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Date Posted: 20:59:03 01/20/09 Tue
Author: Melissa
Subject: Feeding
In reply to: Aarika 's message, "Friesian diet: Grass? Alfalfa? What?!" on 15:30:59 01/20/09 Tue

>When we imported our beautiful Friesian seven years
>ago, it was commonly known that GRASS (Timothy,
>Bermuda, Orchard) was the best diet, the ONLY diet for
>a Friesian! Now with my daughter off to college we
>need to sell the sweet boy, and I am taking care to
>interview prospective buyers. One interested party
>(just earlier today) says she feeds all her horses --
>including her one, young Friesian -- grass, alfalfa,
>and FORAGE! Does anyone else include forage in their
>Friesian's diet? I've always been given to believe
>forage was to be avoided! Any comments?

Hi there....

Alflafa is not a highly recommneded hay for Friesians due to the high protein content. Here is a small blurb on that from US. Friesian Referal site.

There are some important feeding facts that are helpful to know. First off they do not have Alfalfa hay in Holland. It is not recommended that Alfalfa be fed to Friesian's as it is to high in Protein for them. Most Alfalfa hay is 12-14 % protein but some is as high as 22%. Hay that high in Proteins should only be fed to Broodmares, or horses that are in extremely high levels of work. Be cautious, especially with imports that have never been fed alfalfa before. Some Friesians even have allergic reactions to the hay, or all the extra protein is turned into sugar then fat. Suggested feeding for a Friesian is Good quality grass hay. General horse feeding rule of thumb for a average horse in minimal work is about 18 pounds of hay per 1000 pounds of body weight Per day. You can up the energy of a Friesian by feeding small amounts of a simple grain mix. Also remember to provide trace minerals/ Salt blocks and plenty of water. And Its a good idea to keep an eye on weight Friesian are big bodied big boned horses, so its important that you don't underfeed them because of the Deceptive bone structure.

Now when you talk about forage that refers to hay, grass, alfalfa cubes, alfalfa pellets, beet pulp etc...Horses are meant to be eating all the time. This is what keeps their gut functioning at all times. They should not go more than 4 hours without eating hay etc...Many horses can actually survive quite well on good quality hay and a mineral supp. Those in heavy work would need the extra calories/energy from feed concentrates.

I am sure you mean Grass Hay not just grass. Hay is vital for a horse. As I said it helps to keep from colicing.

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