Horse Allergic to Common Feed... Help!

My horse has had a few hives and has been super itchy so I had him allergy tested and now I have no idea what I can feed him other than supplements and hay. He’s allergic to barley, corn, flax, oats, and soybean. He’s on Cavalor but that’s changing tomorrow. He’s also getting Hygain’s Balanced, Modesto Milling’s Horse Supplement Pellets, and Coolstance along with vitamins.

I haven’t found a single feed that is free of soy, barley, corn, oats, and flax. There’s a little flax in the vitamins he gets, there’s oats and flax in the Modesto Milling stuff and there’s soybean meal in the Hygain balancer. All Triple Crown, LMF, Integrity, and Cavalor feeds are 100% out. There’s Showtorque from Hygain which has soybean meal but it’s further down on the list.

He’s currently getting timothy and orchard hay. I do have timothy cubes and chopped hay I can feed him but they aren’t the best for mixing supplements with. The only other thing I’ve found is Crypto Aero horse feed which has flax seed further down on the list. Is it possible for him to get all his nutritional needs from just hay and supplements? I know I can do allergy shots but until I can get them made, I’m SOL. Suggestions on something I might’ve missed?


Most horses do fine on just hay and a vitamin mineral supplement. You can put VMS in a mash of hay cubes or alfalfa cubes and/or beet pulp. If he won’t keep weight on with grass hay then feed some alfalfa hay or oil.

The only thing on your list I would miss feeding is the flax.


Normally, I’d agree but he came up deficient in selenium, even with the grass, supplements, and grain he was on. I added the Modesto feed to help with that. He’s only 5 so I want to make sure he gets everything he needs. But the hay cube mash is a good option! Thanks!

If you have access to Hygain products, how about Hygain Zero?

It sounds like the Coolstance is also OK for him?

I have not fed a horse anything but forage and supps in over ten years. I supp the individual vit/min with zinc, copper and selenium as the core. Vit E when not on grass.

Hygain also do micronised lupins and micronised maize (if you want to know what all of the possible options for mixing supps might be):

Between beet pulp, Coolstance, Hygain Zero, hay/alfalfa cubes, lupins and maize there should be plenty of options for putting together something that would work. There’s also possibly rice bran?

Does your horse keep weight on easily?

A horse allergic to all those things is one I’d be investigating some leaky gut.

How many pounds of those things is he getting?

It would be simple to use alfalfa pellets as your base of calories, and add a good forage balancer - California Trace, Arizona Copper Complete, High Point Grass, U-Balance Foundation or Sporthorse Grass (Uckele), Lonestar Trace, and more. Which one to use depends on your forage

Crypto Aero is a high NSC, unfortified, expensive feed. Don’t waste your money.

Yes, forage and supplements can work


What type of allergy testing was done?
I ask because the “gold standard” is intradermal.
Blood tests can be helpful, but also have a fair rate of false positives.


The VMS I use include selenium. If that’s not enough for your horse, you can add an extra selenium dose, but be careful.

@Postandrails in North America, corn is maize :slight_smile: so that’s not an option for OP

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@Postandrails I did look at the Hygain Zero and I’m not sure why I closed that tab. That looks like a good feed option. I just wish they were more specific ana said what the “roughage products” are in the feed. As @Scribbler said, maize is corn so that’s not an option. I can definitely do rice bran for fat. He came to me underweight with travel but so far, he’s keeping his new weight just fine.

@Snowdenfarm do you have a specific supplement you use or are they all individuals you put together for your own mix?

@JB he isn’t getting more than a pound of the Cavalor or the Modesto Milling feed. I rarely feed the full suggested amount. I worry alfalfa would make him too hot. He came with Havens Feed and I had to cut that back before I switched him because he was getting a little high. Thanks for the input on Crypto Aero. I know it’s not fortified but the ingredients seem good as a supplement. But yes, stupid expensive. He’s on some supplements that are good for his stomach so if he does have leaky gut, hopefully, that will help treat.

@Ghazzu it was a blood test. I know that can have false positives, I’ve done one as well for food issues and it showed my whole diet pretty much. However, I have noticed he’s more itchy than he was before and I don’t think it’s just due to shedding out. It almost looks like ulcer biting but he showed no other signs of ulcers. He didn’t bite those spots when I got him, it only happened after the feed change.

Thanks all for your input!

I have a similar situation with one of my horses and we are doing a Vit supplement, hay pellets, and pasture . We are using California Trace Plus as it matches my hay really well. It provides selenium too.

I moved all my horses to this to prevent cross contamination with feed and even my young growing horses and elders have been fine. I free choice feed hay and supplement with Beat pulp and/or rice bran if necessary.

It’s affordable and I’m always getting compliments on how shiny and healthy my horses look.


@ScarlettTrinity Cal Trace Plus like Ponycatraz suggested or K.I.S. Trace Original are both good sups. I have my hay tested and balanced so I just buy the individual vits/mins. I buy them from HorseTech and they will create your own blend, but I like the ability to vary amounts as I see the need. I am sort of a mad chemist out in my feed room, haha.


Thank you @Ponycatraz and @Snowdenfarm! I’ll look into those today. I’m at a barn and the hay isn’t always great but we don’t get it tested so I can’t be as accurate but a trace/vitamin/mineral supplement would be great to supplement the Hygain Zero feed. Thanks!!

You could possibly feed equi jewel or similar for a little protein and fat boost.

McCauley’s makes me :nauseated_face:, personally, but if you get in a jam, one of their pelleted feeds is limited ingredients. I think.

The results should have specified the degree of severity of the allergy. Were all of those ingredients severe?

The testing showed that all of his allergies were 100+ with 100 being an allergy. The flax came back as being 219 while the corn and soybean were under 100 and the barley and oats were around 140.

So far, the DailyWerks HD from Horse Tech looks promising. It’s hard to compare products though when one tells you the percentage and the other tells you mg/iU. Sigh.

Are you wondering if there is anything other than what’s listed in the ingredients?

Canola Meal, Lupin Meal, Lupin Hulls, RBO, Natural Vitamin E, Calcium Carbonate, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Salt, Lysine, Methionine, Sodium Zeolite, Prebiotic (MOS), Bio-Available Selenium, Biotin and HYGAIN® Vitamin and Chelated Mineral Premix.Biotin, Natural Vitamin E

I have found that some horses seem to find the Zero a bit bland, and take to it better if you can add something “tasty” to it. I think it depends on what they’ve been used to previously.

When I read that, I realised that I did actually know that. I have no idea why it didn’t compute in my head. :slight_smile:

@Postandrails I think your formula is different from mine… This is what is say for the USA from

Roughage Products, Sweet Lupin Flakes, Rice Bran Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Magnesium Oxide, L-Lysine, Yeast Culture and Extracts based on the Saccharomyces cerevisiae 1026 strain, Copper Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate,Potassium Iodine, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin, Cobalt Sulfate, Menadione Nicotinamide Bisufite, Foilc Acid,Selenium Yeast, Sodium Selenite, Choline Choride, Niacin Suppplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Monoitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement

They just don’t say what’s in the roughage products. And their site doesn’t say how much certain supplements in terms of mg or IU. For example, they say 0.70% lysine. I mean, how much is that? Is that 700 ppm or 10000 IU? It’s just not clear.

I found this chart very helpful when I was comparing supplements after moving

Ahhh. That explains your question. I suspect that it’s the same product (and the additional roughage is lupin meal and canola meal), but the ingredients are listed differently between countries. The Australian list includes a trademarked premix of vit/mins, whereas on your list it’s spelt out.

Because it’s an Australian company which has recently started exporting, I would send an email to the Australian site with your questions. edited to add - of course it just occurred to me that it’s only a website and all enquiries are probably handled in the one place, LOL.

Also, are BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) available and OK?