Hard Feed Nightmare

michelle18

New Member
Jun 1, 2015
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So I have my new horse coming next week (valentines day ). I'm so excited however this is my first horse all other horse experience is RS and own a pony days ect - been riding for around 3 years.

I'm looking into hard feeds and it's a mind field I have no idea what I should be feeding him I've asked for advise from other people at my yard and so far have been told to feed
Original mollichaff
Sugarbeet
Top Spec feed balancer
Lesuire mix

16.1 tb gelding first week I'll not be riding to let him settle in to his new yard but after that it will be light schooling and hacking.
What do you guys think?

Also is there any brand of lesuire mix you recommend there's so many choices.

Thanks
 

Bodshi

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
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I'd find out what he's on now if you can. I'd try to avoid altering things too drastically if at all possible, apart from causing a possible digestive upset it could affect his behaviour, especially with a change of yard. After that you'll need to find out whether he gains weight easily or needs extra calories to keep the weight on etc. And then when it comes to actually choosing feed types/brands etc, well ... good luck with that! I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice and recommendations from people on the board - the trouble is they'll probably all be different :)

ETA - good luck with him, it is so exciting isn't it? Hope you can put some pictures up when you get him.
 

domane

Cob lover
Jul 31, 2005
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Yeah ^^ agree with that.

And dont worry if he doesnt eat much at first, its usually just the stress if everything being new. After a week they are usually back to stuffing their faces
 

joosie

lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
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Agree with Bodshi. One of the golden rules of feeding horses is to introduce dietary changes gradually, so you need to find out what he's eating at the moment, and try to start him off with that. Any changes you do make need to be done bit by bit. But the real question to ask yourself is, do you need to change his feed at all? If what he's on currently is working for him, why change it? I certainly wouldn't be asking other liveries what you "should" feed him, he hasn't even arrived yet! - they don't know anything about him, or why he's currently fed what he is. I'd be asking his old owners first.
 
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KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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In my view the reason you get so many answers is because there is no single correct way to feed a horse and many many options are perfectly ok. I mean imagine the same question about a person!

But here's my tuppence worth....

So basically your horse mostly needs forage: grass, haylage or hay. Many, many horses only have this and need nothing else at all.
If your horse is only on forage now, simple. Stay that way.

If he is on hard feed, find out what it is an keep him on it.. If he is not on hard feed but needs to gain weight or looks to be dropping weight then you can feed extra. For a novice owner (or indeed any owner!) a mix is the most convenient. They are carefully balanced to ensure they are complete feed and have vits and minerals in them. Any mix is usually fine - non heating if he is a bit sharp eg Cool Mix. And I say 'mix' but complete feeds come as nuts too. You don;t really need a mix PLUS sugarbeet as they both provide slow release energy.

If he is not losing weight so does not need extra calories, but is not getting much variety of forage then you can feed a lo cal balancer which gives the vitamins and minerals without the energy.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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I would be talking to his current owner and finding out what he has already.
Find out current workload as you feed for work done and weight management.

Don't compare yourself to what others do. If you asked what mine gets fed, I would say it's winter she gets two carrots as oppose to one. :D
I haven't bought a bag of actual feed for maybe four years.
 
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tikkitti

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Mar 8, 2015
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If I were you on your situation I would find out what he's normally on hay or haylage and what hard feed? Ime I would keep your hard feed non heating and tbh keep him as flat as possible whilst you get to know each other. Just a simple change of hay to haylage can effect some horses and feeds can have a massive effect in some horses ( not all) . If he's on hay and not on hard feed and you want to put him on hard feed offer something simple like Allen and page calm and condition which is fab, and as the name suggests is non-heating but conditioning at the same time. Add some chaff if you want, if his weights good it can be offered in small amounts as a token feed and helps keep him looking his best. My equine physio loves it, as do many people I know, Allen and page also make veteran vitality is great for over 16 year old horses too. If out of my feed room I had to choose to only have one feed it would be my C&C. x
 

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
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Just to out my two pence in as I own a TB and TBX

You say he is a TB is he an ex racer?

TB are very prone to ulcers and ex racers not matter how long they have been out of racing will have them I think it is about 80%.

I would not feed a cereal at all. They are higher in sugar and starch which can up set a delicate TB belly as can haylage which again has a higher sugar content.

Have you spoken to the old owners do you know his current work rate and routine TB can be a very delicate breed!!! ask Lauren with Sox!!

They can be hardly and live out mine lived out until end of Dec this year and will be going back out march if the weather is dry.

Most horses especially ones that are use to going out and about competing do not require time to settle in. Think if you went to a comp you would not go the night before so they settle you just crack on. I have always ridden the next day even if just a walk around the school.

I feed my very fine amercian TB

Calm and condition
Linseed
Pink Powder
Top Spec ulcer kind

As much hay as he can eat when in and good grass when out nothing more he is good weight and in medium work. In the summer he just has the ulcer kind and pink powder.

Good luck TB are really special they can be needy and stressy but worth it
 

michelle18

New Member
Jun 1, 2015
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Thanks for all your advice guys, he was competing quite regular with his other owners the last couple of months he's just been on light work due to owners lack of time now.
Previous owners said they were feeding him 1 large net of hay per day and for hard feed mollichaff and sugarbeet with some garlic added for flavour twice per day.

I had brought my RI with me to view him a few times, she owes 3 tbs herself and said he looked rather on the thin side. She had suggested a few feed options that I might want to feed him.

He's not an ex racer.

Do you think for the first week as 8m planning on just getting to know him I should just stick to the hay mollichaff and sugarbeet?

Thanks x
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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Stick to what he's been fed already, His gut flora will be geared up to cope with it. If you suddenly change his feed his gut flora won;t cope and this is when you get problems. If you find you need to change to a higher energy feed introduce it gradually over a week to 10 days and longer for sensitive horses.
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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Is he grazing too. If not that's not a lot of forage for a 24 hour period.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I too would stick with what he's on to start with But feed at least 12+kg of hay per 24 hours if your grazing isn't great (for mine thats 2 large nets stuffed to the brim), adlib hay is best :) and I would aim to gradually wean him off the mollichaf (its just chopped straw covered in mollasses/sugar to make it palatable so no real nutritional value and too much sugar for most) and onto a better quality chaff if sugarbeet (you want to look for Unmollassed sugarbeet too) alone isn't enough for him to hold weight.
 

tikkitti

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Mar 8, 2015
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I'd keep things the same but feed adlib hay. I would gradually move onto calm and condition as tbh it's going to promote condition and help maintain condition more than sugar beet and chaff will. If you want to add heating to work at a later date you could then introduce heated feed. xx
 
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Justamare

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Feb 10, 2016
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For my tb I use cushcare with fast fibre and pony nuts and hi fi original . It works for her . Every horse is different and the market is saturated with horse feeds for every occasion. She has azoturia so I'm very careful . Chatting with her previous owner is good advice .
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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I would keep him on exactly the same feed as he is already for the time being and then make changes gradually - exactly what everyone else has said.

I would also ride him straight away and get into a new routine as soon as possible.

Feed companies can also provide good advise and it's worth giving a few a call and see what they suggest.
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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Juast to add, it may be more useful to think of general principles of feeding rather than on the specific "what to buy" question.

The role of forage is crucial as horses are trickle feeders, designed to eat most of every day. This means they produce stomach acid all the time, unlike humans who are evolved on feast/famine lines and who only produce gastric juices for digestion when we have eaten. If horses go for hours with no forage they can get ulcers as the acid just sits there, or they can experience pain if the acid splashes around.

A horse can get through a haynet in a few hours and a hard feed in a few minutes so that means that some horses go hours on end without any food which is physically and emotionally detrimental. If my horse was underweight my first priority would be to make sure they had ad-lib hay or haylage or access to good grazing. After that if they still needed more, I'd add in the hard feed for more concentrated calories to get some weight on them. And for vits and minerals.
 

Justamare

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Forage is the key . I feed Adlib haylage to mine . Haylage balancer too . In the fiekd they get hay because my grazing isn't brilliant in winter. Good luck let us know how you get on .
 

tikkitti

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Yes definately give adlib hay to a TB, my horses are adlib but I have to double net to limit our ponies cause there so greedy and will eat themselves fat! I use hard feed as a token feed, to maintain condition or gain condition, if they are too fat I simply cut down/out the hard feed. Obviously haylage is more fattening than hay so I generally use hay or a mix of both because mine are good doers. x
 
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