and the rest is chaos

Free Choice Grain, Is It Possible? January 29, 2010

Filed under: HorseSense — nadinescloset @ 2:27 PM
Tags: , ,

I strongly believe that horses can self regulate entirely if given the opportunity, however I’m not yet brave enough to allow free choice grain. I’ve heard success stories, it makes sense to me, but I need some input on this. Anyone know anything about trusting your horses with free grain?


5 Responses to “Free Choice Grain, Is It Possible?”

  1. I have recently read several holistic health books on the healing power that your body has… so long as we don’t screw it up… 😉 Free choice grain reminds me of that, of the horse instinctively knowing how much it needs, but like you I am nervous to try.

    I would assume you would have to introduce this method gradually and would be best for horses with daily pasture grazing (because I think many stalled horses would over eat to satisfy that urge to graze).

    Have you searched the internet on free choice grain?

    • I have done some searching, however it seems to be a hush subject, I don’t think anyone wants to be on that defensive line. I would certainly ask my vet first. From what I understand it can take a very very long time to do, as expected. I am such a believer after I decided to put them in charge of their own hoof trimming, I think I am going to get the right information and vet support and begin this soon.

      • Since horses are grazers by nature, free choice feeding makes sense. However, what they are supposed to graze on are grasses not grains. The best feed for horses is good quality pasture or hay. And even these we need to monitor. Pasture & hay grasses grown today are not what wild horse eat nor what was grown even 50 years ago. They have been modified for the cattle farmers who are feeding for production of dairy and beef. Many metabolic disorders in horses are triggered by the protein or sugar content of the grass/hay they are fed. If your aim is to feed your horses as naturally as possible then feed them as little grain as possible. Have your hay tested so you know what the protein, mineral, digestible energy and sugar contents are. Then you can provide supplemental feed, vitamins and minerals knowledgeably – giving them only what they need and no more.

      • I really appreciate your advice on this- I posted this a ways back, and since then what I have done is get them on a diet of nutritionally sound hay, and rather than feed grain, I soak them big buckets of beet pulp and timothy/alfalfa 50/50 cubes. The young guy is doing great on hay alone…

        I find that they are just as enthusiastic about the hay as they are the mash…and this makes me feel as tho I have sort of achieved my “free choice” vision

  2. Funny, that is pretty much what I feed my horses, too! They love it. : )

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