the OTTB currently gets a water soluble vegetable fat supplement called Kompeet. And sweaty saddle pads, 24/7 turnout. Our horses are healthy, happy, in great weight with plenty of "sane" get up and go.

Jleegriffith
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:05 AM
YB- I operate on that program as well and even the long/lean skinny Tb's do pretty darn well. They might need a bit extra calories in terms of a fat supplement but it seems like over time they stablize and I can drop that.

I feed an unlimited amount of alfalfa/orchard hay in hay feeders that are slow feed. You would think it slows them down but really they eat the same amount they just don't waste it. The truly easy keepers just get a ration balancer (I use TC 30%) and the hard keepers get a ration balancer mixed with TC senior and maybe a fat supplement if they need it.

The CANTER horses come in they just blossom on this program and these are typically horses 3-7 yrs old in work and what I would call hard keepers. They get fat!

Now there are always exceptions but those guys seem to catch up with time. I also like to have a strict worming program but that is just a personal belief for horses with unknown worming histories.

purplnurpl
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:09 AM
I have always fed lightly.
In fact, for lower level horses I only feed once a day.

I feed alfalfa pellets and Horsetechs Glanzen Lite/Pre Ox combo. (It's got 2 oz flax per serving).
If I have one that needs calories I just add Cool Calories (Horsetech's FB100 is the cheapest cool calories I have found) and I add some more flax.

Horse can take up to 2 cups of oil/cool calories a day and 6-8oz of flax a day. (is what I learned from COTH)

It's quite a bit of powder but I use beet pulp to mush it all up together and I feed it VERY wet. Pig slop wet--but we are in Texas where it is already hitting 90* on occasion so the extra moisture makes me feel good.

Coastal and Alfalfa hay. And they run loose on the farm (6 acres).

The hunter/jumper barns often do not give their horses a lot of turn out. This makes a big difference. When I chubbed my eventer up for the hunters, keeping him up is what made the difference. He was walking off calories when turned out...luckily he didn't mind being up in his stall/pen. But I can imagine that most hunter/jumper barns have limited turn out therefore their horses hang around and stuff themselves with hay all day without burning extras off roaming around and playing!!
That and their work load is quite a bit lighter than that of even a novice eventer.

It's kind of like comparing an administrator to a personal trainer in work loads. lol.

CANTEREOIN
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:19 AM
My 16.3H DWB/TB gets 1.25 quarts of beet pulp pellets (soaked) twice a day. One Cup of CocaSoya Oil, 1 cup of Platinum Performance, vit E and Vit E/Selenium. And, all the second cut, mostly grass, hay she can eat.

She was on Strategy prior to this diet and was looney, then I put her on a low-carb diet grain (Wellsolve) ... still high as a kite. Beet pulp, oil and hay have kept her spring hussies to a minimun, yet her energy is high.

She is shiny, well fleshed (not fat) works 6 (sometimes seven) days a week. She's been on this diet for 4 years now and is an accomplished Training horse has competed at Prelim with a professional. I fox hunt and event at novice.

yellowbritches
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:24 AM
So, I have to make a feed order today, anyway, so I think I'm going to give this experiment a go. I have a couple of "guinea pigs" lined up- trying to pick a variety from our horses. The BO's hard working but often a little wild WB cross (holds his weight VERY well), a boarder's BN/N TB mare who keeps her weight well and doesn't eat a ton but can be a little wild on occasion, Vernon (scares me to mess with his feed, but he should be ok on what I'm choosing), Toby, and the Blonde Pony.

I'm going to go with a RB (Pennfield's All Phase, since I'm a big fan of their stuff), lots of good hay (already there), and some source of fat. Do I really need SOY oil? It's pricey and I don't know if it is easily attainable (will ask feed dealer today). What about vegetable oil, or even just rice bran?

Ibex
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:28 AM
My Trainer feeds that way... fantastic hay (they actually had to bring in a lower grade hay for some horses as they were getting fat on the regular stuff), and a high fat, forage-based concentrate in fairly low quantities. Quite a few get just a handful.

All the horses are glossy and sleek...

bornfreenowexpensive
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:40 AM
I'm going to go with a RB (Pennfield's All Phase, since I'm a big fan of their stuff), lots of good hay (already there), and some source of fat. Do I really need SOY oil? It's pricey and I don't know if it is easily attainable (will ask feed dealer today). What about vegetable oil, or even just rice bran?


I don't think you need soy oil....but then again I feed my guys wheat germ oil (really a blend of wheat germ oil and soy oil).... Very easy to get.

It is basically another source of high fat and omega 3 fatty acids. It is also a good source of Vit E. Gives long lasting energy.

I know a couple of horses (I have one)who do not do well on soy based products. My one mare get's puffy and sore. So watch out for that.

Jleegriffith
Apr. 8, 2011, 11:09 AM
I also wanted to add that I truly do think it makes a difference in attitude. My conn/tb and the cleveland bay/tb filly in training are by far the two most sensitive horses in the barn in terms of being affected by feed.

It has made all the difference in the world in terms of rideability. Actually, just writing this I am wondering if the feed change isn't one of the main reasons my conn/tb is now able to be ridden by my hubby. My trainer hadn't seen him go in several years due to an injury and she couldn't get over how different he was. Gorgeous coat and muscling but his rideability has changed so drastically. I liked him as a hot horse but he often just wouldn't let you put pressure on him. Now he is still a bit hot but you can ride him. Should I say forgiving??? Ha, he truly is changed!

All these two eat are 1lb of ration balancer daily and very good quality timothy hay. They look amazing!

I personally prefer a cool calories product over oil because my tb's eat it better. However, most are in great condition and are not receiving additonal fat.

Brandy76
Apr. 8, 2011, 11:28 AM
My wish is that I had more access to good pasture. My place is small, so the turnout is limited. I do feed all the hay they will eat, but I think I will use your idea jlee about the slow feeder for my guy. I use it for the foster because I wanted weight on him, but he will waste if I don't use the feeder. Works great.

I just wish I could get my guy to simply eat more. We did the scope, and then the ulcergard (actually a couple of times) Right now, I am trying suceed in the tube for 30 days. It is day 8. He loves it!

Jlee, though, you got me thinking about the whole feed program. I wonder if I were doing a better job with this, might he be more rideable.

My guy gets:

Free choice alfa/grass hay.

am
1.5 lbs fibergized omega
1.5 lbs pennfield senior
.5 lbs amplify
.5 lbs natures essentials (protein- can't remember rest of name!)
1/2 cup flax

pm
same thing


late
.5 lbs fibergized
.5 lbs senior
1/2 cup canola oil


Looking at it - it looks like SO many moving parts! Yikes. I have been so frustrated about this.

It seems he will eat a certain amoutn of hay then just stop. The only thing he truly loves is grass. He turns away from grain for it.

any help/ideas/cricis are welcome!

JFCeventer
Apr. 8, 2011, 12:22 PM
My horse (we think draft/morgan/paint - PMU rescue so we're not sure) eats about a bale (maybe a tad less than a bale) of good quality second cut hay per day, separated into 3 or 4 hay feedings. He also gets a handful of Horseman's Edge grain. He is in a wonderful weight, is incredibly fit, looks fantastic, and, for him, is relatively sane. He eats this all year round and his weight never fluctuates at all.

Highflyer
Apr. 8, 2011, 12:29 PM
I think it's a great place to start. But the show hunter is not necessarily what you're feeding.

My experience is that it doesn't always work with the very fit TB types--racehorses, field hunters, UL eventers etc. Sometimes they can't or just won't eat enough to keep weight on (energy is less of an issue!) I would rather feed a good quality feed than six different ration balancing and calorie/ protein/ fat supplements.

Then you have my horse, who can't have free-choice hay or he will literally eat until he's in physical pain.

echodecker
Apr. 8, 2011, 01:01 PM
OP, I would strongly recommend stabilized rice bran for your fat! I use Empower by Nutrena...it is ok to feed dry or soaked. Jewel is another one that is stabilized, but I would definitely not soak it, it turns into gooey paste. Yuck.

Someone else said the thing about soy, not really good for a lot of horses, so the soy oil would do the same. Plus it's expensive!

I don't love oil because of the mess and in the winter it can be a pain. Plus you don't want to feed corn oil because it can be so hot making and now it's expensive too! Plus I just think eating a cup of oil with every meal sounds gross!

a 50 pound bag of Empower is about 26 dollars. That lasts my horse almost two months. Not so bad...

KateDB
Apr. 8, 2011, 01:34 PM
KISS! We use Blue Seal Sentinel Performance LS (Sharon's feed). Everyone gets it. The only horse we have to add to is the old/retired mare, who gets no-molasses beet pulp.
Everyone has grass hay available when they are in, pasture and grass hay round bale in the shed.
Hay is made here on our farm, so it is good quality. Really, they have too many acres of grass here (why can't a a suitable field boarder find me?!). In winter, they are out essentially 24x7 and in during the summer because of flies/heat.
YB, Skip and Clifford maintain their figures during hunting on about a quart or so of the Blue Seal SP LS. Paddy requires less than they do!

VicariousRider
Apr. 8, 2011, 02:40 PM
Re: feeding
I am a BIG believer in the idea that we should start with what's "natural" (forage and pasture) and then add only what is needed. As BFNE suggested, that will depend on the horse and what is being asked of them.

A little clarification about Hunter/Jumper training and level of exercise:



The hunter/jumper barns often do not give their horses a lot of turn out. This makes a big difference. When I chubbed my eventer up for the hunters, keeping him up is what made the difference. He was walking off calories when turned out...luckily he didn't mind being up in his stall/pen. But I can imagine that most hunter/jumper barns have limited turn out therefore their horses hang around and stuff themselves with hay all day without burning extras off roaming around and playing!!

This might be a regional thing because that was not the case at all when I showed on the national Hunter Jumper circuit when I was young. I am sure that there are some who subscribe to the bubble wrap theory and certainly there is limited TO in places like Wellington, but there are also a lot of BEAUTIFUL upper-crust show barns that give lots of TO. Some trainers (mine included) felt that this was an essential part of keeping the hunters quiet enough.

However, the horses are on the road a lot (depending on the program) and when they are away at a show they don't usually get turn out. BUT they go around and around and around the ring. I would say that in an average day my mare had 4 classes over fences and 2 hack classes. And remember: you school and warm up for each one. It's not the same kind of work, but it definitely wears a horse out!!



That and their work load is quite a bit lighter than that of even a novice eventer.

It's kind of like comparing an administrator to a personal trainer in work loads. lol.

This may be true of a children's hunter (3') but the jumpers do require quite a bit of fitness at the upper levels. It's not the same cardio fitness but it is fitness nonetheless.

deltawave
Apr. 8, 2011, 03:03 PM
That's pretty much what I feed: good grass hay aplenty, a ration balancer, a vitamin/mineral, and some source of fat or other (usually whole flax or a powder/crumble as I don't like to feed wet stuff).

My tack/feed room is too small for me to have multiple bins and bags of this, that, and the other stuff. :)

The yearlings (I guess I can call them that now) get their own "growth" stuff, but everyone else is on the ration balancer/vitamin/hay diet, from the Shetland (her portion is measured by the pellet, hee hee) to the competing ones to the broodmares.

kkindley
Apr. 8, 2011, 08:10 PM
Unfortunately my mare requires waay too many calories for this! I have switched her to Ultium to simplify her feeding. She is on free choice hay in winter, and pasture in summer. 24/7 t/o. Plus 8 lbs daily of Ultium, 2 oz daily cool calories, and a blob of nutrient buffer. I liked the Ultium because it has really high fiber. Before I was feeding a lower fat feed, beet pulp, the cc, and u-gard. It was 10 lbs of the feed, about 2 qts of the bp, and 4 oz cc. She is much happier eating my new menu than the old, and her weight is better. Now she is a "keep herself fit" kinda horse. Everywhere she goes, she marches. and she goes a lot of places in that field! Stalling her would probably help with her weight, but she won't tolerate it attitude wise.

FairWeather
Apr. 9, 2011, 05:19 AM
Kkindly, sounds like you were not using a ration balancer when she was on ten pounds of feed. Big difference in how they work on the body.

kkindley
Apr. 9, 2011, 06:50 AM
It was a complete feed, pelleted. A custom feed for my local mill. My nutritionist said no ration balancer was needed, that it was all in there. I had added some just to experiment for a couple of months and no difference. The problem was that was a 6% fat feed. It is a very low carb "cool" feed. Great feed, just didn't meet her calorie requirements. Her feed now is nearly 13%, and I only took away 2 lbs. Although when she gets to her ideal weight I may be able to take away a lb, and the grass coming on also helps, although her workload will increase too.

Now she was never "skinny" on her previous diet, but thinner than I'd like, and with her being a bit of a nervous horse, ulcers are a concern. So hence 24/7 turnout, and super high fiber feeds. I think the Ultium is something like 18%, and her previous feed was like 14%.

deltawave
Apr. 9, 2011, 08:08 AM
I do like Ultium for the truly hard keepers. :yes:

OTTB FTW
Apr. 9, 2011, 08:53 AM
How well are ppl's horses eating Ultium? Anyone have a picky eater on it?

I'm currently trying Pennfield's Fibergized Omega for my hard keeper. She is also picky, and has been eating it well. I wet it c/o what I have read about choke, makes me feel better anyway. She eats very slowly, goes back and forth between alfa cubes, hay and the grain, so again I rationalize she is safe from choke lol. Takes her a few hours to eat her grain meal. She is gaining weight RAPIDLY lol.

kkindley
Apr. 9, 2011, 11:08 AM
My mare LOVES the Ultium, although she has been on pellets for her entire adult life (she's 12) So she is used to pellets. But she does eat it better than her previous feed. She was never feed motivated until now. If it was storming bad, it was hard to get her to eat, now come rain or snow she's gonna chow down! She also cleans it up better. She's very messy, and living out she gets fed out of a salt block holder (love those things! they make great dog water tubs too!) She lost too much feeding her on the fence. So I use that now and she cleans it all up. Before, she'd leave a bit of what she dropped, which the other girls that go out with her for part of the day loved!

I do know it is harder to go from sweet feed to pellets than from pellets to sweet feed, and with some horses you can't go back. My back up choice was Triple Crown new Complete because nutritionaly it's comparable to the Ultium. Because I had heard some horses were picky about it. But no problems here. I have heeard wonderful things about the Fibregized too. A horse here started it right after he arrived, and he picked up weight wonderfully on it.

kookicat
Apr. 9, 2011, 01:30 PM
So, I have to make a feed order today, anyway, so I think I'm going to give this experiment a go. I have a couple of "guinea pigs" lined up- trying to pick a variety from our horses. The BO's hard working but often a little wild WB cross (holds his weight VERY well), a boarder's BN/N TB mare who keeps her weight well and doesn't eat a ton but can be a little wild on occasion, Vernon (scares me to mess with his feed, but he should be ok on what I'm choosing), Toby, and the Blonde Pony.

I'm going to go with a RB (Pennfield's All Phase, since I'm a big fan of their stuff), lots of good hay (already there), and some source of fat. Do I really need SOY oil? It's pricey and I don't know if it is easily attainable (will ask feed dealer today). What about vegetable oil, or even just rice bran?

Mine get veggie oil. I don't think you need soy oil (and I'd steer clear of it for mares because of the hormone issues.)

OTTB FTW
Apr. 9, 2011, 02:02 PM
My mare LOVES the Ultium, although she has been on pellets for her entire adult life (she's 12) So she is used to pellets. But she does eat it better than her previous feed. She was never feed motivated until now. If it was storming bad, it was hard to get her to eat, now come rain or snow she's gonna chow down! She also cleans it up better. She's very messy, and living out she gets fed out of a salt block holder (love those things! they make great dog water tubs too!) She lost too much feeding her on the fence. So I use that now and she cleans it all up. Before, she'd leave a bit of what she dropped, which the other girls that go out with her for part of the day loved!

I do know it is harder to go from sweet feed to pellets than from pellets to sweet feed, and with some horses you can't go back. My back up choice was Triple Crown new Complete because nutritionaly it's comparable to the Ultium. Because I had heard some horses were picky about it. But no problems here. I have heeard wonderful things about the Fibregized too. A horse here started it right after he arrived, and he picked up weight wonderfully on it.

TY! Always looking for options just in case. It seems to have the same main ingredients as Fibergized Omega, just in a different order. I have a Purina $10.00 off 2 bags coupon that is calling me. Will get more as well - c/o Purina 60 day challenge program.

yellowbritches
Apr. 9, 2011, 07:54 PM
It's funny how many like Ultium...I'm not a fan. I'm actually pretty pleased with my high fat feed (Ultra Max). It was the only quality high fat feed Vernon can eat (well, that I was willing to feed...I REALLY like my Pennfield!), because of his beet pulp allergy. I fed Ultium for several years, then on a whim, I switched all of the Ultium horses off of it and realized that the ones that I thought were naturally wound a little tight (I had been feeding it for a long time) stopped trying to kill us! :lol:

I'm excited about my experiment now. Our big WB cross guy is being a real firecracker lately, so his owner is looking forward to seeing if a change settles him a bit, too. He spooked at so many letters around the dressage ring today...he's higher than a kite right now!!!

kookicat, I grabbed a bottle of veggie oil yesterday and saw that it is "soybean oil." I can not understand the difference, especially in price! Some of the fancy soy oil for horses manufacturers go on and on about how it just isn't the same...doubt it.

Keep1Belle
Apr. 9, 2011, 09:14 PM
MY guy gets free choice orchard/alfalfa 1lb tc sr, 1lb tc omega pellets and a cup of oil, 1 cup aloe juice and enough bran mash to give some consistency when water it down. He gets this am and pm.

Pm supplements is probiotic and 1 cup flax seed.

He is in good shape and happy. He is a 4yR ottb. Gets ridden 6 days per wk. And starting to show a circuit jumpers

yellowbritches
Apr. 22, 2011, 09:11 AM
So, were almost two weeks into our "less is more" feeding experiment. I ended up taking Toby off of it a few days ago because the boss and I both noticed that he had dropped a little weight. However, everyone else seems to be doing well- Vernon and our big Irish/Aus horse I swear to God are getting FAT. Vernon is more settled than he has been in recent history and the I/A horse, who I was worried wouldn't have enough energy, seems to be feeling good. The big WB cross who can be a wild man is still currently a wild man. The mare looks good and seems settled. The pony looks good but has been off so I can't tell if he's a little quieter yet or not.

Unfortunately, the work schedule for all of them has been much reduced unexpectedly because of some things out of my control, but we are getting back to our more normal routine, so we'll have a better idea next week on if it really does what I'm hoping.

After much debating and hand wringing, we are going to try our toughest horse on this experiment. He got very sick in January (to the point we were afraid we were going to lose him) and dropped about 200lbs in two weeks and looked like a refugee- I think if someone had only seen him and not his fat pasture mates I would have had AC at the farm! He has put on a ton of weight, but we all think it is because of the massive quantities of premium alfalfa hay he eats since trying to get him to eat all his grain is basically impossible (teeth are good, no ulcers- he was checked when he was sick- he's just not a big eater and prefers the alfalfa to the grain). So, we decided that it would be better for him to get a smaller amount of nutrient rich feed rather that he may actually finish rather than beg and plead and fake him into eating at least SOME of his grain. We'll start it next week after he does his first event (yay!) of the year this weekend. I'm nervous...he can be hard to keep weight on under the best of circumstances (though, now that we have gotten to root of his issues, it will hopefully be easier).

RacetrackReject
Apr. 22, 2011, 12:29 PM
My older TB had always been a hard keeper, then I changed his diet due to shivers and he eats less but is getting fatter and fatter with no end in sight.
He gets:
AM and PM
2.5 lb scoop of alfalfa chafe soaked (not actual weight of 2.5 lbs)
2.5 lbs of complete feed by Nutrena (Triumph Complete)
1 a handful of Nutrena Ultra
vit/mins

24/7 turnout on fertilized pastures. He's a heifer, really.

My young horse needs a bit more energy so he gets:
AM and PM
2.5 lb scoop of alfalfa chase soaked
1.5 lbs of complete feed by Nutrena
2.5 lbs of Nutrena XTN
vit/mins

24/7 turnout on fertilized pastures.

I feed Nutrena because my only options are Nutrena or Purina and the Purina store doesn't stock what I would use and won't order it for me. Nutrena will order it for me. I started the complete feed to help keep weight on for the winter since I wasn't sure what the quality of my supplier's hay would be due to the drought issues.