"I just love RED MILLS and so do the horses! I’ve fed other brands in the past but my horses have always been happier and better looking on RED MILLS"
We love to hear our customer’s stories so when we saw Derv's blog - Ginger Ninga and Co - discussing what she feeds and why after chatting to our nutritionist Louise, we had to share it! Over to Derv...
Lets start with my feeding journey. I first contacted an equine nutritionist in late 2017; at the time I was struggling to feed Tilly for the amount of work she was in. Her topline in particular wasn’t developing as well as I’d have liked, despite having made the move to pure dressage, meaning she was finally being worked consistently and correctly, she was losing weight instead of putting on muscle. You can’t feed for topline alone, it only comes from proper work and correct feeding – we had the work side sorted but the feeding side was lacking.
Tilly was also struggling with energy; with the help of the lovely Louise from Connolly’s Red Mills we were able to put together a feeding regime that has worked wonders for Tilly and she’s still on it today. One interesting thing that Louise noticed was that Tilly might be dehydrated, she wasn’t a massive drinker and with the sweat that goes hand in hand with hard work, she was being left dehydrated. This was easily fixed by just adding table salt to feed, daily.
I recently contacted Louise again – this time I wanted to add a joint supplement for all the horses and get Dave on a better regime. Up until now, all I was doing was attempting to just feed his mood. That translates to giving him as little possible because he basically runs off nervous energy! However, through lockdown I’ve been able to get him into a routine that has him completely chilled and working well. Ironic that. So now to formulate a diet that does that same for him.
So what do I feed? I’ll walk you through the bulk the feeding along with the supplements. The bulk of the feeding is made up of Connolly’s Red Mills, I have always fed Red Mills for two reasons;
- They’re an Irish brand – I love to support Irish brands whenever I can!
- I just love Red Mills and so do the horses! I’ve fed other brands in the past but my horses have always been happier and better looking on Red Mills. So we’ll be sticking with this!
Here’s what I’m currently feeding – feed by feed:
Dave now gets a scoop of this a day (gradually added to his feed over the a few weeks – it’s extremely important to gradually introduce any changes in feed). As it only contains 10% protein, it won’t add to his sharpness – he’s got plenty of that already thank you very much.
This feed contains the Red Mills Nutrition Care package which includes pure protected yeast and two prebiotics (MOS and FOS) to aid hind gut health and help maximise forage digestibility. For anyone that doesn’t know, prebiotics basically feed the bacteria in your digestive system, meaning they’re better fuelled to do their job in maintaining a happy and healthy digestive system – people take prebiotics too!
In addition to all of this, a natural long-lasting gastric acid buffer is also added these cubes to help support a healthy stomach – I think we all know how uncomfortable a build up in stomach acid can be! It is also high in easily digestible fibres, oil and essential amino acids. It is steam cooked and double pelleted for improved digestibility. I’m super excited to see how this works for Dave as he can be prone to suffering from an upset tummy! It’s mad how interested I am in my horses digestive system and health now that my own is causing me so many problems!
This is what Tilly gets, I won’t go into too much detail here because it’s a well-known feed that does what it says on tin really. This perfect for a horse in hard work that needs the feeding to support this or a horse that needs a little extra help the energy department. Dressage is tough work and Tilly does find it tiring so this feed is perfect for keeping the tank full so that at least energy isn’t a problem, even if everything else is.
This is a nutrient rich balancer; both Dave and Tilly get a mug full of this in their feed. The main reason is that it aids in their muscle development. This should help build up a topline along with the proper work both horses are receiving. Composition wise the Grocare Balancer is extremely similar to the Performa Care Balancer but as it’s more readily available for me I choose to feed it instead. However you can now get free delivery when you purchase the Performa Care Balancer on the Red Mills online store!
All my horses are fed a scoop of Dengie Alfa-A Original in their evening feed. My reasoning behind feeding this is that it adds even more fibre to their diet. I find this particularly helpful in the winter when they aren’t getting the same amount of forage as they would in the summer with the grass. I always try to feed ad lib hay but you can only give them so much a day when you’re not always around. I decrease the quantity when they have 24/7 turnout and have all the grass they want/need.
This is a joint supplement, that comes from Red Mills partner company Foran Equine, and contains everything you need to maintain happy joints such as glucosamine – a key component of cartilage, MSM – promotes joint and ligament health and marine collagen – as a source of Calcium, Chondroitin Sulphate and Hyaluronic Acid.
No matter the age of the horse, you should always mind their joints if you want a long happy career with your horse. As Tilly and Ellie are getting on in age they could do with some extra minding and as Dave is an eventer which is a tough old job, I want to start minding his joints early. As all my horses are getting this supplement, I bought the five litre bottle, this bottle comes with a pump so you can pump it directly into their feed. The amazing thing is that one pump is exactly 30ml which is the exact amount you should be feeding! This completely removes the guess work.
Technically it is a syrup-based vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement. Basically, it’s a balancer in liquid form. It can be used to boost an existing balanced diet or in Ellie’s case, it’s to balance out a forage only diet. Ellie is the textbook definition of a good doer. She just needs to see food and she’ll go up a dress size. So this is perfect for ensuring she gets everything she needs without putting on extra weight. What I really love about this, the lid of the litre bottle has a measuring cup attached to it meaning you always know how much to give – again no more guess work!
My horses have been on this new diet for a while now and I can confirm we are all loving it. I have no idea what is in these supplements that makes it so palatable for horses, but I have never seen my horses attack their feed so much. Tilly who would normally eat her dinner in multiple sittings is now finishing it in the one go – shes unleashed her inner fatty! Their buckets are licked completely clean every single time.
Again contact a professional if you’re struggling, there are so many things that need to be considered when getting a feeding regime together, such as their horses condition, age, workload, personality and even their breed! It’s super simple to send an email to any of the feed companies. What I found helpful was to include a photo of you horse so that the nutritionist can see their condition.
Wow this was a long one today but hope you’ve found it interesting or helpful at least.
As always my lovelies, until next time.
A 25 year old Irish blogger, Derv has been describing her journey within the equestrian world on-line for the last 3 years. She has a masters in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and works for a multinational company. After work, she spends what little spare time she has outside, normally in the rain, covered in mud and who knows what else!
Tilly is a 2005 16.2hh, Irish Sport Horse out of Ramiro B and a TB mare. Her whole dam side are all flat racehorses with some well known names in her lineage such as Nureyev and Northern Dancer. She was bought as a 5yo for showjumping but her paces and movement were so incredible I decided to take her eventing. However, after many attempted seasons eventing, the target of Tattersalls International was dropped and Derv went for the Dressage National Championships. Having started pure dressage in May 2017, then after spending a summer at Preliminary, we moved to Novice as of September 2017 and then competed at elementary as of 2018 and she’s now excelling at dressage.
Dave is a 2013 Irish Sport horse by Cardento and out of a Cruising Mare. When I tried him he had only been broken about four weeks, but he was very well behaved! Although very green he appears to be a very quick learner and he really tries his best! Since I’ve had him, Dave has made it to two Dressage Ireland National Championships and started his eventing career where we’ve competed up to EI100. His progress has been a little bit stalled due to Covid but the big aim is to event to International 2* level next year.
Ellie is my mum’s horse and is 7/8ths Irish Draught. Ellie has previously hunted and even hunted side saddle. She now happily competes with the Riding Club and I enjoy borrowing her to occasionally hack with friends. She is so well behaved she is an example for all the other horses.
If you’ve got any nutrition queries or need some help with what to feed your horse, get in touch with our expert team.