“My question is whether to feed my horse oats or beet pulp? I’ve been seeing many articles on feeding them instead of commercial grains to horses, but am confused on which is best since the article does pros on just that product. Are there major differences in them, do feeding amounts matter, what are pros and cons to both? My horse is an easy keeper so he really only gets enough grain to eat his Horse Guard supplements and not feel left out while everyone else is getting some!”
Answer from Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Dr. Kelsey Johnson Nonella:
Thank you for the question. Oats and beet pulp are good feedstuffs to provide your horse with energy. They cater to different needs in feeding. Oats are a great, traditional grain. The energy source of oats comes from starch, which is perfectly fine, unless you have a horse with a metabolic disorder. Beet pulp is high in fiber and low in starch. It is a by-product that is a good feedstuff for horses with metabolic disorders, and horses that are “hot”.
When feeding one of the products along with hay, you can cater the amount fed to the amount of energy the horse needs. Since your horse is an easy-keeper, I think you are doing a great job by just feeding enough grain to get him to eat his supplements.
You are smart to feed oats or beet pulp rather than a commercial feed because you are getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need in your Horse Guard top-dress supplement, and are saving money by not feeding additional, unnecessary vitamin/mineral supplementation.
In summary, these feedstuffs are both good. They just cater to different needs. If I were you, I would feed whichever is more cost-effective for you. With a good hay and supplementation your horse should be getting what he needs. Thank you for taking such good care of your horse.