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Re: Alfalfa and Heart rates

Don't ask me for the exact citation, but I'm pretty sure I've seen
research data that also saw higher resting rates in alfalfa-fed horses. 
When my horses were boarded, and feeding alfalfa was unavoidable, I also
saw higher bpms than I see now on a bermuda, beet pulp and grain ration.

If you want to consider an alternative to alfalfa, but don't have good
quality bermuda in your area, beet pulp would be a good substitute.  I
don't have a problem with feeding the shredded form dry without soaking,
and that can be used for up to about 50% of the roughage portion of the
diet.  If you still wanted to feed the bermuda/alfalfa mix as well, that
would still cut down the alfalfa portion to a manageable level and still
provide good nutrition.  Beet pulp has more energy (calories) per pound
than even the richest alfalfa does, but if Blue still needs more energy,
you can add some grain to the dry beet pulp---I like this, as then they
can't gobble down their grain all at once.  Or you can add some oil (or
both grain and oil), but then make sure they finish it up that day (or
else remove it) so the oil doesn't go rancid, especially during summer
heat.  In places where the hay quality isn't all that great, I'd suggest
feeding one of the commercial grain mixes instead of just straight corn,
barley, whatever.

If you're feeding less than about 4-5 pounds of grain mix, and your
horse is working hard, you might consider adding a SMALL amount of a
complete vit/min mix as well.  Just don't overdo or adding alot of this
and that, as that's often where imbalances happen.  Adding biotin, vit E
or probios is fine, just don't start adding this supplement for hooves,
that one for coat, another one because he's a Libra, etc.

Susan G

Cheryl Newbanks wrote:
> Ok,  in this hrm thread I read that alfalfa will effect a horse's heart
> rate and make his heart rate run higher then it normally would.  I would
> like to hear from people who USED to feed alfalfa and then stopped and
> noticed a lower heart rate after stopping.  I really do not want to start
> an anti-alflafla thread.  I feed 50/50 alfalfa and bermuda and the alfalfa
> doesn't effect my other horse's heart rates plus I really don't know what
> to substitute for the alfalfa so that they'd have a balanced diet.  But now
> that I am thinking about the alfalfa issue I seem to recall that Blue's
> rate was lower when I just feed grass hay but his energy level was
> horrible, null actually.  If I wanted to stop feeding alfalfa, AND THAT IS
> A BIG IF, what could I substitute for the nutrients they'd be loosing,
> especially for my yearling, and maintain the energy level that a 50 miler
> would need.  Our bermuda hay isn't always the best quality, the farmers
> over-grow their fields out here.  Would beet pulp be the thing to
> substitute?
>                                   Cheryl Newbanks
> ~~~           ~~ ^ ^        SW Region
> ~~~\      _ ~~/ /\ /        Buckeye, AZ
>        (   ) __    ) ' '
>        //          \\
>       //            \\
>     **              **

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