I have had really good luck just feeding our Peruvians 2 lbs a day of Purina's Natures Essentials, Mare and Maintenance formula along with 24 hour a day pasture. The M & M is just pelleted vitamins and minerals to supplement the forage. Our horses are beautifully shiny and healthy and not too fat.
We feed good grass/mix hay twice a day (20# per horse per day) & 4 oz Equishine a mineral & vitamin only with 4 oz Horse Shine omega 3 flax & soaked beet pulp daily. This is the most cost effective program that I have tried. The horses are in great shape but a little on the heavy side when there is green pasture. I would appreciate any suggestions re: improvement in what we are doing. We ride 2-3 days a week on an average.
My horses are also on pasture 24/7. Two years ago I started using grazing muzzles. They wear them 24/7 and still get plenty of grass. This has made a big difference. I do have a mare that has Cushing's, metabolic syndrome and frequent bouts of laminitis. She is dry lotted. She gets a chromium yeast supplement which helps the body be more sensitive to insulin. She is also on pergolide and occasional bute depending on her laminitis.
The other horses get a complete feed which is only one pound per day. I found so many other feeds you have to feed 3-5 lbs per day in order to get all the vitamins and minerals. I want to feed the least amount of grain as possible. I have one mare that is cresty and weighty. She also gets the chromium yeast and a magnesium supplement. I have a DSLD horse and he gets yucca and msm. Since starting him on those supplements, I have been able to ride him lightly. I still believe the grazing muzzles have made a huge difference and are very cheap in the long run.
I have all of mine regularly blood tested. (Every couple years.) The vet recommends feeds based on each horse’s needs. For my oldest horse, I got feed recommendations from the University of Kentucky.
All my horses get Equishine vitamin/mineral pellets (The University of Kentucky recommended that supplement. http://www.equishine.com/index.htm ) and a good grass only hay – no alfalfa. They are also out on pasture. The pasture is also only grass. It is maintained with a liquid that kills everything but grass called Crossbow. http://www.dowagro.com/usag/prod/003.htm I get it at the local farm co-op.
One mare comes from a bloodline that is prone to laminitis and equine metabolic syndrome. She gets a product called Quiessense from www.FoxDenEquine.com . Please see the research on their site. It has kept her feet nice and solid and kept the fat pads and neck crest off. It really works great. She is only 4 so she does get a low carb, complete feed But only 2 cups daily.
My other mare is selenium deficient and gets a selenium supplement. She gets ½ cup of the complete feed. It is the only way to get her to eat the rest of her supplements.
I too was interested in Chaff Hay. I got some info on it from Midwest Horse Fair. I then talked to my vet about it and they said if you have horses that tend to be overweight or tending toward insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, they said absolutely not. Chaff hay is sprayed with molasses and then placed in a plastic bag to ferment. I had a couple sample bags here that I got from the dealer at Midwest Horse Fair. The horses loved it because it is so sweet. It reminds me of silage that farmers feed to their cows. So, no, I would not feed it to Peruvians who tend toward some of the above problems.
I also ran across a great article in Midwest Horse Digest, May issue. Here is the link www.horsedigestsemagazine.com/MHD/may08/mhd.html. Select topics and then equine endocrinolgy. It is a great article about the difference between Cushings and Equine Metabolic Syndrome.
Are you talking about the hay in wedges? Out in OR, we where all buying it for a short while. It is compressed. Very light and one wedge was supposed to be a flake. It was good and green and stayed fresh forever. It was great when you went camping or trail rides. THE PROBLEM! No one felt like they were giving the horses enough and they sure didn't act like we were. So everyone started giving more of the other hay as well as the wedge. Then when it ran out, I don't think any of us bought it again.
each horse has different needs. Most of my horses eat costal Bermuda hay, with a 12% pellet grain twice a day.some require a full scoop and some about a cup of grain.
When I lived in california, I fed Alfalfa hay and a small amount of pellet grain once a day.
I don't feed a sweet grain, because it make my horses to hot.
I am Suzy's husband and I distribute horse feed and often consult with Vets on nutrition issues with horses.
Peruvians are easy keepers and if overfed can develop metabolic issues --the most common being insulin resistance. Once a horse develops this condition, it will always have it and the horse requires close management.
Feed hay with 10-15% protein level and an ADF number of less than 36%. A higher ADF number will give the horse hay belly. (Always test your hay. Your supplier should provide the analysis for you--if not get one from your local extension agent) Buy early cut vs late cut hay as the latter will be more mature and have a higher concentration of non digestible cellulose. Look for a NDF analysis of 40-45%. Feed protein in moderation as excess protein will add weight to the horse
Many people have commented that they are feeding small amounts of concentrated feed or "grain". Feeds are designed by the manufacturer to provide nutrition at certain feed rates. If you feed less than recommended, then the horse is not receiving the desired nutrition, and the owner is wasting money.
Use a "ration balancer" to provide a total nutrient package in combination with the hay. Buckeye Nutrition Gro N Win is ideal for this application with a total starch and sugar level (NSC value) of 12%. Feed rates are low and therefore it is economical to use and you do not have to worry about withholding nutrition at the low feed rate.
For horses in work, calories for work should come from fat and not starch. In fact, the total recommended level of starch from ALL sources is ~30%. THere are many fat supplements on the market in all price ranges. We use Buckeye Nutrition Ultimate Finish 25 and vary the feed rate depending on the work level. Keep in mind that most "regular" horse feeds have starch levels greater than 40%. Good oats can run as high as 60%. If you cannot use Gro N Win mentioned above, go with a feed with a total NSC value of 20% max. Avoid corn formulas
I do not recommend many of the supplements on the market as the claims of the manufacturers have not been validated. This is a huge area where money is being wasted. Less is better. Look for a product that is FDA approved for a specific application otherwise with proper nutrition balancers and good hay, you do not need to add supplements to the diet.
I hope this has been helpful.
Jennings C Lambeth
Saddleridge Farms LLC
Distributors of Buckeye Nutrition Equine Feeds
I'd like to share that there is a Buckeye feed that I use for some of my horses called "training formula" that works really well. This is my "general" feed. I like it because if has lower iron and good supplements in it (especially for muscle development support). I don't feed much - about 1.5 pounds per day. My horses also get 100% afalfa. I didn't actually mean to do this - but my ponies have allergies to grasses so my hay guy started getting me "old" alfalfa (it has grown late to burn off protein and not so many leaves left). It's awesome, and I never thought I'd prefer feeding alfalfa!
I don't have good pastures and my allergic ponies have to be on dirt anyway. So, it's important to supplement with vitamin E. I either use 1000 iu capsules (they eat them fine) on top of feed (which you can buy rather inexpensively at discount stores) or I use ADM "Natural Glo" which has 1000 IU per pound of E. Actually, the Natural Glo is great for problem horses with allery or metabolic issues. I use it because the allergic ponies also are allergic to corn and oats. (VERY hard to find feed without those!) Natural Glo is rice based and is working really well. Plus, it doesn't have added iron and has good vitamin mineral content for Peruvians. I use it in the horses that need a little "more." It has very "dense" nutrient content - you feed very little.
One more comment - watch out for too much fat. Some low NSC feeds are high in fat, and some people subsitute fat when they want to get calories, keep weight on, etc. but - too much fat can push a horse over the edge to IR. I accidentally did this with one of my ponies. I thought I was doing a good thing feeding her a low (under 20%) NSC feed that was high in vegetable fat.