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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 11, 2006

    Default starch intolerance/ NSC question

    I have an OTTB who i switched to TC senior several months ago, as i suspected he needed a diet low in NSC. He changed to a completely different horse with the feed change. He went from being unfocused, tense and hot, to being very focused and (usually) quite quiet and rideable.

    Recently, I have seen a resurgence of the tense/hot horse although not nearly anything close to what he was. He's sound, not sore, etc. The only thing the BO and i could figure was maybe the new round bale that he is eating from (put in his field the same time as the resurgence) was higher in starch content. Well, after inquiry to the hay man, it turns out the new bale has a MUCH higher alfalfa content than the old round bale.

    I am wondering (a) could the higher alfalfa content be responsible for the change in behavior; (b) if he is starch intolerant, how do you control the starch content in hay (especially this time of year when he is eating a round bale outside most of the day) (c) is there a supplement that you can give to aid in the digestion/absorption of the starch?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Greensboro, NC


    More alfalfa = more calories. That alone could be the reason.

    If he has an issue with alfalfa, it may only appear at higher levels, while he's ok with smaller amounts, in terms of a sensitivity.

    It's unlikely to be the NSC in this case, but not out of the question. And no, you can't do anything about it with a round bale plopped out there.
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011


    I guess the question I have is this higher alfalfa bale off the same field as the old hay and just have a bit higher % alfalfa or is it off a different field/different cutting of the same field? Meaning even the grass in it could be possibly be much higher in NSC. The only way to know would be to test the hay.

    As far as supp's you may want to research using psyllium to aid controlling glycemic spikes. There is at least some promising findings there. I had a copy of that paper on my old computer....which of course crashed. I'll see if I can ferret it out of the internet tonight for you. Got to run now. Bad weather coming and I am making a feed run B4 the high winds and ice hit.

    I hear some swear by red rasp leaves even in geldings. I never have had to use it on a hot gelding as around here hot means you are the one that gets to do 12 miles today and that like cool your jets. But I did use it on a witchy mare last summer and yes the barn was just a tad quieter.

    Wind picking up as I type and I am off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 11, 2006


    thanks JB and DTaylor. To answer your questions DTaylor, the 2 different round bales were from 2 different farms completely. I would love to read the paper, if you can find it...good luck with the wind/bad weather. we just have rain here.

    JB, we switched his field for the short term, hoping the other pony would eat the high alfalfa round bale down, so that we can get a new one (the hay man put aside some for us that are not alfalfa). He does like to stand at the round bale all day long...

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