questions about feed

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Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2004
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sunny San Diego
I read this fourm alot and am wondering about feeding. The boys were on a diet of pellets when I got them. And still are. They get 1# twice a day plus a about a 1/4 of a flake of hay, Timothy or orchard grass at night as a treat.

Dar B has a belly on him that just wont quit. He is wormed regularlly with ivercare but it doesnt go away. I work him , not as often as I should but with the heat I thought it was better not to as it has been in the 90's by 10 am. That is like only a few hours after he eats. And he doesnt run at all unless he sees me coming with food. And I mean at all. Actually I have been lunging him and doing some liberty and he will trot almost on command.

But now I am worried I am not doing something I should be doing. And the last thing I want to do is hurt them.

The pellets they get ate alfalpha/ oat pellets 12 percent protein. And he has had the same amount since he was just 2. he is a little more than two and a half now.

He doesnt have any bones sticking out anywhere, nice top line, no backbone knobs. Thanks for the help

Oh and the sunflower seed, that is shells and all that you feed them?
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CHEERS to you Sister for having the common horse sense not to be working your horse into the ground in that kind of heat.

I don't know much about feed but many people here do.

But I can tell you that a fat horse is just like a fat person: they don't have the energy to run around a lot. Obesity is not a good healthy thing in man nor horsey.

I do have issues with feeding pellets. I like to see what I am feeding and don't really trust a lot of things that may be in pelleted feeds. There are a few good pellets on the market for sure,, but many of the lower cost pellets are just filler and many tend to bloat a horse up. Not saying that is the case with DarB or your pellets but it can be. Just throwing that out there. What brand of pellets are you feeding?

Alfalfa in any form can cause extreme thirst too and be hard on the kidneys. Pee, pee, and more pee and in the heat, not a good thing. I quit all feeding of alfalfa in all forms.

I do have a couple of my smaller 29" horses here that look like the Goodyear blimp. The grass blew them up and I had to get them off of it again and just feed them hay and a handful of grain. Seems that once they get fat, it is very hard to get it off and that gets dangerous.

I am wondering if you can weigh out your grain and be sure you are only feeding 1 pound of grain?

What is his height?
I do measure and weigh his food, in a one pound coffee can and have checked that full it is jsut a little over one lb. allowing for the weight of the can. Now when you say Hay what is good hay?

Dar b has never been an active little guy not even as a baby. Just very laid back and easy going. He will let you do almost anything to him with but a little fight. even clean his sheath.

Now you say Alfalfa will cause them to be extra thirsty, well what should they have instead? I mean even his pellets are alfalfa/oat.

And Marty thank you for responding I really appreciate it.
I'm new to minis too. I feed them grass hay at night because they are out on grass all day. They are a little on the plump side also. They get 1 cup of 14% sweet feed twice a day. I'm sorry that no one else has posted for you. It took me awhile to get some responses fro some of the questions I asked, then they start coming all at once. Be patient it'll happen.

If you are patient and bump up your thread eventually someone who knows nutrition will respond. All of mine are on the fat side although vet gives them all a 5 or 6 for body condition score but they dont show and I would rather they were on the fat side going into the winter. We feed each one differently so cant answer what your boy might need.
You're going to get a lot of opinions here as there are as many feeds/ways of feeding as there are horses!

I feel that you are feeding a good diet. Nothing at all wrong with an oat/alfalfa pellet. I believe alfalfa is good for a young horse. If there is no vitamin/mineral supplement being fed with it, I would certainly add one. All of my show horses are on a protein/vitamin/mineral supplement along with beet pulp and alfalfa hay. They look super! I don't even have to add any additional grain. Your hay sounds fine too. The heat can make a horse really lethargic, so I'm betting that is the problem there.
I have some too that look like the goodyear blimp, and no matter what I try to do I cant get it off! Mine all get 3 cups of (12 1/2%) sweetfed, mixed with about 1 cup soaked beet pulp, topped with the vitamin-mineral-conditioner supplement (about 1 teas) this gets divided into 2 feedings am and pm, along with this they do have free choice alfalfa/grass hay. I dont like to feed pellets to my horses. Corinne
up here in the NW we feed orchard grass or timothy. I don't know what is available to you down in Calif. Alfalfa is different all over the country. I came from the midwest where it was hot feed and fed sparingly even to large horses.

I have been feeding Purina Omolene 200, about 2 cups per day and 1/4 to 1/2 flake of hay . Grain only at night. I also mix the grain with beet pulp this summer as they need the extra moisture.

my first little mare is one that grows a belly just looking at hay. We watch that she doesn't steal others food and during show season she needs to be lunged daily to stay in shape. Started driving her last year and jumping. That kept her in great shape.

Mine have not been active this summer with hotter than normal heat so don't worry.

Such a mild mannered horse would make a great obstacle horse. It is fun to work with them and long walks with them also gives them good excercise.
I think your feed program sounds good also. I've known a few horses that have always had what I call a "hay belly". They are in excellent condition, but look like they swallowed a beach ball (for lack of a better term). If I'm correctly guessing on what your little guy looks like. The only way I found to get rid of it was lots of exercise. Not fast work, but the one I had was part of a team and they were in harness many hours a day, doing slow, but steady work. Of course they had plenty of water and I didn't do this in the summer when it was really hot. So in the summer he looked like he was gonna pop and in the fall, winter and spring he looked great. I just had to get used to the idea because I couldn't work him enough to get it off in the summer. I know that isn't much help, but I really do think your feed program is fine.
I used to just feed the alfalfa pellets, without additional grass or hay. I had one little mare that was always "overly plump". She also had lots of colic/impaction problems.

I switched to a complete feed and grass hay. Since then, she has lost her belly and seems to have more energy. In the winter I also add the soaked beet pulp.

I still have a couple of non-show horses that have "hay bellys" but I don't let it bother me too much. They are happy and healthy and they don't go out in public. They just hang out here and get loved on.

I kind of feel since each horse is an individual, you have to figure out what each one does well on. If Robin C gets on here, she can give you some really good advice, not that what you've gotten isn't. She has done a lot of research on all kinds of feeds and nutritional needs.
I recently had to change my feed program, the store quit selling the Progressive Nutrition products. So, I'm back to 12% sweet mix and 12% pellets plus grass hay. Each horse is feed based on what they need.

I'm feeding the pellets because our grass hay is of moderate quality (they are a nice clean alfalfa/beet pulp based pellet); we put up our own hay, so I have little choice in the matter, but I do what I can to feed them the best of the grass hay we have. They seem to dive right into the hay, but I still feel it is more of a filler than a feed.
Whew! Found your post.

Okay.....Here's my brief take on things.....(Don't take this personally, okay?)

Larry and I manage our feeding according to the "KISS" method. In other words --

"Keep It Simple Silly" ..... some folks call it...."Keep It Simple Stupid"....

In other words, plenty of good quality hay based on the horse's weight and either just a necessary supplement if that is all that's called for OR a quality grain with the type or quantity dictated according to the needs of the horse.

In my opinion, horses don't need to be a science experiement with their feeding program.....with a "little measure of this and a little measure of that and just a drab of something else".

PLUS, horses are GRAZERS. They naturally are set up to be nibbling on hay or pasture with stuff flowing through their digestive systems for large parts of the day. So giving them plenty of hay or pasture time, and water is WONDERFUL for their basic health.

That's about it.........guess it wasn't as brief as I planned.


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