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I had just about had it with my 4 year old TWH gelding, Pegasus. I posted him for sale on 4 different sites and was trying to detach myself from my love for this horse, in case anyone wanted to buy him. I had talked to several people over the past year about how "wired" he had become and how unmanagable he was getting. I was visiting with a trainer in Leipers Fork and she asked me if I was giving Pegasus any sweet feed. I had been giving him half sweet feed, half oats almost every day since I bought him 2 years ago, as I wanted him to gain a little weight and muscle up some. She suggested that the sweet feed was like "giving a chocolate bar to a hyper active kid, then expecting him to sit still." I immediately cut out all the sweet feed and cut back on oats to a couple of cups after a hard ride. A week later he was about 50% improved, 3 weeks later he was a totally different horse. He no longer spooked at everything on the trail, was calm and was much easier to get into gait! He is actually a pleasure to ride now, stays collected and in gait.

I don't know why I decided to give him the sweet feed in the first place, but I would advise you to eliminate it if you are having any control problems with your horse. It is a very simple solution to a very serious problem. Pegasus's entire disposition has improved and I am removing him from the "For Sale" sites on the internet.

Good luck and good riding!

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Comment by Bertie on January 19, 2009 at 1:42pm
If you want your horse to gain weight, try giving him pelleted rice bran, not more grain. It has lots of fat calories, but without the problems that can be associated glycogen build up in the muscles and hyperactivity from corn.

I also switched my TB off of sweet feed. I give him a 10 percent fat/10 percent protein feed called Endurance that is sold at the Co-op. It allowed me to take him off the rice bran and he is maintaining his weight. Plus, he is calmer without the sweet feed, I have found. It does have some molasses, but not as much and not as much corn as the sweet feed, it is mostly oats.

For my paint and draft-x, I have had no problems with sweet feed and have had many many horses over the years that did fine on sweet feed. You just have to pay attention to your individual horse's needs.
Comment by Pat on January 18, 2009 at 7:22pm
I too stopped sweet feed about a year ago. I switched to a feed by McCauleys out of Kentucky. I purchase it from Bonnie's Barnyard in Triune. It is a pelleted feed so it has to be wetted down some. They also carry a feed called Alum which is for Cushings and glucose sensitive horses. I have friends which swear by this feed.
Comment by Patti on January 18, 2009 at 5:53am
Sweet feed is a MAJOR no-no. I feed only a low starch low sugar products. Of course, these feeds DO cost more money. I particularly like Buckeye Safe and Easy pellet and also Trifecta which is a beet pulp based feed. They also make a great Senior pellet too. Neither will make a horse silly. Purina does make a new L/S feed, though I haven't tried it since the Buckeye product seems to work well for me and my horses.
Comment by Aggie Bane on January 17, 2009 at 7:20pm
I am feeding Platform. All the TSC stores carry it.
Comment by Jill Biddle on January 10, 2009 at 7:37pm
Roy, the problems you experienced are the exact same problems I am having with my 3 yr old TWH gelding. I put him back out on pasture last Sunday. The first year I rode him he was near perfect - and the last few months he has really been a handful; and this is the same time I started him on sweet feed.
Aggie, what is the brand of feed you are using?
A friend has told me about Buckey Feed, low sugar and low starch. I'm interested in getting more information about these feeds.
I hope I have the same great results Roy has had! Thanks.
Comment by Aggie Bane on January 10, 2009 at 12:05pm
One result from a university research study in 2002-3 indicated that sugar (often supplied via molasses)can lead to exciteability in horses. (I think this was done in California, BTW)That has led to development of low sugar and low starch feeds. These are usually in pelleted formats-but not all pelleted feeds are low sugar.
I am feeding a low sugar low starch feed and my horse has all the energy and go-go he always had (which I want in my horses), but skittishness and silliness has seemed to disappear since I switched of sweet feed.
I'm glad I switched.
Comment by Jim Apple on January 6, 2009 at 1:02pm
Glad you figuered it out, I didn't put 2+2 together in regards to diet till 1994 and as a farrier it was holding me back. Once I did, it changed my whole paradigm of what I thought I knew about horses and diet in direct relation to hoof health. Back then I shod all of my serious trail riders horses but soon found out that with a improved more natural diet and conditioning, not ony did the feet improve but they were able to go with out shoes once I modified my pasture trim to actually benifit the horse and not make him "need" his shoes.

Now I tell every one to check out www.safergrass.org and read the articles.

See you on the trail sometime,

Comment by Mike Murphy on January 5, 2009 at 10:29pm
Roy, as a friend, I posted Pegasus on this website for sale, I'll be sure to delete it. I am so glad to hear that you are having a great time again with Pegasus again, now get out and ride with us SOON! On another note, my wife's horse, Midnight, had been giving us trouble for about a year, with excessive spooking, hard to control, etc. I even sent him to someone to be desensitized for over 3 weeks with no luck. Recently, while my Ferrier was there, I was commenting on how calm and affectionate Midnight had become recently and he askedd, "have you been giving him sweetfeed?", I said "No, not for the past month or so". Greg Mangrum, my brilliant ferrier explained very similarly to you how the sweet feed was probably creating his issues. I am going to follow your lead and get him off sweet feed completely...I was going to give Midnight away as a companion horse and encourage them never to ride him, but I am going to keep my eye on him and hope that I can get my great horse back to riding again. Thanks Roy.

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