Here in Northwest Texas we have had adequate rain through the summer months, and the grass still grows with a nice green color. However, the forbs and grasses are rapidly losing their nutritive values, and I have already recognized that my horses have begun losing weight, and the luster in their hair coats. Time to start a Fall/Winter supplement program!
I have already begun boosting their protein and the required vitamins and minerals they need to maintain their body condition from now until the green grass next spring. There is still plenty of forage in the pastures, so no need for hay right now. I will probably start haying in early to mid November. I want to leave at least ½ the forage in the pastures until next spring. That means lots and lots of hay plus protein, vitamins and minerals through the late fall and winter months.
Right now I am feeding alfalfa cubes and beet pulp to the saddle horses and stallions here at the headquarters every morning. The beet pulp and alfalfa cubes are soaked in water for better ingestion and digestion. They are also turned out to graze during the day. When they are brought in for the evening, they are fed 2 measuring cups of steam rolled oats plus 2 – 3 ounces of a dry all purpose 4% phosphorus mineral plus 1 teaspoon of Food – Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE), Flax Seed Meal, and one ounce of Wheat Germ Oil. The DE is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, plus aids in digestion by stimulating gut motility, and mechanically removes any internal parasites.
I keep the mares on free choice vitamins and minerals with the DE, WGO, and FLAX SEED MEAL. It certainly keeps their coats shining bright, even in winter. They get lots, and lots and lots of coastal hay with a 20% All Natural protein cube through the fall and winter. They have plenty of protection with cedar trees and 3 natural hidden valleys. They are allowed to be horses in a natural environment with native grasses, yet they come in on a ‘High Lope’ when I whistle! Their senses and sensitivity are always on alert; especially for the good feed.