Brrrr….It’s getting cold outside. Like really cold where I live. We are still waiting for the snow, but the temperature has definitely dropped.
And one thing that I do every feeding for my horses is turn their meals into a mash, or mush as I like to call it. Now this is mainly due to the needs of my senior horses. But I thought I would share it with you, in case you like to feed your horse something warm on cold nights.
Traditional Mashes Are Not The Best
I know, this goes against the grain of many horse owners. I mean who wouldn’t want to make a nice warm mash as an occasional supplemental meal for their favorite equine, right? But did you know that traditional mashes are not quite as good as we thought to give to our horses?
Traditional bran mashes can actually upset the digestive system of your horse, especially if you only feed it once in a while. It can also cause imbalances in your horses nutrition as well.
Think about it, when you change your horses feed, you are supposed to do it gradually. No sudden changes in feed because it can be disruptive to the digestive system. So can you see why it could cause issues of you suddenly decide to give your horse a quart of new feed (The bran mash itself)? It makes sense, right?
So no need to spend a lot of money on a fancy pre-packaged bran mash for your horse. Nope! All you need is probably what you are already feeding, and some water.
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How To Make A Mash For Your Horse
For me, this is easy. My horses get a mash at every meal. And this is how I do it:
Plezant’s Main Meal
Frisby’s Main Meal
I add the pellets to a flat backed bucket and then add the water. For the winter months, I use warm water and allow the pellets to soften over an hour. Then once the pellets have turned into a ‘mush’ I add in the beet pulp, and grain. I also add their supplements into the mixture as well. And then I feed my boys their meal. And they love it!
It makes me happy to feed them something warm, especially when it’s frigid outside. And with all of the water that is a part of the mush (or mash), I know they are getting the water that they need.
And making sure they get enough to drink and keep everything flowing is so important. And when I create their meals like this, I never have to worry about how much water they are drinking – because it’s a part of the meal. See how sneaky I am?
What Is Beet Pulp?
You may be wondering what beet pulp is. And beet pulp is a calorie dense food that is safe for horses, even when they have metabolic concerns, like Frisby. So I make beet pulp a regular part of every meal for both of my senior horses.
I buy beet pulp in the pelleted form, and then I soften it with water. And because I feed this to my horses on the regular, I have a beet pulp bucket that I fill every other day with the softened pellets.
I mix enough of the pellets with water that one bucket will last me 2 days. And I have never had a problem with the beet pulp fermenting, especially when it’s cold outside.
Making A Mash For Your Horse
I have always softened the pellets before feeding them. And I would encourage you to do the same. The beet pulp pellets soak up the water and turn into a wonderful mash. It also adds a lot of sugar free calories, and fiber for your horses diet. This really helps to make sure everything is able to make it’s way through their digestive tracts.
Ever since I started feeding beet pulp several years ago, I have never had a problem with colic. I’m sure it has something to do with the added fiber, and more importantly, added water.
Adding Warmth From The Inside Out
I love feeding my senior horses their meals in a mash, and I know they enjoy it as well. I can always tell the Plezant is content with his meal as he stands in front of his bucket with his back leg cocked.
And by adding the warm water to the mush (mash) it heats them up from the inside out. The calories burned while the horse is digesting the meal creates warmth which helps to keep your horse warm, even when it’s cold outside.
And if you are making a mash for your horse, you can add extras too! If you horse is ok to have added sugar, you can add peppermints, or candy canes broken up. I guess, if your horse likes peppermints. Or how about adding some chopped carrots, or even apples? I am sure your horse would love this!
But don’t feel that you have to add these extras. My boys are perfectly happy to eat the mush (mash) just like it is. When it’s extra cold outside, I will sometimes add some electrolytes. But other than that, I don’t add any extras, unless of course you consider their supplements, like weight builder, Horseshine, or MSM. Those get added as a regular part of their diet.
Making A Mash For Your Horse
So there you have it! That is how you can make a mash (or mush) meal for your horse, the non-traditional way. And in my opinion, this is the better way. Because I am not interfering with their digestive system, if anything I am helping it by making sure they get the water that they need. As well as the calories. And like I said before, adding water and softening the pellets into a mush seems to make my horses very happy. Their bellies are full, and they are warm. And knowing that they are content, and warm makes my heart happy, all winter long.
So if you are considering adding a mash as a treat for your horse, please consider using food stuff that your horse is already accustom to eating, and just add some warm water to it. I think you will find he will be very happy, and warm too!