Feeding advice for a 2.5yo living out..?

k95

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Jun 15, 2019
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Hiya, just bought my first two horses - I've ridden for 15 years so generally my knowledge of care, training, health issues etc is good but choosing feeds is alien to me as Ive never had to do it!

I've got a 2.5yo colt who's a welshie cross I think, the grass on my land isnt particularly lush so I'd just like some advice on what hard feed I should try him on to encourage his growth. He's done okay on past year on bad grass hasn't lost any weight but as welshies develop slow I feel I should be offering hard feed too?

I also have a 13yo ex racer, don't know anything about his past but he needs to build muscle mainly rather than put on fat. Would you guys advise I get him on a hard feed too to get him in better condition or just see how he goes on my grass first? I will be riding him in future but mainly hacking and occasional jumping for pleasure, no competing or anything. Thanks :)
 

carthorse

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For the youngster - don't! Or at the most a low calorie balancer so he gets his vitamins & minerals. Feeding won't encourage growth, but it will encourage joint problems.

For the ex-racer I'd say hay and grass to start with, and again a balancer or vit & min supplement. You do need protein to build muscle, but only once he's working.

As you're new to all this I'd suggest ringing round some feed companies, or better yet getting an independent nutritionist out who will also be able to give you an expert opinion on their current condition..
 

Frances144

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Dont' feed just for the sake of it. That is the way to bankruptcy.

Feed if you horse(s) need it. Their skin, their coat condition, their general shape will tell you whether you need to feed or not.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of the "must do something for my horse" because everyone else is. If your horse is not thin, do not feed it.

I do not feed my youngsters. In winter they get a mineral lick. If they were thin, I would feed them.
 
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k95

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Currently the youngster is in good shape but my grass isn’t as good as what he’s on now, am I best just seeing how he does even if that does mean he drops? Just didn’t know if he needed hard feed with being young (I work with exotic animals and diets for youngsters are often different/more)
 

Huggy

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Personally I'd go with hay rather than hard feed, but then, I'm stingy.;)
 

Trewsers

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For the youngster - don't! Or at the most a low calorie balancer so he gets his vitamins & minerals. Feeding won't encourage growth, but it will encourage joint problems.

For the ex-racer I'd say hay and grass to start with, and again a balancer or vit & min supplement. You do need protein to build muscle, but only once he's working.

As you're new to all this I'd suggest ringing round some feed companies, or better yet getting an independent nutritionist out who will also be able to give you an expert opinion on their current condition..

Why does it encourage joint problems? Is it just extra weight on them or some other reason? Just being nosey (sorry to thread hi jack :) )
 

carthorse

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@Trewswers it's partly the extra weight & partly it can, if overdone, rush their development so everything is growing too fast. DJD is a particular problem with over fed & over produced youngstock.
 

domane

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The youngster should be fine.... way better for their growing joints of they're a little underweight rather than over at his age. Pumping feed into him is setting yourself up for joint disorders too. Horses are actually designed to eat scrub.... the stuff that sheep and cows don't want.... but us hoomans like to look at nice green pastures and that's why horses suffer diseases like EMS and laminitis. He may lose weight from the stress of moving home but should recover quickly.... a young horse's will to survive is strong. If your grazing is really that poor, supplement with hay, not haylage. As a part-Welshie he will balloon!!
 
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Jessey

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I'm another who doesn't give hard feed, just grass, hay if that runs out and some vits/minerals. Keep it simple, it's much safer for them. I know a mare who was overfed as a youngster for showing, feed was withdraw immediately when they noticed the issue when she was 3 but she now (at 6) has contracted tendons and will develop club feet sadly.
 

newforest

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The only hard feed mine gets is a carrot.
If you don't have rich grass it sounds ideal for the Welsh. They are meant to forage and move about to look for things.
 

Mary Poppins

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I have never given my horse hard feed in the 8 years I have owned him. Not even when we were competing most weekends and working him for 2 hours per day. As he has got older, I now give him a balancer to make sure he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs, but he just gets this mixed in with a handful of speedibeat and a couple of carrots. I could fit the content of it into a mug it is so small.

So I am another who would advise against hard feed for your horses. A good balancer is the most they need and many people argue this isn’t necessary either.
 
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