April 3, 2017

Preparing Connor for a Feed Change

One thing I haven't had to do in a while is think about Connor's diet.  He's on Tribute, first of all, which I love.  I got a Bachelors in Equine Studies, which doesn't make me an expert, but according to Dr. Marks "This Equine Nutrition class should make you skeptical of snake oil feed and supplement salesmen for the rest of your life," and it has.

Reasons I love Tribute:

- It's fixed formula - they're not going to change the ingredients based on whatever was cheapest that week.
- It's low starch/high protein/high fat.
- Dr. Dan Burke came to speak at the farm on equine nutrition a few years ago, and he's the only feed/supplement salesman I found myself nodding along with throughout his presentation.

The type of Tribute he's been on has changed a few times.  When he first got to the farm, he was on a mix of Essential K (ration balancer) and Kalm N Ez (low starch, 14% protein, 6% fat).  About a year in, we switched everyone over to a mix of Essential K and Kalm Ultra (low starch, 6% protein and 14% fat).

He's been on the 1 Kalm Ultra to 1/2 Essential K recipe twice a day for years now (really if we're talking in terms of the big plastic scoops most everyone uses, he gets 1/2 KU and 1/4 EK) plus the scoop, maybe 1/4 cup, of ground flax all of our horses get with every meal, and I've been so happy with that:

And yeah, I know Mary's grooming skills were a big part of this, but you don't get here without good nutrition too:

New barn does feed Tribute, but they feed Essential K and Kalm N Ez, what Connor was on when he first got to my current barn.  They also don't feed flax, so he'll be taking a big hit in terms of fat, mostly.  And his NSC content will go down, which I am kind of interested to see what that does to him:

He'll be going from the Moderate to the Low category in terms of NSC (plus some Essential K on the far left)

 I'm fine with the change for the most part, but I'm not thrilled about losing the flax and the fat content of Kalm Ultra.  I'd really like to keep that macro as consistent as possible, and the only way to do that is going to be with a SmartPak, which the new barn requires if you feed supplements, as so many do.

So that his system doesn't get overwhelmed with so many changes at once, I've already identified the supplement I think will fill the gaps the best, started him on it and took him off flax a month ahead of time, so that the only change he experiences when he moves is the actual Kalm Ultra to Kalm N Ez adjustment.

But before I reveal what I chose, I'm interested in hearing from you guys: Does anyone currently feed a supplement available in a Smartpak that is mostly flax?  What did you choose and why?


  1. I will be interested to see how he goes too. I had to up Roscoe's fat to increase his energy. His is due to being a young stud, but still I see your point. We buy flax in 50lb bags due to the amount of horses we have and they get a cup each a day.

  2. I recently switched Miles's feed... it's always nerve-wracking!

  3. I fed Smart Omega 34 for a while. Fiction looked great on it. Now I feed Dumor Ultra because it's cheaper and has more to it.

  4. Envision, it's flax-based, has the best calorie and fat content plus it's extruded and pound for pound it's cheap.

    1. Doesn't seem to be available in a SmartPak unfortunately, which is a requirement of both the current and new barns if you feed supplements. Appreciate the recommendation though!

  5. Omega Horseshine is a good product with flax in it that is available in smartpaks. It also has lots of other things that are good. If you want Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids Cocosoya has a powdered smartpak version but I used it to put weight on so maybe not so much for the round one.

  6. What kind of flax seed was your previous barn using. I've tried doing flax before, but the vets I have talked to said it only really works well if freshly ground or in oil and I just do not have time for the grinding and the oil is painfully expensive although it did help when I had some.

  7. I'm curious to see what you decided on! I feed Cocosoya from SP and it's been the only thing I've found so far that's helped fill Bobby out in the rib area. It makes his coat look amazing too.