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Feeding an OTTB

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  • Feeding an OTTB

    So I have read multiple posts here about the best feed routine for an OTTB and there seems to be some mixed reviews (TC Senior, beet pulp with a ration balancer, etc).

    I am getting a horse in for trial who is currently being fed Tribute Kalm Ultra and alfalfa cubes. If everything works out and we keep him, I will not be able to continue this as Tribute is harder to come by in my area. He could use a few more pounds currently and his energy level seems okay/maybe on the slightly jittery side but nothing dramatic BUT I am concerned that a change in grain could spike his energy level.

    What feed program works for you? Do you find that alfalfa makes them hot? If you only feed beet pulp and a ration balancer, was your horse an easy keeper on grain? I am curious if going to just beet pulp and a ration balancer may cause him to drop weight.

    Thanks in advance!


  • #2
    The reason there are so many "mixed reviews", is you have to feed the horse in front of you, not their label (TB, OTTB, QH, Arabian, WB, etc).

    What CAN you get?

    How much KU and alfalfa cubes - by weight - is he eating now? What does "could use a few more pounds" look like? How long has he been on his current diet? How long OT?

    These answers will give you an idea whether a balancer + beet pulp (or alf pellets) will keep weight on in a low amount, or will be expensive to feed due to feeding more alf pellets for calories.

    Alfalfa does not inherently make horses hot. Some horses are sensitive to its protein, but they are a minority.

    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      I have found with my TB's that alfalfa actually calmed them down.

      If you're going to use "just BP & ration balancer", what kind of hay will you be feeding? Keep in mind that BP has no phosphorus so while it's useful for some things, as a 'general feed' I think there are better choices.

      JB is right - what do you have available?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ev92 View Post
        So I have read multiple posts here about the best feed routine for an OTTB and there seems to be some mixed reviews (TC Senior, beet pulp with a ration balancer, etc).

        I am getting a horse in for trial who is currently being fed Tribute Kalm Ultra and alfalfa cubes. If everything works out and we keep him, I will not be able to continue this as Tribute is harder to come by in my area. He could use a few more pounds currently and his energy level seems okay/maybe on the slightly jittery side but nothing dramatic BUT I am concerned that a change in grain could spike his energy level.

        What feed program works for you? Do you find that alfalfa makes them hot? If you only feed beet pulp and a ration balancer, was your horse an easy keeper on grain? I am curious if going to just beet pulp and a ration balancer may cause him to drop weight.

        Thanks in advance!
        My hard keeping anxious-type OTTB gelding has never been hot on alfalfa, both in hay form and pellet form.

        Grains that have worked for him are Ultium, Purina Senior, TC Senior, Sentinel LS.

        Grains that haven't worked for him are Strategy.

        The biggest part is getting them to eat as much forage as possible. He gets free choice hay (or pasture when grass is good) and then 2 meals of Sentinel LS (4lbs per meal) and a third meal of Purina Senior (approx. 3 lbs) daily.

        Purina is pretty available everywhere, so if access is a problem, their Senior might be a good place to start. I wouldn't do beet pulp + ration balancer with my horse. That's a lot of belly fill with relatively low calories.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
          If you're going to use "just BP & ration balancer", what kind of hay will you be feeding? Keep in mind that BP has no phosphorus so while it's useful for some things, as a 'general feed' I think there are better choices.
          Yes, if it's all/mostly grass hay, then the higher calcium of beet pulp can be very useful.

          But if it's all/mostly alfalfa, I would not do that at all, and in that case you'd need to look into a phosphorous source to help balance the high Ca.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            I feed my OTTB's free choice hay (Timothy grass mix) 1 lb beet pulp; 1 lb alfalfa pellets; soaked; 2 lbs crushed oats; loose mineral mix, 1/2 bucket of pure alfalfa hay cubes; soaked; 1 cup ground flax. This is daily per horse and divided in 2 feedings. I grind my flax daily in a Vita-mix, have also fed flax whole but did not have the dapples until I started grinding the flax. I would prefer to feed an alfalfa mix hay but it's not available to me, so the cubes are my only option.

            They are on a 6 acre pasture with a run-in and stay out 24/7. They look fantastic, lots of dapples and very shiny. I personally do not like to feed processed feed as I have a bit of a phobia about factory screw-ups mixing horse feed with cattle feed or whatever. But thats my fear, however rare, that a mix-up may happen!

            Comment


            • #7
              There are feeds made in ionophore-free mills, so no risk of cross-contamination

              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment


              • #8
                OP, first think about your roughage compared to what roughage he is currently getting. Roughage is th most important component of the diet, so you want to see how closely you match up with what he is getting. Then pick a feed based on the roughage he is getting.

                i did have one horse who acted like he was on crack even with a little bit of alfalfa. He would physically sweat and lather up when being ridden when he normally would not. But he was the only one.
                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks everyone! One of the biggest changes he will be going through with us is turnout- I prefer 24/7 turnout when possible. Currently he is only turned out at night. We have 5-6 acres of grass pasture with decent grass, when stalled we stuff slow feed hay nets to keep in front of them all the time. We dont have fantastic hay, I would rate it a medium quality.

                  I have easy access to blue seal and purina, and I have access to triple crown although a bit farther away.

                  I have never fed only BP and a RB but have read in a few of the posts here (granted I was starting to venture back in time on here) that quite a few people have and was curious what the reasoning was (were people only doing this with easier keepers or did they do so because they thought grain made their horse hot??), and if they noticed a change in weight when taking a horse off of grain and starting that program.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ev92 View Post
                    Thanks everyone! One of the biggest changes he will be going through with us is turnout- I prefer 24/7 turnout when possible. Currently he is only turned out at night. We have 5-6 acres of grass pasture with decent grass, when stalled we stuff slow feed hay nets to keep in front of them all the time. We dont have fantastic hay, I would rate it a medium quality.

                    I have easy access to blue seal and purina, and I have access to triple crown although a bit farther away.

                    I have never fed only BP and a RB but have read in a few of the posts here (granted I was starting to venture back in time on here) that quite a few people have and was curious what the reasoning was (were people only doing this with easier keepers or did they do so because they thought grain made their horse hot??), and if they noticed a change in weight when taking a horse off of grain and starting that program.
                    What does the hay analysis say about the hay? What kind of hay do you have? What kind of hay has he been eating?
                    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ev92 View Post
                      Thanks everyone! One of the biggest changes he will be going through with us is turnout- I prefer 24/7 turnout when possible. Currently he is only turned out at night. We have 5-6 acres of grass pasture with decent grass, when stalled we stuff slow feed hay nets to keep in front of them all the time. We dont have fantastic hay, I would rate it a medium quality.
                      Is that hay classification based on looks, or an analysis?

                      I have easy access to blue seal and purina, and I have access to triple crown although a bit farther away.
                      My personal preference would be to start with Triple Crown Sr, or even the Complete, but again, without knowing how much of the KU and alf cubes he's getting now, I don't know if that's the best category of feed (ie regular feed, vs balancer)

                      I have never fed only BP and a RB but have read in a few of the posts here (granted I was starting to venture back in time on here) that quite a few people have and was curious what the reasoning was (were people only doing this with easier keepers or did they do so because they thought grain made their horse hot??), and if they noticed a change in weight when taking a horse off of grain and starting that program.
                      It's an easy option for horses who are easier keepers, and beet pulp, when soaked, can add pretty significant volume to a meal, which makes it awesome for mixing supplements.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Purina ultium is a great feed for ottbs if they eat the required amount to get all the vitamin/minerals. Mine did great on it, until he decided he didn't like it anymore!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Whatever you decide to feed, try your best to feed by weight, not volume.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Sorry I read your first response JB and then by the time I got through the others I had forgotten to answer all of your questions

                            -hay quality is visual, no hay analysis done yet.
                            -Currently he is getting "4 quarts" of KU morning and evening. I think 1 qt of KU is almost 1 lbs.
                            -she did not specify how much he is getting in regards to alfalfa cubes, she just said "a bucket" which I know can vary a lot so I apologize for not having more info here

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have never bought into the idea that certain feeds or alfalfa makes horses hot. What I think it can do is upset their stomach, and since most OTTB's have ulcers, they seem hot or grumpy as a reaction to discomfort in their gut. And in all the experimenting I have done with my horse, his attitude never changed until I got it right- so it was a good change!

                              I have the king of all hard keepers. I have tried every grain I can get my hands on. Ultium worked pretty well until, just like suzyq's horse, he refused to eat it. He also won't eat anything soaked, or ration balancers.

                              What has worked the longest (he eats it AND we see results) is a bucket of alfalfa forage from Triple Crown and Pro Elite Performance, which you can probably get anywhere you can get Triple Crown products. I opted not to get actual alfalfa because I have nowhere to store it, but your situation might be different.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ev92 View Post
                                Sorry I read your first response JB and then by the time I got through the others I had forgotten to answer all of your questions

                                -hay quality is visual, no hay analysis done yet.
                                -Currently he is getting "4 quarts" of KU morning and evening. I think 1 qt of KU is almost 1 lbs.
                                -she did not specify how much he is getting in regards to alfalfa cubes, she just said "a bucket" which I know can vary a lot so I apologize for not having more info here
                                To simplify things, some barns will measure feed in the unit of the scoop rather than pounds. If the scoop is a 2 qt by volume scoop, it's easier to communicate "4 quarts" or 2 scoops. If the feed weighs .75 lbs per quart, and the barn manager wrote 3 lbs as the amount of feed to give the horse, it's possible, and very likely in many situations, that the person feeding will not understand how to do that math and give the horse the wrong amount. Now imagine having to feed 20-50 horses specific amounts by pounds, and the person feeding has to do that quarts to pounds calculation 20-50 times...
                                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                                  To simplify things, some barns will measure feed in the unit of the scoop rather than pounds. If the scoop is a 2 qt by volume scoop, it's easier to communicate "4 quarts" or 2 scoops. If the feed weighs .75 lbs per quart, and the barn manager wrote 3 lbs as the amount of feed to give the horse, it's possible, and very likely in many situations, that the person feeding will not understand how to do that math and give the horse the wrong amount. Now imagine having to feed 20-50 horses specific amounts by pounds, and the person feeding has to do that quarts to pounds calculation 20-50 times...
                                  Thanks Palm Beach- I understand that and have worked at a few barns so I know how complicated feeding gets, I just meant I couldn't give more info on the amount of alfalfa as what I was told by his current owner wasn't very descriptive!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
                                    I have never bought into the idea that certain feeds or alfalfa makes horses hot. What I think it can do is upset their stomach, and since most OTTB's have ulcers, they seem hot or grumpy as a reaction to discomfort in their gut.
                                    It is entirely possible for horses to have sensitivities, and outright allergies, to things, typically the proteins. Horses DO get "hot" if they are sensitive enough to soy/corn/alfalfa/oats and that is their outward manifestation of it.

                                    What has worked the longest (he eats it AND we see results) is a bucket of alfalfa forage from Triple Crown and Pro Elite Performance, which you can probably get anywhere you can get Triple Crown products.
                                    ProElite is specific to Southern States, and TC is sold in a variety of non-SS stores, especially now that their milling and distribution moved to Purina

                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment

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