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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 to much?

Hello Dr. Getty
I hope all is well with you. I am posting today on behalf of my girlfriend Heather. (She's to shy to do it herself) Anyway, she owns a draft quarterhorse cross mare and would just like an opinion of her feeding scheduole. She gets 1 flake of alfalfa and 1 flake of Orchard grass in the morning and again in the evening. In the middle of the day she gets 1/2 to 1 flake of Coastal bermuda, mostly so she has something to snack on in between the other two meals, which are spaced fairly wide apart. She also gets 2 cups Empower and 1 cup Safechoice (both by Nutrena) plus grand complete every day.

The empower is an extruded minipellet formulated mainly with ricebran and flaxseed, my only concern is it contains corn oil, not very much but it is still in there. Heathers mother seems to think that the 16 hand horse is eating to much and getting fat. She has gained weight since she was purchased, but at the time she was a very skinny girl. Any problems or suggestions?


Where are you from? CA

How did you locate this forum? originally, google

Re: feeding to much?

Hi Jamie,

Well, the question would be, is she overweight or is that only the owner’s impression? Does she have fat deposits on her back, tail head, neck? Drafts, even draft crosses, are large animals.

From what you describe, it sounds as though she really requires more consisting grazing. Consuming small meals with a lots of time in between, actually slows down the metabolic rate, making her more likely to store calories as fat when she does eat.

If she is, in fact, overweight, I would stop feeding Empower (the amount of corn oil is not that significant to joint issues since she is only being fed a small amount). However, Empower is a high fat top dressing and should not be given in large amounts to overweight horses. And, 1 cup (1/2 pound) of SafeChoice is barely feeding anything.

My opinion? She is not getting enough pasture and/or hay. She should have access to hay (or pasture) throughout the day, along with alfalfa to balance it out. She should have one small meal of SafeChoice each day, along with the Grand Complete. But, this is a general formula – I would certainly need to get more details if I needed to be more specific.

Hope this helps!

Dr. Getty

Re: feeding to much?

How do I identify fat deposits? I have always had trouble with this.

Re: feeding to much?

Hello Dr. Getty,

Hi, I'm Heather, the friend that Jamie was talking about. (And no I was not shy, but I didn't know the site to post at) Thank you very much for your advice. I was not really worried about how much my horse was getting but my mom thinks that she is getting to much. As far as I can tell she does not have any fat deposites anywhere on her body. When she runs she gigles a little, but nothing majore. She has the fat deposite on her neck, but she has had that since the day we bought her, and it is actually going away now that she is getting regular excercise. Again, thank you for your advice, I will have to have my mom read your reply. Oh and we may try and get a picture to send you, just to make sure. Thanks a million.


Re: feeding to much?

Hi Jamie and Heather,

Sounds like things are on the right track. If she continues to have a stubborn crest on her neck (one of the places where she gets fat under the skin), you might want to give her a magnesium supplement such as Quiessence.

Keep me posted! Great visiting with you both.

Dr. Getty