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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Beet pulp instead of oats?

Hi, My horse, Harley, he is a 7 year old paint. He was abused and not fed for months. I got him from a horse dealer not knowing this, the dealer was feeding him 1 lb. of sweet-feed so we continued to do that but after about a week of that he went "crazy". He was hard to catch, bucked and reared, wouldn't be lead, and he would bit at people as the walked by. For him that was compleatly unusual, he is a horse that gave lessons and would follow me around like a puppy. We found the number to the last owner before the dealer on the coggins and called them. They told us to stop feeding right away and that it is going to get allot worse if we continued. They told us to keep him on grass and hay, for the past 4-5 months that is all he has been eating and he was doing wonderfully. About a week ago we noticed him losing a little weight so we called around to find something to put weight on but keep his calm attitude, We were told that Oats would do the trick. Well Harley has been on a handful of Oats for 3 days is he is acting worse then he was on sweet feed. I heard that beet pulp would help but I thought hat in order for a horse to eat it it has to be mixed with grain. Can you please help me? My horse was a show horse before this and now I cant even ride him in the round ring, or lead him out of the field. If you can give me any hints to solve this problem please write me back.

I cant wait to hear from you,

Thanks for your time,

Re: Beet pulp instead of oats?

Hi Samantha,

It’s very apparent that Harley is responding to an elevated blood sugar (glucose) level produced by feeding him sugar (from the molasses in the sweet feed) or starch (from the oats). Some horses are more sensitive than others to changes in their blood glucose.

This is compounded by the fact that he was eating nothing more than hay for months and then given oats. So, the best thing for your horse is to not feed any grain.

Beet pulp is an excellent alternative. You do not have to feed it with grain. It is best fed as a mash, where you soak it in warm water for a few hours. But, you can feed it dry, as well. Be sure to buy plain, unsweetened, beet pulp. This will give him the extra calories he needs without the risk of adding starch to the diet.

To assist with his mood from another angle, I would recommend that you offer him a flower essence known as “Rescue Remedy.” You can find it on line. It is very helpful for all living creatures, including humans, as a gentle calming agent. You can put a few drops in his food or on his tongue.

I hope this is helpful.

All the best,

Dr. Getty