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Natural Feed for the Performance Horse?

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  • Natural Feed for the Performance Horse?

    I will be moving to a barn that feeds the non-commerical feed(Barley,Oats,Rice Bran, Vitamin,mineral supplement). I have always fed Safechoice. Any idea how I would go about trying to give him the same nutritional value?

    He normally gets 3 cups AM/PM
    He is an event horse and a pretty easy keeper.

  • #2
    At 3 cups 2X/day, I doubt your horse is getting his nutritional requirements met. So, switching feeds and/or adding a vit/min supplement is probably a good thing. Just be aware that both barley and oats are high in NSCs, so I would be careful with that.
    Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Frizzle View Post
      At 3 cups 2X/day, I doubt your horse is getting his nutritional requirements met. So, switching feeds and/or adding a vit/min supplement is probably a good thing. Just be aware that both barley and oats are high in NSCs, so I would be careful with that.
      If you could feed anything that isn't a processed grain, what would you feed him then?

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, their program probably offers just as much, if not more than SafeChoice.

        SafeChoice is supposed to be fed in pretty large quantities in order to meet the vitamin / mineral levels of the horse. 8 – 11 POUNDS per day for an 1,100 pound horse. Much more than 6 cups a day. If you are feeding a small amount, your horse is not getting the levels of nutrients intended by SafeChoice.

        If the barn is feeding a concentrated vitamin / mineral supplement, that most likely provides much more than 6 cups of safe choice.

        Rice bran is high in fat but low in sugars – excellent for adding weight without making them hot.

        Whole grains provide energy and calories for horses that need extra.

        Personally, for an easy keeper, I like a ration balancer (it’s a concentrate, designed to add the same levels of vitamins and mineral in one pound, that SafeChoice would provide in around 10 pounds). If your barn will be feeding a vitamin / mineral supplement, a ration balancer would not be necessary..

        Honestly, sounds like the new barn has a sound feeding plan, and if yours is an easy keeper, he should do just fine on hay, vitamin / mineral supplement, and maybe some rice bran if you want to add a bit of weight / glow to his coat.
        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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        • #5
          Are they going to be feeding as much hay as he's used to? As good quality? If he's doing well on the amount you're giving him now and he will be keeping his hay about the same, as long as he gets his vit/min I don't think you will see much change. Alot will depend on that hay though.
          Kerri

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PonyGirl15 View Post
            If you could feed anything that isn't a processed grain, what would you feed him then?
            For an easy keeper? Just a vit/min supplement and hay. If he needs more calories i would add alfalfa pellets (also not a huge fan of feeding "grain" - especially if they do not need it)
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              He is only 5, so I have been told to stay away from the alfalfa. Hay is about the same quality and same amount. I'm more concerned about energy levels for an event horse. How much oats/barley/bran would you feed? Do you think it would be a better idea to keep him on the safe choice and add their ration balancer?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PonyGirl15 View Post
                If you could feed anything that isn't a processed grain, what would you feed him then?
                I've actually been contemplating this for a while because I'm thinking of taking my horse off processed grains. Probably no-molasses-added beet pulp, timothy pellets, and rice bran (all soaked, of course), although the CoolStance product that someone posted about earlier (coconut meal) seems like it might be a nice addition to that mix. Of course I would also feed a good vit/min supplement plus his usual supps (flax seed and spirulina).

                The problem? I don't want the barn help to have to soak my horse's feed. I've been contemplating soaking/bagging it myself and then leaving it in my mini-fridge, which I can move from the tack-room to right in front of my horse's stall...still not sure.
                Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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                • #9
                  Give it a shot, you will be able tell pretty quick if the program won't work for your horse. I would be more concerned with hay amounts, most horses really don't need grain and at the amount of Safechoice you are feeding he's not getting the recommend amount of vitamin and minerals anyway... If you don't want to go with grain + vitamin/mineral supplement, another good option is a ration balancer.
                  for more Joy then you can handle
                  http://dangerbunny.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    What does being 5 have to do with him getting alfalfa or not? A friend's horse shipped to us from SoCal as a 5 year old....ALL he got was alf hay. Didn't seem to be any detriment to him, or any other younger horse I've fed it to.

                    If my horse was an easy keeper and I was trying to go commercial feed free, he'd get lots of hay WITH some good alfalfa and a vit/min supplement. If he needed more than that, maybe some oats.
                    Amanda

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                    • #11
                      Feed what you need.

                      It sounds kinda snarky, but really it's just about as simple as you can get. Everything depends on so many factors - the horse, hay, grain, exercise, turnout, etc. - and you will find out pretty quickly if it does not work for your horse. The amounts will likely need to be tweaked a few times.

                      A couple years ago now I switched the whole barn from Safe Choice to whole oats and a vit/min supplement and oil for the harder keepers. One horse (875lb Arab hard keeper) went from 6 pounds of Safe Choice and 2 pounds of rice bran per day to three pounds of oats and 1 cup of oil in heavy work. He now only gets 1/2 lb per day because he's not in work. The amount of Safe Choice you are feeding is not substantial enough to make a big impact on the horse's nutritional needs. Replacing that with a few cups of whole grains and a ration balancer or vit/min supplement may be better for the horse. It may not. Only switching will tell for sure. And I personally do not believe that a few cups of whole grains fed to a horse with a healthy digestive system will have any negative impact whatsoever.

                      At 5 years old, alfalfa should not be a problem. However, this also depends on the horse. The Arab mentioned above gets super hot when fed lots of alfalfa (over 60% of his diet).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Frizzle View Post
                        I've actually been contemplating this for a while because I'm thinking of taking my horse off processed grains. Probably no-molasses-added beet pulp, timothy pellets, and rice bran (all soaked, of course), although the CoolStance product that someone posted about earlier (coconut meal) seems like it might be a nice addition to that mix. Of course I would also feed a good vit/min supplement plus his usual supps (flax seed and spirulina).

                        The problem? I don't want the barn help to have to soak my horse's feed. I've been contemplating soaking/bagging it myself and then leaving it in my mini-fridge, which I can move from the tack-room to right in front of my horse's stall...still not sure.
                        I've been feeding Chaffhaye for about six weeks now, and it meets a lot of the requirements mentioned in this thread.

                        It's all natural. Nothing processed.
                        It's low starch, low sugar, low NSC
                        It's "soaked" (moist) but doesn't require the barn staff to soak it.
                        It's high quality, high in vitamins, minerals, and protein.
                        It's very easy to chew, digest, and metabolize.
                        I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          He gets three CUPS of SafeChoice? If that's the case, he's not getting many of his calories from hard feed, so replacing that small number of calories with a straight grain is just not likely to cause any issues.

                          Were he mine, I'd go with free choice hay, perhaps 1 qt of oat or barley (or a mix of both) once or twice a day and the vitamin and mineral supplement. If you want a little more fat--it does not sound like you need it--add in a little rice bran.

                          Yes, the NSC of grains is far higher than SafeChoice, but it's not like you're feeding pounds and pounds here. Unless your horse is seriously sensitive to NSC, it's just not likely to be a problem. Really, you're just looking for a carrier for the vitamin/mineral mix.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks for all of the advice guys. I think I might just keep feeding the safe choice and add their vitamin and mineral supplement. I guess I don't want to deal with any issues now that competition season is 1 month away and I have no idea if he will be sensitive to NSCs. He is sensitive to high starch and alfalfa. He has some allergies to grass/weeds too. It will only cost me $15-20 a month to keep him on the safe choice so thats probably a better option until the competing season is done with.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you want to keep feeding a regular concentrate, I would recommend looking into an ration balancer. Every major feed company has one, from TC to Purina, so you should have a variety of choices. Bonus, if you choose a ration balancer like TC 30%, your NSC will be WAY WAY WAY lower than SafeChoice, which really is not a good feed to horses that need to be on low NSC grains. You won't need to feed a multi-vitamin either, so it will save you money.
                              come what may

                              Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                there is really no point in continuing to feed SafeChoice at the rate that you're feeding. He's really getting nothing from 6 cups per day.

                                Switch to a ration balancer, and keep the hay.
                                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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