** Plz remember to find non-gmo alfalfa cubes and grains.These are not natural and will undermine your horse's health.Plz research the topic.Removing corn, wheat, soy from your horses diet is important since all are GM.Buy organic whenever possible to avoid the risks of GMOs and pesticides.**
Our horses have been on the following natural feed for several years now. They love this feed
and their physical appearances prove to us that this feed is extremely effective at fulfilling their nutritional needs. In fact, our horses have never looked and felt better. The difference in the shine on their coats, top line, muscle mass and condition of their hooves is amazing....And we were feeding high (expensive) quality "processed" feed (a bit of a contradiction!). The other benefit is lower feed bills. This feed, pound for pound, provides better nutrition that is easily assimilated by the horses so we are able to feed less and get better nutrition.Of course, our mainstay is high quality hay fed along with this recipe.
1-1/2 lb Alfalfa Cubes
1/4 lb Beet Pulp (never more than 1-1/4 lbs total per day)
1/4 - 1/2 lb Whole or Crimped Oats - may increase to 1-2lbs for hard keepers
1/8 cup Organic Coconut oil -may increase up to 1/2 cup as needed for hard keepers
1/8 lb Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
1/8 lb Fresh Ground Flax Seed
1 Tablespoon all natural Sea Salt or himilayan pink salt
1/4-1/2 cup Apple Cidar Vinegar (must be organic, raw, unfiltered to be beneficial)
1/3 of the normal (label) amount of a good vitamin/mineral supplement (organic, food based is best)
* I highly suggest adding a quality pre, probiotic and digestive enzyme supplement, too.We use Equine-Zyme from Earth Song Ranch.More info below.
*I also suggest using MSM for horses with inflamation of any kind.We do not use glucosamine/chondroitin supplements since these are animal based products and not a natural feed for horses (herbivores).Glucosamine turns to sugar when digested and sugar is inflammatory.
*We also use herbs for their nutritive value and/or detoxifying/medicinal properties.However, herbs should not be used in place of a healthy diet. Our goal is for good food to supply everything your horse needs to thrive.Sometimes with older horses with chronic disease long-term herbs are helpful. But for youngsters good food should do it.
1 - Cover feed with water and then add 3-4 more inches of hot water and soak 15 minutes. The feed will "plump" to a soft mash consistency.
2 - Feed this amount twice per day AM and PM with 10 lbs ( or 1.5-2 % of body weight daily) of good quality hay with each feeding.
1 - Always have plenty of fresh, CLEAN water available and a WHITE salt block in the pasture. We also offer a Redmond mineral block along with plain white.
2 - If you cannot feed wet you may substitute alfalfa pellets for the cubes, skip the beet pulp (must be fed wet!) and feed this mix dry. I do think the wet feed is better for digestion and suggest you stick with that if at all possible.
3 - Organic coconut oil is a wonderful substitute for corn, which is now GMO.This is especially true for horses that cannot have sugar/starch at all.It is also full of omega 9's to aid digestion and has no sugar or starch.Grape seed oil is another oil that is none gmo and has the correct balance of omega 3 and 6.
5 - When choosing a vitamin , try to find an organic,whole food vit/min supplement.They are absorbed better and much easier on the digestive system.Organic is best if possible/ cost effective for you.
You can find the ingredients for the natural feed at the following local suppliers:
Carolina Home and Garden - HWY 24 Cedar Point, NC
Country Aire Southern State - HWY 24 Swansboro, NC
S & H Garden Center - HWY 24 Hubert, NC
Onslow Feed and Grain- HWY 258 Richlands,NC -Only feed store with non-gm beet pulp
Our recipe is for a 1,000 lb horse at rest or very light work. Adjust for the individual's needs as you see fit. Working horses may require more protein and carbs as will hardkeepers...Hot horses may do best on small amounts of oats. During cold weather, more fat and fiber may be required, etc..you get the idea.
The sunflower seeds and flaxseed are at the maximum for 1,000 lb horse. Flaxseed must be ground or soaked before feeding. Otherwise it just goes right thru the horse's system without the omega 3's being released. These amounts should stay the same or go down for smaller horses and ponies.Very large draft horses, warmbloods, etc. may do fine with a little more. Large amounts of beet pulp may upset the calcium phosphorous balance in your horse's body and cause gas and firm stools.You can avoid ths problem by keeping it at a minimum. Variety in small amounts is the key when feeding natural. You want to "cover all your bases" nutritionally . The apple cider vinegar (ACV) goes up in the summer to help control flies. Be sure to get REAL ACV, not "flavored".ACV is very nutritive and lowers blood sugar spikes after meals and aids digestion. However, keep the amount small for ulcer prone horses since it is acidic.
As always make feed changes slowly over a 2 week period. Some horses may experience some symptoms of detoxing (runny eyes, nose, mild gastric upset, etc.) while making the switch. I have seen this most often with horses on soy based feed and those on long-term pharmaceutical medications. This is normal and to be expected as toxins are expelled from the body and the GI tract rebalances itself. In rare cases,it can be intense. Just maintain where you are at in the switch until the discomfort passes and then slowly continue with the changes.If it becomes severe seek veterinary advice. Also, if you're feeding the alfalfa with a pelleted feed during the change, your horse may become "hot" due to the excess protein. The protein level in alfalfa is 15% to 17% while most pelleted feeds are 10% to 12% protein. So, go slowly and adjust accordingly for each individual. Overall, try to keep the alfalfa portion around 2/3 of the total ration and the other ingredients about 1/3 of the ration. Again, there will be exceptions to this so always adjust the amounts based on the individual's needs.
When buying good hay for a natural diet, remember quality and variety are key. The more variety, the more nutrients. We use an alfalfa mixed grass to ensure all of their nutritional needs are fulfilled. The reason we use 1/3 of the label amount for the vitamins is because the alfalfa and other feeds are full of natural minerals and vitamins that are easily absorbed by the body. My rowdy thoroughbreds became quite full of themselves on the regular amount so we cut back. This food has everything they need and our horses are thriving on it. I use the vitamin/mineral supplement to fill in any possible holes in our feeding program (and for my peace of mind, I'm a bit "OCD" about my herd!).Our area is selenium diificient so supplementation is needed.
Of course, an effective de-worming program (fecal counts by vet necessary!) and healthy teeth are also required for your horse to thrive. Below are the categories I use for this feed when adjusting for the individual.
Alfalfa - Protein Sunflower Seeds -Omega 3's and 6's
Whole, Crimped Oats - Carbs Ground Flax Seed -Omega 3
Coconut Oil - Fat, Omega 9's
Beet Pulp - Fiber
**PLZ feed HIGH QUALITY HAY with this feed .It is the MOST important part of this diet.Without it your horse will not thrive as he should.I do NOT consider local coastal or orchard grass high quality.The coastal is mostly fiber with few nutrients/protien and the orchard does not have enough protien/ minerals and has too much sugar.**
I also suggest everyone adds a good pre, probiotic and enzyme supplement to their horses' diet. We use Equine-Zyme by Earth Song Ranch for our herd.There is a link on our Resources page and some additional info follows.
Probiotic, Prebiotics, Digestive enzymes: Why continued supplementation???
Most of these organisms (good bacteria, gut flora) horses used to get from grazing live grasses and herbs.With depleted soils and a lack of variety of grasses, herbs and use of pesticides and fertilizers and horses not grazing constantly on a variety of "live" material...their systems become depleted of these essential bacteria.Hays, processed feeds, etc, do not contain sufficient (if any) amounts of these organisms.
Yes, you would think once you add them in (supplement) the body should be able to reproduce them at a healthy rate and constant supplementation is not needed.The problem is that everything in our environment and way of managing horses can deplete/kill gut flora.Dewormers, antibiotics, processed feeds, pharmaceuticals,vaccines, pesticides, toxins in our soil, air and water supply (chlorine, flouride).Some studies also show that horses are unable to produce gut flora like they were in the past.Again, probably because of the unnatural lifestyle (stressful, lack of live food) and pollution in our evironment that most horses deal with in modern life.
On top of that, stress of any kind (weather changes, traveling, performance,illness,disease, etc) can kill off gut flora due to the changes stress causes in the physical body.Keeping the horses gut "seeded" with correct pre, probiotics and enzymes is essential to good health. Two thirds of horses' (ours too!) immune system is in our gut, keeping it functioning properly means a healthier immune system to fight off disease, heal from injury, process stress and toxins.It also means a better functioning GI tract and therefore digestion.Which in turn may mean less episodes of colic, gut problems and improved absorbtion of nutrients from food.
** I am no longer available to answer feeding questions without an appointment.If you have questions about the recipe please contact me by email to schedule a nutritional consult appointment.We may do this in person or by phone.Due to the high volume of calls with many questions that required hours of my time (and phone minutes), I now only answer questions during scheduled appointment time.My consult fee is $45/hr. and usually takes about an hour. Of course you may always ask your vet for advice or do your own research on the subject if a consult appointment does not appeal to you. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this change causes for all of you.
Cheers to Healthy Horses!!
We strongly encourage you to check the ingredients list on the feed that you are currently using. We are extremely concerned with the ailments that we have observed in several rehab horses that were on a soy based feed.Most processed horse feeds(if not all) now have soy in the top 3-5 ingredients listed.Even some alfalfa pellets are processed with soy oil.Please read the ingredients list to know what you are getting. We have seen serious gastro-intestinal issues and urinary tract problems that have made the horses very ill . Some of these are long-term colic and ulcer symptoms, straining upon urination, very dark (coffee) colored and "stringy" urine with very little output. We have also witnessed odd issues with weight and muscle distribution such as bloated bellies, muscle loss (wasting) along the topline and hips and horses that are extremely over or under weight although being fed an appropriate amount of grain for their size. They also just appear very unhealthy/toxic with long, dull haircoats, dull eyes, poor feet and are lethargic. If your horse is currently on a soy based product, we recommend that you research other available feeds and make a switch.The research I've read states that during the processing of the soy hulls/beans a toxin is released as a by product of that processing that remains in the feed. Genetically modified grains also have serious effects on health.Over 90% of all corn and soy is now GMO!! Another article I found also states that soy contributes to the formation of kidney stones. Maybe this is why we're seeing the urinary problems. Soy is being used since it's a cheap protein source and sold as "very" healthy. There is no research to support that soy is healthy for you or your animals. I'm sure you are aware of melamine (a toxin) found in soy based infant formula in Japan. Melamine gives a false, high protein level reading when food containing it is tested. I have to wonder if this is the same issue for soy feed for our animals here. The extremely underweight horses I've seen on 20lbs. of feed per day support this conclusion.Or it could be that their bodies are unable to process the toxins long term and start to shut down .
Dr. Joyce Harman speaks briefly of the problems with soy based feed on her site in an article on Cushings Disease. Click here to see her article.
Although we are strong supporters of all natural, forage based feed, there are processed feeds that do not contain soy that could better suit your horse. It is up to you as your horse's caregiver to research the subject and try to make the best decision possible for your horse's health.
As with any living being, a healthy diet is required to thrive and to overcome health issues. A body must have the nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. This is true especially during the healing process. Unless the basic (and then some ) nutritional needs are fulfilled the body is unable to effectively or efficiently heal itself. This is why we put all of our own horses on natural feed and strongly urge our boarders and rehabs to do the same. We can use all of the "good" medicines we'd like but when we continue pumping toxins into our horses bodies thru "bad" feed we won't get very good results. We're putting toxins in faster than the medicine is able to clear them. With that going on the healing process is mediocre at best. We have over 30 years experience with horses and have tried many of the processed feeds on the market and researched most of them. We now opt for natural, unprocessed feed only ....Also, please check feed recall lists often !!
Please view one of our boarder's experience with soybased feed and the issues that her horses endured on our personal stories page.
Click here for a short, but good article.
Please view our testimonials page to view a boarder's story switching from processed feed to this natural feed recipe.