ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: feeding pellets

Re: feeding pellets

Susan F. Evans (suendavid@worldnet.att.net)
Mon, 10 Feb 1997 15:48:24 -0800

Tracy Stampke wrote:
> I'm trying again...this has bounced back to me twice now.
> So no one out there has any problems feeding hay pellets before or
> during competition? One vet (not an edur. vet) told me that feeding
> pellets before a ride could cause diminished gut sounds. Anyone know if
> this is true? This vet suggested that I soak the pellets to mush before
> feeding. The horses would not eat the stuff. Those of you who feed
> alfalfa hay....do you get the really green, dairy grade stuff? That's
> what's common here. I've just heard so much bad stuff about feeding
> alfalfa that I'm a little leary of it. Sure would be alot cheaper
> though! Seems like the feeding books disagree as to whether alfalfa is
> ok or not. the Lon Lewis book seems to think that it's just fine, but
> the Feeding & Nutrition book says no way.
> Comments or suggestions?
> Tracy

Hi Tracy,

Here's my .02 on pellets at rides and on alfalfa. Re pellets,
nutritionally, they contain the same amount of protein, energy, etc etc
as does flake hay. HOWEVER, due to the processing involved in turning
the hay into pellets, the particle size is smaller when it goes through
the digestive tract. One of the things you want during/before a ride is
bulk in the gut to help keep the gut moving during the stress of the
ride. Flake hay will provide more bulkiness than do the pellets, so it
is a good thing to provide some flake hay before/during a ride. The
other nice thing is that a horse's water consumption will increase at
least in part due to fiber ingestion, so making sure the horse has some
bulk in his belly is also a nice way to encourage the horse to drink
during the ride (I know, there are other ways as well, this is just one
more). A nice load of fiber also acts as a reservoir for water and
electrolytes, another good reason. Anyway, my suggestion would be to
provide some flake hay a day or so before the ride and during the ride
AS LONG AS the type and quality of the hay is roughly equivalent to the
hay making up the pellet. That is, if you feed alfalfa/bermuda blend
pellets (which I do, too, by the way), you could provide him with some
decent quality bermuda flake hay, but NOT dairy quality super-rich
alfalfa. Remember that for these purposes, you're trying to provide
added bulk, not power-packing in extra nutrients that he's not used to.

Especially for endurance horses, I agree that really rich alfalfa (dairy
grade) is not the best choice. Too rich, too high in protein, etc etc.
Everyone's heard me yammering on this one before ad infinitum. Good
alfalfa (fine-stemmed, leafy, early to mid bloom) is fine, but I'd
suggest less than 50% of the hay ration be made up of alfalfa and
personally I prefer about 25% alfalfa/75% bermuda if at all possible,
although you have to check and make sure the calcium/phosphorus ratio is
OK, especially if you're feeding grain as well.

Hope this helps.

Susan Evans

Home Events Groups Rider Directory Market RideCamp Stuff