Return to Website

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
This Forum is Locked
balancing alfalfa hay

Dr Getty,

You have a wonderful forum here and I thank-you for providing so much information. I have a number of horses including stallions, broodmares and foals which for the most part have been receiving the traditional grain diet although we have used beet pulp as a supplement. I've read so much conflicting research on proper nutrition for horse it is good to finally find a common sense approach.
We live in Colorado and I have a number of horses that currently do not have access to pasture. They are being fed straight alfalfa hay because this year I was unable to obtain grass or grass mix which I would have prefered. (I buy in semiloads).

What I would like to feed after much reseach is a basic mix of the beet pulp and flax, with different supplements applied according to the needs of each horse.
But what can I use to balance the alfalfa phosporus/calcium?
As an example I have a 7year old arab stallion who is used for breeding and also shown but not ridden at this time. He receives daily turnout in a large corral as weather permits. He is very energetic and is what many would consider nervous and a 'hard keeper'. I want to put some extra weight on him for the show season.
So I am thinking of feeding him twice daily a recipe
2lbs beet pulp
1/2lb of rice bran
8oz of flax meal
ration plus
Then when he attains the desired weight cut back on the rice bran and flax.
Does the bran give enough of a balance to the alfalfa and is there anything else I should add in this situation?
Also I know there is a good bit of magnesium in alfalfa hay ....would using trying the Quiessence on him be too much?

Where are you from? colorado

How did you locate this forum? surfing

Re: balancing alfalfa hay

Hi Tiffany,

Thank you for writing!

Feeding only alfalfa can be problematic due to the high protein level, along with the mineral imbalances. So, it would be helpful to add flaxseed meal and rice bran to the mixture. However, you'll want to grind your own flaxseeds, rather than purchase a product, such as Nutra Flax, since flaxseed meal is higher in phosphorus than calcium (which is what you're after). But, Nutra Flax is fortified with calcium to balance out the inverted calcium to phosphorus ratio.

The same is true for Rice bran -- purchase plain rice bran, rather than a product that has been calcium-fortified.

To give you exact amounts to feed would require some number crunching and I would need to arrange with you to do this since it would take some time to do the calculations. Ideally, this would be the best approach since you want to keep the calcium to phosphorus content in line.

About Quiessence, I don't see the need, based on what you're feeding. Instead, it would be very helpful to give him a B complex supplement since this, too, will have a balancing effect on the nervous system. I recommend B Plex.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can assist you further.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO