I know this topic could be discussed forever, but I'd like the opinion of any folks out there who care to respond on the topic of feeding grains vs. not feeding them.


I recently brought a new horse home and she is a Tennessee Walker;  I have read that these horses can be prone to metabolic problems and I would like to keep her diet as simple as possible.


She is at a good weight now, and only gets moderate exercise.  I would like to feed only good hay and pasture, but am getting lots of conflicting advice on this topic.  Anyone care to comment?

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A horse doing only moderate exercise should be able to survive on good grass hay, pasture, and salt, and with some hays and pastures it may be a good idea to use trace mineral salt.

Grain is safest for horses who WORK.  When my horse lived on good pasture I only fed him enough grain to replace the calories he used for his work (a pound or two of sweet feed).

Still, with what I've read about metabolic disorder it may be a good idea to limit the pasture and concentrate on feeding good grass hay. 

The site http://www.naturalhorseworld.com has a good bit of information about this.  At least you should come up with some good ideas.

Two equines, a POA pony gelding and a Paso Fino mare, that I had at one time survived with light exercise on about 12 pounds of medium quality fescue hay a day, maybe three to six small handsful of grain, and salt.  Fat, sassy and the Paso Fino mare was always ready to go, go, go!  The only reason I fed them any grain at all is that I was feeding loose salt and needed something to put the salt in.  When it got cold and windy I would add a few pounds of grass hay and a handful or more of extra grain, corn on the really cold nights.  I fed the rest of my horses more but they were less feed efficient than these two.

Thanks, Jackie,

Love the website;  very useful;  your advice helps a lot;  I have a Morgan mare, as well, who gets no grain at all and has a grazing muzzle, as well, and she is in very good condition;  I think the Tennessee Walker will be similar, so I think I will give her free choice hay, maybe some minerals and salt.

Toby and Oliver eat orchard grass and when it gets cold and Toby gets a little thin I give him an oat hay that he just loves and that my farrier approved.... he founded a teeeeeny bit just from one week of senior feed, so we went to just hay, salt..... and sometimes I give him Black Oil Sunflower seeds in his bucket... the only thing I give in a bucket is psyllium, probiotics, salt and yucca for their aches and pains...... :)  I am very pleased that they now have a water purification system also...... our water was too hard here... I hope they are healty and live a long time... they live on about a 2 acre dry lot.....

In my opinion, a horse can survive on good hay and pasture, it is when you work them more or are in training that they require grain.  If I were you, I would measure your horses weight and just watch her.  Measure her again in 3-4 weeks time to see how she is fairing. If she tends to drop a bit at the start it may only be because she is settling in to her new home.

I have always owned Arabs and they tend to burn up a lot of calories but I still only grained them when we were training and competing. 

My Canadian gelding has not had grain for years.  He is any easy keeper and survives well on free choice grass hay (round bale) plus 1 cup of Purina Equalizer twice a day.  He is worked for 45 minutes about 5 times a week.He gets very limited grass, about 2-3 hours of grazing twice a week in season. Just looking at grass makes him fat.

I have dressage horses ranging from Training Level to GP, and they get no grain at all, ever.  They have free choice access to quality grass hay, pasture in season, and a supplement called BioEquine.  They work hard 5 days per week, and look fabulous.  Grain is just not a requirement.


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