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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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bran mash questions

Hi Dr. Getty-

I have some questions regarding wheat bran mash and sand accumulation and am wondering what your opinions are on it. I live in a desert region and some people out here give their horses bran mash 3 times a week with a scoop of psyllium in it. I've read recently in a equine nutrition book (the book has a copyright of 1992)that bran mash tends to pass right over the sand that has accumulated in the intestinal tract. If that is the case then wouldn't the psyllium be useless if you mix it in with the mash before feeding or would it still be able to pick up the sand? Also, a friend is feeding her horses a full coffee can of bran mash(1 lb 10 oz dry weight before soaking). I want to say that is too much. Do you feel that is too much? Is 3 times a week ok without upsetting the bacteria in the gut? I've heard that that is what is giving the laxitive effect in the horse is the couple times a week mash upsetting the bacteria. There seems to be so much contraversy on bran mash these days.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Shana

Where are you from? Pinon Hills California

How did you locate this forum? websurfing

Re: bran mash questions

Hi Shana,

I few things to comment about this one...

First, bran mashes upset the delicate balance of bacteria in the hind gut when given a few times a week. Consistency is the key is feeding horses, since changes every few days can cause upset and even colic.

Also, wheat bran is very, very high in phosphorus, and unless a lot of alfalfa is being fed to counteract the shortage of calcium in bran, this can be a problem with bone health and muscle function.

About sand -- psyllium husks are helpful, but frankly, a high forage diet generally is sufficient, along with careful feeding regimens. Having said that, however, if there is a great deal of sand in the gut, it can lead to colic, which wheat bran will not fix. I recommend a high forage diet where at least 70% of the diet comes from hay and/or pasture, and if necessary, a refined psyllium product such as Sand Relief.

Hope this helps!

Dr. Getty