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
Confused on feeding a balanced diet

Hi Dr. Getty!

I was hoping you could advise me on what I should be feeding my three horses. I want to be sure they are getting a balanced diet that is cost effective for me ( if that's possible, LOL!). Firstly, I have a recently weaned Paint/QH filly. She is 6 1/2 months old and is currently 505lbs. My vet says she is too fat, and she has a pot belly(which is not due to worms, because I had a fecal test done). Before I weaned her she was getting 2 pounds a day of Strategy by Purina(which is way less than the 7.7lbs. they recommend), 1/2oz. Fasttrack probotic once a day, shared a half and half mix of orchard grass hay/alfalfa hay with her mom, and a small pasture area to graze. My vet advised me to cut her Strategy in half, but I am concerned that she won't be getting enough of the vitimans and minerals that she needs. Also a friend of mine said to cut back on the amount of Alfalfa and increase the amount of Orchard, but won't that throw off the Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio? I am so confused! What should I be feeding her?

Secondly, what would you suggest for my filly's dam? My mare has always been a easy keeper, but I noticed that she has steadily been losing weight for about the last 3 months. I think it may be partially due to her being in pain. Back in June my shoer trimmed her really, really short, and caused what my vet called a mechanical founder. About a week after the "butcher" trim, her appetite had changed dramatically. At first I thought she was sick, because she didn't want her grain, and would only eat her alfalfa hay. I had to put her on Bute for about a month. When I took her off the bute, she became really sore and lame again. I didn't want her on the bute any longer because I heard that it can cause ulcers. So I took her off the bute and had to have my "new shoer" put special pads on her to make her comfortable. I wanted to try B-L solution, but they didn't recommend it for pregnant or nursing mares. Now that her filly is weaned, I thought l would give it a try before I tried changing her diet to see if her losing weight was pain related. What do you think? Before I bred her, she was about 1,095 lbs, in May, (before the dreadful trim) she was 974lbs, in August 945lbs, and now she is 959lbs.

Thirdly, I have a class "C" mini that is too fat. She is 36 1/2" tall, and currently 341lbs. She is allergic to Alfalfa, so I can only give her Orchard grass. She only gets about 3.5 lbs of orchard a day, 3/4oz fasttrack, and 1/2lb daily of Purina's Nature's Essentials Equine Supplement Enrich 32. It would be so much eaiser and cost effective if I could feed all three of them the same thing. Before I bred my mare, she and the mini only got orchard grass, Millinium Gold Vitamins, plain rolled oats, and their fastrack. Mabey I should just go back to that. What do you think?

P.S. Sorry for the long post.

Where are you from? Washington

How did you locate this forum? a friend

Re: Confused on feeding a balanced diet

Hi Charlene,

Thank you for writing about your three horses. It sounds like your situation would do best with a personal phone visit. This way, I could not only help you simplify things so you're not feeding each horse a different diet. But, I could also help you with determining what is best for each horse. You have several situations going on here -- growth, underweight, laminitis, pain, and the needs of a mini. So, it is beyond the scope a simple response to assist you.

In the meantime, hay should be the basis of the diet for all three and alfalfa is a wonderful addition to the diet to boost the overall protein quality. This is very, very important for your growing filly and for your mare. Since your mini cannot handle alfalfa, we can look at alternatives.

A buteless pain reliever is certainly fine for your mare now that she is no longer pregnant. Take a look at Stop the Pain -- I have had very good results with it. But, we need to take a look at what is causing the pain and fix that situation, rather than merely putting a bandaid on the situation.

So, please let me know if I can assist you further.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO