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Hopefulky I can clarify
....."25% of you mare's diet is untested hay (unsoaked) and from what I understand from your post your gelding is fed the same hay (soaked) and it is at least 50% of his diet and soon to be 100% (?)."....
Sorry for the confusion. Firstly, my mare: she is doing well on the ODTBC as >75% of her diet (the 5 lbs/days is the maximum; it is some of last years first cut that is quite poor quality mixed grass hay). She just nibbles on it throughout the day and the most she gets is 5 lbs, but usually less. With the 15-lbs of ODTBC/day, she is more than adequately meeting her 1-2% body weight in forage that, as Ive read many times, as ODTBC is a completely balanced diet in and unto itself (with addition if iodized salt/flax/VitE). Whatever she is getting from the nibbles of long stem hay in the haynet is minimal. Yes, I'd love to know exactly whats in the 5-lbs a day of hay she eats but its just not practical at this point in time for me to buy small lots of hays and have each analyzed at $56/a pop when im using so little.
However, when my gelding stabilizes from his latest insulin crisis, which is hopefully very soon, I will need to procure a large load of analyzed hay to feed the him, the one who gained too much weight on ODTBC when they comprised the bulk of his diet (thru winter into spring). He is in moderate to heavy work but the cubes still add too much weight now that the need for extra calories for winter warmth has abated (meaning, he was on 20-lbs ODTBC plus free choice analyzed hay all winter living out clipped & blanketed. He maintained perfect weight & insulin levels thru winter. In spring i dropped the cubes to 15-lbs, then 10-lbs, along with free choice analyzed hay and he still gained weight. I did not see how *much* weight he had gained until he got into an insulin crisis beginning of this month when theoretically he should not have. Extensive testing only showed iron overload that is definitely an old problem from eating god only knows what in the eight years before his IR diagnosis.
My mare & gelding live on different farms and do not eat the same hay. He is eating a 2015 first cut mixed grass that is grown/baled by the farm where he is boarded. I feed the hay they have bc, well, its part of the board i pay for. In the past the same fields & cut have analyzed well below 8% ESC+starch. In the Northeast it has been a difficult season for first cuts of hay due to an early drought. Loads have been small. Regardless, my gelding got into an insulin crisis in early June and went on the Emergency Diet (only soaked grass hay, nothing else, no cubes). He was indeed footsore for a few days. Once that ended i re-introduced the iodized salt, vit E oil, and flax slowly and watched for signs of hoof soreness returning. It did not. A few more days passed and his wild frantic behavior began to mellow out--thats when I know his insulin is back down into his "normal" (mid 20s uU/dL). I could draw blood now to be sure he's in good shape but as we are entering the weekend i will wait until Monday for a fresher blood sample. It wont hurt him to have a few more days of soaked hay. With confirmation of blood results showing a good insulin level has been acheived, I will then take him off the soaked hay and gradually switch over to something unsoaked that has been analyzed. If the farm where he boards does not have a long-term supply that is practical to analyze, then I will buy my own hay. Either way the gelding (and mare) will go onto an analyzed hay & balanced diet. I choose to keep the mare on cubes bc she maintains weight well on them, theyre easy to buy, transport, and store at my home barn where my mare lives.
....." I don't understand what you mean when you say you will analyze his hay and get him a custom supplement when the time comes? What time is that? ".....
that time is when his insulin has returned to his "normal", as I stated above, i believe it already has but being thorough and bc i can, I will send a blood sample for insulin test to confirm. Then he will wean off the soaked hay and onto something analyzed and I will definitely balance his vit/min supp to his hay bc he is having trouble staying controlled, which may or may not be the iron overload issue.
....."Addressing the iron overload issues starts with a hay analysis. I, also, think it would be prudent to know what the 5#'s of hay is contributing to you mare's diet or if you could feed her daily ration in this now tested hay."....
Maybe your confusion is from why I dont already have an analyzed hay in use--thats bc of the crappy spring weather we've had, sparse hay supplies, and waiting to see where I can most likely find a consistent & abundant hay source. My local suppliers are bringing in hay daily so likely next week if my geldings blood results are good Ill decide on my best hay option & have it analyzed.of course, i agree completely! The mare is not iron overloaded at present and Ill kill two birds with one stone by locating an abundant hay source that i can analyze and feed both horses (although I will opt to keep the mare on ODTBC bc shes doing very well on current diet plan. I dont think its necessarily better to have her on long-stem hay if doing fine on the cubes. Her routine insulin checks have been staticly "normal" for her (20s uU/dL)
Hope this clears things up. Sorry not proofed or edited--long day!
Kerry in NY