To sum it up, I am sitting here with ice on my knee, terribly regretting my choice to switch our horses & ponies from Pennfield to Triple Crown Senior. I realize this is probably not the normal response, which is why I am here. To see if it's just me, or if anyone else has a thought on why my barn is now full of crazy hot-heads.
We've been feeding the Pennfield Phase pelleted feeds (along with Manna Pro rice bran & various supplements on an individualized basis) for quite some time now. Horses have always looked great (and are manageable!), results are always as expected, very comfortable & happy with feed structure. I'm not particularly big on the "one feed fits all" idea, and have always been the odd-one-out because of it. But after bringing in some new ponies, visiting friend of boarder asks in passing what feed they're on. I mention they were getting TC senior, along with my plans to switch them onto our program & go from there, which then led to the sales pitch. Apparently all of my horses are most likely deficient in some form or another, and all the additional "guesswork"/supplementation/etc would be eliminated with a more complete feed like the TCS. I could feed less grain & wouldn't have to worry about vitamins/minerals. She also brought up the significantly lower NSC of the senior feed (Pennfield 30, TCS 11.7). I'll admit, I was woo'ed by the simplicity, but also had several reservations. Finally, decided to inquire with the very knowledgeable staff at our feed store who essentially repeated everything from lady's "pitch" and more. Was assured that I'd love it, wouldn't make them hot, and told (in no uncertain terms) I really need to get with the times.
Well, we're officially a week into feeding it and my kid-safe, bombproof ponies have become little firecracker terrors. I've had more kids come off in the last week than I've had in the last year, and it's only getting worse. Ponies are spooking at things they've seen tens of thousands of times, snorting, blowing & jigging the whole way out to the paddocks. Just constant live wires. Same with our horses. Even our most polite, unflappable schoolmasters are now acting like basket cases. One even decided today that the fallen tree branch in the driveway was in fact a horse eating monster of doom and rather than listen to reason, she decided to save herself, effectively steamrolling me.
In essence, I'm ready to pull my hair out. I wanted to like this feed, but it's like I fed them all crack. Has anyone else ever experienced a sugar high reaction from TCS? I'm more than ready to go back to Pennfield but just have this nagging doubt that perhaps they all WERE deficient somewhere, and now that they're getting the "complete formula", they're all just feeling super great and showing it. Thoughts?
From looking at it vs. the Pennfield site, I would bet it's much higher than what you've been feeding (not sure what pellet you used exactly, but TCS is higher than most of the Pennfield pellets).
This is probably the issue, not the NSC levels.
If you really want to switch to Triple Crown, take a look at their other products and find one that is a closer match to your current pellet's fat and protein levels. Almost all the other TC feeds are much lower NSC than the 30% in your current feed (except performance, which is 38.1%).
It probably has more to do with the cold fronts of fall weather that has moved across the States. TC Senior is pretty low NSC at 11.7% according to their website. I trim quite a few horses that live in TC Senior and they have not had any issues with it. Compared to Purina Equine Senior at 26% NSC. TC Senior runs about the same NSC as Purina Wellsolve Low Starch, which is marketed for insulin resistent and foundered horses.
But another thing to look into is the actual mega cals per pound of what you were feeding versus the TC Senior. More calories going in = more energy.
The Pennfield we switched out was the Phase III 12% pellet. It's a 12/6, compared to the TCS 14/10. But, we also were supplementing in the Manna Pro rice bran with the Pennfield, which is 18 fat, 13 protein. Horses get 1-2lbs, 1 cup or less for ponies. All kept weight, looked great, and were calm, quiet, & manageable.
I'm not really "looking" to switch to TC.. Just grew tired of always hearing "You're doing it wrong. Get TCS!", plus I liked the idea of being more assured that vit/min content was solidly there, so I thought to try going with the crowd.
Auventera Two, I only wish I knew what cold front you were talking about! We're in south FL where it was a balmy 93 today.
ETA: Yes, RedMare. We reduced down an avg of about 3-4lbs with the TC senior. Ponies get 1 cup 2x/day. Given workload, nutritionist at feed store recommended starting at 6lbs of TCS (for the horses) once the changeover was complete, and upping as deemed necessary. Frankly, I can't even imagine feeding more of it!
Have never had this reaction and have fed both (and switched from one to the other). Not sure which phase your were feeding (three I'm guessing) but I disagree with the blanket pitch you got. Pennfield is an excellent feed company and does a lot of research to back up their feeds, just as Triple Crown does (these are my preferred feed companies because of this).
How much of the pennfield were you feeding?? There should only be an issue with supplementation if you are feeding less than the recommended amount for the level of work. Many people assume their horse is in a higher level of work than the feed companies use to base recommendations on (for example a horse that does ring work 4-5 time a week for 30 min at a time is actually in light work, *maybe* moderate if they are jumping for the full 30 min 3 or 4 of those 4-5 days). Because TC senior is a complete feed (ie you could feed it without hay if the horse cant eat hay) you actually have to feed MORE to get the same amount of nutrients per pound as a "non-complete" feed. Yes the NSC is lower in TC senior, but people have IMO gone a little crazy on NSC. If you have a horse that is a potential IR, Cushings, founder horse, than yes it is super important, however for most other horses it isn't a big issue.
Bottom line, TC senior is a great feed with a lot of uses but it is not a one size fits all miracle cure more than any other grain. Pennfield and Triple Crown are both the best of the best feed companies IMO and either should supply the appropriate nutrients, fed at the appropriate rates, for the work level of your horses, without making them crazy.
Horses (based on workload/size) were getting anywhere from 6-9 lbs of the Pennfield Phase III, divided up into 3 meals/day. Rice bran supplemented as needed for weight gain (rehabs) or maint, and "sane energy" for those in full work without a grain overload. I'd say daily average would be about 1 lb or so per horse.
Ponies got about 1.5 cups 2x day of the Pennfield. I'd average about 1.5-2 lbs total. 1 cup rice bran total as well.
Thank you for also mentioning the NSC hype. I've kind of felt that way myself listening to the never-ending feed debates, but I figured I didn't need one more reason to be the oddball out!
My 30-year old TB was like a kid on crack when I switched him to TC Senior - biggest mistake ever. He was on Blue Seal and I heard so many good things about TC SR so I decided to try it and he was a mess on it. And he was only getting about 1.5 quarts 2x day so not really that much. He was just freaked out all the time like he lost his head so I took him off it and put him back on Blue Seal and he's normal again . He's been on the Perf LS for a long time now and looks great .
"When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered."CANTER New England
I have tweaked my horse's feed several times since I got her and when TCS just became available locally I was really tempted to switch, mostly because of the great reviews here for years and years.
There is a thread on this somewhere and someone commented along the lines of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'
My mare is gaining weight, calm (for her) and more focused than she has ever been. I will stick with what works and pass on TCS. Your post makes me feel more satisfied with that decision. In your shoes, I would go back to what was working.
I love the pelleted phase III by Pennfield. I've used it and love it.
I had a horrible experience with TC Senior. I thought it was great at first, everyone gained weight. But then I started to be afraid for my life as they were so difficult to handle.
I think it's the high level of soy. I had a similiar experience with Pennfield Fibergized. Some horses are very sensitive to the high levels of soy (more than you think).
I totally thought people who blamed their horse's issues on soy were completely nuts; and I had numerous "nutrition specialists" tell me that there was no scientific evidence to support the theory. That is, until I came across a few soy sensitive horses in my own care. I'm a believer now.
I now feed Equipride, a small cup of Pennfield 12/6 as a mixer, and alfalfa hay to make up for the protein.
Well, I've played around with the ration consultant and it along with everyone's feedback has made me pretty certain that back to Pennfield we go!
I certainly agree with "if it ain't broke..!" but it's really gotten old being told I'm outdated & inefficient in my program, and therefore doing some sort of harm to my horses by not following the "trend". I take it very hard and personally, which leads to doubt, which leads to situations like this. Another lesson learned I guess.
Meadow, that's an interesting theory about the soy! I'm going to pay attention to that from now on.
It actually does sound a bit to me like your program is broken. If you are only feed 1lb of a grain that is supposed to be fed at 6lbs to meet all the vit/min requirements then you are not getting them all their basic requirements.
Why not switch to a ration balancer? For example, I have a barn full of Tb's and two fatties who are mixed breeds. The fatties get 1lb a day of ration balancer which meets all their needs. The tb's get the 6lbs of TC senior if not a little bit more.
I have never had an issue with them being hot and it's one of the lowest sugar products on the market (besides ration balancers).
It could be that they are now getting all their vit/min and feel better because before they were a bit lacking? Give them some time to adjust.
Jleegriffith, the 1-2 lb figure was the rice bran. See my reply to Odie.
S/he was also kind enough to link me to the KER ration consultant which has indicated that our original feeding program was more than adequate. I spent all night going horse per horse, and the only thing I could see perhaps warranting a change would be the electrolytes.