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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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feeding digestive bran

Hi Dr Getty,
Please could you give advice on feeding bran to a horse. I would like to know if it is possible to replace my horses concentrated feed with a bran mash / chopped carrots/apples approx two days prior to a show to reduce his energy levels so that he does not become "over the top" at competitions. He is a very good doer so is currently on a small ration of 10% low energy cube am and pm, hay ad lib and has access to grazing for most of the day.He gets a dose of Brewer's yeast and joint supplement as he is 18yrs old. If i have to cut his concentrated feed prior to a show, he will not get anything due to the small amt he is being fed! i need to replace his meal with something that will not increase energy before a show. Do you have any ideas? (PS we do not get chaff etc in South Africa and bran seems the only alternative) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Txs Julie

Where are you from? south africa

How did you locate this forum? internet search

Re: feeding digestive bran

Hello Julie,

It would be far too risky to change your horse’s diet so dramatically and so quickly. Horse’s digestive systems require consistency in order for their bacterial flora (that live in the hind gut) to stay healthy. If new foods are suddenly introduced, or old ones rapidly taken away, these bacteria can die. The result can be colic or even laminitis.

So, before a competition, I would suggest that you offer him an excellent supplement called “Lactanase” – made by Vita Flex. This will provide support for his muscles during intensive exercise.

And, I would recommend that you reduce his concentrated feed and gradually start replacing it with the bran mash mixture you spoke about. However, it is not balanced for calcium – so you cannot feed only bran – you’ll need to add some alfalfa to it to boost the calcium level. Your other option would be to look for a low starch, high protein, high fat feed.

So, bottom line – do changes slowly. You can also support the bacterial flora during stress by giving him a daily dose of Ration Plus. This will improve his production of B vitamins, which have a natural calming effect on the horse.

Hope this is helpful!

All the best,

Dr. Getty