In any case, the recent topic of discussion is feed; specifically, what is fed and why? This is a timely topic as I always re-evaluate my feeding strategy as the seasons change. Bakersfield has eight months of summer, three months of winter, and a few weeks each of spring and fall. I don't usually need to make too many adjustments outside of winter and summer.
So what do my boys eat and why?
The bulk of their diet is of course made up of hay. I used to weigh the hay at my last barn, but since moving to the ranch, no one cares how much hay is fed unless it's clearly being wasted. Both horses get a good quality alfalfa (relatively cheap and abundant here in California) as well as orchard grass (brought in from Oregon).
Along with what is essentially free choice hay, both boys get a daily bucket of beet pulp and rice bran. Through the winter, both boys needed some denser calories to keep the weight on. They filled up on hay, but it wasn't quite meeting their nutritional requirements.
Throughout the colder, wetter months, Izzy ate 3 pounds of soaked beet pulp and about 1/2 pound of rice bran. The beet pulp is simply more calorie dense than hay while the rice bran gave him just a bit more fat calories to keep him looking rounder.
Speedy started to look a bit lean over the winter so he got 1 1/2 pounds of beet pulp with a full pound of rice bran. He's looking rounder now. As it begins to warm up, I'll probably reduce the beet pulp both boys are eating by as much as 50%, and I might be able to cut out the rice bran completely.
I am not a big fan of supplements as none of them actually seem to do what they're supposed to do. I've had horses on SmartCalm and Quiessence, and I never noticed a change.
After conferring with my vet though, he convinced me that horses in my area do a need a little help, especially with selenium and vitamin E. So even even though there were less expensive options, including the product that my vet formulated, I decided to go with a more comprehensive product, Platinum Performance. Both horses get the recommended dosage of two scoops daily.
Along with their Platinum, both boys always have a salt source as well. Speedy has a Himalayan salt wheel as well as a small salt block in his feeder. As I was writing this, I realized that Izzy's salt block is currently missing. I don't think he ate the whole thing, so it's probably buried in the mud somewhere. It looks like I'll be rounding him up a new one.
The Final Picture
Alfalfa flake a.m.
Orchard grass flake p.m.
Alfalfa/Orchard grass a.m. & p.m.
So what do you feed and why?