At one point my family owned seven horses which were all healthy, mixed breeds that were easy keepers. They had great hooves weren't being ridden that much or shown so as long as they were healthy we weren't too concerned about how shiny their coats were. They were all extremely healthy and had great feet and their only diet was grass during the summer and grass hay during the winter with maybe some sweet feed if it got really cold.
I'm sure it never did them any favors since their grass would have been deficient in certain minerals but they never seemed to be suffering any poor health so I didn't thing much about it. In fact, because they seemed to do so well with so little I had very little belief in supplements or fancy feed until I got Sora.
I started off simple enough with her and when it became apparent that she needed more than just grass and hay I added Safe Choice. It quickly became clear that it was not a safe choice for Sora when her attitude changed drastically so I researched other options and switched her to Purina Senior which, looking back, probably wasn't the best choice but I was working with what I knew at the time.
I continued to feed Sora Senior for quite awhile until I ran into some other horse owners who were talking about ration balancers and they sounded exactly like what she needed. Vitamins and not much else and just enough to balance out the hay or grass that she was eating.
That is when I found Nutrina Empower.
|Crude Fiber||max. 8.0%|
|Dietary Starch*||max. 8.0%|
|Calcium||3.0% - 3.5%|
|Vitamin A||18,000 IU/lb|
|Vitamin D||1,800 IU/lb|
|Vitamin E||600 IU/lb|
I first started feeding it just because it was an available ration balancer but the more I learn about which vitamins horses need the more I realize that this feed is perfect. Everything from the level of Protein to the lack of Iron (which we already have too much of in our soil and interferes with the absorption of Copper and Zinc both of which are extremely important in hoof health) to the small amount you can feed and the extremely reasonable cost.
I had just started to feed Sora Empower before she left and then when I got Myshla and Katai I continued this feed. I was extremely happy with it and not really looking for anything else but when I got Katai and was worried about her feet and Founder risk I started to look into some of the reasons for those issues and found that Magnesium is very often lacking from horse diets. The lack of Magnesium can make many horses tense, jumpy and tight through the back but it also can affect insulin resistant horses and if fed in the proper quantities it can reduce fat deposits and help to reduce the risk of Laminitis.
Currently I am feeding Quiessence to supplement Magnesium mostly because the balance of vitamins and minerals is supposed to be especially helpful with horses (or ponies) that are prone to Founder but also because it comes in a pelleted form that is very palatable which is something that is tough to find in many Magnesium supplements especially when you are trying to feed it with a very small amount of ration balancer and not something sticky like a sweet feed.
Active Ingredients Per 1oz:
Magnesium Oxide 7g
Magnesium Proteinate 1g
Chromium Piccolinate 1.25mg
Quiessence® provides 4.2 grams of elemental Magnesium (4g from Magnesium Oxide and 0.1 g (100 mg) from more bioavailable Magnesium Proteinate) per 1oz serving.
All in all I am very satisfied with Katai's diet right now. She gets about half a pound total per feeding which is not much more than a double handful. Just enough to make her happy and to make her feel like she is special but not too much :-)