Horse Nutrition Question Answered!


I have a gelding who just turned 4, I ride him 3 times a week. He looks like the paint filly in your picture on weight. He gets 14 pounds of grass hay a day,6 pound of Purina Strategy a day. Plus he is turned out. I started giving him 2 pounds of alfalfa pellets a month ago and last week he acted as if he was on speed. Spookings and just not acting himself. He is usually calm. I took him off and within a week he was back to his self. Someone told be to put him on beet pulp. Is this ok? Or is there something better?
(Jerri, United States)


It sounds like your guy might be sensitive to alfalfa. There are many horses that have a sensitivity, making them overly hyper and energetic when they have access to alfalfa. The fact that he calmed down after removing the alfalfa from the diet makes it even more likely that a sensitivity was causing the spookiness. However, it is possible, though unlikely, that the extra calories the alfalfa added to his diet are what pushed him over the edge.

If the hyperness was caused by a sensitivity to alfalfa, beet pulp should not cause a similar reaction. If you want to use it to add calories to his diet, I would start it slowly and watch for any crazy behavior, in the off chance it was the extra calories that caused the problem.

Other choices for increasing calories in a diet include BOSS, oats, rice bran or simply increasing his hay intake (assuming he'll eat more hay).

Thanks for a great horse nutrition question!

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