Tuesday, March 8, 2011

High NSC = Hot Horse

I'm still dealing with the grain issue at the barn, but I hope we're making some progress.

I went over yesterday to organize my tack and unload some of the items from the show and the BO was there. He mentioned that there hadn't been much progress with Lilly's eating even though we left our own grain for them to feed her. After a little discussion, we thought perhaps having Lilly's feed pan on the floor was doing more harm than good because if her head is down, she can't see what's going on. Also, if she's pawing, maybe she's getting shavings and stuff in her grain that makes it seem less tasty.

I had him take out the feeder when we first arrived because it's too tall for her. She can't really get her head in there very well to eat and I was seeing some grain left in the corners. So no feeder and no feed pan means... a bucket? So we hung a bucket on the front of her stall and he was going to feed her in there.

Last night I sent an email to the female half of the BO asking how they feed the horses in the morning. If Lilly is getting too excited to eat, is she being fed last? Are they waiting until she's done eating before they take horses out? I told her I was concerned that Lilly wasn't eating and I thought she was looking a bit on the thin side, not to mention I wondered what they do with the morning grain since that's where all her supplements are.

She emailed back to let me know that Lilly eats second and the horses all have about 20 minutes to eat. She said Lilly ate about half her feed this morning and then stood by the door to be let outside. Lilly is eating all her night time grain now, so they've been adding her breakfast grain (and supplements) to her dinner grain. She thinks Lilly looks great but has been giving her a little bit more hay just in case. Supposedly they refilled the grain barrel with a new bag of SafeChoice but she's still not eating like she should.

I had to see for myself so I went over to the barn today and checked the grain barrel. There was still Strategy on top, but when I dug down into the grain I found SafeChoice. I pulled a bunch of it up and mixed it in with the Strategy on top.

I sent her a reply email telling her all about high NSC value feeds and how they contribute to all kinds of issues with horses, most notably making the horses hyper. I'm not sure if she cares, but I have to get my point across somehow. I firmly believe that they've been feeding Lilly and Baby Strategy (probably when they ran out of SafeChoice since it's easier to get all one kind of grain), which has turned Lilly into a fruit loop. That's why she's not eating in the morning... she's too hyper with everything that's going on and is worried about being left behind. I've seen how she acts when she's on Strategy, and her attitude has changed quite drastically, and I'm convinced it's the feed.

Either they continue to buy SafeChoice, or I'll go get it myself and they can take it off the cost of my board. If they're not willing to do either of those things, then it'll be time to move again (somewhere...). M is just as adamant about her mare being fed SafeChoice as I am, so we'll be moving our horses together.

In other more exciting news, Lilly is scheduled for a sports massage on Sunday morning. The therapist coming out is certified in Equine Sports Massage Therapy and I'm anxious to see what she has to say about Lilly. She'll do an initial consultation to see if Lilly is a candidate, perform a massage, and then we'll develop a plan if that's what she needs. She works closely with chiropractors and veterinarians, but hopefully she doesn't find a whole lot going on. I'm just mostly concerned with soreness around her withers and perhaps a potential issue with her stifle. I hope Lilly likes her massage!

When I mentioned the massage to my mom she said, "you just can't stop spending money on that horse, can you?" I guess not! :)


  1. Sometime ulcers can cause a horse to preferentially eat hay instead of grain - you could do a test with some Maalox or U-Gard and see what happens.

  2. I sure hope the feeding situation gets sorted out soon! We feed SafeChoice at work too, all horses are on it, except for the babies (Mare & Foal). Plus we feed an Alfalfa/Grass hay, so they definitely don't need any more high energy foods!
    As Kate said about the ulcers, we give Maalox to all horses at the horse show before they show. Vets say that Maalox does wonders for horses. We give 120 cc's before we head down for a class, and sometimes give 60 cc's more right before they go into the class.
    Hopefully the BO will get the grain situation sorted out so you don't have to move again!

  3. I can't seem to stop either! I just bought new clippers!

    How unfortunate that you had to educate the "professional" you're PAYING to take care of your horse about something like NSC. Not that I don't learn something every single day about MY job, but still!


  4. Poor Lilly! I hope you can figure out the feed situation soon.

    I would love to get a massage for Dee, but when I mentioned it to Husband I think the rest of his hair fell out. He sure tries hard, but sometimes he just doesn't understand! This horse thing...it's an addiction!

  5. Im really glad to hear that a sports massage therapist is coming, I think it should do Lilly some good. LOL I get that same response your parents gave from my co workers. Lessons? Show costs? Supplements? Saddle Fitting? Etc? Thats why you cant come out to lunch with us? They just dont get it. :) LOL Like I literally will not buy lunches at all so that that extra $20 for the two weeks will go twoards my saddle payment. Might seem crazy, but its important to me.

  6. What's so hard about feeding what the owner wants their horse fed? I don't get it.

  7. Kate and PaintGirl: will the Maalox help if she has ulcers, or will it prevent them? Or both? Once we get her feed switched back over I might need to check into the ulcer thing if we're still having an issue.

    Spend, spend, spend! :) I need new clippers too... mine are about 15 years old and I'm amazed they're still going.

    Story, my boyfriend just rolls his eyes at me when I tell him about new horsey spending. He thinks I take better care of Lilly than I do myself, so maybe I'll have to go get myself a massage too! :)

    You and Milo are part of the reason why I decided to go ahead and make an appointment. I've thought about it in the past but it seems to really have helped you and I'm anxious to see if it can help Lilly. Oh, and eating out is expensive!! I definitely understand where you're coming from on that one!

    Doesn't seem like it should be hard, does it Terry? SafeChoice and a SmartPak... pretty simple stuff!

  8. Maalox will help prevent ulcer's, and it also helps if they have ulcer's. We also use Ulcer RX at the shows. Some horses will go on Ulcer RX right before we leave for a show, and then all get it while at the show on top of Maalox. Although we just started a new ulcer drug, and not sure what the name is. The vet said it worked better then Ulcer RX and was cheaper.

    Another thing too, is maybe the massage therapist can tell you if she has ulcer's. Our Chiro can usually tell if they have ulcer's by the part of their body they are extremely sore in. This isn't really my area of expertise, but I would definitely ask the therapist about it.

  9. Gee-does it feel like the BO's of your area have conspired to thwart your feeding program? LOL

    Hopefully these people get it now and will stick by it. It's kind of weird that they are insisting on feeding Strategy when for the average horse, SafeChoice is the much better choice.

    I always forget about ulcers. Don't know why I forget that, because it's such a common thing for barrel horses. I have never had to treat a horse for them, but will be adding an Ulcer preventative to Moon's feed in the next couple of weeks. I don't think he has ulcers, but it's a good preventative before we start running again. Plus the magnesium and calcium is good for him.

  10. Chances are the calcium supplement you are taking now is a rock source of calcium. The label will say "calcium carbonate", which is nothing more than limestone. AlgaeCal Plus contains an organic, plant-sourced calcium form derived from a unique South American marine algae called Algas Calcareas™.

  11. I've got Lilly on TractGard, but I only started that about a month ago. Prior to that she was on a different digestive supplement (and I've had no more runny manure... YAY!) so I hope switching her doesn't do any harm. The TractGard is also for digestive issues as well as being an ulcer preventative, so we'll see what happens.

    I never thought about using regular old Maalox... I'll definitely ask the massage therapist when she comes out this weekend. Thanks, Paint Girl!

    It does feel like there's a conspiracy against me, Cowgirls. I'm not sure why this has to be so difficult.

    I've been trying to convince them that they should switch over to SafeChoice altogether and get rid of Strategy. It's a much better choice, and a better all around kind of feed. Not sure if they'll listen or not, though.

    What do you use on Moon for ulcers?

  12. I've dealt with both SafeChoice and Strategy too, and Strategy also made my horse bonkers. & That's BS that they're insisting it was SafeChoice from the start...there is a very clear difference in appearance between the two. Hope you get it all sorted out soon