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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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exciteable horse prone to weight loss

Hi, I have a 16.2hh tb, part warmblood who is extremely sharp. If you breathe the wrong way hes galloping off with you. He does have mental problems, as he was abused in the past but I would be interested in knowing any feeds that could help keep him calm. Unfortunately he needs a fair amount of feed as he loses weight easily, but he likes mixes, he gets bored and won't eat a lot of chaff stuff. At the moment he gets 3/4 scoop of alfa-a oil, half a scoop of spillers conditioning cubes and 1/3 of a scoop of spillers slow release competition mix, and a dose of herbal calming supplement twice daily. He does w/t schooling and hacking, and will be doing some jumping soon, but nothing really strenuous. Any suggestions would be great! I also think molasses makes him worse. thanks!!

Where are you from? England

How did you locate this forum? via another horse forum

Re: exciteable horse prone to weight loss

Hello Spiral,

I took a look at the Spillers website to see if I can view the ingredients, but they are not available. If this feed mainly consists of a grain such as oats or corn, it may be producing a sugar surge and a consequent insulin surge that can produce mood swings in many horses. Molasses is very poorly tolerated by these horses, for this reason. So, I would not feed him any sweet feed.

He would be much better off with a feed mix that is made from soybean, rice bran, and/or beet pulp. I notice that the conditioning cubes have fewer carbohydrates than the competition mix, so perhaps the conditioning cubes are a better choice.

Take a look around your area to see what feeds are available that are low in grain and let me know. Hopefully, I’ll be able to read about them on line and give you an idea which ones are the best to use.

Another thing that will calm him is enough calcium and magnesium. The Alfa-A oil feed that you are offering is high in these minerals. So, I would suggest that you cut down on the competition mix (which is likely high in grain) and instead, feed 2.5 kg of the Alfa-A oil each day. If you are using a 1-liter scoop, you will likely need to feed two scoops each day (1 at each meal).

Have you had him tested for ulcers (abused horses are very likely to have them)? Often times, the pain of ulcers manifests itself as a “hot” horse, when it is truly the pain that is causing the behavioral problems.

I hope this is helpful. If you find that you need to arrange a live chat so we can discuss this at length, please let me know.

All the best,

Dr. Getty