I have a 27-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding with Cushing’s disease. He receives pergolide for the Cushing’s. He is underweight and has poor appetite for grain, though he eats pasture and hay readily. He will not eat alfalfa cubes either dry or soaked, and he refuses all wet feed. He has never had laminitis. His teeth are in good repair, and he is wormed every eight weeks. He is on a complete feed now but won’t eat more than about 4 lb (1.8 kg) each day, even when it is split into three feedings. How can I get him to eat more grain?
I have a 19-year-old, 1,400-lb (635-kg) Hanoverian gelding. A poorly trained farrier has caused him much pain over the last nine months. In addition to hoof problems, he has soft tissue damage, compensatory ailments, muscle wasting, and unusual gaits. He eats good-quality grass hay with alfalfa occasionally mixed in as well as a handful of a performance feed. He is out to pasture all day. Are any of your supplements beneficial for overall healing and tissue repair? What other recommendations can you give so that he heals as best he can?
Help! I'm trying to assist some Pony Club members with nutrition. Articles discuss balancing protein, carbohydrates, and fat, but none identify in what feedstuffs they're found. Using the following horse feed ingredients, identify sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat: cracked corn, cane molasses, barley, whole oats, dehydrated alfalfa (lucerne) meal, and soybean meal.
We are moving our four horses and one mammoth donkey to Kentucky from Ohio. The pelleted feed I have been using—a 12% protein, 6% fat—is not available in Kentucky. Should I purchase feed in Kentucky and transition my horses while they are still in Ohio, then move to Kentucky; or haul my current feed to Kentucky and transition once I get there? I hope I can haul some of our hay to get them started in the new place as well, but that brings me to the forage question. They are have been turned out all summer on five acres, but by now there is not much left to graze on and they are on heavy hay feeding. The new farm has acres and acres of green grass and that is making me worry. Should l transition them in turnout sessions of 15 or 20 minutes over 10 or 15 days to the new grass? Or transition in some other manner? Grazing muzzles perhaps?
I live in Florida but just moved from Kentucky. Two years ago, my 10-year-old, 900-lb (410-kg) Arabian gelding foundered. He has a cresty neck. Because I live in Florida now, he needs some feed and supplementation. He currently gets a mixture of 12% textured feed, oats, and cracked corn. He has very limited grass to graze. He is used for pleasure riding. How can I feed him without causing problems again?
We have a motley herd of horses: a couple Miniature Horses, an Arabian, a 23-year-old Appaloosa, a draft horse, a couple of Welsh Ponies, and an ex-racehorse, a Thoroughbred. I would like to have them on the same feeding plan. They would all be considered light work, as they are ridden or worked three or four days a week. We currently feed alfalfa hay in the morning, pasture in the afternoon, and pellets in the evening.
My 14-year-old Quarter Horse mare has painless chronic diarrhea, according to my vet. She has had this for seven years, and we have tried everything. She maintains her weight just fine, and she is never dehydrated or lethargic. Her diet is mixed hay, water, and a salt block. We contacted a new vet to try yet again to figure out what could be going on with her. He suggested we pull her off hay and put her on a short-fiber diet and EquiShure hindgut buffer. How much EquiShure do I feed her? I plan on switching her over a 10-day period.
I own a 13-year-old stock-type mare that weighs about 900 lb (410 kg). My daughter uses her for light riding (4-5 days a week) and 4-H competition. She roams in a small, grassy paddock during the day, and she is corralled in a smaller pen at night. This mare was very thin when we got her, and we’ve been slowly adding weight. We feed her free-choice Bermuda hay and about 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) of concentrate a day. She’s getting a hay belly and her topline is still thin with ribs visible near her spine. I am thinking about changing her diet to include more concentrate, hay pellets, and less Bermuda hay.
My 10-year-old Mustang mare weighs about 1,100 lb (500 kg). I use her for pleasure riding. She’s kept outside most of the time except for four or five hours a day in the stall. In addition to pasture, she receives 1.75 lb (0.8 kg) of soaked beet pulp and about 1 lb (0.45 kg) of soaked soybean meal to provide a medium to feed her supplements. On an as-fed dry matter (DM) basis, the pasture tested 307 ppm iron. I stumbled across an article on the Internet that stated horses only absorb 15% of the iron they consume. Based on what I’ve told you, can you tell me if my mare has enough iron in her diet?
I own a 16-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter gelding that weighs 950 lb (430 kg). I ride him four days a week, twice in dressage lessons and twice on trails. He is turned out all day with access to grass six hours each day and then free-choice hay in a slow feeder for the remainder of the day. I also feed him an all-purpose vitamin and mineral supplement, and one-third cup flax year-round. He’s in good shape. Should I also supplement with vitamins C and E?
My 10-year-old, 1,000-lb (450-kg) Appaloosa mare recently suffered impaction colic. In my opinion, coarse hay caused the colic, because a stubborn, hard-to-heal jaw abscess sometimes makes chewing difficult for her. I am thinking of taking her off regular hay and substituting pelleted hay. She has an osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) lesion in her right hip, so exercise aside from turnout is not part of her life.
I own a 27-year-old Trakehner mare that needs weight. She can be high-strung when on the wrong feeding program. She gets grass hay with balancer pellets and as much turnout on grass as I can, weather permitting. We can have too-lush conditions in the spring, and she does not tolerate flying insects well, so she must come into the barn when insect populations are high. How can I get weight on the mare?
I have a horse that has been diagnosed with irritation or scar tissue in his intestinal tract. We have taken him off long-stemmed hay as it makes him colicky and have him on a completely pelleted diet. He seems to feel much better, but I don’t think he’s completely well. He receives moderate work and maintains his weight easily, and he’s in beautiful shape now. The vet's diagnosis was irritable bowel; however, he is still having bouts of not feeling well. I have done some research, and his symptoms are quite similar to leaky gut syndrome. He has elevated liver enzymes, and he is constantly hungry and wants to eat everything. I think what may have started this was his constant eating of acorns and oak leaves; he is now in a stall or drylot. Could EquiShure help him? Maybe EquiShure and RiteTrac?
I have a Thoroughbred placement program that involves taking in racehorses from the track. They spend some downtime on the farm and then retraining is started. I’m looking for a feed that will correctly put weight on them while maintaining the rest of my herd. The other horses are used in a lesson program and require minimal grain. I’m currently feeding a performance grain from a national company, and I am frustrated with the expense and waste (whole grains in manure). I wonder if a bulk feed without molasses is the way to go.
Regarding salt, my aged leisure horses do not touch salt blocks or licks regardless of what flavor they are (e.g., carrot, apple, mint, etc.) or whether they come from local salt mines or from the Himalayas. Exercise is light and climate mild. They are fed a full-spec vitamin and mineral supplement and a small amount of hard feed (concentrate), to which I could add salt, but is it really necessary?
We have a three-month-old orphan Welsh Pony filly. We located a nurse mare for her, but that’s not going as well as I’d hoped. She nurses the mare, but only in our presence. I’d like to get the filly eating grain so I can wean her, but she turns her nose up at milk pellets. She will eat a couple feeds formulated for older horses. She has access to Bermuda grass and alfalfa (lucerne) hay. She is also fed a gastric ulcer preventive. How much grain should she be eating now? How often?
Is there ever a reason to completely remove a concentrate from a foal’s diet in order to avoid growth problems? My three-month-old Quarter Horse filly has the enlarged ankles that often forewarn of joint problems. My veterinarian suggested a diet of mid- to low-quality hay until the swelling subsides, but that seems like old-fashioned advice to me. What do you think?
I have an 11-year-old gelding that has been diagnosed with colonic ulcers. I have read research that suggests a gluten-free diet may be beneficial to these horses. I haven't been able to identify a prepared feed that's gluten-free. I am looking for feed options that will provide for his dietary needs. Can you make any recommendations for feed or supplements?
I own a six-year-old Paint gelding that weighs about 950 lb (430 kg). I ride him lightly for pleasure. He is kept primarily on Bermuda grass pasture. In the morning and evening, he is fed 5 lb (2.25 kg) of a forage-based concentrate and a half-flake of alfalfa (lucerne) hay. Water and salt are available at all times. My other horse had colic recently, and I want to make sure I am not feeding something that could cause that. This gelding is new to me.
I own a seven-year-old Arabian gelding that weighs about 875 lb (400 kg). He is an endurance prospect that I ride five days a week, with three of those rides being 10-mile (16-km) training sessions at the trot. He is stalled four to six hours per day, and the remainder of the time is spent at pasture. When I first got him, he was underweight so he was given free feed until his weight was at an acceptable level. Now, I would like to taper him to a maintenance schedule. How much pelleted feed should he be given per day to maintain weight?
I recently had my horse tested for allergies. We found he is borderline allergic to barley, wheat, and soybeans. Do you know of any feeds that do not contain these ingredients? His current grain has 10% protein, fat, and fiber. I am more interested in increased fat and fiber, as he is a mature horse and doesn’t need elevated protein.
What sort of feed/feeding program do you recommend for pony foals/weanlings? I've raised several crops of foals on a ration balancer and quality forage/pasture with success, but I'm concerned that this may not be the ideal way to meet their daily nutrient requirements for growth. All of my ponies tend to be easy keepers.
My 14-year-old barrel-racing horse has allergies to alfalfa, oats, and barley. You can imagine how hard it is to find a concentrate without these ingredients. While he is an easy keeper, he is a picky eater. I feed a good-quality orchardgrass hay, and use timothy hay pellets as a base so that I can mix in his supplements. I would rather he be consuming a grain that contains all of the vitamins and minerals he requires. Do you think Re-Leve would work for him?
We have a 12-year-old Quarter Horse mare that is HYPP N/H. We try to find locally grown hay with low potassium, but that’s hard to do. We have access to a hay that is about one-third each of orchardgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and timothy. Would this be okay to feed her? We also feed rice bran oil (2-3 pumps from bottle), about 1.5 lb (0.7 kg) of low-starch concentrate, and a bit of salt per day, as well as biotin and joint supplements. She is also fed some timothy pellets midday. She has access to pasture most days for one to four hours, depending on the weather. She is ridden one to two hours most days or worked on the longe line for 20 minutes to help manage the HYPP.
I have a question about a possible supplement for my horse, though it is a little unusual. Can I feed eggs to horses? I live on a farm where we get a plethora of chicken eggs every morning, and I thought that perhaps eggs would be a good alternative to fat supplements for my horse. I was trying to dig up some research on it, but I did not find anything except forum posts that label it as an old racehorse trick. Do you think that feeding eggs to my horse would harm him? Or better yet, help him?
I own an upper-level event horse, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding that is ridden six days a week. He is kept in his stall about six hours each day, and the rest of his free time is spent on pasture. He is fed 0.25 lb (0.1kg) of feed per day and two or three flakes of hay when he is stalled. He gains weight very easily and is borderline too heavy for the amount of work he is in. My difficulty with him is keeping the weight off while meeting his nutritional needs. Suggestions, please.
Cola is my 21-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that weighs about 1,175 lb (533 kg). He is in light work. He is fed 6 lb (2.7 kg) of a high-fat feed per day and as much pasture as he chooses. He loses weight easily unless he is fed a high-fat feed. Unfortunately, this feed is expensive, and I'm not sure why he needs so much of such a high-fat content feed. Cola was maintained on approx. 8-10 lb (3.5-4.5 kg) per day of sweet feed before I bought him, but I opted away from it as I didn't think it as healthy, especially given his age and how he may be prone to Cushing's as he ages. Do you have any suggestions for an alternative diet that is affordable? I thought about stabilized rice bran, which is also expensive, and beet pulp. Would this be enough?
I own a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that weighs about 1,270 lb (575 kg). He’s ridden five or six days a week in lower-level dressage. He is allowed four hours per day on medium-quality pasture, and the rest of his day is spent in a stall. He’s fed six to eight flakes of hay and three pounds (1.4 kg) of a low-starch feed per day. He also gets supplements for joint and hoof health. He has intermittent lameness that is usually short duration (a few days) but recurs about once a month. A full lameness workup revealed chronic pedal osteitis. Is it possible he was not getting enough calcium or the wrong ratio of calcium to phosphorus due to feeding him below the recommended daily allowance of the concentrate? He is a fairly easy keeper. At one point, I fed him a calming supplement that is high in magnesium. Could that throw his calcium level off? He’s a young horse with bone loss in that foot. Can I correct it with feed and rest? Can I give him a calcium supplement? What can I do to test his levels? Hair analysis?
My 1,225-lb (555-kg) Quarter Horse mare was recently diagnosed with recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis. She is usually worked six days a week, for about 45 minutes each day with hacking and low-level jumping. She is kept in a stall 18 hours each day and is turned out 6 hours each day. She is fed 6 lb of alfalfa hay three times each day (8 a.m., noon, 5 p.m.). She receives 2 lb of a low-starch feed two times a day (8 a.m. and 5 p.m.). I need to change her diet to address her muscle problems, but I don’t have access to premium-quality feeds like Re-Leve where I live. Can you help me concoct a diet that is appropriate for my mare, please?
We just acquired our first mule, an 18-year-old draft-type that weighs about 1,200 lb (545 kg). He is kept primarily outside, and I’ve been feeding him 20-25 lb (9-11.5 kg) of coastal hay, 3 lb (1.4 kg) of timothy pellets, and a vitamin/mineral supplement. I understand that mules do not need the same diet as horses, so I want to be sure he is getting a correct diet. Should I add horse feed, too?
I own a 30-year-old Arabian gelding that weighs about 825 lb (375 kg). He’s kept outside all the time, so he grazes whatever he can year-round, and that varies depending on the season. In addition, he gets four cups of a low-starch feed, three cups of beet pulp, six cups of soaked crimped oats, and as much orchardgrass hay as he wants each day. It is hard to keep weight on him. Should I be feeding him other feeds?
I am from Sweden, where I'd say 80% of caretakers feed their horses sugar beet pulp either shredded (less soaking time) or pelleted (plenty of soaking time and water). I was always under the impression that it must be soaked. I've read in certain places that beet pulp doesn't have to be soaked. Which is correct?
I have a three-year-old Quarter Horse gelding that gets diarrhea on almost all hay except pasture grass. I feed it to him free-choice, but I would like his overall condition to be better. He also gets extremely gassy on alfalfa (lucerne) or orchard grass. How can I improve his condition?
We have a mare that has recurrent mild colic when stressed. She is on a low-starch diet with alfalfa (lucerne) hay and no supplements, and unless we are hauling her somewhere, she is out 24/7. The colic happens when the weather turns from cold to warm or when we are at a show and she gets too warm. She is ulcer-free, though I understand ulcers can form quickly, almost overnight. Do ulcers go away as quickly? We are thinking of trying a supplement called Oxy-Max. Have you evaluated this supplement? We are experienced horsemen, and she has us perplexed.
I own a 26-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse gelding that weighs about 1,050 lb (475 kg). Right now, he’s outside for half the day and stalled for the other half. He eats a mix of senior feed and performance feed, about eight quarts each day with one-half cup of oil top-dressed on his grain per day. He gets as much good-quality hay as he will eat. He shed out thin last spring, and we’ve been trying to get weight on him since then. We managed a bit of progress despite the fact he’s not a fan of the senior feed we give him. I think he’s getting too much grain. Can you recommend a concentrate that does not require such a high feeding rate? Maybe I could cut back on the oil? I am restricted to a certain brand of feeds, so please make your recommendations based on this brand.
My Quarter Horse mare (six years old; 800 lb or 365 kg) is ridden twice or three times a month. She’s turned out for eight hours each day, and she spends the remainder of her day in a stall. She is fed 2 lb (1 kg) of a low-starch feed twice a day with ground flax and probiotics. She is also given two flakes of grass hay and three flakes of alfalfa each day. Do you have any idea as to why she would be prone to gas colic based on her diet and management? How do I feed to avoid it?
I have a 21-year-old Thoroughbred mare that came to me five years ago badly starved, and she has had the hardest time putting on weight. I have tried so many different things! Her health is good, she is dewormed regularly, and her teeth are taken care of. I have her on senior feed, alfalfa (lucerne) cubes, beet pulp mixed with corn oil, and recently started rice bran and three flakes of hay in the morning and night. She will gain a little bit of weight then stop, and maybe gain a bit more a month later. Is there anything else I can do to put more weight on?
Serena is my seven-year-old, HYPP-positive Quarter Horse mare that weighs about 1,200 lb (550 kg). She is in light rehab work six days a week, more walking than trotting. She is kept outside at all times in a drylot, and she is fed 16 lb (7.25 kg) of fescue hay each day. She is also given 1 lb of balancer pellets and 2 lb of oats per day. Will she maintain her current weight on this diet or should I add a bit of high-fiber, high-fat feed?
My friend owns an Appaloosa-cross gelding with poor-quality hooves. He is getting normal feed, along with all-day turnout for grazing or hay, depending on the season. He is prone to hoof cracks, abscesses, and thrush. We treat the issues as they occur, but I'd prefer to just prevent the problems altogether. I was wondering if there were any supplements that could be given to him to help with these issues? Also, his outer hoof walls are so thin and crack so easily that the farrier doesn't want to shoe him, and this is problematic because he is a trail horse. Any help is appreciated.
I have just acquired an Andalusian/Quarter Horse yearling filly that I feel sure has not been on a proper nutrition program for most of her life. Should she eat grass or alfalfa hay (lucerne)? If grass hay is appropriate, what type? I feed my 17-year-old easy keeper Arabian balancer pellets, and I was wondering if this yearling would do better on these than a regular concentrate. Also, do I feed her more than 2% of her body weight in hay since she is growing? Please advise.
My 35-year-old crossbred mare weighs 800 lb (365 kg) and she’s more or less retired, except for a monthly or bimonthly trail ride. She’s kept outside all day and has free-choice access to mixed grass hay. I also feed her 2 lb (0.9 kg) of 10% protein sweet feed and 3 lb (1.4 kg) of senior feed each evening. This mare gets diarrhea every fall when we start her on hay. In the spring, when she is back on pasture, the diarrhea stops. We are looking for a way to stop this. Do you have any thoughts?
I have a two-year-old Quarter Horse gelding that is HYPP-positive (N/H). He weighs about 1,050 lb (477.3 kg) and he is currently being fitted for halter competition. He is kept in his stall for all but one hour of the day, during which he is allowed to roam a sandy enclosure. He is fed 15 lb (6.8 kg) of feed (14% crude protein, 6% fat), as much alfalfa (lucerne) as he will eat, and a fat supplement. How can I figure the potassium content of my gelding’s ration?
I have a nine-month-old Quarter Horse filly bred specifically for halter competition. She weighs about 640 lb (290 kg). She gets 10 hours of turnout each day, and when she’s not out, she has a 12’ x 12’ stall with a 12’ x 36’ run off the back. She’s fed alfalfa (lucerne) and grass hay in the stall and free-choice grass hay in the turnout. She is also fed 4 lb (1.8 kg) of a low-starch feed and 1 lb (0.45 kg) of a balancer pellet. The filly has had some growth issues, including knuckling over in her front and rear ankles. She was diagnosed with PSSM as well. How can I make sure this filly is being fed properly?
My husband and I own a five-year-old mostly (15/16ths) Arabian gelding that weighs approximately 1,150 lb (522 kg). We ride him three or four times a week, so I would say he’s in light to medium work—nothing too strenuous! He eats predominantly
grass hay with a bit of alfalfa, one pound of balancer pellets, and two pounds of rice bran each day. Our gelding has a wry tail, and its crookedness tends to vary from slight to extreme. As a foal, it was straight, but now it seems to bend primarily to the right. Are there any supplements or changes to feed that might help correct this?
I have a six-month-old Thoroughbred that was recently weaned. It refuses to eat the majority of its home-mixed concentrate, which consists of oats, steam-flaked corn, beet pulp, and carrots. She picks out the carrots and eats them. What are some causes of poor appetite in recently weaned foals? How can I help this filly?
I have a Thoroughbred jumper that is ridden about an hour each day, six days a week. The mare is fed primarily Chinese wild rye with some alfalfa (lucerne) hay added. She is also fed 4 to 4.5 kg (9 to 10 lb) of a feed, which is primarily composed of oat, corn, wheat bran, and sugar beet. She is also fed additional soaked beet pulp pellets. The mare has been dewormed recently, and her teeth are tended to. No matter how much I feed her, she cleans her trough, but she is still thin and lacks a strong topline. Help, please.
I have a five-year-old Quarter Horse mare that I am conditioning for barrel racing competition by working her four days a week. She’s roughly 1,000 lb (455 kg). She gets about four flakes of mixed grass hay each day (divided into two feedings) and a scoop of a low-starch feed (divided into two feedings). She gets a couple supplements, too. I’m not confident that the mare is receiving adequate nutrition. She is getting cinchy (girthy) and seems more flighty and nervous than ever when worked under saddle. She is an easy keeper, and maintaining her weight is not a problem. In addition to basic hay and grain, I want to supply her with the best vitamin and mineral supplement. I am looking for recommendations.
I own a 10-year-old Welsh mare that stands 13.2 hands and weighs about 750 lb (340 kg). She is very fit because she trains for advanced driving competitions. Because of her training schedule, she tends to be a little underweight. I used to feed her a balancer pellet and an extruded high-fat supplement. I was told that the balancer pellet had too much protein, so I tried one cup of 10% grain mix and two cups of a low-starch feed per day. I felt she was a little hot on the grain. She gets primarily coastal Bermuda hay and a little orchard grass and alfalfa (lucerne). Now I am lost. Can you suggest a better feeding program and supplements? She deserves it!
I have a 23-year-old Quarter Horse gelding that weighs about 1,250 lb (570 kg). I use him for team roping and cowboy mounted shooting competitions, and he’s ridden three or four times weekly. I don’t feed him any grain, but he is allowed grass hay (a mixture of coastal Bermuda and fescue with some crabgrass) at all times, and a flake or two of alfalfa hay once or twice a day. He has always been an easy keeper, but he lost a bit of weight last winter. I am preparing for this winter, and I am looking for a high-quality senior feed to help him maintain his weight through the next few months, which are forecasted to be wet and cold. Can you help?
I was just informed that my adult gelding’s dam was diagnosed with polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM). From what I understand, treating him like he too has the disease will not negatively affect him if he does not. He does have many of the symptoms, so it's my bet that he is affected. I am trying to figure out all of my options as far as feeds go and would like your opinion.
I own a 12-year-old Friesian gelding that weighs 1,400 lb (635 kg). In the daytime, he’s on pasture that is supplemented with good-quality orchard grass hay during drought or winter. He is fed two cups of a low-starch feed twice a day. The only supplement he receives is a daily vitamin/mineral. He has no health issues and is in good weight for his breed and stature. Would you recommend a different feed for him?
I own a nine-year-old half-bred mare (Thoroughbred/Paint) that weighs in at about 1,150 lb (520 kg). We recently moved from Kentucky to South Carolina. She is kept in a stall half the day and in a pasture the other half. While she has the body of a stock-type horse, she has the energy of a racehorse. She once got 16 oz of a super-concentrated pellet each day and lots of high-quality pasture, but now gets 16 oz of a low-starch feed per day with access to average-quality pasture and a round bale of grass hay. She gets biotin and MSM supplements, too. My mare is a very easy keeper. I need to get her weight down and ease her into an exercise program. Any suggestions?
Timmy is my 17-year-old, 1,150-lb (520-kg) Thoroughbred school-horse gelding. He splits his time between a stall and a pasture, usually about half the day in each environment. He is ridden one to two times a day in beginner or intermediate lessons, five or six days a week. Aside from the pasture, he is given timothy hay (six flakes a day) and alfalfa hay (about one flake a day, maybe less) when he’s stalled and six lb of a high-fiber concentrate each day (split into morning and evening meals). He is also given MSM and firocoxib. Last week we observed him making noises that sound very much like hiccups in humans. The muscles in Timmy’s abdomen would contract when he would make the noise and relax otherwise. He stopped making the noise after about 10 minutes of hand-walking. Another horse, a five-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that is on a similar feeding program, was observed with the same condition a week or so later. We’re baffled. What do you think?
I just acquired an old crossbred (Tennessee Walking Horse/Quarter Horse) stallion that is in poor condition. He’s about 14 hands. In addition to being underweight and completely out of shape, the horse’s hooves and teeth have not been attended to for a long time. He has the worst case of thrush I’ve ever seen. Could you advise on getting a horse like this healthy again, including areasonable nutrition plan?
I own a six-year-old Thoroughbred/Oldenburg gelding that weighs about 1,000 lb (455 kg). He’s ridden about six days a week—dressage four times weekly and conditioning work twice weekly. He is fed as much mixed hay (grass, clover, and alfalfa) as he will consume and a scoop each of a popular low-starch feed and rice bran. He receives biotin, omega-3, and joint supplements. He has a trace-mineralized salt block at his disposal, too. Does my horse need more minerals in his diet?
My 15-year-old, 850-lb (385-kg) Arabian gelding is my competitive endurance mount. I ride him 30 to 40 miles each week, depending on whether it’s competition season or not. He spends his days outside and his nights inside. His diet is composed of mixed hay (grass/alfalfa), low-starch feed, oats, rice bran, vitamins, and flaxseed. I believe my horse has experienced electrolyte imbalances in the past, and I want to be sure I am giving him the best electrolyte possible. I’ve heard about your Restore products. Can you help?
Have there been any studies to determine a horse’s need for increased vitamin D in the winter months in areas where sunlight is significantly reduced? I am trying to determine why my mare becomes moody during the time of year when we have reduced daylight hours only. This is the third winter I have ridden her, and it is definitely a pattern for her. For humans, vitamin D does have an effect on moods. Any thoughts? What is a safe amount of a daily dose of vitamin D for a horse?
I have a 32-year-old, 900-lb (410-kg) Quarter Horse mare that is in full retirement. She has mild Cushing’s disease with the characteristically shaggy haircoat and unusual strange sweat patterns but is otherwise healthy and active. She’s fed 5 lb (2.25 kg) of senior feed, 5 lb (2.25 kg) of compressed alfalfa hay, and is on full turnout with average pasture. She's 14.1 hands and is in decent weight, probably a 5+ on the body condition scale. She bucks and plays every day. My vet recommended a chromium supplement. How much chromium should she get, and is it okay that every chromium supplement seems to also have large amounts of magnesium?
I have a five-month-old Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse filly that weighs about 600 lb (275 kg). She is still nursing her mother, and they share a five-acre pasture with poor-quality, drought-stricken grass. The pair has unlimited access to grass hay, and they share 1 lb (0.45 kg) of a broodmare feed twice daily with one-third quart beet pulp and molasses added at each feeding. They have unlimited cobalt salt at their disposal. This filly has no swelling in any joints; however, her ankles look square and I'm concerned it's a nutritional issue.
Can COPD in horses have a genetic component or affect the quality of colostrum? If you were going to supplement the mare's colostrum because you are concerned about quality, what would you use?
Here's the situation: My mare has mild respiratory issues; the vet diagnosed her with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She is fed steamed hay to keep her from coughing. The mare doesn't have problems in turnout areas unless there is hay available, and fresh grass doesn't seem to bother her. She is strictly monitored to ensure she doesn't go into areas that might cause symptom flare-up. With this management plan, we’ve kept her relatively problem-free. However, the mare’s two-year-old colt is starting to develop a mild cough, especially at shows. I am concerned that he is developing the same problem as his dam, so I now feed him steamed hay, too. This mare is pregnant again, and I was wondering if COPD is hereditary or possibly a manifestation of low-quality colostrum due to the mare's condition even though she is mostly symptom-free.
I own a nine-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that weighs about 950 lb (430 kg). He is worked five days a week with the goal of competing in low-level eventing. He is allowed about six hours on pasture each day; the rest of the time he is kept in a stall. In addition to the pasture, he is fed about 3 lb (1.3 kg) of a senior feed, beet pulp, salt, probiotics, and a biotin supplement each day. It is difficult to maintain his weight, and he is hot-tempered to ride. Further, he seems to have endless stamina, so my riding sessions can be long and strenuous for both him and me. Can you help me determine if his diet is creating excessive energy?
My mare has mild respiratory issues; the vet diagnosed her with heaves (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD). She is fed steamed hay to keep her from coughing. The mare doesn't have problems in turnout areas unless there is hay available, and fresh grass doesn't seem to bother her. She is strictly monitored to ensure she doesn't go into areas that might cause symptom flare-up. Given this management plan, we’ve kept the mare relatively problem-free. However, the mare’s two-year-old colt is starting to develop a mild cough, especially at shows. I am concerned that this colt is developing the same problem as his dam, so I now feed him steamed hay, too. This mare is pregnant again, and I was wondering if heaves is hereditary or possibly a manifestation of low-quality colostrum due to the mare's condition even though she is mostly symptom-free.
I have 3 miniature donkeys, two six-year old gelded jacks and a four-year-old jenny. I asked my vet if they are overweight, and he said they could stand to lose some weight. They free-roam on about an acre of grass and mainly because they expect it, I give them a little hay (less than a flake) each morning and evening. I asked if they should get supplements, to get proper vitamins and minerals, and he suggested Kentucky Equine Research (KER) but didn't say what product. He said even if the product tends to be high in protein, if I just give a little snack of it to them daily, they can get beneficial nutrients. He wants me to reduce their time out in the pasture eating grass, and said that's likely why they are too fat. He didn't think I needed to give them feed or grain, but I would like to know what KER product you think I could give them, perhaps 1/8 cup daily, so they get vitamins and other nutrients? Can you offer me any suggestions?
I have a seven-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that weighs 1,100 lb (500 kg). He has been off work for about eight weeks, as he came down with strangles. His two pasturemates had not traveled for weeks either. The vet did not culture but diagnosed on symptoms (mild). Penicillin was given for five days, and during that time he had mild appetite depression. He is now recovered and seems anxious to get back to work. He has terrible anxiety over trailering, and we’ve worked on loading for months, starting with very short trips and returning home. We had to stop this part of his schooling because of his illness. In the meantime, I have heard discussion about vitamin B deficiencies in Thoroughbreds. He came from a money-strapped small operation where feed was oats mixed with sweet feed. He has been with us for almost a year, yet drought conditions in Texas have made pasture less nutritious. I feed him a low-starch feed and several supplements: rice bran, ground flaxseed, joint supplement, minerals and vitamins, and biotin. Do you recommend trying thiamin and tryptophan? He has also been on aloe vera juice to help any ulcers. He generally is a very good eater. Ample grass hay is part of his diet also. I am trying to find a way to reduce his stress for trailering and general calming as we go about our schooling here on the property.
Help, my horse is lacking energy, and I think I need a different feed. I have a seven-year-old, 16-hand Thoroughbred/Percheron gelding that is an easy keeper. He is in light to moderate work, usually ridden three times a week for one to two hours. He lacks energy when he works, but he’s healthy, dewormed regularly, has his teeth done twice a year, and has no veterinary issues that I can detect. He just seems lazy and lethargic at times. Current diet is pasture, hay, chaff, 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) of a commercial feed, which is formulated to be fed at a rate of at least 3 kg (6.6 lb) per day, 500 g (1 lb) oats, 500 g (1 lb) barley, black sunflower seeds, and salt. Can you suggest another feed to add that will make him have more energy, but won’t make him fat?
I own a 975-lb (442-kg), six-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that I work 30 to 60 minutes six days a week, primarily at the walk and trot. He currently eats eight quarts of a low-starch feed per day, divided into two meals, and he is fed hay four times a day. I am worried about ulcers because of his old career (that of a racehorse), his large grain meals, and the hard work he does. Would it hurt to put my horse on an ulcer supplement even though he doesn’t have any signs of ulcers?
I just moved to Kentucky, and I am getting my first horse. I want to make sure he's getting the minerals he needs, and I've heard of selenium-deficient areas throughout the country. So, I am trying to find out the selenium levels in central Kentucky. Also, are there any other deficiencies that I need to be aware of?
I purchased an Irish Sport Horse for my daughter; he is a large-boned horse and stands 17 hands. I have no idea how much he weighs. He was looking a little thinner lately—no ribs or anything, just thinner, and my daughter was taking him to Ocala for her summer cross-country fun camp with her old trainer for a week. I decided to use rice bran to increase his caloric and fat intake without increasing grain because they would be doing a lot of cross-country courses and field work. My daughter said he did great and had lots of stamina. He cooled down well and had quick recovery periods after work. He didn't gain weight, but he didn't lose any either, which was my goal. I spoke with his show barn trainer on his return because I wanted to continue the rice bran to boost his weight. She told me that rice bran can cause problems in the heat. That it removes water from the intestine, causes metabolic problems, and increases stomach issues. This is contradictory to everything I've read on rice bran with balanced ratios. Can you please shed some light on why the trainer would say this? Is there any fact behind it?
I am a veterinarian, and I have treated a client’s draft-cross horse for laminitis. This gelding is somewhat insulin resistant and was overweight at the time of initial assessment. First, the horse receives a balancer pellet with 6.6% starch and 4.2% sugar, so the total NSC (nonstructural carbohydrate) content is 10.8%. What does “sugar” mean? Does it mean the ESC (ethanol-soluble carbohydrate) or WSC (water-soluble carbohydrate) content? Second, are values such as those listed above a guaranteed maximum generally? How consistent are they from batch to batch? Third, 6.6% is a higher amount of starch than we typically see in grass hays In Nevada and California. I'm not sure there are any studies showing how that would affect insulin levels. Typically, I worry more about the WSC than anything but I just don't see starch levels much above 2 or 3% in grass hay. Grain hays may be different, but I tell my clients that own insulin resistant horses to not feed grain hays.
I own a fit, mid-level event horse with a moderate metabolism that was consuming ten pounds of a performance feed and as much good-quality hay and pasture as he could eat in a day. He was recently diagnosed with an acute tendon injury. The vet recommends six weeks of stall rest. What’s the feeding protocol? Reduce grain gradually to how much? Gradually taper off feed completely and go to a balancer pellet?
I have a laminitic, insulin-resistant mare, a 13.2-hand Welsh Pony (Section B). Her insulin levels remain elevated even though she is given metformin twice a day at a rate recommended by the veterinarian. I am happy with her weight, even though ribs are visible, but she has fat deposits. Her diet includes two scoops of senior feed, 7.3 kg (16 lb) of soaked hay, and free-choice salt. Can you give me any suggestions?
My 11-year-old Oldenburg foundered several years before I owned him. I have had him for two years and have tried several things but can't keep his stool solid. He doesn't have diarrhea always, but does at least once or twice weekly. He wears a muzzle while on pasture and receives a small amount of pelleted senior feed. His weight and appetite are good. Right now, he is on a probiotic supplement and a daily dewormer. What do you suggest? Would EquiShure help?
We have a field that was seeded down two years ago with winter wheat as a holding crop. It has self-seeded, and this year it has a fair amount of growth that has matured to the point of heading out but is still green. Can I graze my horses on this? There is other grass mixed in, so it's not solely wheat. If it is OK to graze them on it, should it be done for short periods (after the introduction period) or is it fine to leave them on it once they have acclimatized to it?
I own an 18.1-hand Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding that is in advanced dressage work. He’s 12 years old, and he weighs approximately 1,600 lb (725 kg). When I bought him eight months ago, he was a condition score of 3 or 4, so fairly underweight. He spends most of his time in a stall, though he is allowed about four hours outside. Here is his work schedule:
Sunday: Treadmill for 24 minutes
Monday: Longe for 15-20 minutes
Tuesday: Treadmill for 24 minutes, ride for 45 minutes
Wednesday: Ride for an hour
Thursday: Treadmill for 24 minutes, ride for 45 minutes
Friday: Treadmill for 24 minutes, ride for 45 minutes
Saturday: Walk for 30 minutes under saddle
Daily feed: six flakes of timothy, 3 lb (1.4 kg) timothy pellets, one cup canola oil, MSM, and a multivitamin.
He’s still not gaining weight as he should, and despite the workload, it seems he lacks muscle. What should I feed him next? Over the next few weeks, I am increasing oil to two cups daily. Any other feeds? He can be a hot, spooky horse.
I own a Hanoverian broodmare (10 years old, 1050 lb or 475 kg) that is 300 days in foal. She spends most of her time outside on a pasture with no fescue. She has timothy/alfalfa hay available to her at all times. She gets 1/3 quart of a complete feed and 1 quart of a 30% supplement, plus Thyro-L, a thyroid supplement. Given the variable selenium levels in the region where I live, is my mare consuming sufficient selenium, copper, iron, and other minerals for her last trimester of pregnancy?
I own a teenage Lipizzan gelding that weighs approximately 1,000 lb (455 kg). He is fed 1.5 lb (0.68 kg) of a high-fiber concentrate, 15 lb (8 kg) of Dengi Totally Timothy, and pasture when seasonally available. I have owned him for seven years, and he has always had chronic loose manure. It is almost liquid when he is stressed or anxious. I have tried various supplements, but nothing seems to work. I have even put him on metronidazole, which clears up the problem but only till he’s finished the medication. He is an easy keeper, eats what is put in front of him, partakes in no stable vices, and has never experienced colic in my care.
I own a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare that spends about half of her day inside and half of her day outside. She weighs about 1,200 lb (545 kg). She’s turned out on poor pasture with very little grass. She currently consumes about 25-30 lb (11-14 kg) of teff/timothy hay and 2 lb ( 0.9 kg) of alfalfa, and a handful of concentrate pellets. She is also given anti-ulcer and flax supplements. She is currently six months in foal and plenty chubby. When do I need to increase her concentrate, and what else should I feed?
I own an 11-year-old, 1,100-lb (500-kg) Warmblood mare that is ridden five days a week. She was previously on just a balancer pellet but is now fed 1.5 lb (0.7 kg) of low-starch, high-fiber feed because it is better for mixing with supplements, and 20 lb (9 kg) of fescue hay per day. She is also on 8-12 hours of turnout each day. She was once extremely gassy, and this was accompanied by much tail-wringing and resistance during riding. Probiotics seemed to alleviate that significantly, though not entirely. I would like to add EquiShure to her diet, but I am unsure whether it can be given with the probiotics.
I recently acquired a new horse. Here’s the lowdown: about 17 yrs old; skinny with a body condition score of 3 or 4; neglected hooves complete with a quarter crack; no deworming and spotty nutrition for the last eight years. In the last several months, I have ventured to correct all of the obvious deficits in his care: vaccinations, dental adjustment, regular farriery, fecal egg count with appropriate deworming, and an improvement in nutrition. Regarding his diet, I have started him on a high-fat, high-fiber feed, 5 lb (2.3 kg) per day divided into two meals. I also give him a hoof supplement and probiotics. I need to increase his energy, and my horse’s health-care professionals have suggested flaxseed and oil instead of more grain. Which way is preferable, flaxseed or oil? Does the flaxseed have to be ground? Where does supplemental beet pulp fit into his diet, or doesn’t it? I have not had the horse long enough to know if he will be a hard keeper, though I rather think he will be an easy keeper once he improves, as it seems he has survived at least eight years with little care.
I have a six-year-old Danish Warmblood mare with an osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) lesion in her hock and a recent muscle-related lameness of the hindquarters. I have been told a popular supplement can cure my horse’s OCD lesion. Do you think this would work? Also, can you review my horse’s diet to see if she’s being provided with all of the nutrients she needs? She is currently eating three-quarters quart of a pelleted concentrate twice per day and seven or eight flakes of timothy/orchardgrass hay. She also is supplemented with an all-purpose vitamin and mineral supplement and probiotics. She is back in work now after some time off from the injury.
I have a horse that is insulin resistant, and she is prone to lameness year-round. Please tell me the best method to feed beet pulp pellets. Unfortunately, I do not have access to shredded beet pulp. I live in Montana, where it is now freezing cold, and I would like to get the mare started on the feed.
I'm interested in using lecithin as a behavior modifier. I've done a lot of reading about using it in this way. I realize that more research needs to be done to form better conclusions, but I would like to try it on my four-year-old gelding. He is 15.1 hands and weighs approximately 1,100 lb (500 kg). He is used for trail riding only, not showing. He is very reactive to noises and sudden movements around him. I have not been able to find information anywhere as to the correct dosage for a horse. I appreciate your suggestions.
I own a 1200-lb (550-kg) Percheron/Appaloosa mare that is worked lightly once or twice weekly. She is turned out at all times on bahia grass pasture and is fed 1.5 lb (0.7 kg) each of a sweet feed and a balancer pellet. The mare is normally black, but she is getting white hair around her eyes and on her muzzle. In the summer, her coat gets reddish-black. I read that coat color changes could be a sign of copper deficiency. Her coat has become shinier since I started giving her a cup or two of black sunflower seed every other day, but I'm concerned about the hair color change. Your thoughts?
Is there a resource that compares all grasses and legumes commonly fed in the U.S. that shows nutritional value along with glycemic indexes? I know there are huge variables in hay quality, but a basic overview would be great. I have a few ponies and can't realistically do lab tests because I buy my hay from different sources, about 30-50 bales at a time. My options in Missouri are commonly brome, prairie grass, alfalfa, fescue, and mixes including lespedeza and clover. When I lived in Washington State, we had timothy and orchard grass. I know that the South has hays that I'm not familiar with, and I'm sure there are many others. This would probably be helpful for people suffering in drought areas who have to purchase forage from out of their area and have to find something comparable to what they were previously feeding. My personal issue is that I have ponies that need low-sugar diets and I am trying to feed them the best diet possible.
I will be doing a combined driving event in a few weeks. I drive an athletic, good-moving 16-year-old American Saddlebred. He had an episode of laminitis a year ago presumably caused by vaccines but possibly caused by rich hay. I want him to have more energy but not be out of control. He currently gets 6-8 lb (2.7-3.6 kg) of senior feed, timothy/alfalfa hay, and about 8 hours of grazing on grass. What can I do?
I have several older horses (aged 25 to 30; warmbloods and warmblood/Thoroughbred crosses) that just aren't thriving. They're way too thin and just don't put any weight on. Their teeth are fine and have been regularly attended to, and they have been dewormed regularly. In general, their health is fine. They currently get one full scoop of Pennfield Senior in the morning and night and all the grass they can eat. They're not on any supplements. How can I safely put a little meat on their bones?
I read with great interest your article titled “Revelations About Ponies and Pastures.” I breed Miniature Horses, and have encountered some problems with obesity. I would like to incorporate muzzled grazing into the diets of my horses. We are just coming into summer here in Queensland (Australia), and the summer grasses are starting to grow.
My questions relate to the type of muzzle to use and how much grass I can expect a Miniature Horse to consume in four hours of grazing. Rubber muzzles are available here in Australia, and these have a hole in the base for the horse to graze through. Is this type suitable? Would the horse be more likely to consume weeds if their mouth is restricted by a muzzle? Does the grass need to very long for the horse to access it as part of the diet, as opposed to just playing? Would the total-consumption figures for ponies in your article be the same for a Miniature Horse?
Pound for pound, which has more calories, beet pulp or alfalfa? I know there would be some variation due to hay quality, but I am looking for an average. I am trying to put weight on a thin Thoroughbred and have been giving him alfalfa pellets and beet pulp pellets in addition to 15-17 hours a day of lush pasture. He also gets one to two cups of canola oil and two pounds of a ration balancer. The gelding is a cribber. Blood work revealed slight anemia but no thyroid issues. The gelding just arrived here two months ago, and he still seems lethargic with little appetite.
My 15-hand Standardbred can be spooky at times, especially when we go to adult riding club. I have found that injecting him with magnesium the day before we go anywhere calms him down, and he behaves a lot better. He is housed in a paddock but the grass is not very lush at the moment and he gets fed lucerne (alfalfa) chaff because he is an easy keeper. What is your opinion of the injections, as they are quite expensive?
Our three-month-old foal was diagnosed with physitis in both hind fetlocks. We first noticed swelling about one month ago. At that time, we prohibited the foal from further accessing his dam's grain, as he was eating quite a bit of it. We started him on balancer pellets but then took him off those as well because of the high protein content. I have limited his turnout to a small paddock. He shows no sign of lameness, and there’s no sign of heat or pain on palpation, even when pressure is applied. He is growing fast and is well-developed. His dam has no problem staying in optimal weight.
I own a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding that I compete as a novice-level event horse. He is stabled 17 hours a day and given access to pasture 7 hours each day. He is given a mixture of two feeds, an 11% protein sweet feed and a senior feed, morning and night. He also gets beet pulp, corn oil, bran (one cup), and an antiulcer product in his evening feed. During his time in the stall, he gets about 10 lb of timothy hay. He has a history of surgical colic. Since I purchased him a few years ago, he has always been an energetic horse with a big spook. While he looks fit right now, he seems duller than normal without nearly as much energy as he should have for his state of conditioning. Can you review his diet to make sure there is not a nutritional component to his sluggishness?
I own a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding that I compete as a novice-level event horse. He is stabled 17 hours a day and given access to pasture 7 hours each day. He is given a mixture of two feeds, an 11% protein, low-starch, high-fiber and fat feed and a senior feed, morning and night. He also gets beet pulp, corn oil, bran (one cup), and an antiulcer product in his evening feed. During his time in the stall, he gets about 10 lb (4.5 kg) of grass hay. He has a history of surgical colic. Since I purchased him a few years ago, he has always been an energetic horse with a big spook. While he looks fit right now, he seems duller than normal without nearly as much energy as he should have for his state of conditioning. Can you review his diet to make sure there is not a nutritional component to his sluggishness?
I have a Thoroughbred mare that is fleshy, probably a body condition score of 6. She spends the majority of her day grazing on lush pasture with her two-month-filly. I feed her about 5 lb (2.2 kg) of grain a day so she receives adequate vitamin and mineral supplementation. The grain is specifically formulated for broodmares and young horses. Because of her body condition (there’s been no change in weight despite nursing a well-growing filly), I want to switch her to a ration balancer. I am worried, however, that by tapering her off the concentrate, I could inadvertently induce drying up? Is this possible?
My gelding was diagnosed with navicular syndrome a year ago after coming off an injury to his deep digital flexor tendon, which occurred two years ago. He was stalled during the rehabilitation of his tendon with hand-grazing 15 minutes per day. I came across a product that claims to cure navicular and other bone diseases. The product is expensive, and I want to know if your organization has done any research on this product. Is it a viable option for horses?
I have an 11-year-old warmblood dressage gelding that is in full work and is an easy keeper. I feed about 2.2 lb (1 kg) of a performance horse sweet feed (as a treat more than anything), and he's out on grass and gets good-quality grass hay. The hay analyst said my hay is great quality. However, I am concerned he is not getting enough feed or hay to satisfy his nutritional needs. What do I need to do to give him what he needs to keep up with the demands of his training?
Based on information you’ve provided in the past, I am using a ration balancer for my easy keeper, and he’s doing well on it. He is retired now but I’ve always given him a hoof supplement. It seems to me that the nutrients supplied by this supplement are already provided by the ration balancer in excess. Could I discontinue the hoof supplement?
Also, I have a nine-year-old Thoroughbred/draft cross that I am switching to the ration balancer in addition to pasture and orchardgrass/timothy hay. He is ridden occasionally, two or three times a week. Will this protocol be fine for him, too?
I have a three-year-old in training. Though he is just learning, we want him to push more from behind and develop more strength. Are aids like creatine legal, available, and recommended? Also, do you recommend giving glucosmine as a preventive supplement? What dietary additions or selections would you recommend to help develop strength?
I have a 20-year-old Thoroughbred-cross gelding. He's healthy and sassy, and he’s an easy keeper. In addition to pasture, he gets only half a flake of hay twice daily and is probably 200 lb (90 kg) overweight. I no longer compete him, but I use him to trail ride a few times a month. Can you offer some general nutrition guidelines for aged easy keepers?
I have an 1100-lb (500-kg) retired 22-year-old Paint gelding that is turned out on grass 10 hours a day and in a paddock with hay the remaining 14 hours each day. Do horses on good hay and pasture need a multivitamin? Since he only gets 0.5 lb (~250 g) of a senior feed a day, is he missing out on nutrients? Would I do better to feed him a multivitamin supplement?
I have heard that a natural remedy for hypothyroidism in a horse is to give iodine instead of treating with a synthetic thyroid hormone. Does iodine work the same as thyroid hormone? Is it safe to give a broodmare supplemental iodine? Can a kelp or seaweed supplement work as an iodine supplement?
Juju Bean is my middle-aged Trakehner mare that has a three-week-old filly at her side. She receives about 4 pounds of grain and 15 pounds of alfalfa hay per day, as well as free-choice salt and water. She does not have access to pasture. Since about day 220 of her pregnancy, she seems to be very itchy. This is her second foal, and nothing like this happened with the first one, though she was living in Florida when she carried and delivered that foal. I am perplexed. Can you help?
I own a 1660-pound Dutch Warmblood gelding, and admittedly he looks more like a draft than a warmblood. He eats grass hay and a concentrate designed for weight control. Everyone says he’s too fat. He definitely gains weight easily, but he’s a big-boned horse, and he’s lost weight on the new concentrate. I would like to know how much he should weigh, and how I can keep him there.
I have a nine-year-old pregnant mare. Last year she had her first foal, and he is a great-looking, healthy colt. About the the third week of March last year, she got a dry cough and started breathing heavily, and it got worse until she had lost a ton of weight. It took her about three months to rebound and gain the weight back. She has just started the same cough and is showing the same breathing signs again. My vet cannot come up with a possible cause for the cough. She is in a drylot during the day and stabled at night. She doesn’t eat grass, only high-quality hay, a fortified textured feed, and a vitamin/mineral supplement.
My 12-year-old warmblood-cross is fit and appears to be in good health. We usually compete most weekends, and he always does what is asked of him. However, he has terrible feet. They grow slowly and crack easily. He is constantly losing shoes, which stops us from competing. As far as I know, he consumes a well-balanced diet. I think he needs a hoof supplement, but there seem to be so many brands, all with different ingredients. Please, can you shed some light and make a recommendation?
What is the best way to feed a little extra before a competition in which my horse is going to do more than normal work? For this past weekend’s competition, I gave him an extra pound (one-half kilogram) of grain two days before. Is this enough to make a difference? Or should I start earlier? Or not bother? I just like to know there is enough gas in the tank, if nothing else for safety at the end of a cross-country course.
I am employed at a local feed store. When a customer inquires about this feed or that, one of the first questions she will ask is how much protein it contains. When I ask the customer to describe the horse for which the feed is intended, it invariably turns out to be an adult horse in light work. Can you refresh my memory as to why protein content is not the primary consideration when selecting a feed for such a horse?
I show stock-type horses in hunter under saddle and western pleasure futurities. I often start riding them when they are just turning two years old. They get turned out for half the day when they’re home, but when they are at shows or during certain periods of training, they are confined to stalls (boxes). How can I be sure I am properly nourishing their immature skeletons?
I own a Dutch Warmblood gelding that weighs about 1,400 pounds (640 kilograms). He spends about nine hours outside and the remaining time in a stall. He is exercised almost daily for at least 30 minutes but no longer than an hour. He is fed oat hay, grass hay, and a grain mixture twice per day. Though no full-blown ulcerative lesions were found on gastroscopy, a few hot spots were noted, and he was treated with a prescription ulcer medication. I want to make sure his hindgut is as healthy as his stomach is. Please tell me about hindgut buffers.
I have a six-year-old Thoroughbred that I compete in eventing. He is a chronic cribber and difficult to keep condition on. His teeth are healthy, he is dewormed regularly, and I know he is getting the correct levels of nutrients, as he is receiving the recommended daily amount of a quality commercial feed. Despite all of this, he is still underweight. Is there anything else I should be feeding him? Could there be something wrong?
My new jumper arrived in the United States from France about three weeks ago. Since then she has refused all conventional types of feed, both textured and pelleted. She also will not eat any type of wet feed, so mashes, oils, and molasses are not an option. She will eat some hay but will not touch alfalfa hay or alfalfa cubes. Though we did not perform an endoscopic examination, she is being treated for gastric ulcers. She has lost sufficient body condition in the past few weeks to preclude all serious work. I need to get her to eat. Do you have any suggestions?
I have an 11-month old Arabian that has been diagnosed with OCD. This yearling has been fed the same as all previous foals from this stallion-mare combination and the same as the other yearling we raised. I have been trying to find the best way to proceed with this horse and would like some advice as to whether a change in feeding would help avoid surgery. Or is surgery inevitable? What is the long-term prognosis likely to be? In 20 years of breeding, this is the first time one of my homebreds has been diagnosed with this problem.
Suppose a horse has a cresty neck score of two. If we reduce caloric intake slightly and exercise the horse 4-5 days per week, will the score return to zero if the horse loses weight? If so, will it return to zero if the horse has equine metabolic syndrome (EMS)? Cushing's disease? Thanks for your help.
My mare was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She remains on a course of antibiotics, though she continues to improve with no fever, limb edema, or discernible pain. The veterinarian suggested contacting an equine nutritionist about thoughts and recommendations on feeding her. What are your opinions?
I own a 9-year-old, 1250-pound (566-kilogram) warmblood-cross gelding that I ride five times a week, typically jumping and dressage work. He is a spooky horse by nature, but I am wondering if some of the unsettled behavior could be due to his diet. He eats four pounds (1.8 kg) of a KER-formulated feed that includes corn, as well as timothy/orchard grass hay. Could the corn be causing the behavioral issues?
I own a four-year-old, 15.3-hand Appaloosa mare that consumes this diet daily: five flakes of mixed grass hay divided into four feedings; minimal grass in a small paddock; and two small coffee cans of textured feed and two cups of a ration balancer (divided into two feedings).
This mare has been healthy her entire life. A few days ago she became very sore in her paddock. The vet concluded she was foundering slightly from grass. We treated her, and she was sound the next day with no heat in her feet. Our vet recommended keeping her off grass. What caused this episode? Should I give her a different grain? I have never had a horse founder, as I am very careful with my mare's weight and feeding.
My 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding has 24-hour access to a large pasture. In addition to pasture, he gets two pounds (0.9 kilograms) of a fortified feed and hay as necessary. He is a good doer, so maintaining weight is not a problem. I ride him six days a week for a hour or so. However, he shies and spooks when I least expect it. I was wondering if there was any way I could help him have steadier nerves through a change in nutrition.
I own an 11-year-old gelding that has been losing weight. We’ve taken care of any dental and parasite problems. He’s been fed 12 pounds of senior feed, round-baled hay, and alfalfa cubes as well as an assortment of supplements including probiotics, flaxseed oil, and weight-building products. He is not lethargic and is the dominant horse in the field. Our other three horses hold their weight well, if not being a little overweight. We are at a loss. How can I help this gelding gain weight?
I have a 27-year-old Quarter Horse mare that is unable to eat hay or grass. When she tries, it balls up in her mouth, and she spits it out. Is there something we can do to help her be able to eat hay and grass? She is able to eat all of the other feeds I offer her (beet pulp, chopped up timothy hay, alfalfa pellets, senior feed). She was very skinny when I purchased her two months ago, but she has put on some weight. I owned her for about 20 years, sold her for three years, and then purchased her back two months ago because she was so thin. Is there anything else we should be giving her?
I recently shipped several broodmares to the Midwest (Illinois, United States). Seven of the eight mares have begun chewing on the fence, usually preferring to chew wood than eat hay. They all eat the same diet: about 12 pounds of fortified grain a day and free-choice mixed-grass hay. My veterinarian suggested adding dicalcium phosphate to their rations. Could there be something missing from their diet? Should I give the mares access to cedar posts to chew on?
I own a 13-year-old Arabian gelding that I ride four or five times a week for about 45 minutes to an hour. I recently moved him to a new barn, and he lost a little weight after the move, but because the amount of exercise increased, I wasn’t concerned. I upped the grain a little so that now he receives two quarts of an all-purpose feed and four flakes of second-cut hay daily, split between two meals. He has gained back some of the weight but not all. How can I get him to fill out more?
I have a high-performance Arabian mare that has been doing well in endurance competition. I added alfalfa to her diet about six weeks ago. I recently competed her, and she was diagnosed with thumps after the 80-kilometer ride. Can you give me some information on thumps and any feed suggestions?
I own a Thoroughbred gelding, a one-time racehorse, that I have been eventing for several seasons. Since I’ve owned him, he has bled on two occasions after stressful cross-country rides. This has been confirmed by a veterinarian through endoscopy, though the amount of bleeding was minimal. After consultation with his peers, my veterinarian gave me the green light to continue training and eventing at the current level as long as the bleeding does not become more severe or frequent. My gelding appears to love his job and the bleeding does not seem to compromise his performance. Is there anything I can do from a nutritional standpoint to help with this problem?
My gelding has come up slightly lame occasionally throughout this past summer. Though he has a history of acute laminitis 13 years ago, there have been no recent concerns with lameness until now, so I have been looking for possible causes.
I noticed that the grain in the bottom of the bin had almost disintegrated to a powder. Because he gets so little grain--a 50-pound (22-kilogram) bag lasts four months--I usually keep it in the house, but this time I left it in the barn. I threw out the grain even though it didn't smell bad, though the color had become pale. Could this mean it was moldy?
Because of the gelding's history of laminitis, I reduced his grain to 1/4 cup and have been giving him bute two times per day, as recommended by my vet. The grain was purchased sometime in May.
Please let me know if the feed could have caused the lameness. What is the usual shelf life of grain if kept in a climate-controlled, airtight container compared to a grain bin in the barn during summer months?
I own an eight-year-old, 1400-lb Thoroughbred mare that is back in light training following a long convalescence. She is kept almost exclusively in the pasture except when being fed meals, which consist of a scoop each of complete feed and soaked beet pulp, and a multipurpose vitamin and mineral supplement. She is offered plenty of grass/ alfalfa hay.
My mare becomes muscle sore and irritable at times, and during these episodes she will begin weaving in her stall, sometimes to the point of neglecting her feed. Any thoughts?
I own an obese five-year-old Morgan mare. She easily falls into the 8/9 classification on the body condition score chart, and weighs between 950-1000 pounds. She is ridden nearly every day for about 30 or 45 minutes. Her diet includes 10 pounds of mixed grass hay, 1 pound of Pennfield Fibregized, and 20 hours of unlimited access to poor pasture. I'd like to start feeding Pennfield All-Phase so I know she's receiving essential nutrients.
Like many warmbloods, my 12-year-old Holsteiner mare is an easy keeper. I am feeding her one pound of a "lite" feed and one flake of orchardgrass/alfalfa hay per day in addition to 17 hours of pasture. I am looking for a feed or supplement that I can give her so I can be sure she's getting all the vitamins and minerals she needs without excessive calories. Thanks for the help.
For a few months I have cared for a 21-year-old Hanoverian gelding, 16.3 hands and about 300 pounds underweight. He is ridden just a little bit right now because he is so thin, but he has had his teeth floated and he has been dewormed. He is eating Re-Leve, coastal hay, and some alfalfa cubes. He is stalled 12 hours and pastured 12 hours but not much grass is available. He has a history of laminitis. Is Re-Leve the right feed for this horse, and how much can he safely eat in one day? Are there any other ways to put weight on him without risking laminitis?
I am presently feeding my nursing mares CPI Equi-Balancer 30%, oats, beet pulp, and a popular pelleted protein and energy supplement. I would like to know what the recommended amount of CPI Equi-Balancer is for a young foal. Are other supplements required? I am particularly interested in the amount of lysine in this product because it is not published on the bag. Thanks for your assistance.
I own a 750-pound yearling Paint gelding that is showing signs of growth-related bone problems. He is outside 24/7, and is fed one flake of bermudagrass and one flake of alfalfa hay morning and night, as well as King Feed 20/20. Should I feed him the Kentucky Equine Research (KER) All-Phase ration balancer in addition to the hay? Alfalfa or timothy pellets?
My horse suffered a severe facial injury, resulting in him being stabled for two weeks and living in a small paddock for another two months. He is normally in a large paddock with plenty of grass, so he maintains his weight easily. With the trauma and stress of injury, he has dropped a lot of weight. Can you provide any insight into how best to add weight to a healing horse?
I am employed at a local feed store. When a customer inquires about this feed or that, one of the first questions she will ask is how much protein it contains. When I ask the customer to describe the horse for which the feed is intended, it invariably turns out to be an adult horse in light work. Can you refresh my memory as to why protein content is not the primary consideration when selecting a feed for such a horse?
I own an 11-year-old Hanoverian that I show in jumper classes. Over the course of a couple of years, my trainer has recommended that my horse be given several nutritional supplements. When I prepare meals for my gelding, I am somewhat awestruck at the number of powders he receives, up to five different ones in his evening meal. Who should I go to for advice when it comes to providing supplements to my gelding?
I own and train American Saddlebreds for the show ring, and am being asked to work with more and more two-year-olds, as the trend for showing younger horses seems to be well-trenched. I have a hard time getting these youngsters to an appropriate body weight. Because of their age, some lankiness is to be expected, but I can’t seem to get them properly conditioned without pouring the grain to them. When I do that, I worry about other problems. Help, please.
I am 13 years old, and my parents have finally agreed to buy me my very own horse. It’s a dream come true. Before we can begin looking for a horse, my parents gave me a list of questions I must answer. Here’s one of them: “Who will you go to if you have a question about feeding your horse?” I couldn’t think of anything, so I thought I’d ask you! They’re satisfied with my other answers, so I am only one question away from fulfilling a dream. Help me, please.
I’ve recently purchased a farm that possesses plenty of nutritious forage for my horses, but there are lots of weeds as well. When I can afford it, I will have the pastures renovated by an expert in pasture management. Until then I am trying to curb the proliferation of thistles growing on my acreage. Yesterday, I actually witnessed my aged mare munching merrily on a thistle. Do horses normally eat thistles, and is there any harm in allowing my mare to ingest them? What’s the best way to rein in their existence on my land until professional help arrives?
My three geldings—a four-year-old, a twelve-year-old, and a twenty-something pensioner—all have great dispositions except when it comes time to eat. The twelve-year-old acts most aggressive when I feed them together in the pasture. They seem to get along fine when feed is not involved. What gives?
Although I feed KER-formulated feeds purchased from Saracen Feeds, many people feed bread to horses in the region of Italy where I live. I believe bread fattens horses and contains an inappropriate balance of calcium and phosphorus. Are there other concerns with feeding bread? Some horse owners feed only bread and hay, even to broodmares and foals, and I fear these horses aren’t receiving all of the nutrients they need.
There has been a lot of discussion about ways to stop wear and tear on joints, and I’ve seen lots of ads in magazines for supplements that are supposed to help horses. I’ve also been told oral supplements don’t work and injections do. What is the truth? I have a warmblood that I use for dressage. Do I need a joint supplement or do I need to get the vet to give him injections? If so, how many injections?
My horse always acts like he is starving to death and he is a “gobbler” when he eats. I have always been afraid that he will cause himself to colic. An old horseman suggested that I put large rocks in my horse’s grain bucket to force him to eat slowly. Is this guy crazy or will this help?
My stabled mare is receiving a balanced diet of hay and grain, and she has a mineral block in her feeder. She is in training, so I know she is getting adequate exercise. However, on several occasions I have seen her eating dry manure. I haven’t noticed any of the other horses in the same barn doing this. Is she lacking a particular substance in her diet or is she just bored?
We have a remarkable older Warmblood mare who suffers from heaves. We just pulled her a way from all hay and have gone back to alfalfa cubes. They worry me as it seems she will not have enough roughage in her diet. What are you doing in this situation? Can one successfully breed a horse with this condition?