Monday, August 21, 2017

What's On The Menu

A couple of people did this sort of post quite awhile ago but I wrote this up and then just sat on it for awhile. I've done some posts in the past I have a few updates so I thought I would post an update about Katai's current diet.

The "Grain":

Katai currently doesn't get any sort of grain beyond a couple handfuls of alfalfa pellets to bulk out her supplements but for the purpose of this post I'm going to include that and supplements in this category.

Smartvite Perform - Katai has been getting this for some time and I really like it as a ration balancer especially since it contains the amount of Magnesium she needs without needing to provide that separately.

MSM Pellets - Every vet I've ever worked with has recommended MSM for performance horses and it's a relatively cheap supplement so I have her on it.

SmartHoof Circulate - This is a new one I'm trying out. I've heard some good things and Katai has always had at least minor hoof issues. This stuff is supposed to help with multiple things so I'm curious if I see any changes in the next few months.

Raspberry Leaf - I'm actually out of this right now but will be ordering another big bag. They last for so long that I forgot how low I was! This is of course meant to help with hormones so I should probably order more sooner rather than later ;)

G.U.T. - This is also a new one that I added when I was concerned about Katai acting like she had ulcers. I also gave her three tubes of Ulcer guard (double the maintenance dose for the most part) and added this. All of her ulcer symptoms went away and my plan for now is to have her on this during show/clinic season and then take her off it in the winter. This is based on the instructions for use allowing for it to not be a constant feedthrough and I feel that it will be most useful when fed during times when she'll be stressed.

Gaps - I'd like to get her back on something specifically for her coat. I'm thinking Omega Horseshine but adding that to my Smartpaks bumps them up above what I'm comfortable spending right now so I may see about adding it when I take her off G.U.T. or if I decide that the SmartHoof Circulate isn't doing anything for her hooves I may swap it out.

The Hay:

Right now Katai is getting almost all alfalfa. I thought it was nuts when Jane mentioned it the first time but I trusted her (she's got a couple of "ancient" horses that look FANTASTIC and are still in full work so I trust that she knows what she's doing) and we started to add it to Katai's ration. Then, as Katai's work continued to increase we continued to increase the % of alfalfa until now she's getting almost all alfalfa and very little grass hay.

Katai's Weight:

Part of why I thought it might be interesting to share this information again is that Katai's weight/diet came up at one of my lessons. Both Jane and I are really happy with how she's looking but don't want her to lose any additional weight. She's been maintaining/losing and getting worked 5-6 times per week. I'm really sensitive to it and didn't notice but when Jane pointed it out I could see it. She's certainly not thin but for her to be able to continue to build muscle she needs to be getting enough groceries and we're right on the edge.

Because of that we've talked about adding a bit of grain. I NEVER thought I'd say that with this pony but here we are and she is working really hard and building muscle. Jane got some higher % alfalfa so we're going to see if that helps and if not we'll be adding some additional feed.

I'm thinking she looks pretty good :)
Speaking of Katai's weight and strength, whenever we're working on something new and working to build her strength I like to make sure that what we're asking is fair. Since I ride a pony and am more likely to face questions/criticism I try to make sure I have a pretty good idea of what percentage she's carrying around. I've always measured her with a weight tape and then weighed myself and my saddle. However, I know that weight tapes aren't that accurate so when I was reminded of the formula you can use to determine a horse's weight I finally checked her that way. 

[(L x L x H)/330] + 50 = weight 
where L is their length shoulder to hip and H is the heart girth measurement

With that calculation and my current weight and the saddle's weight I come in just over 18% of her body weight. When I hit my goal weight I'll be closer to 17% of her body weight. I stick with the 20% rule especially since we're asking her to be fairly athletic but I know a lot of people say ponies are closer to 25%. I've never felt that she struggles with me but sometimes when we're working to build strength it's easy to wonder especially since this is certainly an atypical arrangement for dressage :)


  1. She looks amazing! I stick with the 20% rule too, I feel like it's safer particularly because we jump a bit.

  2. She looks great. I should try this weight formula and see what it returns for Levi and Nilla. I just go with what the vet guessed they weigh. I'd actually really like to get them weight on a scale sometime.