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Help me eliminate extras!!

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  • Help me eliminate extras!!

    I just can't seem to shake the supplement craze, and although I feel as though each and every thing I feed has a reason behind it.... it still seems like too much, so let me know your opinions on what I need/don't need, cheaper alternatives, i'm crazy, etc...

    Three horses: all get about the same, which actually keeps things pretty simple... All are mature event horses, normal keepers, all eventing at training level (one is about to move up).

    They eat:
    Free Choice 2nd crop Orchardgrass of very good quality
    about 16hrs of grass turnout, paddocks are overgrazed so mainly just picking at grass here and there...mostly eat hay outside
    free choice white salt block
    3-5lbs per day (varies b/w horses) alfalfa cubes, soaked
    3lbs per day Pennfield Fibregized Omega
    1lb per day Pennfield All Phase Ration balancer (don't get reccomended amount of fibregized)

    5 supplements: seems like too much!!!
    10-15 gms MSM per day
    100 mgs Flex Force liquid HA per day
    Strongid c2x
    half dose smartlytes
    one gets Succeed, other 2 get SmartDigest Ultra

    I have put tons of thought into this, and it seems to work for them... there are reasons behind everything, it just still seems like too much to "need"

    joint supps- one had joint surgery, one is older with a big knee, one is young and perfect and I want him to stay that way... I think the HA and MSM is most affective from the research i have done...

    Strongid (w/ equimax 2x year) : all fecals come back negative for worms, never had a colic since I have used it (touch wood)

    Electrolytes: they work hard, travel a lot, and I want to keep them hydrated... half dose for the winter, full for summer. None are huge drinkers...

    Digestive: the one that gets succeed won't touch his food without having it, and the others get SDU because they travel and compete a lot, so it's a preventative.

    What can I eliminate?!? I feel like i'm doing good to my ponies, and I feel like i'm wisely spending my money.... but I still just wonder if I took them off everything, they would live to see another day....

  • #2
    I am certainly no expert, so with that caveat:

    You could stop worming every day, and do fecal checks periodically (my vet recommends twice a year) and worm only if the fecals show they need it. (Plus worm for tapeworm in the winter).

    I was not aware that there were studies showing oral HA is effective; if there are, never mind; if there aren't you could try stopping that one.

    Also, I have both white and red (mineral) salt blocks in the pastures. That way, the horses can decide what they need. For example, I live in an area low in selinium, and my vet said as long as they had access to the mineral salt block, they could get enough selinium.
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    • #3
      I would cut out the daily dewormer and deworm when your fecal tests from your vet say you need to.

      Also, a very wise vet told me once that giving salt (electrolytes) daily doesn't always work the way you think it does. Its better to give them the day before, the day of, and the day after a hard workout. Otherwise, the horse's system adjusts its balance of electrolytes in the body and comes to depend on the oral electrolytes. Given the other feeds you feed, and the free choice salt, unless they are sweating buckets daily you should be alright without this one. If you find that after slowly cutting it out you are worried that someone isn't drinking enough, you can always add it back for that one.

      Cricket's Mom


      • #4
        Definitely stop the daily wormer unless there is a very, very proven reason to use it, like nothing else gets the horse looking good (those do exist, though they are not nearly as common as some like to think ).

        You're in VA - unless you have insanely hard-working horses, also ditch the electrolyte. Have a loose salt/trace mineral product out, and with few exceptions, that is enough

        *I* would also try eliminating the digestive aids. What is the recommended amount of the Fibergized? 1lb of a ration balancer is typically just a little fewer calories than 1lb of a fortified grain, so between that, and the 3-5lb alf cubes, I don't see why you can't feed the recommended amounts of the Fibergized. It's a low-NSC feed, doesn't have grains. I'd go EITHER the full amount of the Fibergized and then some added alf cubes/pellets if more calories are needed, or go with the ration balancer and alf cubes as needed. You've got plenty of calories being fed already among those 3, there's no reason you can't consolidate to just 1-2 of them.

        Joint supps - not real need to ditch them. Nor the MSM.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • Original Poster

          The recommended amount of the Fibregized is 7-10lbs daily.

          I just figured this was way too man calories because it is the Omega enhanced type that contains Rice bran and Flaxseed, as well as the beet pulp and soy oil.

          Does the Ration balancer really have that many calories??

          I agree that the Strongid could probably go... would it be best to deworm by fecals? OR just do a rotation every 6 or so weeks?

          I think I definitely want to keep the digestive aid and the joint stuff, but maybe I will try ridding the elec too. I don't mind it 'cause it's cheap, but if it's doing them harm I suppose it's not worth it.

          Thanks guys!


          • #6
            Let's assume for a second that the Fibergized is 1500 cal/lb. Let's go with 7lb. That's 10,500 calories.

            Alfalfa is roughly 1000 cal/lb. You're using on average 4lb - 4000 cal.
            3lb Fibergized - 4500 cal
            1lb ration balancer - probably roughly 1200 cal

            Add that up, and you have 9700 cal.

            For the horses with 5lb alf cubes, you're at 10,700cal. 3lb horses are 8700

            So, you aren't that far off in total calories

            And, just because the lower recommended amount is 7lb, doesn't mean you can't use 5-6lb and still be ok nutrition-wise. Usually it's when you start getting towards the 50% mark of the recommended amount that you need to think about adding some nutrition back.

            Of course, this is assuming a 1500cal/lb range for the Fibergized. If it's lower, then you're feed more calories in your current mode than 7lb of it. but if it's a good deal more (doubt it's more than 1700 cal/lb), then it's a different story, until you look at using it in the 5-6lb range instead of 7+
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • Original Poster

              Ok JB:

              So I think what your saying is replace the RB and the Alf. cubes for just 7lbs of Fibregized and it would come out about the same in calories.

              That would work, but, the reason I like to feed the alfalfa cubes is for the ulcer/stomach buffering qualities. The one that had ulcers and was treated gets more, and the other 2 get less just as preventative.

              So I don't really want to replace the alfalfa, which is why I feed less grain and supplement with the ration balancer.

              I really would like to only be feeding 2 things, preferably the Fib. and the Alf. cubes.

              But, if I fed 5lbs of Fibergized with the 3-5lbs of cubes, it comes out to more calories than the 3lbs of Fib, 1 lb of RB. So how could I balance this??


              • #8
                I would ditch the daily wormer, and the electrolytes for sure. The horses that are on Smartdigest ultra might be able to go without it during the off season, and just give it to them as preventitive during show/travel season.

                I don't know anything about the grain/ration mixer you are feeding so can't comment. I personally use ultium and love it (well my horses do).


                • #9
                  hmm funny, I was jst sitting here going over a few of my horses diets and making changes!

                  I just decided myself to drop the daily dewormer- I'm going to go back to my old style, worm on schedule according to the gods(aka my vet) and get fecal counts done if/when we need to check up on the program.

                  I've got mineral/salt blocks in the fields, I dont tend to use electrolytes on a daily basis, I keep those strictly for competition (endurance) but I will often toss a bit of salt in their feed, which I'm debating dropping that habit

                  I feel your pain, I've been trying to simplify as well, since all my horses are at home and my work hours have changed. Spending 30 mins at 5 am or earlier in the morning just mixing feed buckets(before I even get to the hay and turnout part) is killing me:/
                  Originally posted by ExJumper
                  Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


                  • #10
                    If you want to keep the Alf then why not stop the Fibregized? If the horse needs the calories then add more alfalfa? I agree ditch the daily dewormer, and the electrolytes as well. Joint stuff is hit or miss, some horses DO respond to it, but I have not seen any benefit for preventive use. The only time I have seen a difference is when there is some sort of issue and then it depends on the horse which supp works best. What I would do it take them off of joint stuff and see which ones actually NEED it. If there is no change in the horse then you don't need it!


                    • #11
                      What whbar said You COULD go with the 5-7+lb of the Fibergized, OR you could go with their ration balancer and more alfalfa
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JB View Post
                        What whbar said You COULD go with the 5-7+lb of the Fibergized, OR you could go with their ration balancer and more alfalfa
                        Ditto that. Personally I would go with the latter rather than the former.
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • #13
                          Me too, but at least with the Fibergized, there are no grains - beet pulp, rice bran, some oil, it's a higher fat, low-NSC feed.

                          However, the alfalfa and rb choice IS the better deal for a horse who needs some ulcer help
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                          • Original Poster

                            so, why those choices over Fibregized with alfalfa???


                            • #15
                              You can tell you have thought about your feeding program and while you have what appears to be a lot of supplements you have taken the approach of providing single ingredient supplements like the MSM rather than one that provides a little bit of everything but maybe not in amounts great enough to be effective.

                              Certainly removing the daily wormer and doing fecal testing would be worth seriously considering. Also are you feeding fibergized or fibergized omega? If the omega and you are not feeding it as per recommendations then they won't be getting their recommended omega-3 intake and I don't see any other source. They are on pasture but it sounds as though that is not very high quality. I would want to make sure there were getting their omega-3's. So if you are feeding fibergized omega switch to straight fibergized and then add an omega-3 supplement.

                              Another consideration was that the research from Texas A & M regarding feeding alfalfa as a potential way to reduce alfalfa risk suggested that feeding as little as 1lb might be effective. In that case you could reduce your alfalfa, increase the fibergized, use the fibergized omega to get the omega-3 fatty acids and then remove the All-Phase.

                              As an independent equine nutritionist I have lots of clients who come to me feeding long lists of supplements and we generally get the number down. And if we don't reduce the number we can often find different supplements that are more economical. By analyzing the diet you have some reassurance that the money you are spending is doing what you want it to do. If you want to learn more about what would be involved drop me an email and I will send you more info.




                              • Original Poster

                                All of this is very helpful! thank you very much! keep the information coming

                                I have been using FeedXL just to get a basic idea of the balance of their diets. I don't really have time to do it all by hand/calculator, and I know it's not 100% accurate but It gives me a basic idea.

                                I didn't realize that there is a recommended daily amount of Omega 3's? What is this level? and how do you measure the Omegas in things? Should I just supplement with a few fish oil pills if their feed doesn't have enough? How many mgs.? They are getting the Fibregized Omega with Flaxseed and Rice bran, but obviously are not getting the recommended amount.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by GPD123 View Post
                                  so, why those choices over Fibregized with alfalfa???
                                  Well, you could do that too. But, you expressed some concerns over total caloric intake, so the RB + alfalfa option lets you reduce the calories from the nutrition source - the RB - and replace the calories from the Fibergized you're now feeding with more alfalfa if you want.

                                  OR, use the RB, the alfalfa you currently feed (3-5lb) and get more calories from beet pulp, for example

                                  Equilibrate makes a good point about the Omega 3. IME, the cheapest way to get it is flax - seed if you don't need calories, oil if calories and fat benefit a particular horse.
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                  • #18
                                    Electrolytes don't keep a horse hydrated, water does. Commercial grains contain LOTS of electrolytes/minerals, and there is also some in grass and hay. Most horses, unless they are known to have specific problems do JUST FINE without a bunch of electrolytes, unless they're sweating BUCKETS.

                                    Omega-3s are in grass and forage, much more so in the former. Could you maybe give your paddocks a bit of rest or rotation? There's a whole lot of good in "Dr Grass" for horses, provided they're not obese or laminitic.

                                    Sounds like you have two hard, solid things going for your program: the negative fecal counts with the Strongid, and the one horse who clearly does better with Succeed. The rest of it? You really wouldn't know unless you did a process of elimination, taking stuff away and being observant.

                                    Nothing you've listed is likely to do any harm, and feeding supplements to our horses makes us humans feel benevolent and good, so it really is more about your peace of mind than the idea that your horses are going to fall to pieces without all the "stuff".
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • #19
                                      Keep Orchard Grass and alfalfa for horses. Esp alfalfa for horse wuth ulcers.
                                      Keep salt block and ration balancer. Ditch the Fibregized Omega, Use fecals and paste dewormer instead of the Strongid C. I would only use electrolytes on and around competition days. I would keep the one horse that has uclers on Suceed but take the others off unless they seem to need it. Or give something for ulcers when just traveling. I would keep the two on joint supplements that need it and take the healthy one off it. I like you are giving things individually, like has been said before and not overloading on added minerals and vitamins.
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