Star Milling

Equine Nutrition - Recent Questions

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I would need to know a lot more about your horse: body weight, Body Condition Score, age, frequency of work (days & time/day), work intensity, hay & amount fed, other feeds fed, etc.

The “hotness” is more likely associated with breeding (genetics) or other management factors and not with diet. There is a lot of confusion in the industry on "hot feeds" or what causes a "hot horse" and usually there are plethora of other reasonable explanations for horses that are at the higher spectrum of energy or have excitable reactions to their surroundings.

Integrity Growth is recommended “at 12 months of age and not earlier than 10 months of age.” The permanent premolars and molars teeth are not erupting until 10 months through 3 ½ years of age. The foal could be reluctant because of the new feed texture, does not like the mash consistency, or her gums with baby premolars are just more sensitive to the texture. Allowing a youngster time to acclimate to any feed is normal, particularly when there are also changes in texture. Adding a little brown sugar for sweetness may help along with just being patient.

Beet pulp is a byproduct from the processing of sugar beets. Herbicides or pesticides are not sprayed directly on beet pulp after the sugar beet processing. However, as with most agricultural plant crops, there are plant diseases, insects and weed issues that threaten sugar beet crops and therefore sprayed applications are not uncommon during the growth phase of the plant.

Regarding your second question, beet pulp is naturally dry and prickly. Some companies that sell it in sacks will add molasses to soften the product and of course there’s the benefit of flavor enhancing. In horse feeds, beet pulp is softened by the moisture from other ingredients as well as from the molasses and oils that may be added to the product. All horse feeds list the ingredients on the bag, so if molasses has been added it will be on there.

I suggest you read my fact sheet on Nonstructural Carbohydrates in Dr. Bray’s Corner. Our industry is in overdrive with concerns of starch/sugar and unfortunately many myths are circulating. Obviously I am not familiar with your horse’s particular situation, but if your horse has been clinically diagnose with IR then perhaps a comprehensive review of your horse’s diet may be appropriate to ensure their nutrient requirements are met while minimizing the nonstructural carbohydrate intake.

“Big belly” syndrome is not because of her age but most likely due to the difference in hay quality. The hay you purchased a few months ago is not necessary going to be the same quality purchased at a later date. This condition can occur particularly when a hay is low in protein and very high in fiber. Adequate protein is not only essential to the horse’s body but is also essential to the bacteria that reside in the gut. The gut’s microorganisms are dependent on protein, and the micros are the only component of the digestive process that can break down the fiber portion of the diet.

Hay belly usually parallels an all long-stem forage diet and is often associated with pastured horses since they consume more volume compared to hay because pasture approximates 80% water and hay has roughly 10% water.

If you are feeding West Coast timothy then 3 flakes would approximate 17 - 18 pounds of hay. With the 5 scoops of timothy pellet – and I do not know the size of your scoop – conservatively that would be 5 - 6 lbs. A small coffee can of pellet hay is more than 1 lb so if your scoop is larger than a small coffee can the weight would be more. So 22 - 24 lbs of forage for a 1000 lb horse is 2.2 - 2.4% of their body weight which is the maximum forage for a light working horse. Another option is that you can use Timothy pellets to replace a portion of the timothy hay. Processed hays (pellets and cubes) should not be more than 50% of the total hay fed per day.

I suggest eliminating the hay pellet and replacing it with Integrity Lite. Integrity Lite is very low in starch and sugars and is available with or without molasses. Based on the information you provided, a 1,000+ lb horse in good health, dewormed 6 times/yr, with a light workload should be fed approximately 16 - 18 lbs of hay per day and 1.5 - 3 lbs of Integrity Lite.