Yet another Horsie Q... Grain opinions?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Squishy, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011

    So my gelding is fine on what he is on... it's a pretty nice food supplied by the stable I'm boarding him at. Wellness Senior Mix. He's doing good on it.

    However, in the not so distant future, I won't be boarding him, he'll be at my place and I'll be the one selecting his grain. I've done a fair bit of research trying to get a feel for what I want for him... I just thought now would be a good time to cast around for other opinions [​IMG]

    I like the line of feeds by Triple Crown. The farm he came from, he was on Nutrena Vitality 10%. I don't have much interest in pellets. He is a high energy horse though, something to keep him a bit more steady (like the wellness is doing) is a good idea. I need to be careful to keep the weight on him, for the lady who sold him to me said that when they bought him as a 4 year old, he weighed all of 600 lbs and she said it really took them *forever* to get every little pound on him. I've been weight taping him since I got him to see what changes there might be on the new feed and adjust accordingly, but he is sticking right at 795 lbs.

    Did I mention he's my baby? I spoil him as much as I can... so when I'm picking his grain I really want the very best thing for him.

    I'm hoping I can wiggle the info for the supplier of T&A hay the boarding stable is using [​IMG] It is the greenest hay I've ever seen... how on earth do they get it here all the way from Canada keeping it that green? I feel kinda like taking a picture of it for you guys to see... but that might count as teasing [​IMG]

    Oh.. and my baby drinks a LOT of water. Easily twice what the bigger horses do. His bucket gets filled 3x a day. We were warned he was like that though [​IMG] He also gets hot and sweats before any other horses do.
    He just hasn't touched his salt lick.... I've been thinking, and I keep going back to thinking... should I try to get some electrolytes in a powder form you put right in their water or feed or something? I dunno [​IMG]
  2. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Your best bet is to consult your vet, especially if it's tough to keep weight on him. Does he have parasites? My horses get minimal grain, just a lot of hay, and just one cup of grain a day, and that only to have something to put their vitamins in. They stay pretty fat and happy. Sometimes feeding grain can get them more hyped up. If they're in training and working hard, then they need grain. But really, check with the vet. And give him LOTS of good quality hay.
  3. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    No parasites [​IMG] He is on a worming schedule.

    I have only had him for a month. Before that he was in training... and I will soon be riding him more regularly when the weather cools a tad more. So hes not a pasture horse.

    Hes a Paso Fino.. 6 years old.. so he is a high energy horse just because that's the way he is. Though of course the kind of grain does have an impact on the kind of energy he would have. If he were on little or no grain he would drop pounds in a second. He gets a full scoop morning and evenings and two flakes T&A mornings and evenings. His weight has held steady at 795 lbs for the mere month he's been here on that feeding schedule. When he was in training he got lunch too. [​IMG]

    I would trust my vet almost completely on anything besides nutrition.... but unfortunately I have found that most don't get nutritional training [​IMG]
    I'd really like to know what horse owners think of some of the quality grains... which they prefer. Thanks [​IMG]
  4. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Try three flakes of hay twice a day, or two flakes a day three times a day. And vets should know about nutrition. My vet is an equine specialist, and she's been a great help to me. You might also get your hay evaluated. There are testing labs that can analyze a sample and let you know what the nutrient content is. Some hay has less food value than others. Depends on when it was cut, how old it is, what stage of growth it was at when it was cut, etc. There's a lot of variability in hay. Your horse probably does need supplemental grain if it's that hard to keep weight on. Maybe find a vet that specializes?
  5. ArkaFarmaMama

    ArkaFarmaMama Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 24, 2011
    I'm surprised he's getting a senior mix at 6 years old? He needs more protien than energy to keep a healthy weight.
    Especially if he's harder to "keep". Paso Finos tend to be thin and have a finer bone structure which you probably know.
    So higher energy grain will probably make him antsy where a high protien like rice bran might be good for him.
    Remember to SLOWLY switch his feed, like you do with dogs because a fast switch will cause colic in some horses.
    I'd talk with your vet first! He may not be touching his salt block because it makes their tounges raw. Best to
    give minerals, measured for his weight in his feed.

    Good idea on testing the hay Frostbite! It could look pretty but not have that much nutrition. I've had some nice
    bermuda test lower than a round bale of johnson/fescue! It really depends on the source and how much they know
    about cutting their crops! Around here in AR you have to really watch it because most hay is cut from any old field
    with no thoughts to quality, just quantity! But yours sounds good! Talk to them though on how it's fertalized..
    Some people use nitrogen based stuff to make it all pretty! Others like us just test and have river property
    that gets flooded (national forest, no chicken farms/runoff) and the good Lord takes care of it!

    Fall riding is on!!! So excited!!! enjoy!
  6. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    vets should know nutrition, so asking detailed questions might get you more detailed answers. and I've sometimes found that when you ask questions about an area a vet doesn't know well, they'll often go educate themselves so not to be caught without answers again. of course, some just know what they know and that's that. that wouldn't be my favorite kind of vet, and I'd likely be looking for another.

    I've had a varitety of horses of different breeds from hot to cold bloods, from healthy to nearly starved to death, from young to very old. if your horse is doing well on on his current feed schedule, that's something to take careful note of and I'd make changes gradually, if at all.

    that said, here are some things to consider. horses don't need grain, in general, unless they are in HEAVY work. good quality hay, a salt block, a mineral block, and plentiful clean water is sufficient for excellent health for most individuals. that being said, all hay is not created equal, and if you're interested in super-tuning his feed, hay analysis is the thing to do.

    especially in hot horses, the carbos in grain can contribute to excitability, founder, colic, and tieing up after exercise. if your guy really has trouble maintaining weight, you might consider adding fat to his diet instead of grain. fat adds calories without the sugar (carbos) and is not generally a contributer, in fact may decrease the risk somewhat, of founder, colic, and tieing up. not to mention that they don't get hyper because of it. it provides energy, calories, and is metabolized differently in the body so they don't get cranked on it.

    there are lots of ways to get fat in their diet - we feed hay pellets soaked in corn oil, but you can pour oil over pelleted feed or over hay. any vegetable oil can be used (corn, saflower, peanut, canolla.) you can use rice bran or black oil sunfower seeds. some feeds, especially senior feeds, are now made in low-carb high-fat formulas (read the labels). the ideal rate is 1 cup oil per 1000 lb of horse, so 3/4 cup a day for your guy.

    some horses love the oil, some come to love it, others... not so much. at any rate, like any change, you'd want to make it gradually, taking maybe 1-2 weeks to build up to the full amount. one down side to using liquid oil, it will get on everything you wear, and it doesn't wash out. rice bran is much neater, but more expensive.

    not familiar with the term T&A hay, we don't have that here, is that timothy and alfalfa?

    in general alfalfa is higher protien that horses need and is associated with kidney issues and gastric stones. we don't feed alfalfa except as a treat (and then in *very* small amounts to avoid colic from diet changes), or when building up a horse that is severely underweight. mares in late pregnancy and lactation can benefit from some alfalfa for the extra calcium and protien as well, but it's not a great feed for maintenance of geldings. if your T&A is more than a quarter alfalfa, I'd consider if it's really needed. straight timothy is an excellent horse hay, if its good quality (again, have it analyzed). green is good, but hay is only as good as the soil its grown in and that you can't see in the bale.

    also, its important to find out why your guy has difficulty maintaining weight... have you had his teeth done? dental issues are a prime cause of weight loss... horses don't chew as well as they should sometimes and that can cause them not to get the benefit of all the consume.

    sounds like your worming program is in place, make sure you're rotating and using the right wormer for the season (different parasites are more an issue at different times of the year, and the region you're in matters.) having an environment that makes the horse calm and relaxed matters too... a buddy if they're anxious when alone, room to move about rather than a stall, things like that can cause a horse to burn a lot less energy fretting. don't know about pasos but in other hot breeds you can really see the difference in pastured and stalled housing for some individuals.

    anyway, just my thoughts.
  7. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011

    Yeah, the lady who runs the stable supplies the feed. She feeds any of the horses over 5 the Senior mix with thoughts that the joint supplements will be benificial in prevention.
    It's not really exactly what I want him on, but it is still good feed, looks good and has alot of supplements, and he is doing well on it.

    Like I said... I haven't personally had any issues with his weight... just that it's something I need to keep an eye on.
    Thanks for your thoughts on the salt block [​IMG] That does make sense.

    I will of course be careful when I switch. We switched from his previous Vitality feed to this Wellness with a full bag and small increments, as I wanted to be super careful.

    I actually just looked him up on a body condition score resource. He would fall into Slightly Fleshy or maybe Fleshy. He is 14.2 hands and stocky. They did a good job conditioning him and he has some muscle as well.

    It's been so darn HOT here... I had to hose myself off when I was done hosing him one day [​IMG] Can't wait for fall!
  8. K9ThorsMom

    K9ThorsMom Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2010
    Pinellas County, FL
    I agree with everyone else so far- hay hay hay...horses are built to graze throughout the day, so the more good, quality hay you can give him, the better...ive had 2 horses, and have always fed very little grain...i currently feed my Arab/QH mix orchard/alfalfa, and for grain she gets 18oz of Seminole Equalizer (its a ratio balancer) per day, split into AM/PM feedings...with that, she also gets a small amount of timothy hay pellets (because she wastes stalks of timothy hay and i want her to have variety)...i also occasionally mix in about a cup of oats for extra girl is shiny and fat and seems always getting flack for not feeding much grain, but thats usually from the people that are bavkwards at my barn- they feed crap hay and tons of grain...
  9. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    Yes.. T&A is short for Timothy and Alfalfa.

    I would love for him to be pastured all day and just in at night... and we will be working towards that as the weather cools.... but we have found in this one month that I have had him, with the hot Florida summer temps... If he is out more than 2 1/2 hours in the morning he gets overheated.

    When I heard that was all the time the previous farm gave him outside.. I thought.. No way, I want him to enjoy being a horse. But I had to eat my words when he came back drenched in sweat after only a few hours in the middle morning and not even acting worked up out there.

    Come probably the end of this month when things cool off all the way down here... we will be letting him out for longer periods, gradually. Hopefully he will be able to enjoy full days outside in the winter time (60 degrees [​IMG] ).

    The lady at the stable has him on her rotational worming program, she knows the area and her horses as shes been in this locale for a time. I will follow her advice when we move him to our place [​IMG]
  10. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    I am lucky to not have THAT problem. My horses NEVER have to worry about overheating. Just over-eating!

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