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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feeding Miss Cessa

Some of you may remember my dilemma this past fall regarding my old mare Cessa.  I wasn't sure if she would make the winter, or if it was even fair to ask her to try.
Well I'm very pleased to report that she's doing better than she has the last few winters, and way better than she did this summer.  Its taking a bit of work, time and money but its so worth it. 
A few of you have asked what I'm feeding her so I thought it was worthy of a post:

Three times a day she gets her "grain"... which is basically a big ole bucket of things mixed together, and is her main meal as she pretty much doesn't eat hay right now.
*everything she gets she's fed is 3x a day unless otherwise noted* 

We start off with 5 cups of beet pulp, I add approximately 15 cups of water to the pellets.  Although there is some information out there saying that the pellets don't need to be soaked I'm not comfortable trying that out for myself!  Needless to say with our winters the bucket has to soak in the house, otherwise it ends up a big frozen mess.
Above beet pulp before soaking.  Below beet pulp after soaking for a few hours.
In the morning feed she gets Seabuck (click the link for more info)  In the afternoon and evening feeds she gets 3/4 cup of corn oil.
When its feeding time I head to the barn and into the feed room to add the rest.  Two cups of rolled oats (not whole although Peavey Mart has given me whole oats 2 out of 3 times, even though the bag is marked rolled.  No more oats from PM!!)
One cup of sweet feed.  Really its mostly because it was always her favourite treat lol
Five cups of senior feed
And, as of Sunday, a 1/2 cup of rice bran.  Thanks Mikey for mentioning it on your blog, I had totally forgotten about the 'magic of rice bran'! :o  Probably because I've never needed it before Cessa got this old.
Quick peek at everything piled into the bucket on top of the soaked beet pulp:
And the finished product, being thoroughly enjoyed!! :D
I think its paying off... here's a couple pics from this past Sunday:

Looking a little scruffy, but she just had her blanket taken off after wearing it for a looong time!

Not bad for a 30 year old TB mare, that was just officially retired to pasture pony 2 years ago (she had maybe 2 rides in the last 2 years)  She's looking pretty good but I'm hoping adding that rice bran will fatten her up a bit more.


  1. She's looking really good! We've used a mix much like that for our seniors who have trouble with their weight, either due to age or tooth loss, and it's worked wonders. I firmly believe in soaking beet pulp - I had one horse get choke from improperly soaked pulp (someone else was feeding) and I also like the amount of water it gets into them for proper hydration. Rice bran is great stuff for weight gain.

  2. she looks great! Sounds like a lot of work and money but obviously well worth it in the end!

  3. I think she looks great- good for you for taking such good care of her. I'm glad you have her at home now, so you can carefully manage her food.

    I wouldnt feed unsoaked beet pulp either - why risk it? Kate also made the good point of a bit of extra water intake...

  4. She's looking great! I hope my old guy looks that healthy when he's her age. Good job.

  5. thanks for sharing this, i find it fascinating what keeps older horses in good health.

    baasha also gets two buckets of beet pulp per day, with a handful of grain, salt, and vitamins. sometimes a half cup of oil too but this winter it doesn't seem necessary. he's still on hay, but cannot chew it well unless it's fine. we'll see what happens.

    cessa looks great, i'm so glad for you that she is doing well this winter.


  6. She looks really good! That sounds like a lot of feed, but I guess when you cant eat much hay its not.

  7. I think she looks wonderful. She has really held her topline this winter. Here's to several more happy years to Cessa!

    I read that about not having to soak the beet pulp in that 'Myths' link I posted and didn't really buy into that either. I'm sure a person 'could', but I don't really think it's worth the risk. I feed the shreds so I don't have to soak as long. I tried the pellets once and my horses didn't like the consistency after they were soaked. But's getting harder and harder to keep the shreds stocked up.

    Ya know, after all my reading and reading about feeds, the only thing I changed was the rice bran. Beet pulp and oats are just plain good for horses and so easy on their digestive tracts. I did end up going with the Moorman's Healthy Glo because it has both rice bran and flax.

    In the last few weeks that I have been feeding it. I have really noticed that Moon is much stronger and feeling quite frisky and Spooks is filling up over his topline. I'm pretty excited at the differences. Can't wait to see what this year brings.

  8. Rice bran was a life saver for me when I had my Arab colt. I fed a rice bran and beet pulp based "grain" (LMF Showtime) as corn and alf left him singing show tunes in the rafters.

    Then, after bringing Case home so skinny, I swear the rice bran made all the difference!

    I soak my beet pulp (hard to find pellets here) because that way I know my horses are getting a bit extra hydration. During our ice storm, they didn't drink enough water to make me comfortable. So, I made the beet pulp extra sloppy on purpose.

    Cessa looks wonderful!

  9. Seabuck, I know some about that. I need to try that on Legs. Getting his weight back up after he lost it worrying about Solidare has not been easy.

    She looks good. I'm glad you found the magic combination for her.

  10. She looks really good! That is great that you found something that works!
    We use rice bran at the farm, a lot. It does wonders! I've never had to use it at home, but if I ever need to fatten someone up, I will definitely go that route!

  11. Hell ya she looks good for a 30 year old TB mare! The sweetie....

  12. You're doing a good job on her, it's so worth the extra effort.

  13. Wow she looks great!! Good job:) I too am a fan of rice bran (in more than one way... I love the smell of it and even the taste is a little like graham cracker crumbs!) I love that you add a little sweet feed just 'cause... I love the smell of it too.

  14. LOL does not look like she has one foot in the grave at all! And look at that shiny gloss in her furry "beard" - she's doing great!