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CrescentMinis

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What do you think of changing my mare who is the ultimate easy keeper and needs to trim down (she may be on the verge of foundering or developing metabolic syndrome per the vet), from Strategy (1/2 cup 2x a day) to a low starch/sugar feed? She would have whatever pelleted feed plus orchard grass hay and free choice minerals. The horses are not allowed on pasture. Or...my vet says the minis do fine on hay alone, but if that is true why do all the farms I know feed something in addition to hay? Apparently she has been getting much more hay than she needs.

Our local feed stores carry the following brands, and the manufacturer websites list low starch/high fiber (usually 18-20%) formulas for most of them:

LMF

Allegra

Purina

Albers

Nutrena

One other consideration: a couple of the mares are going out to be bred this spring, and the farms they are going to feed Strategy, so am I doing more harm than good switching back and forth?

Thank you!
 

ThreeCFarm

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Why not put her on a diet/ration balancer? Then she would get everything she needs without any added calories or sugar/starch? And depending on how bad she is, you may need to soak her hay to remove the sugar from that too.

Is the 18-20% you mention the NSC???? If so, those are NOT low enough!!! I wouldn't feed those to a horse that is possibly IR. And yes, pull her off the Strategy.
 

CrescentMinis

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Thank you! Sorry not more clear on the percentages...they seem to be 18-20% on the fiber content. I am still trying to make sense of the sugar/starch levels, comparing the labels.

Can you please give an example of a ration balancer formula name so i can research the right type of product? Is that going to be more of a supplement without any grain? For example, I have a pelleted vitamin/mineral supplement here called Horse Guard. Is that all a horse like this needs plus hay?
 
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Irish Hills Farm

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I feed Purina's Born To Win as a ration balancer. IF you mare is a very easy keeper 1/2 c 2 x's a day and just hay will be enough for her. But if she does need the extra calories you can give her plain oats.
 

ThreeCFarm

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You need to ask for the NSC (sugar + starch) of any feed you are considering. About the lowest I can find around here (other than diet balancers) is TC Low Starch which is 15%.

Be careful with oats, as IR horses shouldn't eat them, and it sounds like this mare may be IR.

Purina sells Born To Win, although they are changing the name to Enrich something, Buckeye, Progressive Nutrition, etc. They are made to balance your hay--they are usually made for either alfalfa or grass based diets. I feed a grass balancer, as my horses are out on grass and the ones that aren't are on grass hay. I'v never used Horse Guard, but that sounds like a "normal" vitamin supplement. The ration balancers are made to complement and balance your horse's diet.
 

Becky

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I'm a firm believer in ration balancers here and as Stephanie mentioned, a ration balancer (which is a protein, vitamin, mineral supplement) plus hay is all many horses need.
 

CrescentMinis

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Thanks, that helps a lot. The names of the ration balancers you mentioned are familiar, I just wasn't sure if that is what they were considered.

I think I might give either Nutrena Safe Choice or the Born to Win (name changing to Nature's Essentials) a whirl and pick up a bag tomorrow.
 

susanne

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None of mine are in your mare's situation, but I swear by LMF feeds. Best thing is, they are specifically formulated for our region.

Their website is very informative, and I understand that their reps are very helpful, so I/d go to the source and ask.
 

Hosscrazy

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I also moderate the Yahooo Cushings/IR forum, which deals with insulin resistant horses - you might want to also join that group for additional information.

Anyway, LMF Lo Carb Complete is a great product and I highly recommend it. I don't have the analysis in front of me right now, but I think the NSC level is 12% - very low.

Edit to add: Regarding hay, I feed bermuda and timothy hay - both of which have lower NSC levels. Depending on your situation, it is also a good idea to soak your hay before feeding - that will also remove some of the extra starch.

Best wishes,

Liz R.
 
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CrescentMinis

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OK, so I picked up a bag of LMF Low Carb today. We'll see how this goes. She seemed to like the little bit I let her have for breakfast.

Will I be able to tell if she is truly IR by watching how the feed change and upped exercise affects her over several weeks? She is supposed to be going out to be bred in 1st part of May. Would that be advisable? We thought she was pregnant right up till recently (still not 100% sure she isn't till she comes in heat), and that all the chub was baby belly.
 

ThreeCFarm

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I think you made a good choice with the LMF. Stay away from SafeChoice, as the NSC is entirely too high for an IR horse.

Yes, give it time, and you will be able to see a difference in her if she is IR and you "fix" her diet.
 

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