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New to Group/ molar-less horse feeding? (long-sorry!)
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I hope that this initial post will suffice as an introduction, as I feel quite overwhelmed with
all the info I've come across here, and I hear that the profile server is down, so I don't
think I can put my info up there, yet.
My name is Cynthia and I have an 11.1 hh, 36-year-old Welsh pony who has had
Cushing's (diagnosed by Dex test) for about 4 years now. I'm so glad to find this list!!! It is
good to get current info and to see that I am not the only one who tries this hard for my
little old guy!
(Checkers was a present for my 5th birthday, and he came to me, still nursing, at his
mother's side. (Gee that seems like yesterday....). Since then, he's been a 'cow pony',
school horse, football mascot, handicapped riders' mount, all-around best buddy and
now, in retirment, my primary equine education challenge).
He'd been basically healthy all his life with no issues until he was 28, at which point he
foundered badly. I was lucky to find a good barefoot farrier back then and he recovered
fully and returned to moderate work until he was 32 when I fully retired him. I had him on
pergolide (seasonally) before most vets around my area knew of it. (That's a whole 'nother
The only outward signs of Cushing's he's had are; a very long haircoat (straight), and
recurring bouts of laminitis and lameness, with 2 episodes of founder in the last 4 years.
Because of the difficulty of finding really good farriers who stay in my area, I've learned
barefoot trimming from a AANHCP certified farrier, and am trying to maintain his feet
myself. It's an uphill climb, but we're making progress, and I'm getting better at it every
Now, I DO have a question or two (you knew that was coming, right?)
Last fall the equine dentist said that she was done floating him because he had too many
loose molars, and 3 missing already. So now Checkers does not eat hay, straw, or most
grass (he quids it all), and I've needed to find a forage substitute.
WHAT do you FEED a Cushing's horse who can No Longer CHEW hay/grass, etc..?
Last week (after reading the feed info on this list) I tried Timothy Balance cubes, but he
barely eats any of that when offered, even if I soak it. :((
For the last 2 years I've been feeding him a lot of beet pulp (he's about 450 lbs--guessing;
never cresty) and he eats 1-2kg drywt of beetpulp (soaked after weighing); about 1 kg of
Nutrena Senior pellets (I know they're too high NSC to feed alone!), and about 600-800g/
day of Equine Power 2000 (low NSC, for calorie content--contains lots of flax).
I want to reformulate a toothless diet for him that he actually likes. I have access to some
different complete feeds (Nutrena, FrontRunner mainly), beet pulp, soy meal, wheat bran,
but very difficult access to rice bran or soy hulls and many of the other low NSC complete
feeds listed here. Is there any hope for me and my pony finding a good palatable Cushings
diet? (I was told by one feed company that "there are no feeds under 13% NSC"...sigh).
Any suggestions will be GREATLY appreciated. (Sorry for being so long-winded)!
Cynthia and Checkers
Welcome to you and Checkers. We're glad you found us too! We can help with lots of things...for instance, Blue Seal Carb Guard has about the best taste to horses. I use it as a flavoring. Its *IR* safe but it does have some vegetable oil in it so you still need to monitor his feet for heat and pulses. Claire, one of our gurus has an herb/flavoring website www.witcheyladycreations.com that might have something you can sprinkle on his feed. Most horses love the ODTB cubes....I just read here that they are coming out in pellet form - better for senior equines with poor teeth.
I have a question for you....after you've read the Start Here file, are you going to let him graze? Even quidding, he can swallow the juices of untested hay, straw (high in sugar) grass, etc. You will learn here how to monitor what he eats, how to count ESC+Starch as well as calories etc. There are other feeds, Triple Crown Safe Starch however, you'll have to hand cut the hay in that bag, and Poulin Carb Safe which is a complete, IR safe feed. Wheat and rice bran are on our 'no no' list...but flax seed is smiled upon here for the Omega 3's. Where are you located? Some regional feeds may work for you.
Knock yourself out in the files! They are packed with fantastic info. Ask questions. We've all been in your shoes.......
And we understand your need to trim him yourself...we have hoof gurus to help you there too!
Mandy and Asher in VA
I am successfully feeding Nutrena Lite Balance along with beet pulp,
hay cubes (Ontario brand -- timothy with added minerals) and Nutrena
Hay Extender (also add chasteberry, biotin, Source) to my old guy who
can't eat hay, has cushings, and is prone to laminitis. His numbers
came back fantastic from a Jan. 10 blood draw. I mix the Lite Balance
with the beet pulp (beet pulp pellets are soaked for 6-8 hours first
and rinsed) and I mix the hay cubes with the hay extender (the
Nutrena extender also has added minerals) and also soak this.
He used to be on Nutrena Sr. feed and soaked but unrinsed beet pulp,
and he used to be able to eat hay. Then his IR number was high (125
or 128) and now he is at 16.
Hope this is helpful. My feeding amounts would be a lot different
since i have a 1,300-pound Belgian X, but his total intake of food is
about 14 pounds/day and he is holding his weight -- just perfect
according to my vet.
Hope this is helpful.
-- Ellen Smith
(mother of Triton and Buddy)
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