Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Forage is First

If you’ve been following my TV show this season, you’ve seen Dr. Judy Reynolds of ADM Alliance Nutrition offer specific feeding recommendations for a wide range of horses. All recommendations have the same form: Feed your horse lots of forage and tweak as needed. But what does this mean, exactly? First, forage can be living grass and other plants in a pasture or it can be the same thing cut and baled to become hay. In hay form, the forage first feeding philosophy favors grass hay because of its exceptionally high fiber content, although alfalfa hay can be supplemented in moderate amounts.

Now, what about the tweaking part? This always reflects the reality of the particular horse’s situation. What is his current body condition? How old is he? How does he live? How is he used?  He may just need a daily dose of vitamins and minerals not present in adequate quantities in the forage part of the diet. But he may also need more energy than he can get from the forage.  How these varying needs are met – the products and byproducts combined to produce the desired effect – is where the state of the art in equine nutrition lives today. The most important development in recent times is the move away from cereal grains such as corn, oats, and barley, once staples in equine feeds. Recently I sat down with Dr. Reynolds to explore exactly why she designed the ADM feeds as she did. This episode has received great response. Enjoy!


horses of course said...

I have been free choice feeding my horses forage for almost 25 years. I am so grateful to see all of the education that is coming out to help the horses life happier, healthier lives; getting them back to eating correctly, NOT meal feeding. One of the best ways to feed your horse in this manner if your horse is on dry lot is through a Freedom Feeder, it's like "pasture in a net" they have the capacity to give the owner total freedom from feeding routines and keep the horses eating slowly through 1.5" openings. Plus their customer service is fabulous!

horses of course said...

I have been feeding my horses free choice forage for almost 25 years. It's so wonderful to see more and more education getting horses away from meal feeding.

One of the best ways I have found to help when you don't have real pasture is to use a Freedom Feeder small mesh hay net. They are a cost effective product that allows you to put hay out in a 'pasture in a net' in different areas creating movement and self exercising as the horses go from one net to the next.

Keep more articles and education coming to help horses life happier, healthier, more natural lives. Bravo!