As a horse girl, grain is a very important part of my daily routine. When I was in college I thoroughly enjoyed nutrition class as I learned to balance rations and nutrients. Grain gives the horses the proper nourishment to develop, grow and maintain a healthy life.
I feed my horses twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. They are always happy to see me when I come down to the barn, because they know what is coming! They enjoy their grain, and feeding twice a day is much healthier for them than feeding once a day. I strive to keep my horses as healthy as possible.
My dad helped me determine the recipe for the grain mix we feed. We used to feed a bagged feed that was processed. The horses did ok on it, but it was not very cost effective when we started adding to the herd. We also had one or two older horses that were not gaining and maintaining weight like they needed, so we were top dressing their feed with an additional protein.
I now order feed from the local elevator, and the grains are fresh. I feed mostly an oat mixture with a little bit of corn, soybean meal, salt and mineral and use molasses as a binder. The older horses were able to process this feed better and use more of the nutrients it provided, allowing them to gain and maintain weight even through the winter.
Grain is not what horses naturally eat in the wild, so my horses are also on turnout for better than half of the day. The grain is an additive on my farm to ensure they are meeting their nutritional needs. My barrel horses are in great condition. I ride 3+ times a week which has toned their muscles. Their coats are shiny, they have energy and stamina and they are eager.
Grain is important in human diets also, but it is a staple in the horse world. There is a grain to help with most any problem or issue a horse may have. This in cludes over weight, underweight, dull coat, energy and the list goes on. I have foun a grain minx that works for me, my horses and their needs. Hopefully other horse owners have been as fortunate as I have to find something that works on such a broad spectrum.