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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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Re: Overweight Horse

Hello Mary,

The best way I can help you would be to schedule a personal phone visit. That way, I can spend an hour or so over the phone going over every detail of your horse's life and come up with a plan that will feel right and work for him.

In the meantime, there is no need for him to have any additional feed. He simply does not require the calories. Grass pasture may be too risky if it is drought stressed (that raises the sugar and starch levels). So, a grass hay, offered free choice, along with a good supplement (not excessively high in protein) is the best approach.

Have your hay retested so you know the total non-structural carbohydrates levels (NSC). You'll need to add two numbers together -- percent Starch and percent water soluble carbohydrates (WSC). If your current lab cannot provide these numbers, send your sample to Equi-Analytical Labs and order the Equi-Tech test. This will also provide the mineral levels.

You'll want the NSC percentage to be below 12% to feed it free-choice. Your caloric level is fine. And magnesium is not well absorbed, so I suggest for now, to give 10,000 mg of magnesium. Carb X is excellent and provides 6,000 mg per ounce. You could double it, or go with an additional scoop of Quiessence (more economical).

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Hello Dr. Getty

I listened to the Easy Keeper teleseminar last night - thank you! I thought it was great, but I have a couple of questions.

I have a 10 yr. old TWH gelding. No history on the horse, I rescued him in 2009. At that time he was a bit underweight (maybe 75#) Over the past 3 years, he has gained that and more! When I first got him, he was on some oats and Platinum Performance. I thought he was starting to gain more than I wanted, so I first tried the StayStrong metabolic pellets...nothing has really helped. He is a voracious eater. He has regional fat (tailhead, and behind his shoulders) In addition to the StayStrong, I have cut his feed, taken him off of feed and gone to a hay ration/daily balancer (Progressive - the red bag is 30% protein, which I was told would help him lose weight) and the latest change was to D-Carb. In rereading this, I know it sounds like a lot of changes, but it has been done over a 3 year period. The horse did the best on a feed called AussieLogic low starch, but I had to give 4 pounds a day for all of the vitamin/mineral benefit, and I felt like he gained some on that amount. But he was black again, and his body shape looked great. He has weighed 1220 for over a year. He is 15.2. I now have him at home with me - no more boarding. He has some pasture here, but it is not lush, you can see the ground in most places. Small place, only 2 acres. We had 3 days of rain, and I think he gained 40 pounds after the grass did come up a little. He has some "recreational" pasture, so do I still feed free choice hay? The hay analysis for the hay I am about to finish (from October) shows DE of 1.72 (Mcal/Kg) and Total Sugar % as is 8.17. Protein as is 9.60 and DM is 11.12. I will have another analysis run on the hay I am picking up this weekend. Should he be on Mg? Should he even have feed (AussieLogic), or only the grass and hay, with some vitamin/mineral supplement? Currently, I put him back on AussieLogic, (smaller amount) and I give 1/3 cup of chia seeds, and a serrapeptase enzyme for inflamation...I also give Rush Creek minerals free choice. Just yesterday, I ordered a supplement called Heiro ...I started giving more hay....he was getting 4 flakes/day. Now I'm filling the nets when I see them going down, or hay gone. I work from home, so this is not difficult to observe. I feed with the small hole hay nets (he has been using these for the past 8 months) Please let me know your thoughts on how to feed my guy, and what to feed him! Our exercise in non-existent right now (it was 104 here yesterday)

Thank you

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio