Lets Talk About Diet...because all the other threads I've looked at are old

Just wondering what people are feeding, why they are feeding it, and WHERE your horse is located. As a person who has lived in three states (Florida Tennessee and Illinois) I have seen three very different trends among horse people and how/what they feed. Just wanted to see if there was a correlation between location and food choices. I’m sure there is, to a degree, based on what’s available near you. As someone who was trained extensively in dog/cat nutrition, I want to expand my horizons on equine nutrition. Give a little blurb about your horse(s), where you’re at, what you feed & why, as well as any insight. I am not looking for general rules of feeding, I get that, but just want to start a friendly topic and learn what you all are feeding!!

Having an active hand in my horse’s boarding farm (I feed and turn out, do other work) I find it amazing how when new boarders come in and you ask what they’re eating, several just say “whatever you offer”… without wondering WHAT their horse is going to be fed.

5 year old “mutt” large pony Mare

1 pound Manna Pro Safe Performance Controlled Starch Formula
(2X a day)
1 flake of T&O (timothy and orchard hay mix)
(2X a day)
14 hours of turnout on grass between 5:30pm and 7:30am (not sure what the grass is~native grass to coastal west Florida.)

she gets 1 scoop of electrolytes AM, 1 scoop of MSM PM, and a 7 day round of sand clear once a month

Located in Florida, on the gulf coast in the Tampa Bay region.

I’m not feeding my horses anything. Haven’t since the end of May :wink: They’ll be coming off grass and heading back home soon…They’ll be back to their always available orchard grass round bale (netted), a morning meal of Nutrena SafeChoice SR and an evening meal of beet pulp and alfalfa with their handful of flax thrown in.
Central PA and trail ponies, one Morgan and one TWH.

I’ve got a bit of an interesting one because my mare’s diet has changed so much after she had colic surgery 6 weeks ago.

11 year old mare, Belgian/TB, second level dressage.

Pre surgery:
6 flakes of hay a day (timothy with 10% alfalfa)
1 cup complete feed
half a cup flax
scoop Recovery EQ
scoop Elite vitamin supplement.

Post colic surgery:
8 flakes of hay (timothy and 10% alfalfa)
3 cups Step 6
scoop of Equine Choice pre/probiotic
scoop of Equitop Myoplast

Shocking to me how much energy is used in healing. She is currently eating more than she was when she was in full time work, and she has no gained weight.

Located in Alberta, Canada

5 year old TB mare:
1.5 qt Seminole Show & Sport (2x day)
Free choice timothy/orchard mix
Nighttime turnout in grass paddock (sufficient grass)

24 year old (hard keeper) TB gelding:
3 qt Seminole Wellness Senior (2x day)
1 c. Omega HorseShine (2x day)
5 qt. well-soaked beet pulp (2x day)
1 large flake alfalfa (which takes him all day to finish)
Nighttime turnout in grass paddock (sufficient grass)

I am located NE Florida.

I don’t currently own, but I remember well the diets of all the previous horses I rode. All were/ are located in NE FL, right on the coast.

TJ: Quarter horse gelding, 14.3 hands, ranch and trail horse, worked 6 days a week, 6-8 hours per day.

  1. Nightly turnout from 5pm until 8 am with native grass pasture.
    2.free choice coastal Bermuda hay at night.
  2. 1 lb ration balancer (I believe Nutrena balance) in the morning while being tacked up and groomed.
    4.He stayed at a BCS of 5

‘Reba’, 14.1 hand, champion hunter pony mare, Quarter pony, senior 14 years old.
She was prone to colic and got only a token handful of grain to keep her quiet at meal time.
She got free choice timothy hay lightly moistened and some grass while turned out.

There are about 6-10 others but for the most part the diets were so similar to TJ and Reba’s that there’s no real need to list them.

3yo SSH filly, EPSM issues. Ontario Canada. I board.

24/7 access to grass hay (Quality is iffy, we’re trying to nail down a good supplier)
4 cups of Purina Optimal (ration balancer)
Access to grass 24/7 seasonally

However this diet will change probably soon once we get a hay supplier (instead of going through a broker). When that happens we’re getting the hay tested, will find out whats missing in the diet and add only those with a carrier (beet pulp or some low NSC feed but in minimal amounts (~1lbs) just to act as carrier)

Two horses in central Fla:
Retired big TB - 6 hours grass pasture, Timothy/Alfalfa hay probably 5 flakes/day, 6 lbs Senior Feed done in three feedings. Electrolytes and metamusil

12 yr old mare (2 colic surgeries, not working very much)
Same as above on hay/pasture, 2+ lbs Ration Balancer w/ a handful of senior feed, (spread over 3 feedings) pre/pro biotic and electrolytes.
She is the easier keeper of the two by a country mile.

2 Morgans (ages 7 & 12). Basically the same diet, just different amounts.

Remy (12):
3 flakes (2 am, 1 pm) of local orchard grass hay - roughly 10 lbs a day. This goes up to 2/2 in the winter. PM he gets a lb of Safe Choice Performance and a lb of alfalfa pellets.

Aries (7):
4 flakes of local orchard grass (2/2) - PM a lb of SC Performance and 2 lbs of alfalfa pellets.

They both get a Vitamin/Mineral supplement and a cup each of flax with their dinner grain.

Oh, and I’m in NW Washington.

My favorite topic! I have a 6yo Hanoverian gelding who is boarded in Connecticut. He’s at training level, schooling first level, dressage. He gets all-day turn-out and flakes of soaked hay. In addition, he gets:

– 2 pounds CoolStance AM and PM
– 1 pound Connemara Crunch AM and PM
– A mix that I make myself that includes: chia seed, probiotics, sea salt, and a whole food daily vitamin
– Hemp oil, but I will stop when I run out. I may switch to Emerge Oil or WildGold (their human-grade oil…I don’t like the additives in their equine formulation)…I haven’t decided yet.

Young hard keeper OTTB gelding: 12lbs TC Senior per day (split into multiple feedings) with 4lbs alfalfa pellets. He gets as much grass hay as he wants. I don’t know what type–I live in PA, if that makes a difference. Tons of good pasture when in season. He also gets SmartCalm Ultra for his mind and SmartOmega3 for his coat and his feetsies.

Retired easy keeper QH gelding: a little Hillshire Farm container of Nutrena SafeChoice Senior 1x/day with Flex Force (liquid HA supplement) for his arthritic hocks. He gets as much grass and hay as he wants. The senior feed is just a carrier for the joint supplement.

Here’s what my herd gets. All are one a large pasture (80+/- acres) in central SD, and they all get fed 2x/day.

30 y.o. QH who’s a little on the skinny side, gives the occasional pony ride to my very young cousins:
1.5 qts Purina Equine Senior
1 qt dry measure beet pulp
1 c. oil
^^^extra soaked for optimal mushiness

Mid-20s QH at perfect weight, sort of hard keeper, does nothing because I don’t have time to ride 3 regularly:
1 qt senior
1 qt dry measure beet pulp
^^^soaked with as little water as possible because he won’t eat it if it’s too soupy

11 y.o. big TB at perfect weight, hard keeper if not on grass, jumper/dressage/cowhorse 3-4x/week:
1 qt senior
1 qt dry measure beet pulp
1/2 c. ground flax in the AM
^^^medium soaked

12 y.o. QH, fat fat fat, cowhorse/dressage when I make him:
2 handfuls senior, only because he’s hard to catch and well, 80 acres

I feed Purina because it’s the best quality feed I can consistently get (Triple Crown, oh how I miss you!). The senior is because it keeps weight on the TB without making him nutty and the older guys need mushy food. The younger QH only gets it because he doesn’t get enough grain to justify buying a different type. Based on what the local Runnings tends to be out of, cheap sweet feed seems to be pretty popular. This is big cattle country, and most people out here have QHs and good pastures.

I’m feeding 2. Both are out 24/7 in big gravel paddocks attached to stalls. Pasture 12 hours a day during the summer. Current diet (QH will likely get more fat / hay as it gets colder). During the summer they don’t get morning hay, just get turned out on pasture. Right now the grass is gone and the pastures are a bit stressed and she’s been a bit off on her RF so they’re in paddocks full time.

realized I forgot details you asked for. Gelding is in work 4-5 days per week as a Reiner - lots of loping, galloping, and trotting. He’s at a really nice weight now after treating for ulcers this summer but has been a hard keeper in the past. We’ll see how this winter goes. I’m in Western WA.

5 year old QH gelding (15.1 hands):

  • morning - 10# Eastern WA mixed grass hay
  • At night
    • 2 quarts TC Senior
    • 2 oz Millennium Gold vit/min supplement
    • 2 scoops Remission supplement (for the magnesium / calming effect)
    • 10# second cut alfalfa
    • during the winter I often add 1 pint rice bran pellets and 2 oz Cool Calories

      14 year old mini molly mule (8 or 9 hands):
  • morning - she mooches (hence her name, Mooch) off geldings hay ration
  • At night
    • 1/2 cup TC Sr
    • 1/2 oz Millennium Gold vit/min supplement
    • 1 scoop Remission supplement (she’s previously foundered and laminitis prone)
    • 3# Eastern WA grass hay

I’ve had horses in multiple states and under multiple circumstances. I think it is very dependent on the horse, the hay quality and the feed quality.

When I lived in the west, horses did very well on quality alfalfa hay and quality grass hay even in the absence of pasture (desert-no grass). Grain was typically fortified grain with maybe a ration balancer and was sparsely fed. The coats were like mirrors. The hardest keepers got beet pulp and something like senior feed. In my experience, western hay is the best hay available in the U.S. When I lived east, I found that my horses didn’t thrive as well on fescue or bermuda hay. Their coat and body condition changed. Supplementing with compressed alfalfa bales helped, since the horses seemed to only pick at the available hay yet sucked down good alfalfa. Of course, the pasture quality varied widely.

My current hard keeping youngster is on mostly 24/7 pasture (well managed pasture, I will add), and about 7 lbs Nutrena Pro Force Fuel per day. Plus non-molasses beet pulp. In the winter, he gets compressed alfalfa to supplement his diet. I have gone over my horse’s diet with several professionals, including a Purina and Nutrena rep and of course, my vet. I feel very positive about this diet regime, as my horse is fit, energetic, lean but not skinny (he’ll never be plump), and otherwise looking good.

My favorite topic! I have a 6yo Hanoverian gelding who is boarded in Connecticut. He’s at training level, schooling first level, dressage. He gets all-day turn-out and flakes of soaked hay. In addition, he gets:

– 2 pounds CoolStance AM and PM
– 1 pound Connemara Crunch AM and PM
– A mix that I make myself that includes: chia seed, probiotics, sea salt, and a whole food daily vitamin
– Hemp oil, but I will stop when I run out. I may switch to Emerge Oil or WildGold (their human-grade oil…I don’t like the additives in their equine formulation)…I haven’t decided yet.[/QUOTE]


Can you elaborate on this post? You feed 4 lbs of cool stance a day? It’s so light and flakey! How many ounces or cups does that add up to? I ask because I used to feed cool stance but at a much lower amount, maybe I wasn’t feeding enough. Why chia seed and why Emerge Oil or WildGold? I never heard of these but I’m really interested in your feeding regime and how it’s working for your horse. Thanks!

I’ll have to come back and read the posts in more detail. I’m new to being able to wholly control diet.

I have two in a small field. Mid-20’s QH, one little mini.

QH came home about a month ago, has always been a “hard keeper”, and former BO sent a list of what she’d been feeding, but the horse was still underweight.

I changed her diet to soaked timothy cubes, 1c stabilized flax and a probiotic 2x/day. At this point it’s maybe 6 cups of cubes presoaking. That plus always having hay in front of her and she’s put on a ton of weight and is dappled and healthy. I was feeding oil, ran out, but will likely go back to it soon to help beef her up for winter. The only changes I plan to make are upping the volume of cubes as the weather gets colder (and if necessary feeding more hay).

Little guy came to me 3 weeks ago, fat fat fat. He gets a smaller version of same diet and that combined with being out and getting exercise has helped him lose the weight and also get dappled and shiny.

Things I’ve learned over the years… this is the best diet for this mare. Simple. No alfalfa outside of what’s in the hay (tim/alf mix). If she’s skinny, she needs more grass/hay - full stop. But of course that’s a hard thing to impart upon BO’s in the majority of boarding situations. I’m so happy to have her home where she is thriving.

My next area of investigation is minerals and salt. Salt is accessible (several kinds) in the field. I’ve had bad luck in the past with top dressing minerals causing laminitic flare ups. I don’t know if it is the processing or the binders that did it. Obviously I want to provide everything she needs, I just wonder how best to do it. Does anyone feed free choice minerals?

SW Ontario, Canada

16hh 8yo light built CSH mare (Han/Tb x KWPN) not an easy keeper but fat as a tick right now and in reasonably hard work for a sport horse schooling 2nd level more or less - works 6 days/wk Very limited access to grass which might bother me if I hadn’t kept warmbloods for years on dry lot and figured it out.

as much timothy/alfalfa hay as she will eat = 15-20lbs/day
2.5 kg Horse Chow (Purina roughage chunks)
1kg Equilizer (Purina ration balancer)
Pro/Prebiotic (1/2 scoop Equine Ecstasy by BioAg)
1 scoop Hoofmaster (Herbs for Horses)
1 scoop Serenity (Herbs for Horses)
1/4 cup baking soda
1 heaping TBS food grade yeast flakes
1600iu vitamin e
200mcg selenium
3 cups canola oil
ETA 2 cups soybean meal for taste and protein

I am starting to add back in some alfalfa cubes to her evening soup and she will get roughly 1kg+ daily for the entire winter. Just enough to cover for a bit of heat loss (she is blanketed) and for the lack of grass to pick on during turnout.

This seems to get the weight packed on - it was a year long struggle - and keep the ulcers at bay. I do still pre/post treat when taking her away, but we’re at almost a year without an out of the blue flare up.

My feeding hasn’t changed much in the last couple if years, other than changing amounts to go with workload, etc. Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

10yo TB gelding, moderate work, not always the easiest of keepers.

  • 2.5lbs Pennfield Fiberized Omega, AM and PM (this changes depending on workload)
  • 1 cup Cocosoya oil, AM and PM
  • free choice, high quality orchard grass hay when in
  • ridiculously good pasture when out (this is the biggest change since the beginning of the year. Both my horses live on farms that are on a swath of land in this area that has incredible grass. Thankfully, this isn’t a bad thing for either!).

28yo Appy gelding, professional trouble maker, fairly easier keeper, considering his age

  • 1 cup Triple Crown senior, once a day (will go up in the winter as he doesn’t always eat hay as well as I’d like. Right now, pasture is lovely and he’s perfectly plump).
  • full time great pasture that will be supplemented with free choice hay

ETA- both boys live in western Northern VA.


2 Mares - one Clyde/Standardbred X and one Shire/QH X

Both out 24/7 unless SEVERE weather hits (like an ice storm)

Pasture when available, free-choice hay in a net/Hay Hut when grass is gone.

Fed Once a Day

1/2 Pound soaked hay/alfalfa cubes
3 cups BOSS
1 & 1/2 Cups EquiPride
2,000 IU Vitamin E
1 Scoop Remission (both are SUPER easy keepers)

I also provide a Redmond Rock.

That’s it!

1 Very large Percheron mare and 1 regularly large warmblood gelding :smiley:
In spring, summer and now early fall until grass dies:
Pasture 24/7 (with good shelter)
once a day:
1 cups plain alfalfa pellets, wet, with Equimin vit/mineral
white salt block
I also use Remission in the early spring and fall when sugars are supposed to be the highest in grass

Pasture 24/7 (with good shelter)
2 x day:
after grass dies will feed hay, about 4-5 flakes
Will up the alfalfa 1/2 quart
1/2 quart soaked unsweet beet pulp
1 cup flax seed
& Equimin

Vermont here!

Two horses: 8 year old QH gelding, 23 year old Arab mare

Summer diet for both: 24/7 turnout on grass, Poulin MVP (ration balancer) for their vitamins and minerals. When the QH is in work, he sometimes needs additional calories to keep in shape, so I will add alfalfa pellets.

Winter diet for both: unlimited hay, 24/7 round the clock. Ration balancer for both.

I think I’m going to add flax back into their diets soon. Their hair was unbelievable when they were on it, and my mare’s scratches went away with flax in her diet.