I know I'm not the only one to do this, but I bought a horse that needed another 100 lbs or so. I've been feeding her LMF Senior (only about 4lbs split into two feedings so far) along with quality orchard/alfalfa mix hay, a probiotic and ground flax.
She's actually in quite good condition now. She had a pretty light workload while she was putting weight back on, but now I'm hoping to escalate the training a bit and trying to figure out where I should be adding calories to keep up with the workload.
SO, back to the post title:
I know that senior feed is developed for horses that have trouble eating forage foods which as a healthy 5 year old, she doesn't. 4 lbs of senior feed won't make too much of a difference, but the feed does seem to have a very high fiber content. Is there a downside to having so much fiber in a horse's system? Should I try to phase in a performance-geared feed now that she's in good condition? Is winter a bad time?
Any thoughts would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!
It's fine. Fiber is good for horses (hay/grass come to mind? )
If you're worried you can switch to a hi-fat instead. However, since you're looking to "up" her training, she may need some extra caloric intake. You could switch to a ration balancer or a low-energy performance feed. I'd most likely go the ration balancer route, providing that the horse doesn't have trouble keeping weight on.
I feed Triple Crown senior to my 2 year old, because it's just a darn good feed! I do supplement with a high-protein, high-mineral "top dresser" for this growing boy, but the high fat / low sugar profile of the TC Sr. works well for him.
I also know of a training/sales/dressage barn that feeds a senior feed to all of their performance horses, most of whom are 4 - 6 year old imports.
Senior feeds tend to have a good range of amino acids to support older horses, and high digestibility benefits everyone. I don't see a problem with it.
AFA the high fiber aspect, I don't seek out high fiber horse feeds, as I believe they get enough fiber from their roughage (which should be the primary component of their diet anyway) - but I don't see how it would be detrimental, unless your horse is having digestive upset or other symptoms -?
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince
I feed my 8 year old TC senior. Not sure why your worried about too much fiber for a horse. My retired guys are on an all hay diet with some vit/minerals.
Not sure about your hay situation where you are but with the drought situation here in Texas a lot of barns are limiting hay and in my experience some boarding barns don't feed enough hay anyway. This makes the high fiber, fortified feeds especially appealing to me.
Nothin' wrong with feeding a senior feed to a younger horse as long as it is meeting their needs. They can't read the label, after all!
That said, LMF makes a different senior formulation called Primetime that is for horses who ARE eating hay; the Senior is formulated based on the idea that the horse is eating only that and no forage, and is meant to be fed at something like 15+ lbs/day. If you are feeding 4 lbs, even with hay (which obviously will meet some of the gap), you probably aren't getting the appropriate levels of vitamins/minerals. The Primetime is more concentrated (in terms of the nutrient percentages), and is in the 5-10 lb range.
but the feed does seem to have a very high fiber content.
That's because it's also a complete feed, meaning it COULD be the sole source of food for a horse if necessary, providing enough fiber to technically be healthy. All complete feeds like this are fortified feeds (added vitamins, minerals, etc) but not all fortified feeds are complete feeds, meaning their fiber content is lower, too low really to meet the horse's needs if fed as the sole ration.
Is there a downside to having so much fiber in a horse's system?
What do you think hay and grass contain?
Agree with the others
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
My 7 year old OTTB has been getting TC Senior for months now, and doing great. I've had no worries about him getting a "senior" feed. Actually, when I talked to a TC rep. a few weeks ago at the local feed store, she said she spoke with a ton of owners who use the feed for their OTTB's.
I feed Blue Seal Senior to all my horses, aged 7, 24 and 28, they all look great. The 7 year old only gets about a pound and a half per day, as she is an air fern, and I do add a vitamin/mineral supplement by Blue Seal to make up for the fact that she is not eating the recommended amount of feed.
My vet agrees that a senior feed is good for any age horse.
There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams
I've fed Triple Crown Senior to all three of my geldings (7, 9 and 15 yrs - the 7 yr old shows, the other two are basically lawn ornaments) for about a year now and have been very happy with how they all look on it. I started them on it when the 7 yr old decided he didn't want to eat Ultium any more. They all get a ration balancer, the 7 yr old gets just a couple of pounds a day and maintains his weight with no problem, and the other two just get a handful to shut them up. All three of them had shiny coats this summer and looked great. In talking with people I've found a lot of people who feed the TC Senior to all ages of horses and are happy with it.
It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!
I'm an equine specialist and not a day goes by that I don't make a recommendation for a senior feed for a non-senior horse. It's great for horses who need weight gain, or lower NSC (huge Triple Crown Senior fan!) or horses who need feed that is not as heavy with grains and still high fat.
I have had a few people who are insulted about recommending senior feed for their non-senior horse so I make sure to preface my recommendation with my reasons why, and try really hard not to offend anyone!
Excuse me while I go on a mini-tangent, but I've NEVER understood why the NSC of LMF Senior is so high - like up there with Strategy & quite a bit over the ever-hated SafeChoice.
Looking at ingredients, maybe this is because Oats are the second ingredient. Really? For a feed that a horse not on hay should get 15 or pounds of? That just seems to be asking for trouble, no? Never understood it. But I'm sure there's horses that do just fine on it.