When I bought Rags, his seller warned me that he can be a hard keeper. On top of being fed free choice alfalfa, Rags also received a whopping 18 pounds of grain a day: 3lbs of Triple Crown Complete, 3lbs of Haystack, and 3lbs of a rice bran/rolled oats mix per feeding, plus a daily supplement of Tri-Amino and an Omezaprole treatment for ulcers. I did the math: all of that together comes out to $382.20 a month! 😮
That was a lot of grain. According to Equus’s guide on feeding for weight gain a horse shouldn’t be fed more than 0.5% of its body weight in grain in one sitting. For a horse like Raglan, that’s about 6 pounds per meal maximum. He was originally getting 9 pounds per meal—and BarnOwner and FarrierN both thought the grain was filling him up so that he lost interest in his hay. 🙁
Right off the bat I took him off of the Triple Crown Complete and the oats and used the Haystack to make up for the difference. Haystack is a fan favorite in the Pacific Northwest. It’s $12.99 for a 40 pound bag, has 12% protein/6% fat/28% fiber, is made in Oregon, and has all natural ingredients. Here’s the list:
Plain Dried Beet Pulp, Sun Cured Alfalfa Hay, Sun Cured Timothy Hay, Flax Seed Mean, Canola Oil, Heat Stabilized Rice Bran
Rags got to finish off his Abprazole and his Tri-Animo, plus a 50 pound bag of rice bran, and then I gradually cut back his grain. Now he gets 3 pounds of Haystack per day (during his evening feeding).
Raglan also gets as much alfalfa as he’s willing to eat. Alfalfa gets a bad rap—a lot of owners think it “makes their horse hot”—but in actuality alfalfa typically meets a horse’s protein and nutrition needs with a smaller quantity than grass hays, which can lead to owners accidentally over-feeding (and over-energizing) their horses when they switch to alfalfa. Alfalfa is also better for preventing gastric ulcers!
I feel so much better about the food he’s been eating. Plus if BarnOwnerK notices him getting skinny she’s got room to add in another scoop of Haystack without overloading him on grain. I’ve got a few more tricks tucked up my sleeve for the winter (Farnam’s Weight Builder has been recommended to me and there’s also a lot of people raving about CocoSoya), but hopefully I won’t need them!
In the mean time, I also started both ponies on joint supplements. It was really hard to pick—there’s a lot of differing opinions about which joint supplements work best, plus I had to take my budget into consideration. Even the limited selection at the Country Store was overwhelming.
In the end I picked out the two cheapest 5lb tubs: Glucosamine 5000 and MSM from AniMed.
Glucosamine and MSM are two of the top ingredients for joint supplements. In fact, if you look at the ingredients in Tight Joints Plus (which TrainerA uses for her older horses!) and Cosequin (which costs an astounding $125 for an 80 day supply, so it’s got to be made of magic, right?), they’re primarily made up of Glucosamine and MSM with small amounts of other vitamins/supplemental ingredients (like ASU powder, ascorbic acid, and manganese), so I feel good about the Glucosamine/MSM combo I picked up.
Hopefully all of these diet changes will keep Raglan feeling happy and healthy! 🙂