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Re: Proper nourishment

Hi Kathy,

Sorry about the delay, we were gone over the weekend.

After hearing a bit more about your situation, I agree with some of the
other posts that have been posted.  I think your mare is just adjusting
to her new environment and that takes awhile.  Specifically, her
digestive efficiency is a little lower than usual because, among other
things, the gut flora that actually do the work in breaking down fiber
are all in an uproar with the change in pasture.  That's normal, so
don't worry about it too much.  All it means is that until she gets a
little more acclimated to her new home, she's not getting every last bit
of nutrition out of her food.

Overall, the ration she's getting seems pretty good.  Don't let the
light green color of the coastal bermuda fool you---it's a great feed
for horses, and provides alot more than just "something to chew on". 
Yes, it does provide bulk, but also the majority of the minerals,
vitamins and protein in her ration.  There is PLENTY of nutrition in
coastal hay.

The weight loss your mare has experienced the last month isn't alot.  My
suggestion would be to just give her a little more energy (calories)
until she's adapted.  Either you can give her another scoop of the
oats-corn-alfalfa mix, or you can add a cup of vegetable oil to what
she's already getting.  Given your management situation (other horses
playing chinese fire drill with the buckets), it might be easiest to
compromise down the middle and feed her an extra half-scoop of grain,
with some oil added in, when you have her out of the pasture for riding
or lunging or whatever.  Another option, just for that extra meal, is to
give her one of the quality commercial mixes, like Omolene, Farr Legacy,
LMF, etc.  They'll have a little extra protein and a little extra
vitamins and minerals.  Don't let anyone talk you into a "protein"
supplement like Calf Manna, though.  She doesn't need alot more protein
and too much protein will make it harder for her to acclimate to the
heat and humidity.

I'd also suggest adding in some probiotics in her "extra" meal---it'll
help her gut flora population re-establish and adjust to the new
environment.  Even if the grain mix you get already says it has
probiotics added, there's not much, so add in some more.  My personal
favorite is Fastrack, but there are lots of good brands out there.  Just
pick one that supplies more than just Lactobacillus species, and pick
one that is a "dedicated" source, meaning that all each dosage supplies
is probiotics.  There are way too many "snake oil" supplements out there
that supply a big mish-mash of unneeded and expensive amino acids,
minerals, herbs, electrolytes, vitamins and anything else that sounds
good and/or trendy but is usually just contributing to a big, expensive
pee puddle.

And, again, make sure she has access to a TM salt block.

Good luck!

Susan G

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