Is feeding one horse feed better then feeding multiple feeds? ?

So I was wondering if it's best to feed your horse one feed or better to feed multiple feeds? Right now my horse gets the following:

Morning: 4 cups well solve weight control + hay

Afternoon: 3 cups safe choice + hay

Evening: 4 cups well solve weight control + hay.

He also gets 4+ hours of grazing daily.

So what I am wondering is, would it be better to add more variety to his food or keep it the same?

Our barn offers the following feeds: enrich 32, strategy, safe choice, well solve (L/S and W/C), nutrena senior, oats, sweet feed, bran and beet pulp.

So I was thinking about lowering what he gets now and adding 1/4 cup of bran, beet pulp, strategy and enrich 32. Is this a good idea or not? And out of these feeds which one is the best? Thanks!

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Best Answer

    It depends on what the horse needs and if the current feeding regimen is meeting that.

    There are different answers to your question. It is better to feed the horse the same diet over a long period of time (ie: as long as that diet meets the horse's requirements), rather than changing it sporadically for no perceived reason. The horse's digestive system is sensitive, and slight changes can severely alter the environment in which the digestive microorganisms live, causing die-offs that can lead to a variety of debilitating disorders.

    Based on what your horse is being feed, I'm lead to assume he is on a weight control program. This makes me wonder why he is on SafeChoice. It's not a terrible feed but it would not be recommended for horses that need a lower NSC diet, or weight loss, period.

    W/S is formulated to be a fortified weight control grain, where nothing else besides forage is needed in the horse's diet. The W/S (and grains in general) are designed to provide extra vitamins, minerals, calories, protein, fat, fiber, or whatever is necessary to supplement given the choice of grain. The W/S will add supplemental vitamins, minerals and some calories without the added starch and sugar, to help control the horse's weight while still giving them what their body needs to remain health and sustain an active lifestyle.

    So the question is, what does your horse do and what do they need?

    All of those things which your barn offers has different benefits, few of which make sense to feed together.

    Enrich 32: Pelleted vitamin and mineral supplement to balance high forage diets, in which the forage may be lacking in nutrients.

    Strategy: Moderate performance feed. Pelleted, moderate fat and fiber, average protein. It supplies calories and vitamins/minerals to the moderately working horse that needs more than hay or forage alone can provide.

    SafeChoice: As the above, with a higher fat and fiber ratio. It is similar to Strategy's NSCs levels as well, which all together makes it reasonable comparable.

    Wellsolve: Formulated feeds for horses with metabolic disorders, or horses that otherwise need restricted diets and low starch feedings. Designed to supply the horse with vitamins and minerals that may be sacrificed when restricted diets are necessary.

    Nutrena Senior: A pelleted feed designed to be highly digestible so that the senior horse who has trouble eating can properly utilize the nutrients the feed gives them. (Not all concentrates are as easy to digest as senior feeds, of which Purina Senior is likely the best choice due to it's supreme digestibility.)

    Oats and sweet feed: I don't recommend. Sweet feeds, which contain oats (and other whole grains like corn and barley), while seen as a stable in the average horse's diet are actually far from healthy. These feeds are high in NSCs, non-structured carbs, which can overtime lead to metabolic disorders and other complications.

    "Bran" is no longer recommended to feed horses, as it is a digestive irritant.

    Beet pulp: Pound for pound it has more calories than hay and is a good choice for hard keepers. It is highly digestible and is used to keep weight on performance horses, add weight to horses that need it, or used to balance forages and add extra fiber in diets that may be lacking. It is high in calcium but is not nutritionally balanced, or nutritionally sufficient period, to be fed as a sole ration. It should be balanced with a vitamin/mineral supplement and another source of forage.

  • Tara
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    If this is a TB, it is likely to b a hard keeper. YOu need a good quality feed brand and should not give oats or grain at all as this is very poor quality nutrition and is harmful in that the mineral balance is severely reversed from the recommended balance. Of course, good feeds come in 50 pound bags. You mention a 10 pound bag for a month? Only if the plan was starvation. My TB's eat 50 pounds of feed a week per horse and it is still not easy with everything else they have. Your horse will need access to pasture and good quality hay 24/7 plus a salt block and good clean water as a minimum. Just a few thoughts for you.

  • Anita
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    Feed companies spend lots of money on research to get correctly balanced feeds. If you feed a bit or this and a bit of that, you may end up under or over supplementing your horses diet with vitamins and minerals. Also, if someone else does the feeding for you, it is better to keep it simple. Your horse will be fed much more consistently that way.

    Most feed companies have nutritionists that will offer a free consultation. The disadvantage is that they push only their brands, but it can help you decide what your horse needs.

    I don't think anyone can say what feed is best for your horse in your situation. If I fed my horse and my husbands horse the same thing in the same amount either one would founder or the other would starve to death. You must feed to your individual horse.

  • 8 years ago

    Unless you have an actual reason to change his feed (if he's not getting what he needs), don't change it. We have a few horses who get a senior feed plus a high fat feed just to get more fat in their diet due to metabolic issues (EPSM), and the only reason they're getting the senior is because they are picky eaters and the high fat doesn't taste very good, so the senior is picking up where the high fat would have filled in if they would eat only the high fat.

    If you want to add/change something just for the heck of it, you should consult your vet and barn manager first (since your barn manager has a really good idea of what your horse's specific needs are and will be the one dealing with soaking the beet pulp and making up more complex meals).

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