Tag Archives: nutritionist

Feeding a Draft Horse

Due to Draft horses being prone to certain diseases such as, metabolic ailments like PSSM (Polysaccharide storage myopathy), laminitis, Cushings, founder, tying-up, and shivers diet is imperative. Based on these ailments, starch and sugar calories should be replaced by fiber and fat calories.

It is recommended that these guys have high quality forage and some concentrates while working due to their slower metabolism (similar to ponies). Meaning that the less energy they use, the more weight they gain. High carbohydrate feed should be avoided, as a forage with a rational balancer and/or a low NSC feed.

Breakdown of How To Feed A Draft Horse

Calorie Breakdown:

  • 15% daily calories from sugar
  • 20-25% daily calories from, fat
  • No less than 1% of horse’s body weight in forage

Calculating Fat Content:

Pounds of feed per day x % of fat

For example,

3 lbs of feed= 3 x 0.25= 0.75 lb fat

Feed Brands:

Feeds should have no more than 33% sugar and starch (low carb).

Low in starch and sugars: soy, beat pulp, wheat bran, wheat middlings

Feeds with 20%+ of fat should be supplemented with rice bran (20% fat). Feed with anything less than 20% should be supplemented with 100% additional fat source.

  • Nutrena Compete
  • Purina Strategy
  • Blue Seal Hunter, Demand, Vintage Gold
  • Southern States Legend

Supplements:

  • Oil: soy oil, canola, corn oil, rice bran
  • Vitamin E & Selenium supplement (be careful when adding in selenium as high levels can be toxic)

The Plan

  1. Either Purina Strategy or Southern States Legend: No more than 5-6 lbs of feed per 1000 lbs
  2. Rice Bran Oil: begin with 1/4 cup and increase by 1/4 cup every few days until 2 cups are reached. Continue with 3-4 cups per day.
  3. Vitamin E with Selenium: 1-2 oz per day
  4. Forage: Alfalfa pellets mixed or substituted with Purina or Southern States feed

Mix 12 parts alfalfa (or Purina or Southern States Feed or mix of the two) with 1 part water. Soak for 10 minutes. Add in oil. Let it sit for 2+ hours. Right before feeding add in the supplement (Vet E/Selenium).

“You Are What You Eat…”

Chance has gained almost 1000 lbs in over a year and he could still use a few pounds.  He lost wait quickly when he became sick.

Chance also has some factors that put him at a higher rate of weight loss and an increased difficulty maintaining and gaining weight.

  • he is a senior horse
  • a thoroughbred
  • a cribber
  • had an injury which caused him to not run around as much thus losing muscle mass

I slowly upped over the last year, with advisement from a nutritional specialist (her information is at the end of the post along with the name of her book which I found extremely helpful) and my vet, his feed from 3qt twice a day to 11qt twice a day.

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Chance’s current regiment includes:

AM:

  • Two 4qt scoops of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior feed
  • One 3qt scoop of Timothy and Alfalfa pelleted mix
  • I add his supplements
    • 2 scoops of Body Sore (All natural supplement)
    • 2 scoops of Cervical Formula (All natural supplement)
  • I mix it all together with warm water so that it is sloppy (this makes it easier for him to eat at his age and lessens the chance of choking.  Plus, it helps keep him hydrated especially in the winter when he is less inclined to drink as much water).

PM:

  • Two 4qt scoops of Nutrina Safe Choice Senior feed
  • One 3qt scoop of Timothy and Alfalfa pelleted mix
  • I add his supplements
    • 1 Smartpak (Senior Formula, Immune Booster, and Vitamin C)
    • 2 scoops of DuraLactin (All natural anti-inflammatory and pain reducer derived from cow’s milk also called MicroLactin)
    • 2 scoops of Body Sore (All natural supplement)
    • 2 scoops of Cervical Formula (All natural supplement)
  • I add about 5 flakes of hay (Alfalfa mix)
  • Two 3qt scoops of hay stretcher in a separate feed bucket for snacking through the night

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(Chance’s feed before adding water)

I also make sure that he eats his feed from a bucket on the ground.  According to my vet it is the best way for a horse to eat.


Here are Some Nutrition Resources



Horse Feeding Blog

Fox Den Equine

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