SmartPak Barn Field Trip, Part 1: Exploring horse feed and nutrition

November 7, 2019 0 By William Morgan

The first station,
we talk a little bit about
grains and feed stuffs,
and then you work
with your partner
to identify what’s
in the bags, and then
we talk about what they
are and why you might
choose one and not the other.
You’ve got some
blanks on your paper,
and the first thing you
want to ask our owner
is what her horse’s name is.
DANIELLE: His name is Indy.
DR GRAY: What else do
you want to ask her?
CROWD: What kind of horse is he?
Dutch Warmblood.

DR GRAY: Keep going.
CROWD: How old is he?

CROWD: What do you do with him?
DANIELLE: He does the 3’6″ AO
Hunters and the Hunter Derbies.

DR GRAY: And what
else might you want
to know about Indy to help you
design the best diet for him?
CROWD: How’s your riding
going this summer?
How much are you doing?
He gets ridden every day
for about half an hour,
and then we do a jumping
lesson once a week.
Are you showing?
About one or two shows a month.
CROWD: What’s his weight
look like right now?
DR GRAY: Good question.
he’s kind of chubby.
DR GRAY: Well,
we’ll let you know.
DR GRAY: All right.
Anything else?
There’s Kathleen.
Join us.
DANIELLE: 11 years.
CROWD: 11 years?
DR GRAY: You said he was 16?
DR GRAY: So practice math.
This is some foreshadowing.
If she’s had him 11
years, and he’s 16 now,
how old was he when she got him?
Excellent, OK.
So what you do next is
come up with your sheets,
and try to guess what
these different bags are.
So we cut out some.
If you couldn’t find
“A’s” and other letters,
we cut out a few of them,
because they were duplicates.

What are you calling B?
Chopped hay, yeah.
Let me make sure that’s
what I’m calling it.
Chopped hay.
When might you use this?
Older horse that doesn’t have
good teeth, can’t chew well.
The other instance
might be if you
were in an area of
the country that
doesn’t have good
consistent hay source,
and so you can buy
your hay in a bag.
And I just thought of this.
If you have an HYPP horse,
and you need his diet
to be super, super consistent,
buying all his food in a bag
is one way to do
that, because when
you get different
cuts of hay, it
could have different
levels of what
mineral is of concern for them?
CROWD: Potassium.
But if you buy it in a bag,
it’s got a guaranteed analysis,
So this one’s done.

Did anyone have
this this morning?
DR GRAY: Yeah?
All right.
So you know what it is.
CROWD: Rolled oats.
rolled oats, right.

What is this used for in horses?
The other word for
energy is what?
CROWD: Calories.
DR GRAY: Calories, yeah.
So if you’ve got a horse,
you’ve got his hay,
his ruffage, his
forage addressed,
and then you’ve completed
and balanced his diet
on the vitamin, mineral,
and protein side,
but you think he
needs a little bit
more weight, or a little bit
more energy when he performs.
Oats are like the classic
horse feed to give.
All right.
There you go.
And I’m looking for– oh.
This one, I think,
is really hard,
so I won’t blame you
if you don’t get it,
but what did you put down?
And that’s the extruded
rice bran pellets.
So I asked for, and I don’t
always get what I ask for,
but I asked for
rice bran powder,
and the best we can do
in this neck of the woods
was these extruded pellets.
So you guys did good.
Did everybody get
rice bran pellets?
I see some confusion
in the back.
CROWD: No, we were confused
with the other two.
DR GRAY: Yeah.
This isn’t typically
how you see rice bran,
but regardless, what might
you use rice bran for?
Put weight on, because
it’s how much fat?
Let’s start with
low, medium, high.
CROWD: High.
High is good.
Now give me a number.
CROWD: 12%.
DR GRAY: Give me
a higher number.
And higher.
CROWD: Oh, 90.
DR GRAY: Or lower.
CROWD: 70.
DR GRAY: How about 40?
CROWD: She said 70,
and you said higher.
DR GRAY: Oh, did you say–
I thought you said seven.
Like, no, that’s lower than 12.
It’s about 40% fat,
so it is a good source
of calories for horses.
What is the thing
that we have to be
concerned about if you just go
and buy your basic rice bran?
What is the thing in
the back of your mind?
CROWD: Calcium and phosphorus.
DR GRAY: Right.
Rice bran straight out
of the manufacturer
is very high in phosphorus.
What is the ratio of
calcium to phosphorus
supposed to be in horses?

You want to say two to one.
So it’s like 1.2 to
one to two to one,
so the point is more
calcium than phosphorus.
Rice bran has more
phosphorus than calcium,
so it’s an inverted ratio.
So you want to buy, if you’re
buying it for your horse
to add to the diet, you
want to get a fortified rice
bran that has calcium added.
Now so this is the one
that I have trouble with.
What did you guys call this one?
CROWD: We said enriched plus.
DR GRAY: You say hay
stretcher for everything.
One day you will be right.
What did you call it?
CROWD: Enriched plus.
DR GRAY: Really?
Everyone called it that?
Well, it’s not.
It’s Strategy.
What is the base in Strategy?
What is it– beet pulp.
Beet pulp, yeah.
Does it smell pretty sweet?
CROWD: It smells– I don’t know.
There’s like something
else in here.
It’s like Amplify
nuggets or something.
So let’s talk about strategy.
What category is it?

It’s a fortified grain, yeah.
And define fortified
grain for me just
to make sure we’re
all on the same page.
Who wants to do that?
You guys in the back
have been very quiet,
and there’s three of you,
so you’re at an advantage,
so come on.
You do.
I was say it’s a step
down from complete,
so it’s not going to
have the hay portion.
DR GRAY: Excellent.
Really good.
What would be– it’s
a step up from what?
So it’s between a complete
feed– there’s Carolyn.
CROWD: A ration balancer.
DR GRAY: A ration balancer.
Do you guys all hear that?
So it goes mineral
supplement, then
multivitamin, then ration
balancer, fortified grain,
complete feed.
I’m on G now.
You know what you
said last time?
Say that now.
The other one.
CROWD: Enriched.
DR GRAY: Enriched Plus.
So this is the ration balancer.
And how much of this would
you feed a horse each day?
It could be one to two pounds.
Some horses even
get a half a pound,
and so what are the
ingredients in this?
What are the– I shouldn’t
say ingredients– nutrients.
That’s a better word.
What are the nutrients in this?
CROWD: Protein and–
DR GRAY: Minerals and vitamins.
So why do you feed
a ration balancer?
Why do you go to
the store and say,
I’m going to get a ration
balancer for my horse?
What are you thinking?
CROWD: Easy keeper.
DR GRAY: Easy keeper.
CROWD: Or horses that
need more protein,
but you don’t want
to pile on the grain.
DR GRAY: Maybe.
CROWD: If you’re not
feeding up to the label of–
DR GRAY: The fortified grain.
Yeah, it could.
So you can bridge that gap
of the vitamins and minerals
and protein, vitamins, minerals
with either ration balancer
or a multivitamin, if you’re
not feeding the whole thing.
We haven’t done any math
yet, so you’re good.
We did a practice round, but OK.
I’ll give that to you.
Now we’re on H.
CROWD: Sweet feed.
DR GRAY: Yeah.
I was going to have
you smell this one,
but that would probably
give it away, right?
So sweet feed is a– I
call it a textured feed.
It is still in the
fortified grain category.
What does it provide a horse?

CROWD: Energy.
DR GRAY: So calories, yep.
But what makes it a step
above or below whatever
you said of a ration balancer?
Because it provides the
vitamins, the minerals,
the protein, and calories.
What is the one thing
that we kind of don’t
like about sweet feeds, though?
Because it’s got some molasses
– the name itself, sweet feed,
They add molasses to it,
so that it tastes good
so horses eat it, but we
find that a lot of our horses
nowadays don’t need
that extra sugar
for one reason or the other.
We talked a little
bit about easy keeper.
What is a specific condition
that a horse might not
need extra sugar?
Say it again.
Insulin resistance or
equine metabolic syndrome.
What’s another one?

DR GRAY: Say it again.
I was going to give you a
hint that my horse has it.
So PSSM, or what do
the letters stand for?

Polysaccharide storage
myopathy, right.
And they just don’t tolerate
high amounts of sugar.
Where are putting all these?
I just– all right.
I think that’s an I.
So when might we choose
this for a horse?
CROWD: Older horses.
DR GRAY: Older horses
with no teeth, or they’re
having trouble eating the
full long-stemmed hay,
because we want them
to get long stems,
but they don’t have the
teeth for it anymore.
So we give them as long a
stem as we can with hay cubes.
And we tend to do
what with them first?
CROWD: Soak them.
DR GRAY: And the
soaking, in this case,
softens the hay cubes so
that they can chew them
apart and swallow them better.
Why else do we soak hays?
CROWD: Extra water [INAUDIBLE].
DR GRAY: Extra
water is a good one.
CROWD: Take out the sugar.
DR GRAY: Take out
the sugar, right.
So one of the myths
or misperceptions
is that when you soak
hay, you leech out
everything– sugars and
nutrients and vitamins
and minerals and protein.
There’s been a number of
research studies about that,
and that’s not exactly
true to an extent.
There is a chart of time, so if
you just soak for a little bit,
you’re just– like what’s
another condition that you
might soak for just a little
bit, the shortest soaking
Even just wetting.
Even steaming.
DR GRAY: Yeah, yeah.
Respiratory allergies, so the
names of those keep changing.
Heaves is always safe, because
that’s the layman’s term,
And now we call RAO, or
recurrent airway obstruction.
Before that, it’s small airway
inflammatory disease, or SAID.
So many acronyms.
I didn’t make them
up, and I apologize.
So if you’re going to
just steam or wet hay,
you’re not really changing its
nutrient composition at all.
You’re just damping
down the dust and mold,
so the horse doesn’t
breathe it in when he
sticks his nose in and eats it.
The next step is soaking for
how long for the IR horse?
60 minutes in cold water,
about 30 minutes in warm water
to get the sugars
and starches out,
because what is a good
percentage of NSC,
or non-structural carbohydrate?
Ooh, yeah.
I got her on that one.
This group is good.
They’re getting
everything, so I have
to come up with harder
and harder questions.

Nobody here must have–
What is it?
CROWD: I was just guessing.
I said 3%.
DR GRAY: Oh, we would love it.
More like 12 is kind
of the number that’s
thrown around, so 10 to 15.
But clearly, none of
you have IR EMS horses,
or you would, like, know that.
Let’s move on.
This one should be fairly easy.
Did you all get this?
CROWD: Chia seed.
DR GRAY: Oh, it’s flax.
Here’s the difference.
I will pull this up at the
same time, so you can see them.
So the big heavy one is flax,
and the little one is chia.
What do you notice
is the difference?
CROWD: Color.
DR GRAY: Color.
The flax is brown, and the
chia’s more black or gray.
What else?
CROWD: The flax
is more of a seed.
DR GRAY: They’re both seeds.
CROWD: The shape is more
of [INAUDIBLE], and chia’s
DR GRAY: Well, it’s smaller.
What do they tell
you about flaxseeds?
That you have to like grind
them or soak them or something?
You can.
You don’t have to with chia.
I mean, these things get
absorbed, so flax was J,
and chia was N, and we
like these because–
for both of them, why?
They’re the highest plant-based
source of omega 3 fatty acids.
One person’s going
to answer this.
Say it now.

So these are hay
stretcher pellets.
These are really
big pellets, which
is how I know they’re
hay stretchers,
and also because my paper
says they’re hay stretchers.
But why would you pick
hay stretcher pellets?

Don’t all answer at once.
It’s kind of the same
you guys answered
for hay cubes and chopped hay.
You either can’t find hay,
because you live in California,
or you have an old
horse that can’t chew
the full long-stemmed forage.
You don’t exchange all of
the hay for a hay stretcher.
It really is to
stretch out the hay.
CROWD: I have a question.
CROWD: Is it also correct to
feed hay stretcher and hay
cubes– all those products–
if your barn isn’t feeding
as much hay as you
want, and you just
want the horse to
get more for it.
DR GRAY: Sure.
DR GRAY: One thing I forgot
to mention in the hay cubes–
Carolyn, can you hold
up the hay cubes?
What I do with hay cubes
is I use them for treats,
because I have a PSSM horse,
and he can’t have sugar treats.
And there are non-sugar treats,
but these are pretty tasty.
Let me tell you.
He will do a lot of
things, and they’re nice,
because they break apart.
They’re almost like
mini hay bales.
They break apart.
We have two more.
Yeah, cracked corn.
So we crack corn for horses.
We don’t give them whole
corn, because the whole corn,
if they don’t crack
it with their teeth,
it kind of passes
through the whole tract,
and it comes out the other end,
and you see it as whole corn
And you’re like, well, they
didn’t get much out of that.
So they get more nutrition
when it’s cracked corn,
but do we like corn as a
feed choice for horses?
You’re shaking your head no.
CROWD: Sugar content.
DR GRAY: It’s got a lot of
starches and simple carbs,
which get digested in
the stomach and foregut,
and that’s not where we want.
Why else?
It’s really high in omega
6s, but it does smell good.
Do you guys know the
ratio of three– you do.
It’s much, much higher.
Oh, here we go.
High-low game.
So higher than three.
CROWD: But lower than?
DR GRAY: Lower than 70.
It’s really high.
It’s 57:1 really, really high.
So that’s why we
advise people, if you
can get away from feeding corn,
maybe don’t choose corn oil.
If you’re going to
feed fat to your horse,
it’s just so, so
high in omega 6s.
All right.
We have one more.

CROWD: You said the ratio in
the corn is 57 to one, right?
DR GRAY: The ratio of omega
6s to omega 3s is 57 to one
of corn.
CROWD: Yeah.
DR GRAY: Yeah.
CROWD: But you
want is the ratio.
DR GRAY: We want
more threes than six.
Oh, is that what
you were answering?
So they’re not sure
what the ratio of threes
to sixes in horses should
be, but pasture grass has
a ratio of four to one
omega 3s to omega 6s,
so that’s our best guess.
So three is good enough.
The issue is horses get a lot
of omega 6s in their diet,
so we have to feed them foods
that more than balance out
the ratio.
This is our last one.
It’s P. What’d you
guys put for P?
Beet pulp, right.
What do we do with beet pulp?
Who is it for?
extra fiber or you
can use it for older
horses as well.
DR GRAY: Extra fiber,
so what has more
fiber– a fortified
grain, beet pulp, or hay?
So this is between
grain and hay as far
as the nutrient
composition, and so you can
exchange some of each for this.
People do tend to soak it.
You don’t have to,
but most people do.
It comes in shreds like this.
There’s a company that
makes bigger shreds,
and it rehydrates faster.
So anybody feeding this to their
horse right now besides me?
I can’t feed hay in
my trailer anymore,
because his upper
airway– his allergies
are so bad that I just
feed him beet pulp,
and it makes for a
really messy trailer,
because I do wet it for him.
But I can barely
get the door open.
He jumps in the trailer.
He’s like, let’s go,
let’s go, let’s go.
He loves this.
Most horses find it
very, very tasty,
so for the hard keepers and
the old horses that are like,
I don’t want to eat,
you put a little bit
of this in front of
them, they’re like, well,
that smells pretty good.