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Is this a bad idea?

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  • Is this a bad idea?

    My BO came to me yesterday saying because my horse is so high maintenance, she would have to bill me a little extra every month to pay for the groom's extra work. I actually see where she is coming from but would rather not have to pay it...

    I was thinking to myself how I could make feeding time easier, as this is actually whats taking so long.

    She currently has a mash of wheat bran, beet pulp and Alpha A-oil with added flax oil and vegetable oil in it, three times a day.
    She also gets her grain with the supplements - Calphormin, twidill race, probiotics (just for the next 15 days) and vitamin E.
    She also has two haynets in her stable so she can have add lib hay.

    Her feeding regime was designed by a nutritionist and my vet, so I won't be changing anything any time soon.

    She is also getting Abgard, and I'll be giving it to her for a bit longer.

    If I could leave it all prepared the day before, they would just have to serve it to her and I'd avoid the extra fee. So, my questions are:
    - Can I mix the oil into the dry "mash"? (This way they would just have to add the water and serve it to her).
    - Can I mix the supplements into the grain?
    - Can I give the Abgard at night, after the last feed? This way they wouldn't have to give it to her and would be one less thing.

    I guess I'm mostly afraid anything will go rancid...

  • #2
    My mare is also high maintenance and I pay extra. I also work hard to make it as easy as possible: I pre bag supplements with her ground flax, have put the oil in a pump bottle so it's easier and cleaner to deal with, and I keep her hay nets filled and rigged a pulley system in her stall.

    I would find out from the BO what eats up the most time and deal with that, if you can. For example, most people find filling haynets a PITA. Can her meals be simplified to two? Etc.


    • #3
      I would give it a try (pour everything together)... I don't really see why it cannot be done. The oil will just stick with the dry stuff until the water will be added. I always mix the supplements with the grain here. That way, the picky horses eat them, without a fuss. For the Abgard, I can't help you. Never had to give any so I am not aware of the way to give it. I was just told that usually, if you give meds before a feed, it will be pushed fast to the digestive track by the feed. If you give it after, it will take longer to be digested and perhaps more effective. But I don't know if it applies to all meds. Your vet would be the best to give you advice on this one.
      Les Écuries d'Automne, Québec, Canada
      Visit EdA's Facebook page!


      • #4
        Could you use prilled vegetable oil which is a powder? It
        could be mixed with the dry ingredients with no worries
        about going rancid or becoming gummy or similar cares.
        Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
        Elmwood, Wisconsin


        • #5
          I have had experience doing layups with horses that required special mashes of feed, and basically any time a feed product is mixed with water I like to feed it the same day, as in pm feed mixed no sooner than that am. Logically, I don't think that the feed would be going bad in the 24 hours from when you mixed it to the horse's dinner the next day, especially now in the winter. But, from a practical standpoint it has been my experience that horses tend to be picky about eating mashes that aren't freshly made and there is increased waste. (This may be because the horses that I have had to do this with were quite ill and probably didn't have the greatest appetites to begin with.) Plus, it is an annoyance to have open buckets of feed/mashes laying around because it could attract pests (flies, dogs), get knocked over, contaminated, etc. I also would not mix medications into a wet feed mix to sit around for any length of time. I would serve the oil with the grain, sometimes oil is less tasty to horses and it has a better chance of being consumed if mixed with the grain. If you put it with the mash, the horse may not eat the mash. I think generally its fine to mix supplements with dry grain the night ahead if need be.

          I've worked with equine nutritionists closely many times with some really sick horses, and I've never seen a nutritionist or a vet come up with such a complicated feeding regimen. Although you sound determined to follow this feeding plan, I would recommend getting a second opinion from another equine nutritionist and ask for possible ways to simplify your horse's feeding regimen.

          I don't know what your boarding situation is like, but I think that when you make up a super complicated feeding program you need to consider that from a practical standpoint it may be a source of significant errors.


          • #6
            Wow, that's a lot of work.

            Are the other horses in the barn fed three times a day? Does anyone else have haynets?

            It's been a long time since I boarded at a show barn, so perhaps I'm a little out of touch, but I would expect to pay extra for grain thrice a day and the trouble of having to stuff haynets daily, never mind having to put together the complex mix of what you're feeding. I'd just pay the extra and be done with it, grateful that the barn was willing to make those concessions at all. Trying to "weasel" out of an upcharge when the barn has been doing that much additional work could lead to some bad feelings. Even if you do make things easier, I would offer to compensate them for the work already done.

            But yes, I think you could put it all together and not have any problems. At the very least, all the dry ingredients could be mixed, with the oil separate. Just add oil and water to feed.


            • #7
              You should be able to mix all dry ingredients together. I would not (personally) add the liquids until it's time to feed. Depending on where you live, soaking the BP and such isn't a problem if the temp is moderate. But if it's too hot it can spoil and if it's too cold, it can freeze.

              That really IS a lot of work. And even if you make it "easier" the fact that it's 3 times per day is enough that I would expect most barns to either say no altogether or ask for additional $$.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


              • #8
                Oil shouldn't go rancid that quickly, so I see no reason why you can't premix the oils either into one container to mix with the bran/beet pulp, or right into the wheat bran.

                I also don't see why the suppliments can't go right into the grain, or again, into one container that gets mixed in at feeding time.

                No clue what abguard is, so no advice there.

                I agree though, that this routine sounds extraordinarily complicated, and to have to do it 3 times a day? Seems over the top to me.
                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                • Original Poster

                  First of all, thank you for your help.

                  The oil will just stick with the dry stuff until the water will be added
                  Yes, but would there be any chance of it getting rancid?

                  I also would not mix medications into a wet feed mix to sit around for any length of time
                  Me neither, and thats why the supplements are always added to the grain, which is served dry, and the oil goes into the mash.

                  it is an annoyance to have open buckets of feed/mashes laying around because it could attract pests (flies, dogs)
                  Fortunately this facility has the most pest-proof feeding box I've ever seen - locked all day long, made of steel, fabulous. They keep all feed in there, including closed bags, which is great.

                  you need to consider that from a practical standpoint it may be a source of significant errors.
                  You're right, and another reason to try and have everything prepped in advance!

                  Other possibly pertinent info:
                  - She is ulcer-prone, and was at the vet's facility for months so they could manage her situation. There, she was seen several times by the nutritionist who was amazing about follow up, and the two of them designed this regimen which allows her to keep working (she's schooling FEI 5 year old, so its strenuous work) without ulcer flare-ups or loosing weight (which for some reason is a big deal for her).
                  - She LOVES LOVES LOVES her mash, which means we can mix anything in it and she will still eat it. Then she proceeds to destroying her bucket because, you know, she's a mare and she's angry the bucket's empty. Thats why we mix the oil into it, we can pour any ridiculous quantity and she'll still eat it (she currently has 10oz).


                  • #10
                    What happens if you can't be there to mix it all up ahead of time? Or when the weather warms up? Or if she won't eat it? That is a lot to ask of a boarding facility and it's staff and I think you should pay for the extra work it causes. They still have to feed it to her.


                    • #11
                      Since your BO is willing to do this and is doing it right...I'm assuming...I would go ahead and pay the extra. The peace of mind is worth it. And do YOU really need one more thing to do??? Or twelve??
                      Ride like you mean it.


                      • #12
                        No helpful comments here. I can't see why the dry ingredients can't be pre-bagged and the oils put in at feeding time. A sealed baggie, like a ziplock should stop any oxidation of dry supplements.

                        IMO soaking beet pulp for the next meal is NOT 'high maintenance'. But stuffing 2 haynets 3x a day is pushing one's luck as an ongoing thing. You can buy about a dozen nets and stuff 'em yourself, leaving them in the corner of the feed room.

                        But I have to question.... your horse is LIVING on wheat bran? What's the purpose of that??


                        • #13
                          Not the answer you want but - some things are just best to pay extra for. If this barn is willing to do all this for you why not just pay them for it so you know it is always done right.


                          • Original Poster

                            Are the other horses in the barn fed three times a day? Does anyone else have haynets?
                            Yep, they are all fed three times a day and the dressage horses all have haynets, so no issue there.

                            I agree, they have all been very accommodating and I couldn't be happier that they are available to do the work. Nor am I complaining, in any way or form. But if I can make it easier for them, and not only save my money (you can imagine what feed alone costs me every month) but also avoid mistakes, I will!

                            What happens if you can't be there to mix it all up ahead of time?
                            This is a non issue. I go check on her every single day, including weekends and sick days. Even if my trainer's the one who's riding that day, I still go there.

                            Or if she won't eat it?
                            There is that risk even if the groom's the one who's doing the mix... so again, I don't think this has anything to do with my question.

                            No clue what abguard is, so no advice there.
                            Its the same as Abler's pop rocks, but in paste form.

                            I would not (personally) add the liquids until it's time to feed. Depending on where you live, soaking the BP and such isn't a problem if the temp is moderate.
                            So you wouldn't mix the oil in ahead of time either? She has speedi-beet beet pulp, which is fully soaked in 10 minutes. Its the time it takes to feed all the other horses, so they usually put the water in, feed the horses, and then put the bucket in her stall.


                            • #15
                              When I had a toothless wonder who had to be on soaked feeds multiple times per day as he couldn't have hay or grass, it wasn't a complicated endeavor like yours, but it definitely took TIME. And I probably interviewed 10 barns before I found 1 who would do it for a fee. I think that just the 3 times a day feeding alone is enough to warrant extra expense because it's beyond the "norm" in most places. Then add to it all the complexity of what you're asking for? I would honestly expect to pay more and happily do so because they're willing. That's a lot. For any of us, that's a lot.
                              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                              • #16
                                Now that she's away from the hospital (and their lovely, round-the-clock vet techs) I would ask if her grain meals can be simplified to two, or stream-lined in some way.

                                I usually get up to my barn 4x a week. I won't get up until Saturday, when it will have been a full week since my last visit. I am comfortable that my mare's feed and meds are being administered as I've instructed because I've made it easy to do. Yes, she's a one-off high-maintenance mare. Fortunately she's very likable and easy to handle. And I don't go crazy over things that are a matter of personal preference and really don't matter.


                                • #17
                                  If I were boarding your horse and you wanted to make things easier, I would find it helpful if you came out every night and measured out amounts of dry mash/feed into labelled buckets, mixed in the dry meds/supplements into the dry feed, and then had one or two pre-measured containers of other things that couldn't be added ahead. This would be six buckets, right? One for mash and one for feed at each meal? That's great if your barn has a secure place in the feed room to line up six feed buckets for one horse.

                                  Then, all the groom would have to do is add water, maybe add a container or two of pre-measured meds/supps or oil, mix, and put it in her stall. Opening and closing containers of feed, measuring out amounts, opening and closing med containers, measuring meds, measuring oil, etc. is what is time consuming. Adding some water and mixing is not such a big deal.

                                  It also would be helpful if each day you rinsed out the three mash buckets and then gave the abgard yourself when you came out. But, I think that no matter how much you help this is a complicated regimen and you should fairly pay extra for a service that adds time and complexity to the care your horse receives.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thank you all for your suggestions, I think I'll buy 6 buckets and measure everything out every day, leaving only the Abgard and the oil out, and giving the Abgard myself.


                                    • #19
                                      To streamline some things, I would:

                                      -put the supplements (AM/PM labeled) in tupperware tubs. make a week's worth at a time. that way they just have to dump in the tub instead of doing individual supplements. our whole barn operates this way if smartpaks aren't used

                                      -get 1 large hay net instead of 2 smaller ones. get one that is easy to use.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by stryder View Post
                                        My mare is also high maintenance and I ... have put the oil in a pump bottle so it's easier and cleaner to deal with ...
                                        Great idea! Dumb question - where did you find the pump bottle? Or did you re-purpose an old supplement bottle?
                                        "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince