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Welcome back, Susan-the only things I would do differently here on the east
coast relative to your feeding (not disagreeing - just giving alternates
and regional perspectives:

>Free choice, good quality grass hay.  Lots of it, all he wants, all the
>time.  As he starts working more than a time or two a week (say, more than
>20 miles a week, though it's not an absolute number), add in some
>concentrates---I prefer starting with a few pounds of soaked beet pulp (if
>soaking is practical management-wise), add to it a few pounds of a mixed

I don't use beet pulp for no reason other than laziness-takes too much
trouble to soak. I woory about soaking long periods in hot, humid NJ in
summer and my animals would put Susan's squirrels to shame if I left it in
the house to soak over night! I use hay cubes made from the whole corn
plant but unfortunately they are hard to find. I use alfalfa-timothy mix
cubes when my beloved Alfa-Maize is unavailable, as it now. They soak up
into a lovely "mush" in only 10 minutes to which I add grain if I am
feeding it. They are lower calcium and protein than straight alfalfa and
actually lower calcium than beet pulp. Low calcium hays are only a problem
in certain areas of the NE that I am aware of, specifically eastern
Maryland and southern New Jersey so I worry more about excess calcium than

>  If you can afford it, then buying one of the good grain mixes
>formulated for performance horses (ie low protein) is fine, as you then have
>a vitamin pack already in.  If cost is an issue, then I'm happy with a mix
>of corn-oats-barley, the absolute best quality grain you can find.  In the
>latter case, I add a scoop of a good vitamin-mineral mix, like Select or
>Grand Vite.  When the horse is starting to work hard, I'll increase the
>grain up to about five pounds a day and beet pulp to about 4-6 lbs.  If it's
>practical to do so, I'd prefer to split the grain into at least two meals,
>still mixed with the beet pulp.  If he starts to drop weight as his
>condition improves, I start adding fats to the beet pulp/grain mix.  I start
>with a half cup and gradually work up to about two cups a day.  If you can
>split the fats into two meals as well, all the better.  You can go beyond 2
>cups, but it takes some doing and 2 cups a day (or thereabouts) will do the
>trick for most horses.  The fats are removed from the diet the day before a
>ride and not fed while at a ride, or at least not until the day after.
>Never during.
>If the grass hay being fed is one that I suspect might be calcium-phosphorus
>inverted, then I add maybe a pound or two (and I mean a pound or two, not
>five or eight or twelve) of alfalfa in almost any form (hay, pellets, A&M) a
>few times a week to ensure the calcium is sufficient without being
>excessive, and without increasing protein too much.  Also, because there's
>often alfalfa at rides supplied by ride management, I don't want my horse
>eating something totally different, so I feed him a small amount just so
>he's used to getting a bit here and there.
>I happen to feed 3 specific supplements---I feed a small amount of
>probiotics, I feed 20 mg of biotin/day and I give about 2500 IU/day vitamin
>E (not vit E/Se, just vitamin E) to the working horse.  Plus he has loose,
>free-choice TM salt available at all times.  Not anything special, just
>plain old TM salt.

The ONLY differences I have with the above supplements (as usual, Susan,
you and I seem to be on the same wavelength) are:

 I give only white salt free choice (good ole NaCl) plus I crush up part of
a block and put it loose in a bucket in the stall-I figure Fling needs the
extra salt but not extra trace minerals, especially here in high iron NJ. I
don't worry about copper, though it's low in this region, because I feed a
commercial pellet that has more than enough for a mature horse as long as I
am feeding 2-3 lbs a day.

 I don't give biotin because my horses have great feet without it!

 I give only 1000 iu vitamin E and that only after periods of really hard
work or before (2-3 days), during and after a competition,

 I do give B-vitamins (plain old brewers yeast) and Vitamin C (10 gm twice
a day) at multi day competitions.
 Carrots and apples are added daily as the mood strikes (and if I
remembered to go the grocery store!).

Happy feeding!
Sarah Ralston (can't wait to get Fling back into condition) and Fling (you
entered me in how many miles of competition this year????)

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