Yet Another feed question

Discussion in 'Ask The (wannabe) Vets & Farriers' started by Shell, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    Ok!
    The problem I have is many of you suggest different feeds added to your horses grain and or different supplements to add. Which is great when asking for advise.

    But each horse is different based on what they need.
    Taken into account of it's age, heartiness or lack of, type of riding and how often, general coat, skin and hoof condition and it's overall appearance and temperament.
    What works great for yours, may not be what my horse needs.
    And to find that out would be trial and error, which would be a waste of money.
    Right now is not the best time for me to buy needless additives for my horse. Plus in general, I hate wasting my money.
    Although whatever he needs, I will provide.

    So......
    How do you find out what your horse is lacking in nutrition?
    How did you know that what you bought is what your horse needs?
    This one is probably a really stupid question but, can your vet correctly recommend what your horse should be fed?
     
  2. Peggy Sue

    Peggy Sue New Member

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    How do you find out what your horse is lacking in nutrition?
    THe only way to know for sure is have a complete hair and blood analysis done AND to test every batch of hay
    How did you know that what you bought is what your horse needs?I try to buy feed that is low in sugars/starches and has a good nutrition profile that complements the hay type
    This one is probably a really stupid question but, can your vet correctly recommend what your horse should be fed?
    Most vets have ONE SEMESTER of GERNERAL nutrition NOT horse specific, look at the sylabus of most vet schools nutrition is NOT a priority at all


    Nobody can recommend something and BE SURE it is gonna work for your horses in general, some horses are going to do fine a good vitamin/mineral supplement (like a ration balancer) others are going to need tons of extra calories, I have actually ran into some that NEED sugars/starches to keep or gain weight although they have been few and far between... all any of us can do is take the guidelines offered by the NRC and try to build and meet or excede them staying within the safe areas of most vitamins/minerals..
     

  3. syndiego

    syndiego New Member

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    Do you feed several horses, and have a consistent source of hay?

    Hair analysis and blood test have limited benefit, IMO.

    It makes much more sense, is easier, and cost effective, to just feed your horse a balanced diet. To do this, you would have an analysis done on your hay, do a complete rundown on any other feed you may be adding (commercial grain, oats, beetpulp, whatever), and base supplementation on that.

    You can have a nutritionist look at this for you, who can then recommend a custom supplement. It is well worth the money, in that you are supplementing what the horse is lacking, rather than spending money on a supplement that may not compliment his diet.
     
  4. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    This topic is for my 18 yr old that is being moved to another barn, but will basically have the same feed schedule which is 2x's a day, sweet feed and hay.

    Being at a boarding barn limits what what I would do if I had my horses on my own property if we had the property.
    I can't have a sample of hay tested each time they get a load in to see if it's up to standard for my horse.
    If I did do that and had to buy my own, I have no where to store it.

    So really, it comes down to wanting to know how to find out what my 18 yr old needs to be added to his grain or if I should take him off the barn providing sweet feed and provide nonsweetened mixed grain with or without supplements or special feed added.

    How do you find this out?
     
  5. lori

    lori New Member

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    Do you feel like you're having any problems with him?

    Quite honestly, we're maintaining 3 older horses - 1 23-year-old, 2 20-year-olds on that evil sweet feed and the best hay we can buy, off and on pasture over the summer. They also get MSM. The 23-year-old MAYBE saw her last competition year this year, but only because the owner got a dramatically faster horse that provides more return on the time he puts in, not because she needs to be retired. I really do not feel that any of them need anything different at this time.
     
  6. Peggy Sue

    Peggy Sue New Member

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    without testing it is next to impossible... I don't test I feed a ration balancer designed to the averages of grass hay and add calories as needed that is the best I Can do within my budget... skin and blood will work if there is a problem but it is only good for that one time... like syndiego said the best you can do is balance what you know and pray basically ... MOST sweet feeds are not that well balanced


    will the boarding barn credit you on your board if you buy your own?? If I had an 18yo ina baording situation I would most likely put him on a good senior feed and measure it for the barn each meal either by the week or however often you are there , then you can be sure he is getting what you want when you want...
     
  7. MyTeDun

    MyTeDun Senior Member

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    No way to be sure what they are lacking-----

    I always try to feed a balanced feed, good hay and keep a close eye on body condition and increase feed when work levels increase.

    Thats about all I do---- My older horses are given different supplements that I hope benefit what their bodies are not processing

    I keep mineral blocks available too
     
  8. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    lori, you asked if I feel I'm having any problems with him?
    I got him in April. He was a bit thin. He's since added some weight. But overall he looks like he's lacking something. He never had a luster to him, always looked kind of "worn out and beat up". Saying beat up I'm not referring to pasture ouchies. Although old ones still stand out through his fur. His feet look good and his temperament if fine.

    Peggy Sue, neither the barn he's at or the one he's going to have a problem of feeding whatever feed and or supplement a boarder provides for their horse.
    I wouldn't ask for a discount on board if I provided my own feed. Based on what each of these barns provide for the boarder and their horse, the board cost is very reasonable.

    MyTeDun, how do you know what supplements your older horses bodies are not processing?
    Is it by what their body looks like and activity level?
    I did buy a Himalayan hanging salt lick for his stall at the new barn. At the barn he's at now he's outside 24/7 even though he does "own" a stall every month. The new barn brings the horses in every evening. Could that change his nutritional needs also?
    Since seeing him licking the salt block outside, I figured he'd enjoy having his own in his new stall.

    I asked my bf in his opinion does it seem that my horse is lacking something in his diet? Neither one of us are even close to being experts, but he does agree that my horse's appearance looks like he's lacking some nutrition.
    Then I mentioned what I'm really having a problem with. Looking in all the catalogs that carry supplements and reading each one with what they provide (yes, I've read each one many times), how do you pick which one would be best for your horse?
    Which ones are safe to give as a precaution that they might need it, but don't go overboard with what your horse might not need?

    Another couple of questions. Do you wait to see if the increased riding makes them lose a bit of weight or do you automatically increase the amount when the additional riding starts or a little bit before the riding starts? And how much would extra feed would you give them?

    I'm really sorry if I'm being a pain in the ass.

    But I want to start a routine of riding my horse. And with a cut in hours at work, I'll be able to do that a lot easier. If hours go back to normal, at least I'll already be in the habit and feel that I have to go to the barn. Plus the new barn is in an open area, which I'll feel safer riding by myself, instead of where he's at now that going off the property means that some assholes have no respect for horses along side the road and trails are wooded which in my mind anything could happen and no one would really know until it got late.

    I want to be prepared for whats needed for my horse, along with providing what seems to be needed now.
    I just don't know what that is though :-

    again, sorry for being a pain in the ass.
     
  9. Peggy Sue

    Peggy Sue New Member

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    without knowing the feed he is on we can't say what to add or what not... some vitamins/minerals have very close levels between too low, just right and too much... which is where the people adding more then one supplement get in trouble...
     
  10. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    sweet feed :)
     
  11. lori

    lori New Member

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    Everyone's brand or mixture of sweet feed can be different in a lot of ways... that doesn't tell us a ton. Also one of the reasons that "OMG, Sweet feed, evil!" is annoying to me. :p
     
  12. Shell

    Shell New Member

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    Sorry, I don't know the brand. All I know is it has just enough sweetness to make the horses like it, but it isn't sticky.

    I don't know about the new barn.
     
  13. equusteacher

    equusteacher New Member

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    Ask them where they get it and ask for an analysis or lable.