We have always fed alfalfa (lucerne) hay, but I have been introduced to alfalfa pellets and cubes recently. I believe in using the best nutrition possible for my racehorses. I am just beginning my training program, so I want to try new things that I think will build a healthier equine athlete. I plan on using the pellets with the morning feeding and a flake of alfalfa hay in the evening. Does this seem acceptable?
I own a yearling Paint filly named Roma that weighs about 600 lb (275 kg) and is in moderate body condition. She seems to be an easy keeper. She is kept in a pasture most of the day, only coming up to be fed. Her current diet includes 3 lb (1.4 kg) of a low-starch feed and one scoop of a hoof and coat supplement. When the pasture is not growing, she also gets orchardgrass hay. Roma began cribbing about a month after weaning. Because of this I’ve tried her on a few different feeds, including a growth formula and a senior product. I am concerned her cribbing might be due to stomach discomfort. She does not crib prior to being fed but will while eating and afterward. I’d like to help Roma, and I’d appreciate any suggestions you may have regarding her nutritional management.
My 15-hand, 900-lb (410-kg) gelding is an easy keeper, so I manage his grass intake and exercise him 3-4 times a week for about an hour. He’s outside half the day and inside the remainder of the day. His diet includes forage (pasture or hay), coconut meal, flax, chia, Micro-Max, a hoof supplement (biotin, silicon, amino acids), and a salt-magnesium product. I have thoroughly researched his feeds, so I am not looking to change his diet, but I’m wondering what else I can do for him to help his shelly, crumbly hooves. He is barefoot, trimmed every six weeks, and has trouble with chronic abscesses and white-line infections. He has chronic rings on all four hooves, yet both the farrier and the vet have ruled out laminitis. Any thoughts?
My two-year-old Standardbred racing filly is 15.2 hands (157 cm) and weighs 975 lb (445 kg). At this weight, she’s in moderate body condition. Right now, she’s on 12 hours of turnout daily. Her current ration includes 40% whole oats, 20% steamed rolled barley, 20% coarse-cracked corn, 20% balancer pellet, 2 oz of a vitamin and mineral supplement, 8 oz coconut-soy oil, 5 lb (2.3 kg) chopped alfalfa, and free-choice timothy hay. Last year when I took her to Florida to train, she had allergy issues and fits of anhidrosis, which precluded her from racing. This summer, she seemed to sweat normally with no allergies. Could her allergy medications induce the sweating problem? Maybe it’s her diet?
My 30-year-old Connemara pony has had recurrent bouts of laminitis. With good hoof care and careful grazing management, she hasn’t had a flare-up in over a year. I’ve heard laminitis-prone horses should be removed from grass after the first frost. At what point after the first frost is it safe to resume her normal turnout schedule? Do I need to wait a couple weeks? Does the type of grass matter?
My 12-year-old appendix Quarter Horse gelding, Henry, needs to gain weight. He’s in his stall half the day, and out to pasture the other half. Both the pasture and the hay are good quality. He gets 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) of high-fat, high-fiber feed a day. I don’t like feeding this much grain, but the increase in grain over the past month has helped him gain weight. I feed him a probiotic, too. Henry is worked 5-6 days a week in dressage. How can continue the weight gain without pouring so much grain to him?
My 19-year-old gelding, Mel, weighs about 1,000 lb (450 kg). Mel is worked six days a week, and the type of work varies (longeing, dressage arena work, trail riding). He is turned out in a large pen for a 4-6 hours daily but otherwise stalled. His daily ration includes 2 lb (0.9 kg) of senior feed, 4 flakes of timothy hay, probiotics, electrolytes, and 1 oz flaxseed. Relevant medical history includes colic surgery for colon twist three years ago; continued colic episodes; laminitis scare seven years ago; loss of muscle over topline; and fat pads near his tailhead. The last episode of recurrent colic involved impaction and 15 liters of bloody reflux, though no ulcers were detected on gastroscopy. I am interested in omega-3 and -6 balance, thinking omega-3s might help inflammation. Thank you for any suggestions.
My five-year-old Quarter Horse mare is too thin (BCS: 4). She stands only 15 hands (152 cm) and weighs about 900 lb (410 kg). I use her for barrel racing, exercising her 5-10 hours per week and then competing on the weekends. I feed her three quarts of feed each morning and evening—two quarts of that is typical concentrate and one quart is low-starch concentrate. She gets 6-8 hours of turnout each day. I’ve tried rice bran and that didn’t work. What else can I do to support weight gain?
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