Yet another feed thread - advice for over winter and a good-doer please!

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
Hello!


Some of you may know I have a 15.1hh Connemara gelding, now aged 13. We have recently moved yards and the grazing isn't as lush as where we were previously on an old dairy farm. Since it's now winter and the grazing is becoming a barer, he's dropped a little weight. Nothing concerning but I think really he might need a little extra! Coming into winter he was a perfect weight, and I like him on the leaner side generally. He is fully up to date with worming and dentist, by the way - the weight drop is purely having less grass and probably more demanding hacking each weekend.

At the moment he is out 8:30am-3pm in the paddock, which at the moment has a reasonable grass covering but it is obviously dropping in quality and will continue to do so over winter. It's a reasonably big hill for him to graze/wander around and keep himself fit on too.

- Comes in to adlib soaked hay (due to asthma) overnight. I think it works out at around 8kg or so, before soaking.

- Morning and evening he is given 2 scoops of damped down Hifi Molasses Free with pink powder and some micronised linseed (4 little scoops which came in the packet/day). 2 scoops might sound like a lot but I like him to have a good tummy buffer before heading out to the sparseish field as we have previously suspected acidity issues with his stomach. He's never been scoped for ulcers but since treating him as an 'ulcer horse' we have never had any issues.

- Every so often I give him a handful of Thunderbrooks hay cobs in a treat ball (which he's strangely not overly fond of!) with the occasional carrot or parsnip.

Work-wise, he's ridden around 4 days a week with a mix of hacking and schooling. At least once or twice a week it's a 2hr+ hack which is heavy work with lots of hills and fast work, the schooling sessions range from half an hour to an hour (without cool off time around the field, which adds another 10mins of walking). Schooling is again usually reasonably fast, and we have maybe one walking or stretching session a week. So, light work but not uber-light.

So, thoughts? I want to keep it as light and cereal free as possible as he's a native (I worry about Lami even though he's never had it), and can be reasonably fizzy. I also worry about stomach acidity, as previously mentioned. I'm tempted to put maybe half a scoop of unmolassed sugar beet in to replace half a scoop of the Hifi at each meal - does this. sound like a good idea? Or up his linseed? Or, do I just cave and give a handful of standard pony/high fibre nuts in with his feeds and see how he goes? He seems fab temperament and general health-wise at the moment, but has dropped a bit of weight with the reduction in grass. I just wish I could stuff more hay into him overnight, or not soak it!
 

emilylou

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 February 2011
Messages
383
I feed my good doers Topspec linseed mash over winter if they need any extra. Its really lovely and keeps condition on well
 

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
I feed my good doers Topspec linseed mash over winter if they need any extra. Its really lovely and keeps condition on well
I've looked at this before but I'm not keen on the Molasses added in? I know it's very small amounts but wherever possible I avoid, perhaps overly cautious but it can make me nervous with any native or ulcer-y horses!
 

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
I use Speedibeet for my old girl and am impressed with it. I used to use sugarbeet shreds but much prefer the speedibeet.
sugar beet and up the linseed would be a good option IMO :)
Thank you! I was worried I wouldn't be on the right track with the sugar beet - I've had a few people look a bit quizzically before as it's not overly calorific? Equally though, looking on the speedibeet website, it's 11MJ/kg compared to the 8.5MJ of the Hifi, so that might be all that's needed for him as we aren't looking for much fattening up?
 

milliepops

Wears headscarf aggressively
Joined
26 July 2008
Messages
22,631
Thank you! I was worried I wouldn't be on the right track with the sugar beet - I've had a few people look a bit quizzically before as it's not overly calorific? Equally though, looking on the speedibeet website, it's 11MJ/kg compared to the 8.5MJ of the Hifi, so that might be all that's needed for him as we aren't looking for much fattening up?
good digestible fibre is what you need :) plus it's high in calcium so will balance out your linseed if you increase that.
 

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
good digestible fibre is what you need :) plus it's high in calcium so will balance out your linseed if you increase that.
Definitely! That's been my goal all along - Good fibre, lots of it, and nothing too complicated for what is actually a pretty easy to keep horse. Good shout re the calcium, too. I have only reasonably recently started the linseed and I have to say I think it's wonderful stuff - I didn't know greys could be so glossy!
 

P.forpony

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 February 2019
Messages
319
Side note on sugar beet, by the time it’s soaked the DE value is next to nothing, but it created more favourable conditions in the hindgut for fermentation. So it improves the efficiency of fibre digestion of everything else you’re putting in 😊
 

HeyMich

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 October 2015
Messages
1,638
Location
Sunny Stirlingshire
I really like Pure Feeds (I've said it many times before on here, but I'm not paid anything to say that!).

I feed all of mine - an ulcer-prone mare, a veteran with cushings, a wee fatty welshy, and a zoomy competition pony - on Fibre Balance (with added linseed for 2 of them) and they're all thriving on it. It's low cal/starch, no molasses, no alfa, no cereals, no NIS, has added mins/vits, added pre/probiotics and really tasty apparently! Highly recommended.

Call them for advice, they have a wide range of feeds and will tell you which is best for your horse and the level of work they are in.
 

RHM

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 January 2019
Messages
533
I've thought about Haylage actually! Is there much worry about acidity with Haylage though? I've heard mixed opinions on that...
It is certainly more acidic then hay but I wouldn’t be overtly concerned as there is no current link with ulcers as far as I am aware. There is vastly varying quality levels of haylage though! My yard makes some that is basically wrapped a day earlier than their hay so it is very dry. It is completely dust free but with a higher digestible energy in comparison to the hay they make off the same field.
 

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
Side note on sugar beet, by the time it’s soaked the DE value is next to nothing, but it created more favourable conditions in the hindgut for fermentation. So it improves the efficiency of fibre digestion of everything else you’re putting in 😊
Oh really? I've never heard that before! Surely if you're soaking it and not getting rid of any of the liquid, the calories will stay in there? Would love to understand more about this if not and you have a link to some info about this! Most of my feeding knowledge is based on Pony Club badges and working on yards as a teenager nearly a decade ago now.
 

ihatework

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 September 2004
Messages
18,525
Oh really? I've never heard that before! Surely if you're soaking it and not getting rid of any of the liquid, the calories will stay in there? Would love to understand more about this if not and you have a link to some info about this! Most of my feeding knowledge is based on Pony Club badges and working on yards as a teenager nearly a decade ago now.
I think what is meant is that, assuming you are talking about something like speedibeat, that the DE is calculated by weight unsoaked. People generally don’t use that much unsoaked due to the volume once soaked.
 

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
It is certainly more acidic then hay but I wouldn’t be overtly concerned as there is no current link with ulcers as far as I am aware. There is vastly varying quality levels of haylage though! My yard makes some that is basically wrapped a day earlier than their hay so it is very dry. It is completely dust free but with a higher digestible energy in comparison to the hay they make off the same field.
Very true! I'll ask what we use on my yard - I don't know anyone who feeds it at the mo!
 

SEL

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 February 2016
Messages
6,849
Location
Buckinghamshire
I use kwikbeet (or speedibeet depending on what store has in) as a base for my 3. One is a ridiculous good doer with PSSM, the other is a pony who does drop over winter and then there's my elderly draft horse who will drop a lot when the oomph goes out of the grass.

I obviously measure it out dry but then for the really good doer I make it very, very wet and mix with chaff. She thinks she's getting a bucket full but really its all water. Depending on how the other 2 are doing with the grass I increase / decrease quantities and also add in linseed or copra both of which are good for weight gain without an overload of starch.

Its also pretty cheap to feed.
 

dorsetladette

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 April 2014
Messages
1,444
Location
Sunny Dorset
I use kwikbeet (or speedibeet depending on what store has in) as a base for my 3. One is a ridiculous good doer with PSSM, the other is a pony who does drop over winter and then there's my elderly draft horse who will drop a lot when the oomph goes out of the grass.

I obviously measure it out dry but then for the really good doer I make it very, very wet and mix with chaff. She thinks she's getting a bucket full but really its all water. Depending on how the other 2 are doing with the grass I increase / decrease quantities and also add in linseed or copra both of which are good for weight gain without an overload of starch.

Its also pretty cheap to feed.

That's pretty much how I feed sugarbeet.

Sugarbeet as a base, linseed lozenges (they are a game changer for me), chaff to soak up the sugarbeet juice a bit and rolled oats. My cob has never looked so good. I can adjust the quantities to suit his weight/work load etc.

I've tried all sorted of expensive mixed and feeds, but this combination by far works best for us. My youngster is on similar too (sugarbeet, chaff & youngstock mix)
 

NinjaPony

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 March 2011
Messages
1,830
Honestly I used to just switch my Connemara from hifi molasses free to Alfa-A molasses free during winter and that always did the trick. Kept him looking just right, and didn’t blow his brains. Right now he’s on dengie meadow grass as he is retired, and is holding his weight no problem.
 

P.forpony

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 February 2019
Messages
319
Sorry that was a bit ambiguous.
Exactly as ihatework says, DE value is dry weight per kilo. A kilo of dry sugar beet then soaked is an absolutely enormous volume of feed!
So in real life my connie gets a 150g dry cup full of kwikbeet per feed which soaks to be 1/3 of a bucket full.
The m DE contained within that is a whole 1.65mj so negligible in terms of calories but beneficial in terms of digestion 😊
 

VioletStripe

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 July 2008
Messages
4,238
Location
Kent/Sussex Borders
Honestly I used to just switch my Connemara from hifi molasses free to Alfa-A molasses free during winter and that always did the trick. Kept him looking just right, and didn’t blow his brains. Right now he’s on dengie meadow grass as he is retired, and is holding his weight no problem.

That's definitely food for though, even if I just make it half and half!
 
Top