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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

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 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Re: Hay quality

Hello again, Holly,

I think I may have answered an earlier post and then I saw this one.

I am not aware of a comprehensive vitamin/mineral supplement that also offers enough magnesium for an insulin resistant horse -- you want 5,000 mg of magnesium per 250 lbs of body weight. And you want to watch out for too much iron since there is plenty of iron in hay and pasture and generally should not be supplemented.

So, Glanzen Complete is an excellent choice if your horses are not getting at least 8 hours per day of grazing on fresh pasture. If the pasture is of good quality and they're getting plenty of it, go with Glanzen (original).

I'm not really clear as to what else you're feeding -- if you're feeding a commercially fortified feed, then these supplements can be adjusted. So, I feel that I'm not able to give you specific advice until I have a very clear understanding of your horse's pasture intake, hay intake, as well as their other feeds. Exercise level, age, prior health problems --- all these also come into play when planning a feeding regimen. So, when you're able, the best way to would be to get together for an hour and go over everything in detail. It's very likely that we can come up with a more economical approach that fulfills your horses' overall needs.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Thank you again for your response and sorry to hear you were injured. Hopefully you are doing much better now. I recently lost my job after 9 years so I am in the process of getting my things in order and re-thinking my supplements for my horses. I have them on pasture/hay (minimal hay because they got fat on pasture), SmartPak EZ Keeper Vit, ADR ProBiotic top dressed on small (2 cups) alfalfa cubes soaked.

Seems to be working and moved them to smaller pasture to limit grazing and increased their excercise. Losing some weight but still about 50 pounds to go.

But now I would like to provide them with a Omega 3 source and am even more confused. Do I just add the SmartPak Omega or switch completely to a more complete supplement like Glanzen? Equishine also has a flax based supplement that looks good. Do you know anything about their products?

Do they really need all the extra vitamins that are supplied in say SmartPak Vits? I noticed that Glanzen doestn't have most of them and no MagOx or Selenium.
I like the SmartPak because it provides ALL plus some gut support but I am not opposed to changing if some of those things are unnecessary. Whatever I chose it has to be soy, oats, corn and wheat free and provide adequate lysine, magox and needed vits.

If Glanzen would fit my needs then which one? and can I use less than recommended?

Life would be great if I could just feed the Glanzen with the pro-biotic and then pasture/hay

Sorry for all the questions and I promise to call once I am re-employed but I have to keep expenses down and of course the horses are not a reducable expense

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO

Re: Hay quality

Hi Holly,

Your vet is right -- a good quality hay plus a vitamin/mineral supplement. And I would add some flaxseed meal to keep her hormonal levels (in particular, insulin) in good balance. I fear that she is not actually gaining weight, but has a hay belly (which is not fat, but gas).

So, to answer your question.. go with the timothy/orchardgrass mix rather than an alfalfa mix, since she needs to have all the hay she wants -- free choice. That way, she can self-regulate her intake and eat what her body needs. Some alfala is a good idea, but she'll have too much if combined with her grass hay. So if you can offer her alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay as a separate meal, that would be best.

Regarding a supplement, I recommend Glanzen Complete because it is flaxseed meal based and offers her a all the vitamins and minerals she needs.

She may also require some Quiessence if she has a crestiness to her neck -- that is an indication of insulin resistance and the magnesium/chromium in Quiessence will reduce her circulating insulin levels, allowing her to avoid any related problems (in particular, the risk of laminitis).

I know you've been through a lot of changes and it's difficult to figure out the best course of action, while working with your barn manager. So, please consider setting up an appointment for a personal phone visit. That way, I can go over the big picture -- all the details of your mare's diet and environment -- to come up with a plan that will help her thrive as well as fit into your needs.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

I have a horse that has struggled for years with diarrhea, gas, bloat and recently had a mild bout of impaction colic. Prior to the visit to the hospital for colic I treated her for Ulcers (2 months of GastroGard) and tried various stomach supplements including Ration Plus. Nothing worked completely. She would have a good month and then be right back where she was.
The vet at the hospital scoped and tested her and found nothing conclusive, but thought that both my horses had haybelly and cresty necks. So she asked that I have the hay tested. The results came back showing too low protein (5.6%), low Lysine and too high fiber. Since I am a boarder we tried the supplement route. Added flake of alfalfa and Triple Crown 30%. Seemed to help some but then the pasture (lives in 24/7) started to produce some grass and both my horses gained weight and became really agitated.

I immediately thought too much protein so have since cut out the alfalfa and halved the TC 30%. So they are currently living off the pasture and a little of the low quality hay for fiber as well as their vit/min supps. Too soon to tell if this change will help.

So now I realize that I just simply (or not so) need to buy better quality hay which leads me to the confusion. What would be a better choice....orchard/alfalfa mix or orchard/timothy?

They will get mainly pasture this summer with a vitamin and my young one gets Assure Probiotic. Then as the pasture subsides I want to get them on the right forage and am so confused as to what mix is best. vet stated a good hay with 10%plus protein and vit/min supplement.

Both are easy keepers....but my younger horse with the digestive issues appears fat when she really has a hay belly and bloat. In March she lost 25 pounds and finally have hips and flanks again when I first started supplementing the poor hay.

Am I even on the right track? It seems that everytime I think I have this solved....something goes awry.

Thank you in advance for your insight.

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO