Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feeding the (fat) Equine Athlete

What exactly does one feed a soon to be Eventing Percheron? Well it's a good question, and there is an ever-evolving answer. The topic of feed has come up quite a bit recently. I am lucky in that the current place I board allows us to feed our own feed, which is a wonderful luxury when you have both a fat and out-of-shape Percheron and a skinny and tough-keeper Thoroughbred. I need something which conforms to the EPSM recommendations by Dr. Beth Valentine in order to prevent Brego from having trouble in the future, but at the same time, it would be convenient if I could simultaneously put weight on the skinny Thoroughbred.

A high fat diet, low in non structural carbs, fits both horses well.

I initially tried the alfalfa pellets + oil route and ended up having a ratty looking horse. After more research, I moved him to the new diet in January and he is filling in really well. Now he just needs more muscle and definition... something a nice eventing exercise program can give him.

I mix the feed myself into a big tub and then scoop out the daily allotments:

45%Triple Crown Senior
45% Kent Omegatin
10% black oil sunflower seeds

He also gets about a cup of oil on top, which is a mixture of fish and canola oil, pro-biotic, msm, and electrolytes when needed.

I am hoping to switch to Smart Paks soon to make the feeding process easier.

Brego is a little fat right now and not very fit. It's been raining pretty heavily all summer so far, so his regular exercise program has been on hold. So on days he does not work, he gets about 1/2 scoop (2 lbs) of the above feed once a day and free choice hay/grass. On the days he does get to work, he will get a full scoop (4 lbs) of the above feed. Brego gets fat just looking at food. He and I both are of the "drafty" type!

By comparison, the Thoroughbred gets about 8 lbs of feed everyday, whether she works or not. She is also on the same free choice hay/grass. And she's too skinny, in my opinion.

So the diet is constantly tweaked, hoping to get both horses to look as good as possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great to hear someone else cheering the heavier types on.