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Feeds, Supplements & Feeding Tips

Read these 40 Feeds, Supplements & Feeding Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Horse tips and hundreds of other topics.

Feeds, Supplements & Feeding Tips has been rated 3.2 out of 5 based on 1327 ratings and 9 user reviews.
How does flax seed help horses?

FLAX SEED FACTS

Flax (linseed) has many wonderful benefits for horses and humans alike.

Flaxseed is unique among feeds because of its high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid. Horses need a minimum level of key fats to maintain good health. These essential fatty acids are Omega 3 and Omega 6. A horse cannot produce these fats in their body, thus they are an essential part of his diet.

Characteristics of a lack of essential fatty acids may include, dull coat with dry itchy skin and cracking hooves.

Flax also is a rich source of fibre, especially soluble fibre which gels when exposed to water (similar to psyllium). It is helpful in preventing impaction and sand colic as the fibre swells and the gel like consistency traps and suspends sand, bringing it out of the system. The fibre is rich in lignans, substances believed to be linked to the cancer fighting effects of a high fibre diet. It also has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

Flaxseed is 26% protein and rich in amino acids like methionine and lysine. It has good levels of antioxidants, including vitamin E and is a good source of magnesium and phosphorous.

To prepare flaxseed for your horse it must be ground, cooked or soaked. The seed hulls are small and tough and they won't be chewed enough to benefit the horse. Flaxseed, either whole or coarsely ground, appears stable to long-term storage at room temperature. Ground flax in an airtight opaque container can keep for up to 90 days in the fridge. Whole seeds last about a year.

Fresh flax has a pleasant nutty smell, while rancid flax smells fishy.

When adding flax to your horse's diet (as with any feed change), always make gradual changes. For most horses 1/2 to 1 cup of linseed per day is sufficient. It's pleasant tasting and most horses gobble it up! Expect to see a shinier, more healthy looking horse in about a month's time!

The supplementing of flax seed oil will help with many conditions including:

* clear up skin conditions
* relieve arthritic and inflammatory pain
* increase bone strength
* improved skin and coat condition (decreased dandruff and a beautiful shine on their coats! Even some dappling)
* When a pregnant mare was fed flax, her offspring were larger, and grew faster than when previous to being fed flax within 9 months cracked hooves were completely healed
* Valuable source of energy (great to feed during the cold months or during times of stress to prevent weight loss)
* keeps less desirable saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
* increases oxygen uptake to the cell
* decreases recovery time from strenuous exercise
* Numerous studies conducted on animals and humans show that flax has powerful anti-tumour properties and may reduce tumour size by 50%.

   
Is Beet Pulp a good substitute?

Beet Pulp As A Dietary Supplement

Beet pulp can be used as a digestive aid.

Be sure to always add 2X the amount of water to dry beet pulp before feeding (allowing the beet pulp to absorb the water before feeding~!)~!!

Recommended to add COLD WATER to mix Beet Pulp, and allow it to soak overnight; due to using hot water can start a fermentation process within the container of beet pulp, and depending upon degree of fermentation, can cause a horse to colic, if the horse is predisposed to colic.

   
How Do I Get That "High Gloss" on My Show Horses?

Shinier Coats For The Ring

To get a great shine, most of the "extruded" feeds will enhance the coat, but the best enhancement is mixing a half cup of "black oil sunflower seeds" and a half cup of peanuts to the grain mixture daily.

   
How Do I Prevent The White or Light Areas On My Horse From Staining?

No More Stains In Horse's Coat!

For Pintos, Paints, Greys, to keep urine, manure, dirt from staining the hair & skin, feed only a 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar in the grain ration daily.

You will see that as soon as you brush these stains on the coat, they will brush away.

   
I Don´t Think My Horse Uses His Salt or Mineral Block.

Salt or Mineral Blocks

Does your horse not consume sufficient salt or mineral blocks that are either hanging on the stall or T/O wall or on the ground?

Purchase a small block of salt or mineral block, then using a hack-saw, cut it into some semblance of quarters, and place one of the quarters in pieces into his grain bucket. While eating the grain, and in cleaning out the bucket, he will get sufficient mineral nutrients from this moving of the block pieces away from his grain, and from licking up the grain.

Each quarter should last the average horse approximately one to two months in the grain bucket.

   
How Does Celery Seed Help Horses?

Celery Seed & Horses

Celery Seed relieves joint stiffness.

   
How does Vitamin D help horses?

Vitamin D & Horses

D aids body in calcium absorption. Horses produce D from sunlight exposure. Only a short period of time during each day, will generate enough chemical production within the horses' system to produce sufficient amounts of Vitamin D.

   
What do Probiotics do for horses?

Probiotics & Horses

Probiotics are supplements that help the gut of a horse to digest fibre or microflora. Yeast culture bacterias thrive in the horse's gut and only provide nutrients beneficial for the horse's digestion. Probiotics are beneficial for horses under stress or prone to colic. They offer a wide range of safety in their administration.

   
What are anti oxidants & why use them?

Anti-Oxidants & Horses

Anti oxidants are Vitamin E and Selenium. These MUST be administered in correct proportion to benefit the horse. These aid in the prevention of "Tying Up".

   
How Does Biotin help horses?

Biotin & Horses

Biotin or Vitamin H in grass, is the strongest of all hoof builders!

   
Can You tell me something about Alfalfa?

Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa hay is high in protein content, amino acids, chlorophyll and beta carotene. It is a legume hay.

   
Benefits of Vitamin B12 In Horses?

Vitamin B12 & Horses

B12 metabolizes amino acid & fatty acid.
Regenerates red blood cells.
Aids in assisting a healthy nervous system.
Increases energy.
Is required for calcium absorption.

   
What are Trace Minerals?

Trace Minerals

This is the generic name for a very small amount of mineral content.

   
How does Vitamin B1 help horses?

Vitamin B1 & Horses

B1/Thiamin metabolizes carbohydrates generating energy. Helps in the digeston of carbohydrates. Assists in the functioning of the nervous system, muscles, heart, promotes growth, increases muscle tone.

   
What is Biotin for?

Biotin & Horses

Biotin is from the B Vitamin Group and is proven in improving the quality of a horse's hoof.

   
What do I do for joint therapy?

Oral Chondro

Glucosamine has no lubricating nor protective properties but is the backbone to formation and healing of the cartilage.

   
Can anything be given to help fight sand colic in horses?

Psyllium Husks & Horses & Sand

Psyllium Husks benefit horses that are kept on sand. The Psyllium forms a glutinous gel around the sand in the system and removes it from the horse's gut.

   
What is the benefit of Probiotics?

Probiotics & Horses

Probiotics are friendly micro-organisms that help disgestion by breaking down cellulose into fatty acid. Lactobacillus, acidophillis, bulgaricus such as is found in yogurts will do this.

   
What is Brome, Orchard or Kentucky Bluegrass Hay?

Brome, Orchard, Kentucky Bluegrass Hays

Orchard, Brome, Kentucky Bluegrass hay is finer in texture than Timothy or Alfalfa Hay. The protein content is somewhere between Alfalfa Hay & Timothy Hay.

Orchard, Brome & Bluegrass hays are all comparible in texture to local hay, but much, much higher in protein content.

   
What is the benefit of Vitamin K?

Vitamin K & Horses

Vitamin K helps liver functioning and aids in blood clotting.

   
How do I know how long to turn out a horse on pasture?

Turning Horses Out Onto Pasture

Whenever turning any horse(s) out onto pasture that have not been grazing 24/7, always start off slowly, gradually increasing the time on pasture.

An example of this is:
Day 1 out on grass for NO MORE than 2 hrs.
Day 2 out on grass for NO MORE than 2 hrs.
Day 3 out on grass for NO MORE than 3 hrs.
Day 4 out on grass for NO MORE than 4 hrs.
Day 5 out on grass for NO MORE than 4 hrs.
Day 6 out on grass for NO MORE than 5 hrs.
Day 7 out on grass for NO MORE than 6 hrs.
Day 8 out on grass for NO MORE than 6 hrs.
From here on, they can be left out for 24/7.

During the entire process, watch them, and monitor for ANY signs that indicate they are out too long....Resting the rear against objects to relieve the rear end from weight. Too quickly thickening of neck crest. Frequent shifting of weight off of a foot (usually the rear shifting frequently). Heat in any one of the horse's feet. No interest in hay or grass for over an hour at a time while out, or after brought in and stabled. All these signs let you know that the time frames on grass need to be reduced for that particular horse.

   
How does Vitamin B6 help horses?

Vitamin B6 & Horses

B6 metabolizes amino acid & protein.

   
What are the benefits of the B Vitamin group to horses?

The B Complex Vitamins & Horses

B Complex protein builders for cellular metabolism.

   
What is Rye grass or hay?

Rye Grass

When rye has reached a head, it will loose a lot of its protein value.

As a pasture grass, or as a hay, it is excellent. It is softer in texture, and for that reason, often horses LOVE it

   
How does Selenium benefit horses?

Selenium & Horses/Can Be Toxic!

The Trace Mineral in Selenium keeps healthy muscles & tissues. Can be TOXIC if overfed~!

   
Rules For Feeding Horses?

Feeding Horses Rule #1

When feeding horses remember the rule of thumb is to feed often (4X) in 20% allotments of the daily ration of hay and forages.

   
What is rice bran, and how does it help horses?

Rice Bran

Outer husk of rice contains vitamins, minerals, fibre, anti-oxidants. Full of natural vegetable fats.

   
What is the benefit of zinc?

Zinc & Horses

The trace minerals in Zinc build strong hooves.

   
How do i find out if my pasture has poisonous plants in it?

VITAL PASTURE INFO

vital information on poisonous plants, pasture, drought, and manure management, and other topics geographically related to your specific area can be found through your county or state EXTENSION AND AGRICULTURAL SERVICE

   
What is anti-oxidants? and what is the benefit to horses?

Anti-Oxidants

An anti-oxidant is vitamins & minerals that control free radicals, which are a by product of cellular metabolism. They contribute to the prevention of cancer & heart disease. Anti-oxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, Selenium and Lipoic Acid.

   
How Does Echinacea Help Horses?

Echinacea & Horses

Echinacea stimulates immunities by acting as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflamatory.

   
How does Vitamin E help horses?

Vitamin E & Horses

E is an anti-oxidant. It is necessary for pregnant mares & newborn foals to have sufficient amounts of Vitamin E.

   
What is Valerian?

Valerian & Horses

Valerian comes from the same plant source as valium. Will cause a tranquilizing effect. Valerian will test positive~!

   
When should I feed alfalfa hay?

Alfalfa Hays

Alfalfa Hay is generally fed to hard keepers (or horses that are hard to keep weight/gain weight), high energy or performance or activity horses, pregnant or lactating mares and foals, weanlings, yearlings and two year olds.

   
What is the benefit of yucca?

Yucca & Horses

Yucca improves the digestion and is an anti-arthritic.

   
What are essential fatty acids (EFA) and how do they help horses?

Essential Fatty Acids/EFA & Horses

EFA assists in all healthy bodily functions. Improves the skin & cell membranes. Increases oxygen consumption, energy & metabolism. Increases kidney, nerve & immune system functions. EFA are beneficial body fats.

   
How does Vitamin C help horses?

Vitamin C & Horses

C helps resistance to infection & stress; benefits/assists in collagen synthesis.

   
How do Chelated Minerals help horses? What are they?

Chelated Minerals & Horses

Combination of iron, copper, magnesium, cobalt, zinc. These are necessary for Red Blood Cell maintenance, the functioning of the nervous system & protein metabolism. Chelatin is a process that improves the absorbing of the minerals.

   
How can I control parasites in my horse?

Use Diatomaceous Earth to Control Parasites in Horses

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is composed of the fractured shells of microscopic, fossilized sea creatures. Basically, it is equivalent to tiny pieces of broken glass. Harmless to all mammals, it is lethal to insects, parasites and may even provide some control for bacteria and viruses.

Adding food grade DE to your horse's feed can provide a number of health benefits. One major benefit is in the control of internal parasites. DE is a highly effective organic wormer, and can be used alone or as part of your regular deworming routine. As it passes unabsorbed through the digestive tract, the sharp edges kill internal parasites.

You simply mix a small amount with the horse's daily feed. It can also be dusted lightly over hay or mineral blocks and supplements. The recommended amount depends on how much you are feeding, but it is generally a small percentage of the overall daily feed. By adding DE for horses that have a parasite problem, you can clear up worms and other internal parasites in about a month. However, once the parasites are gone there is no reason to stop adding DE. Not only will it help control re-infestation, the same daily amount is also recommended as a regular dietary supplement. In addition to controlling parasites, diatomaceous earth helps improve joint health by reducing arthritic inflammation, promotes overall digestive health and may help your horse have a fuller, shinier coat.

One very important note: Be sure to use food grade DE. The DE sold as pool filtering material, for example, has been heat processed and is toxic.

   
What Determines The Ratio of Feed Per Horse?

Factors Effecting The Daily Feed Intake Ratios

The general rule of thumb is a little often. A horse's stomach is only about 1 to 3 gallons in size and therefore, they should be fed, a little, very frequently.

The rough rule of thumb is 3% of the horse's total body weight. Feed according to the rule of thumb but monitor the condition....making sure that the hip area is well covered with flesh and the ribs and shoulders as well.

Though you must beware (especially with some breeds) of overfeeding, there are just as many breeds that require alot more than the normal rule of thumb!!

The horse MUST HAVE CLEAN WATER AVAILABLE TO IT AT ALL TIMES!

The factors that effect that ratio are:

easy keeper vs poor keeper of weight;
amount of exercise daily;
placid temperment vs nervous (hot);
type of hays given: (alfalfa or timothy or local hay);
type of grains fed: complete, natural grain or extruded grains;
age;
growth period;
gestating or lactating mare;
stallion;
whether or not pasture is available;
stabled, blanketed or out in weather.

If you need any further assistance, don't hesitate to ask.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.