Last summer, Louie needed to gain a few pounds, so when I got him moved over to our current stable, we increased his feed- he was getting 9 pounds of grain per day! (that was 7 pounds of the barn's sweet feed mix, 1 pound of whole oats, and 1 pound of Triple Crown Senior) He put on a fair bit of weight, but then seemed to require quite a bit of grain to maintain his weight. I couldn't really decrease him below this 9 pounds per day without him dropping weight.
So, my job was to choose a new feed for Louie- NOT an easy task. I slaved away for weeks going back and forth trying to decide what to feed him, meticulously calculating cost and caloric content of various percentages of this or that feed. Mixing in sweet feed, oats, pelleted and senior feeds in various ratios. This process went on for weeks, I had a calculator everywhere I went and any spare moment I had, I pulled out my scratch paper pad and data, and crunched more numbers. I had huge lists complied of various feeds, their nutrient contents, calorie contents, and cost, all broken down per pound. Louie had been getting 4 different feeds all mixed together at one point in time, because I couldn't decide on the best feed and wanted to give him the best feeds at the most cost efficient rate. I really wanted to continue to feed Louie the Triple Crown Senior feed that I had been supplementing, but was hung up on the cost of feeding this ($18.50 for a 50 pound bag).
I've tried a lot of different feeds in the past, but I have not fed anything I've been quite so impressed with. And, I know that what I am feeding is quality. Triple Crown has a fixed formula and does not substitute their ingredients based on what is less expensive at the time of milling. They use real, good quality feed products, and are one of the only companies to list their ingredient list proudly on their web page. Their Senior feed is beet pulp and alfalfa based, and contains stabilized flax seed which is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids (not only a great fat source to add sheen to the coat, but also has anti-inflammatory properties). The feed has a great vitamin and mineral profile and also contains probiotics to aid in digestion. It contains 14% protein, 10% fat, and 17% fiber, so it is very nutrient dense, and also considered a complete feed. It was voted one of the best feeds by The Horse Journal. It really is a great product. And their customer service is wonderful too. I'm not a Triple Crown salesperson, just a happy customer.
So, in addition to his senior feed, Louie gets 2 ounces of whole flax seed (I really don't need to be giving him extra as his senior feed already contains flax, but it is one of the "extras" that I just haven't discontinued from when I previously had him on many different things). There are mixed opinions on whether flax seed should be fed whole, ground, boiled, etc. As far as I understand, the most popular way to feed it is ground, but it must be ground fresh, which is an inconvenience from a horse boarding standpoint. Most horses are able to sufficiently chew it to break the seeds. It is very easy to break the seed open by just pinching it with a fingernail, and many people believe that its nutrients can be fully extracted even if the seeds are passed through the digestive system whole.
Of course in addition to the feed that I provide, Louie gets grass hay, grass pasture in the summers, plenty of clean water, and a trace mineral block to use as needed. On occasion he gets fresh carrots from my garden, or apples or peppermint treats when others bring them.
All in all, I think Louie's a pretty lucky horse. He's got a great menu at his disposal, and his condition shows it!