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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. 

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All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Calming Diet for Quarter Horse

I have a 14 year old Quarter Horse that we just moved to a new location. He has been jumping out of his skin and actually rammed me into the stall wall, bruised me up really well, and sent me to the hospital with a concussion. We believe he was beaten in the past, and he is not always the most trusting, so I am trying to coordinate some professional training for him. Now, as far as feed goes, I know it is best to give your horse a variety of feed, such as alfalfa, timothy, grass hay, grain, vitamins, etc. and exercise regularly. I cut him off of the hot feeds to see if it would help, and it seems to have helped, but I also don't want to be malnourishing him. I purchased some "Command Serene" by Brookside Equine Supplements to incorporate into his feed. He will not eat it mixed in with dry cob, and I am going to try mixing it in with alfalfa pellets, but, again, I don't want to be counteracting the "Command Serene" with an even hotter supplement. Any suggestions?

Where are you from? Washington state

How did you locate this forum? Ask.Com ... Ask Jeeves

Re: Calming Diet for Quarter Horse

Hi Amanda,

I am very sorry to hear about your accident and I hope that you are ok. This horse does sound dangerous, and perhaps I'm out of line by saying so, but there are so many good horses in the world -- it's not worth risking your life on one that may not recover from his prior abuse.

So, please forgive the overstepping of my bounds -- since I know that is not why you wrote to me. But, I am concerned.

But, let's talk about diet. Some horses exhibit mood changes and swings in behavior when their blood sugar and insulin levels have dramatic peaks and valleys. So, to avoid this, it is best to remove all grain (cereal grains such as oats, corn, barley, rye, wheat, or pelleted feeds that are grain-based). And, remove all sugar from the diet -- no sweet feeds, no sweet treats that contain sugar, no carrots, apples, or other fruits.

Feed a low starch diet that consists of a good quality grass hay, along with a small amount of alfalfa -- a very small amount -- no more than 2 lbs per day. And, provide a meal that consists of a low starch complete ration (such as Triple crown Low starch) or soaked hay cubes, or soaked beet pulp, along with a vitamin/mineral supplement that is very high in B vitamins. The B vitamins are critical to calming the nervous system. I recommend Glanzen, or Reitsport, or another vitamin/mineral supplement where you also add B Plex, a B complex supplement. Adding magnesium to the diet, also calms horses down. Consider Quiessence to help with this. I have had very good results with these nutritional supplements.

While working with him, you may want to consider giving him some Tryptophane -- this is an amino acid that increases the production of serotonin in the brain and provides a mild sedative sensation. It is not a drug and it easy to find in most feed stores.

Good luck -- be careful -- and keep me posted.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO