Well…we aren’t any closer to a baby than we were last week, except that more time has passed. Valeria has a lot of swelling from edema but hasn’t moved from yellow clear liquid to actual milk production. She’s getting 10 minutes of exercise every day to reduce that edema, so if you don’t see her in her stall she’s probably at the gym.
I think this is a great topic that I have spent a lot of time online researching and chatting with my veterinarian. Once upon a time when I was young and dumb I didn’t feed my horses well and now as an adult it’s like a dirty, shameful secret that I try to pretend never happened. Luckily, now that I’m in charge of the finances the only one that doesn’t get fed well is me. My list of feed is longer than many because Aria is a special princess allergic to everything under the sun (so much so that when I go visit her at my trainers’ place other clients/boarders ask me if I’m the owner of the ‘allergic one’).
Ben & Valeria:
I’m a firm believer that plenty of quality hay is all a horse really needs to stay in good weight if only doing minimal work. I feed these two 20-25lbs of alfalfa and bermuda a day, with alfalfa being 90% of their diet. I’m not the biggest fan of alfalfa out here but it’s high in calcium to help prevent ulcers and its overall a well-balanced roughage. Unfortunately, it’s also linked to high colic rates in California because we grow it in really crappy soil that has a lot of sand. It also makes horses pee. A lot. Last year I sucked up the insane cost and switched all my horses to Oregon orchard grass for about a year and I found that while they LOVED it, it didn’t seem to do a better job of keeping them round and happy.
A big key feature for me regarding hay is that my horses eat often. Currently I feed 3 times a day. I would prefer they have hay in their face 24/7 but until I work from home or retire, 3 times a day is good enough. Which is why I like bermuda, because they don’t really like it. They’ll eat it but they pick at it, which helps achieve having food in front of them as much as possible.
I feed about 6lbs of alfalfa pellets in the evening. My reasoning behind this is that pellets have a guaranteed analysis on them. I can at least feel confident that my horses aren’t lacking anything in their diet regarding alfalfa nutrition for one meal. A lot of hay sellers don’t seem to care about offering analysis on their products or bale weight amounts but we have a cool co-op in my town that does offer all that and I try to purchase hay from them as often as I can.
Ben received about 3lbs of Triple Crown Senior just to cover my bases now that he’s 21 years old. Valeria is currently getting 2lbs of Nutrena Safe Choice Mare and Foal. I really love the quality of Triple Crown and I use both feeds because my vet recommends them. She’s a UC Davis grad and anytime she doesn’t have an answer she give them a call and they provide the latest research. I find it to be an invaluable connection to equine care and it’s helped me greatly with tackling Aria’s needs.
As I’ve said before Aria is allergic to many things. The two major ones that cause the most problems (aside from flies) is alfalfa and wheat. It makes it very difficult to give her a well-balanced diet but we’re managing. She gets her fill of timothy, which seems to be about 20lbs of hay a day. She’s not a huge horse so when she wastes a lot of it at least its only money she’s wasting and not muscle tone.
For the same reasons as before I also feed her timothy pellets. It looks like she gets to free feed on that because her bucket is always full. Lucky girl. She also likes to waste these while searching for every little nugget of Nutrena Empower Boost, a high fat rice bran supplement. I think she’s getting maybe 2lbs of that daily? It’s so light, so I can’t imagine it weighs much even using a large plastic scoop.
All of my horses get flax oil or ground seed dressed over their pellets/grain. This is mostly to help boost Aria’s immune system with the Omega-3 and more importantly Omega-6 but I also like the glossy effect it has on everyone’s coats. They also get a probiotic like Probios and occasionally I will boost them with a prebiotic/probiotic duo like Total Gut. Ben also gets Cosequin when he’s in full work.
I rarely deworm (but will when the foal is born to prevent scours) unless a fecal test comes back positive and I use Equerry’s Sand Blaster every other month but will do it monthly if a fecal sand test comes back indicating I should.
Overall I would say my feed plan is pretty low maintenance and I’m glad that the extra stuff I feed, like grains and supplements, comes backed with research from my vet and by extension UC Davis.