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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: Feeding the IR horse.

Hello Debbie,

Thank you for writing. I would definitely eliminate the oats. An insulin resistant horse should not have added starch. I realize that you need to feed her supplements using some form of carrier, but go with something low in starch, instead. You can use moistened alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, or a commercial feed (such as Purina Wellsolve L/S). The commercial feed, however, will not provide enough vitamins and minerals at such a small amount, so you would still need to add a supplement.

I also do not favor giving her sunflower seeds. Their fat is very, very high in omega 6s (the most concentrated source of omega 6 fatty acids). Too many omega 6s, in relation to omega 3s, will lead to inflammation. You are much better off giving her flaxseed meal, which contains four times more omega 3s than 6s (in the proper proportion). I recommend Nutra Flax because it does not have added oats, like other flaxseed meals can.

Apple cider vinegar is fine.

Keep in mind that her nutritional needs will increase during her last three months of pregnancy. I have an entire chapter on this topic in my book, Feed Your Horse Like A Horse, which you may find helpful.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Debbie Ewing
Thank you so much for your time. I have a young mare (7years)who I believe is IR and not in danger so much anymore. She has a low sugar grass hay available to her in a slow feeder and pasture 24/7. She is exercised lightly everyday. I have bred her this year for a foal next spring and she is on a vitamin/mineral supplement specifically made for our hay (it was tested).
My question is I give her about 2 cups of whole oats, 3/4 to 1 cup of black oil sunflower seeds, apple cider vinegar (to dampen it) and her vitamins.
Do you think this is okay for her or should I switch her to something else as far as the oats go?
She does gain weight so very easily, but free feeding hay has made a world of difference.
Thank you again for your time.

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio