Tips on how to get your picky metabolic syndrome horse to eat supplements.

What do you do when your insulin-resistant horse needs supplements but isn’t getting a substantial amount of feed to put them in? Many horses will eat their supplements plain, but others are picky eaters.

The ingredients listed below are low in sugar and therefore safer for sugar-sensitive horses. They can be used as a “carrier” for mixing supplements. Start with a small amount of the ingredient of choice (or a mixture of several together), add water and soak until it becomes mash-like. Because metabolic syndrome horses need fewer calories, use the smallest amount of carrier you can get away with, for example, 1 cup per feeding (less for mini horses). Feed the mixture plain for 5 to 7 days; this will allow your horse to acclimate to the new ingredients. Once he is eating the mash, add a small amount of supplement and mix well. Over the next 3 to 5 days, increase the amount of supplement until you reach the recommended level. Don’t soak supplements in the mixture, but add them just prior to feeding and mix in well.

Low-sugar options:

  • Commercial feed formulated for sugar-sensitive horses (NSC level of 10% or less)
  • Shredded beet pulp (no molasses)
  • Hay cubes, broken into pieces (choose a hay cube that is 10% NSC or less)

You can add celery, strawberries or cherries (remove the pit, as it is toxic) to the mixture to make it more appetizing. These fruits and veggies are low in sugar.

Avoid adding candy, molasses and sweet syrups. Use bananas, applesauce, apples and carrots in moderation because they are all high in sugar.

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