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Winter Feed Suggestions for my two boys?

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  • Winter Feed Suggestions for my two boys?

    Hi, This is my first post here, although I've visited the forum for years. I was wondering if you all had some feed suggestions.

    Living situation: Both horses are at my parents' place (I'm away in grad school but I can go home about once/twice per month if it's not finals). Summer: good pasture. Winter: dry pen with run-in shelter, fed hay/grain. My dad prefers to feed grain in PM for convenience but I can probably convince him to feed AM too. (Hay is AM + PM of course.) We might go with a slow feeder for hay this year, not sure, but either way, the boys never have a shortage of hay (if anything, they waste a lot). Hay is grown locally (Eastern Oregon), majority grass, with alfalfa (about 25-30%). We can get alfalfa hay separately or pellets if needed. Light to no work in the Winter. Both are current on vaccs/dewormer/floating.

    It's definitely worth noting that both of the horses live in the same ~80x80 dry pen, no separation. We can separate (one in dry pen w/shelter, other in the arena) but prefer not to since one horse would be without shelter.

    Orion: 17 yo thoroughbred gelding, 16.2hh, ~1200 lbs. Is a moderately-hard keeper. We usually do a 2 lbs Satin Finish rice bran, 1 lb Enrich 32, 1 lb whole oats per day once on hay. We started adding veg oil last year but I don't remember how much. We blanket him since he never gets a good winter coat.

    Dandy: 6 yo paint gelding, about 15hh, ~1000 lbs. Is an easy keeper and not blanketed (that will change but maybe not this year). Last year (first year with us) we gave him about 1-1 1/2 c of whole oats to keep him busy while Orion ate his ration.

    Orion: I'd like to get more calories in Orion (and more fat on those ribs!) in less volume since the boys eat together. (ie more volume, longer it takes him to finish--he is a sloooow eater --, and more opportunity for Dandy to steal his food)
    -How would you adjust Orion's ration?
    -Can you recommend a more calorie dense ration balancer or fat supp? (We have TSC and DoItBest feed stores)
    -How much veg oil would you add?
    -Should I even bother with a senior feed?
    -I am going to put him back on hoof supps but for convenience for my dad, will be looking for a combo hoof/joint product at a price that will give him the most/effective nutrients/dollar. Any suggestions?

    -What is the lowest calorie "filler" type of grain that we could feed him to keep him busy while Orion eats his meal?
    -Would you add a gen vit/min supp or a ration balancer?

    Thank you for any input. It isn't ideal to have horses with such different feed needs in the same pen, but I'm still hoping that we can keep weight on Orion without getting Dandy too chubby.... We did okay last year but it could have been better.

  • #2
    What about beet pulp and/or hay pellets?

    You could feed either to your easy keeper, and feed them to your hard keeper too.

    What is the percentage of fat in your rice bran supplement? Can you bump up to something with a 25-27% fat so you're getting more bang per pound?

    I wouldn't do the oats, I fed them for years and like them for some things, but in this situation it doesn't seem like the best answer. You need to increase fat and roughage for your hard guy and just let your easy guy feel like he's getting something good

    Obviously if you can get an AM meal too that would help your hard keeper. Then you could feed the same thing twice a day for him. How does he do with his hay? How much hay are they getting daily? How much hay is he ACTUALLY eating?

    Right off the bat, I would substitute beet pulp for the oats. Soaked obviously...much more digestible. If you aren't opposed to it, some of the prepared senior type feeds might work, but I don't feed that way so not the best resource...

    If you separated them for a time (like from AM feeding until PM feeding) would your TB eat more? This might stress him out, but if he will take advantage then I would load him up with either hay pellets or beet pulp, whichever he prefers during that time. Then he can just have his night hay with his friend...

    If your guy isn't a huge hay eater, it is possible that he's a hind-gut ulcer type horse, which would explain the slow eating, hard keeping and poor coat...if you wanted to treat that, something like Succeed has been very good to me. If he is hind gut-y, the hay pellets can make a HUGE difference.

    What I have found with several hard keepers is that they really do need the 2% body weight of food per day, and at least 1.5% of it should be roughage. So, your 1200 lb hard keeper should be getting at LEAST 24 pounds of total feed, 18 pounds of which is roughage. If its really cold, he needs more! And he has to actually eat the roughage, which can be hard if he's hind gut-y, so the hay pellets can really help, fed by weight of course.

    My hind gut guy is getting about 9 pounds of hay pellets each day, free choice plus his hay. Plus a bunch of other stuff The hay pellets were finally something he would eat, and of course once he ate them for about a month, his gut felt better and so now he's eating more hay...

    Sorry this is a little rambling Hope it's helpful, if you answer some of my questions, maybe I can be more clear!
    Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc


    • #3
      Just reread your OP, could you set something up in the shelter, like panels to separate one during the day? So they could still touch, etc and have shelter, but your easy keeper would only be able to eat what is in the panel stall and your hard keeper could load himself up? Or separate them at night so he has more hours to eat his fill?
      Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc