I am a horse owner that over the years have always left my horse’s grain up to the barn to decide. Currently he is on Triple Crown Senior, but I will be moving him to a smaller barn that has nearly all the horses on a local grain. That being sad, I’ve been toying with it for years, but now is the time to see if maybe there is a better feed out there. With recent scares of cross-contamination etc and many new “natural” feeds entering the market, there is so much to think about. So, what do you feed and why did you choose to feed it? I want to be able to make an educated decision for my horse!
I feed a whole lotta really good hay
And a very small amount of Nutrena SafeChoice Senior, mainly to get supplements into them and keep them excited about coming up to the barn. The SC Senior is easy to source where I live (other products are not!) and my horses like it. I’ve also had better luck with it for adding weight than other pricier feeds, but that doesn’t play a role in why I feed it right now.
TC Senior is really a fantastic feed, and if you’re happy with how your horse looks, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I have a very, very easy keeper who foundered on hay. Her hay is restricted to 5 small flakes a dayi but due to developing ulcers and treated for them she gets 1cup of TC Senior+ 2 cups of alfafa pellets twuice a day plus a small bucket of soaked alfafa cubes before she is ridden. And supplements. The mare looks great.
TCSenior is a great product. Ive fed it to even young horses.
OP, I think you could continue your feeding strategy and be just fine. Many horses do very well on hay + TC senior. With the “local grain” available at your new barn, I would look at the ingredients and the NSC (non-structural carbohydrate) figures, as TC Senior is a fairly low starch/low sugar feed (which might be the best match for your horse, if they are doing well on it).
FWIW, my mare is fed:
-Quality hay (25-35 lbs/day, depending on time of year)
-Hard feed composed of whole foods appropriate for her hard-keeping PSSM self (my barn switch off commercial feeds for most horses a few years ago, so I switched too)
-Supplements for her special self
IMO, hay is the most important part of her diet. She does get some pasture, too, although her paddock is not lush.
IME, most locally milled grains are often grain-centric and as a result, quite high in sugars and starches (NSC). Of course there are some that are really amazing, but they are harder to find. You would want to find out exactly what is in the local feed before deciding.
TC Sr is an awesome feed. There are some that work better for horses, and there are many that are far worse.
Ample quality forage is the first thing to feed. I do get that some boarding situations don’t allow that to be the staple of the diet. In those cases, a high quality feed low in sugars is particular important because of a higher amount needing to be fed in may cases for the sheer calories.
If you can still get and feed the TC Sr, and you like how your horse is on it, it’s unlikely a locally milled feed will do the same job BUT you do need to find out exactly what’s in it.
If cross-contamination is a concern behind feeding TC Sr., I’d be even more dubious of a local mill. There are phenomenal local mills, then there are ones who take a “good ol’ boy” approach. You know, “if it worked for my granddaddy, it will work for me…”
I feed lots of hay, grass when possible, and 5 of the 6 I have at home only get Gro N’ Win on top of that, from my too fat donkey to my 3 big warmbloods.
Then I have a Morgan mare who arrived in a skinny condition, she is getting Purina Integri-T until she gains an adequate amount of weight.
I have OTTB gelding that was getting 12 lbs of TC Senior and free choice pasture and orchard grass hay. He gained weight only when in no to light work. If he was in moderate to heavy work, he was losing weight.
I switched to TC Complete, same deal.
I added free choice alfalfa when he was stalled (6-8) hours. He lost a little less in moderate to heavy work.
I switched to Nutrena ProForce Fuel. He gained weight even during moderate work on 9 lbs of feed, but his coat and hoof quality went to crap.
I am now trying Seminole Dynasport. He is on 4 1/2 lbs of feed and one flake of alfalfa and he is finally at a weight I am happy with (room to lose a few). He has been in light work since April. His work load will start increasing over the next 2 months and by Nov he will be in heavy work. I am very happy with his hoof and coat quality. I am hoping that he will be better able to maintain his weight this year on 8 lbs or less of this feed. Only time will tell.
I feed my 2 OTTB pro force fuel each horse gets 8 lbs a day. Minimal hay, because they don’t eat much to begin with. Added alfalfa pellets feeding 3 lbs of that a day, both are still thin. Feed what I feed because it’s what both horses will eat.
Tried other feeds and they won’t eat it.
I had an ulcery thin OTTB that was a very picky eater. TC Senior was fed free choice and he consumed between 12 and 15 lbs per day. Grass hay in the stall during the hot days and out on lush pasture otherwise.
He gained some but not enough to my liking. i then decreased the TC Senior to 10 lbs only per day, added TC Alfa Lox and alfalfa hay.
He loved the Alfa Lox and I could see a difference within 10 days.
Oh, and he turned his nose up at alfalfa pellets, cubes, and other chopped alfalfa. The Alfa Lox was the only forage that he seemed to really love.
My others get TC Senior as a base and then TC 30% Supplement if they are too fat for the recommended TC Senior. Hay is a mix of orchard grass and alfalfa, the latter added only if the horse is not overweight.
I am a big fan of Triple Crown.
I feed Triple Crown Lite mixed with: alfalfa/timothy pellets, Cool Stance copra, a bit of soaked/shredded beet pulp and some oats. I add California Trace Vit. + Power Stance minerals + Power Stance concentrated coconut fat (cool calories). Rations depend on each horse’s needs. I add (Natural Vet) Weight Check oil (omegas) too.
This is an ultra low NSC combo, high fat, no sugar. Plus my horses are on pasture almost 24/7 and get top quality hay – orchard, alfalfa, timothy. All my horses are OTTB’S.
I like this thread. At the suggestion of my farrier (he’s a real expert in nutrition), I don’t currently add any grain (actually just a handful for enticement and because others get it) to the forage, just a bit of alfalfa pellets to deliver probiotics in the AM and California trace minerals in the PM. Currently she’s on antibiotics and my trainer is “a sucker for gut health” so i do the probiotics, though that’s newer to me. Always up for suggestions from the farrier/vet/trainer though. My mare is a QH in little to no work for the moment.
I have a 23 yo Standardbred who was eating Nutrena SafeChoice Sr, 6 lbs a day, with a cup of Nutrena Empower Boost 2x a day. He gets free choice grass hay in a 2" nibble net. I switched him to Triple Crown Senior and added 1 cup of Omega Horseshine and he’s never looked better. His dandruff is gone, his bug reactions are less dramatic, and he spends less time rubbing on things.
I have my two senior “air fern” fjords on first cut grass hay (via slow feeder nets) and a “meal” consisting of 1 cup Cool Stance Copra + 1 cup timothy hay pellets + a senior multivitamin.
I add one teaspoon of table salt and Equiotic (a probiotic) in the summer as they don’t tolerate heat well. In addition, one of them has skin issues so he gets Omega 3 via flax seed and the other has Cushings (gets Evitex) and now IAD so we’re starting SmartBreathe by Smartpaks this month (fingers crossed this helps).
I feed Triple Crown 30%. Why? My horses have tons of pasture, and really only need vitamin, mineral, and protein supplementation.
I am a former feed industry employee with over 15 years experience. I have sold Triple Crown and gave sold against it. Triple Crown’s customer service is second to none. It is well formulated and milled in plants that are much, much safer than any “local” mill out there. I have audited big company plants, as well as many “local” mills, and I have seen huge issues in local mills that are downright scary!
I feed a mix of grass/alfalfa (its about 15% alfalfa if I remember right), and then ~1/2lb (when dry) beet pulp, and two handfuls of grass pellets, and a handful of sweet feed. In the fall and winter, he gets a weight builder supplement because he’ll lose weight when it gets cold out and he’s a wuss anyway so I try to get him fat. I’ve talked to my vet and I don’t need to add anything specific to my horse’s diet, so he’s probably going to stay on this for the foreseeable future, since he’s doing so well on it and surprisingly not losing weight.
I feed beet pulp because it was recommended by my trainer after my horse got too hot on grain but we needed to give him something to get weight on him. I give him the pellets/sweet feed because when we moved barns, he started refusing to eat the beet pulp (exact same brand and everything), and it took a few days of experimenting to figure out how to get him to eat his food.
i have a young horse, so probably what i feed won’t be of much use to you with a senior.
but i sometimes take care of an elderly horse for a friend. this is a morgan who at the age of 32 is still taking riders under 130 lbs on trail rides for a few hours. she looks great and has tons of energy.
she gets grass hay, beet pulp soaked with a tablespoon of salt added, LMF Senior supplement, and–IIRR–alfalfa pellets soaked with the beet pulp.
my 7 y.o. get 20 lbs of grass-only hay in slow feed nets, LMF Super Supplement G (a ration balancer specifically for horses in the Pacific Northwest who are on grass hay), 1 c of beet pulp (before soaking) a day for gut motility, and a scoop of FastTrack, which is probiotics, during periods of stress.
oh and the reason i feed grass-only hay is because i want my horse to have hay in front of her all the time without turning into a blimp.
My two horses have lots of Bahia grass pasture that they are out on unless there is terrible weather. In the summer they get a bit of orchard grass hay as well, in the winter they get lots of hay. They have either hay or pasture available 24/7.
One boy gets 2 lbs a day of Seminole Calm and Cool, with additional salt since he won’t use a salt block. The other boy is on Platinum Performance CJ, salt, and about a pound of Calm and Cool daily.
In the past I was feeding a ration balancer, beet pulp, and alfalfa pellets. I switched to the Calm and Cool in an attempt to simplify things. So far, so good.
As much hay as the horse can eat, fed in Porta Grazers to slow them down. This amounts to about a half of a square bale per day per horse, less when they are on pasture.
One of my horses doesn’t get any added grain, just Nutrena Empower Balance ration balancer. The other gets Safe Choice Senior. Both of them get beet pulp at bedtime most nights, too.