Saturday, October 23, 2010

Feeding the boys: Part I

Like most horse owners, I want my horses to be in good weight, sound, and healthy. Unlike most horse owners that I know, I'm starting to obsess over what I feed the boys.

Where we were...

First off, Saga has been sort of a "hard keeper" since I got him. He came to me maybe 100 pounds under weight. When we boarded, he got 2 scoops of 12% pellets 2x per day, plus 2 cups of rice bran 2x per day. I estimate that he got about 13 lbs of concentrates per day, plus hay. When the horses were in due to inclement weather, I think they got about 3 flakes (maybe 9 lbs) of hay per day. When they were out, they had access to a round bale as well as a little bit of grazing.

Red, on the other hand, has always been a butterball. Even though he was on pasture board, he was boss, so he would happily eat his scoop of 10% pellets and then whatever else he could steal. He always had access to a round bale, and as a result, he highly resembled one of the Thelwell ponies.

Where we are now...
We've gone through a number of changes since we got them home. First, we had round bales, but so much ended up wasted and Red was so fat, we switched to square bales. I should note that Saga was actually in fairly good weight at that time. The boys were on Safe-and-Sound when we had the round bales - Saga got about 1 scoop 2x/day, and Red got a cupful or so since he was so fat.

And, since Red was so fat, about the time we moved to square bales, I switched him to Nutrena Lite Balance. He's been doing well on that until recently - more on that later. Saga I switched to Purina Ultium, since it had significantly more fat, and I added rice bran (2 cups 2x/day) back to his diet, as well as some black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) for even more fat.

To compound issues, we pulled their shoes in April, when I realized how horribly dished Saga's feet were and decided I wanted them to have a chance to grow out into a more natural angle. Red was fine within weeks of pulling his shoes, but Saga's been "footy" somewhat on-and-off ever since then.

To be continued...


  1. How do his feet look now? I didn't realize he has only been barefoot since April - he might just need more time to grow better feet.

  2. Funder, Saga and Red have both almost finished growing an entirely new hoof capsule. Saga's feet are no longer dished, but both horses have multiple event rings on their feet. I think this is the cause of Saga's continued footiness, but I'm trying to figure out what's causing those event rings so that we can prevent them. I've got lots more to post about this... never fear!

  3. that's so interesting that you did a post on feed, my friend's horse is a hard keeper too, and he's been having so much trouble over winter keeping him in good condition.