Feeding your horse is the key ingredient to a successful farm program and ensuring your horse performs to your expectations. At Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm we have tried many programs and have decided on a pelleted feed. It took quite a long time to decide on which brand and type of feed and our horses have lost weight and gained weight. We've had them too excitable yet slick looking and there have been times when they suddenly lost weight and it takes twice as long to get them back into shape.
To help others, I've put together the feeding program that I have found works and the reasons why I use them as each time I have changed my feeding program the results have been less than desirable. My mares need to be healthy and satisfied whether they are a growing baby, young mare who is growing by leaps and bounds, a performance mare, one that is in foal, or simply an easy keeper and what I have listed is what works for all my ladies.
In feeding your horses you want the maximum amount of nutrition within your budget and I've found a pelleted 14% protein feed does that for me. Jenkins Feed Service Saved Me A Fortune & Provides Exceptional Customer Service "Plus" They Deliver.
Why? Take a handful of sweet feed and a handful of pelleted feed and pour a half cup of water on each.
1) Sweet feed stays hard and the corn and oats do not change size, color, or hardness yet the pelleted feed turns into a mash that is easily digested.
2) When you muck your stalls take a look at what you are picking up. If you are feeding pelleted feed, you will NOT see pieces of corn and oats. You will not see your feed at all as it is digested and absorbed by the horse
3) Sweet feed has to be pushed through the intestines by hay and roughage or result in the products staying in the system. Take that handful of sweet feed with water and leave it in the sun for the day...it will sour, mold, and inside your horse it will cause gas. For me it resulted in a weanling filly dying when I was out of town for the weekend and they overfed the sweet feed and did not note the hay rack was staying full.
4) Pelleted feed I have found is not based on sugar products and I can get higher protein counts without my horses becoming too high strung which makes a pleasant day's ride quite the opposite.
What Brand and What Protein Level? Actually I was using Strategy pelleted for several years as it had the protein level I needed or Safe Choice however the last year I noticed that my horses were not gaining the same results that made the extra cost worth spending. I then began asking my riding friends what they used and took the results to an independent feed mill Jenkins Feed Service in Clarksville Tennessee (931-551-5964) talk with Carl Ray tell him Marion Miller at Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm gave you the number. Jenkins makes my feed for me so the answer is a 14% pelleted feed with 4% fat and some molasses plus basic vitamins and minerals which keep my ladies slick and my budget down so I can feed additional horses for less money "several $$$ less than Strategy" plus it's better feed. That is another key to success in today's business world Expenses Down as Profits are not as high right now even for top bred Tennessee Walking Horses by proven bloodlines. At Genesis TWH in Kentucky we have cut our feed bill down by almost 40% which with 13 horses is quite a large amount.
What else do we use? Pure biotin as a supplement top dressing and CRS Equine Gold. I use the biotin to increase their hoof integrity and the CRS Equine Gold which is a pro biotic supplement to keep their coats shiny and maintain their color. The combination works well for me and I have found that when I get a new horse in, I can give them a tube of the CRS Equine Gold paste and follow that with my daily top dressing program and their hair is slicker within the week.
Other Tips To Keep My Horses Looking Great? Bathes and Haircuts. Sounds simple but most horse owners do not spend time on this basic step. There are a couple of reasons why I do this religiously in what I call "spa day" at the barn. One of them is basically selfish in that when I am ready to ride, I don't want to have to spend any time getting the horse ready. I want to ride a horse that is clean, slick, looks beautiful, and has no whiskers and especially no mohawk bridle path. My family knows that the first thing I do when I get a new addition to the farm program is haircut, gel paste, worming, shots, call the farrier, and give a bath. My ladies all are used to this and if they are new, they get used to it quickly. Think about it in comparison with how you feel when you return from getting your hair done, a manicure and pedicure, plus massage. Feels great doesn't it? Once your horse gets used to this kind of pampering, they truly enjoy it as well.
Baths: Do not stress yourself overly by trying to give a bath without the EZ Wash System which absolutely makes it simple and a pleasure to work with. The bottle attaches to the hose sprayer...you simply spray the foam on, leave it a couple of minutes, then rinse extremely well. This product does not sting their eyes and after you let it sit for a couple of minutes, it truly seems magical when you go to rinsing it off. It is an all natural product and my walking horses love it, especially as I use warm water. I do spend extra time on their mane and tail with a whitening shampoo if they have light tails and Cowboy Magic shampoo if they don't. You can also use Dawn dish detergent on their tails if you like, but I've found the Cowboy Magic Shampoo product works a bit easier and is much easier to rinse out. For me it has to be easy and easy...with results. I then follow up with Cowboy Magic detangler gel on the mane and tails and let them dry because I am sure they will roll immediately upon letting them out.
Hooves: I use Rainmaker on their hooves and it has worked very well in conjunction with the biotin top dressing to keep their hooves in great condition. I also have a wonderful farrier that makes it all seem easy Travis Craft. Spend time getting to know your farrier. Have a fan for him to use on hot days, a heater on cold days, and some water in the fridge. This makes getting your farrier to the farm when you need them a lot easier on you, the horses, and the farrier. Mine is priceless and worth every penny I spend to get it done right. You simply have to see my face when I am riding my mares and they are hitting that 4 beat gait so effortlessly that I can't help but have a great day in the saddle. I HAVE for the record had the same horse with different results before with another farrier so am talking with experience. In comparison you can think of the difference like this. When you get a new pair of shoes and they do not fit, how do your feet feel and how is your gait as a result?
Grooming: This is just as important as getting the right feed, supplements, and taking care of your horse daily. Grooming keeps their bodies feeling good, their hair in great order, and they enjoy coming to the barn. It also keeps their ground manners exceptional as you are constantly working with them. For me it is therapy and I can't imagine not grooming at least a few minutes every time my mares come up. I also can tell you from experience that when I had my five knee surgeries I did not get to do this weekly some times monthly as I had infections and my doctor deemed the barn out of bounds for me. Their coats were not as slick, their tails and manes were thinner and shorter as they snagged them rubbing their necks when they itched. If you didn't get a bath or brushed your hair for a couple of days, you'd rub what hair you had out so take the time to keep theirs feeling and looking good.
Water: Clean those water troughs! Have you looked at yours lately? The green slime of summer heat with hot water that you don't like to smell or clean as it is so bad yet you want your horses to drink out of it and to stay healthy. If you dump your trough every 6 weeks and spray it down plus use those water trough bags which are a couple of bucks, you'll never have that problem again. It will be easy for you.....clean for them...healthy for your pocket book as you will not have so many illnesses at the farm. If you take care of your horses, then you will start to enjoy them more and those savings can be used for other items....such as a new Steele Saddle! That is for another article, but I have ridden a Steele trail saddle for about 14 years and just got a new one which I love see: www.SteeleSaddle.com
The important thing is to share resources with others and be sure that you talk about what works and what doesn't. You need to enjoy your horses and expect them to do well whether you ride weekly or monthly. I've even gone 6 months without riding and know I can depend on that horse to do well and in my case I always ride mares as I have found they are easier to work with and less upset when I ride in the back or the front on trails. There are so many things that do not work or are not worth the money. Talk about what you use and make it easy. If I can be of any help, simply give me a call at 270.339.4176 Marion M Miller, Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm in Slaughters Kentucky.
Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm in Slaughters Kentucky specializes in mares by world champion sires with common sense, wonderful temperaments, and athletic ability who are a true pleasure to work with. We have horses in 26 states now and 2 overseas with a reputation for excellence. We guarantee our horses to be sound and as described. I'd love the opportunity to talk to you about our ladies. - Marion Miller (270) 339-4176 | Marion@genesistwh.com | Contact Us
We do not trade horses as our mares nor do we accept more than the asking price for the horse and pay the buyers costs for transportation costs for them. We run a fair and reputable business and I invite you to look at our Sold Horses - Testimonials.