Author of the Blog

Abby Leggett is a Sales Lead at Lakeside Country Store, has a bubbly personality, a can do attitude, and a wealth of knowledge.

She’s been working at Lakeside for about two years and is one of the biggest livestock animal enthusiasts you will ever talk to. Abby has owned and operated a horse training and lesson-teaching program for seven years and was a 4H horse leader in Nebraska for five years. During that time, she specialized in gaited horses, 4H Western Pleasure, Hunter under saddle, ranch riding, and reining stock horses. Along side her passion for horses, she also fancies her chickens. She has owned and raised poultry for the past three years.

Currently, Abby lives with her family in the hills of Council Bluffs with her four horses, chickens, her cow Betsy, and Max the dog.

Grain and Workouts for Horses

Now that we have digested (pun intended) Spring Time Forage in part 1 of horse nutrition article, it’s time to talk about grain supplement and workouts! 

Every horse and situation is different. You may have gotten your senior horse out from the winter dry lot and noticed he’s a little ribby, or his topline is a little droopy, maybe you have a horse that’s coming two and needs the extra calories. Or, (like my case)  your horse might be an easy keeper and not need any extra calories or muscle support and is just fat. Whatever the case may be, I’ve got the details on how to fine tune your horse’s spring feeding to accommodate pasture grass, hay/dry lot, or hay/stalled.

Body Scoring

Firstly, you must determine where your horse is lacking (if any) in their muscle/fat content. We call this process body scoring. Here is an example of body scoring your horse.

Purina has an excellent article on how to body score your horse, they even have a handy video you can watch for you visual learners!

Keep in mind that every horse is different and may be thin in different areas based on the breed of the horse or their forage content. Also, horses handle winter differently. Your horse might have lost weight by burning fat to keep warm, or has gained weight from lack of workout.

Grain Supplement

Once you have determined where your horse is lacking, it is time to talk about grain! Horses that are working need extra calories to meet their energy requirements to keep up with workouts. The harder the horse works, the more calories the horse’s muscles are burning, therefore, more energy is needed in their diet. The fuel source that muscles uses the most is carbohydrates and fat.  

  • Easy Keepers. Most horses can not be nutritionally satisfied on pasture/hay alone. What pasture/hay lack is the crucial vitamins, salt and minerals they need to sustain a balanced diet.  A great concentrated grain for horses that are easy keepers and stay chunky on pasture/hay is Purina Enrich +, or Nutrena Topline Balance. Both theses grains are a concentrated feed to help sustain a pasture horse. You only have to feed 1-2 pounds a day, it’s high in protein, low starch and sugar, amino acids for muscle maintenance, and vitamins and minerals.
  • Light Exercise. Light workouts consist of pasture or trail riding 3-5 times a week. Some horses are good with just increase in hay for light riding. However, extra calories from grain goes a long way on your horse’s energy and he might need it! A good grain for light exercise would be Purina Strategy GX. This feed is an all life stages grain which is perfect for any situation. Purina Strategy Healthy Edge. This grain has Amplify in it for extra fat and has controlled starch and sugar.  Purina 12% Impact. This grain is a 12% protein and high in fiber with all your added vitamins and minerals, it is also an all life stages feed. Purina Omolene 100. This is a great textured feed for your pleasure riding horses, it’s low in starch and sugars because it is made with soy bean molasses and it is low in potassium for HYPP positive horses. Last but not least, Nutrena SafeChoice Original, this feed is comparable to Strategy with less sugars and is also an all life stages feed. All five of these grains provide carbs and fat for horses to help out with extra calorie intake for workouts, and each grain has their own nutritional differences for your horses’ specific needs. 
  • Moderate Exercise. Moderate work consists of barrel racing, ranch riding, jumping, team penning, etc… Most horses can not consume enough hay to gain enough energy to handle moderate exercise. For your competition horses, there are several grains out there to help sustain your elite athlete! The first grain that comes to mind when feeding a hard working horse is Purina Ultium Competition. This feed contains fat, fermentable fibers, and controlled starch and sugar as the fuel source for energy in your horse. This is great because your horse is getting his energy from fat instead of starch and sugars. It will give him the right kind of energy for working all day instead of hyper, tensed up energy from sugar. Another great feed would be Purina Omolene 200 or Omolene 500. This feed is a textured feed that is blended with soy bean molasses so there is no added sugars! It contains Outlast Gastric Support and Amplify Fat supplement. The difference between the two feeds is that Omolene 500 has more calories per pound for hard keepers and horses with high metabolism. One more great feed to add to your li​st is Nutrena SafeChoice Performance. This feed is high in fat and low in starch and sugars. They have also added their Topline Balance to their feed for topline support. It has extra calories per pound for hard keepers as well.
  • Heavy Exercise. Ah, The hard working horses! You’ll find theses horse racing, pulling/hauling heavy loads, or polo. Theses horses require large amounts of grain to meet heavy work energy needs. The grains that are used in the “Moderate Exercise” bullet point can be used for theses horses as well just more pounds per feeding. Each tag should have feeding instructions on the back of the tag for how much your horse needs. It calculates their weight, workouts, and forage amounts to get an accurate amount of grain your horse needs for intense work! However, there is some specialty grains I’d like to mention for these heavy workers. The first one is Purina Race Ready. This feed is exactly the same formula as Omolene 200 except it is blended with more oils and soy bean molasses for “finicky” race horses. The other grain i wanted to mention is Nutrena ProForce Fuel. This feed is my personal favorite! It is very high in fat, high in calories from fiber sources, and high in amino acids for muscle support. I feed this grain to my really hard keepers and extreme athletes. Back when I taught lessons, all my horses were on this grain to maintain teaching lessons all day. Those lesson horses are amazing and (I think) work extremely hard.

So, whether you have your easy keeper pasture pet, trail riding buddy, rodeo friend, or your hard working racer, we have a wide selection of grain to accommodate you and your horse’s needs. All grain mentioned in this article are available at Lakeside Country Store!   

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Why are Chicken Eggs Different Colors?

Chicken Chat with Abby~Egg Color~

Well hello, and welcome to Chicken Chat with your host, Abby. Ya know, nothing gets me more excited than Spring. Warmer weather is around the corner, flowers are blooming, and CHICK DAYS ARE HERE! Hearing the chirps in your favorite feed store *cough… Lakeside Country Store… cough* just gets you all warm and fuzzy inside.

Each month we’ll have a chicken discussion on hot topics! This week’s topic is egg color. Why are Chicken Eggs different Colors? Why do the Ameraucanas lay blue eggs, Rhode Island Reds lay brown, and your classic Leg Horn lays white eggs?

Well, allow me to geek out and tell you all about it!All eggs start out white in the hen’s oviduct. The chickens that lay colored eggs have pigment deposited onto the egg as it travels through the oviduct, where your classic white egg layers do not deposit any color and let the egg travel though the oviduct with no alterations. The Ameraucana chicken releases the pigment ocyanin early in the development process which results in the exterior and interior color of the shell to be the same blue color. Chickens that lay brown colored eggs deposit the pigment protoporphyrin late in the chicken’s oviduct which is a result of just the exterior color to be brown and interior white. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, it gets cooler 😎 Did you know that if you catch the egg right after it’s been laid and still wet you can change the exterior color back to it’s default white? However, once it is dry and the egg is set, no amount of washing, rubbing or spit shining will change the color of the egg.

Do you have a hot topic about chickens you’re just itching to find out? Let us know, we’d love to answer it for you.

More Information on Chicken Nutrition here

Introducing Horses to Spring Pastures

Keep your Horses healthy, as they transition to pasture this Spring.

Oh, hey. It’s Abby! You know what I love just as much as chickens? My horses! Yes, my horses (and my pet cow, Betsy. However, that’s a completely different story I’m not about to get into yet). I’ve got four, fantastic steads that have been yearning for the spring weather to arrive and their itch heavy coats to shed out. What’s even more important is their winter forage, grain, and workouts are changing as the pasture is growing and the workouts get more regular/longer.

I’m here to talk about some important nutrition steps to help out with any situation you and your horse are in! First of all, every horseman’s (horsewoman) situation is different. Some just have a dry lot all year around, some have pasture turn out, some are pasture summer and dry lot winter, and some have a stall barn with regular turnout/workouts. Whatever the case may be, most horses need feeding changes from winter to spring! Most horse owners know that switching from hay to fresh green pasture could pose a threat to a horse’s digestive system and can cause laminitis and or colic… But why? Well, lets dive a little bit deeper. In the spring when the days are warm and the nights are chilly, the grass produces more sugars to grow. The grass produces and burns the sugar in the day time when it’s sunny to grow and when it gets cold at night, the grass stores the sugar and it accumulates till the day time. This can cause your pasture grass to have high sugar levels.

Now, here is the kicker… Some pasture grasses when storing sugar at night they either store it as a starch or a fructan. What is that?! (My thoughts exactly) Fructan is similar to starch, the difference is that starch is comprised of strings of glucose molecules and is stored in the plan’s leaves. Fructan on the other hand consists of fructose and glucose and is stored in the plant’s stem. Both in high amounts are not good for horses. However, Fructan when consumed by horses gets processed in the horse’s hindgut through microbial fermentation. Excessive fermentation of fructan in the hindgut may trigger colic and or laminitis.

Okay, lets come back here for a minute and process all of this… To put it in perspective, if your grass contains 27% sugar and your horse is eating 20 lbs of pasture grass a day, that horse has eaten 5.4 pounds of sugar. 😲 WOW! No peppermints for you!So. whether you are partial or full time pasture feeding, it is always a good idea to start introducing your horse to fresh spring grass slowly. The recommended amount is 30-1 hour of grazing for the first day, then increase the time by 5-10 minutes each day till you get to 4-6 hours per day total.

At this point, your horse is fully adapted to the spring pasture life! As the summer hits, grasses slowly change in the amount of carbohydrates and sugar levels. Because your horses are on spring grass, they should be able to adapt to summer grass with a breeze (a summer breeze that it). You can get your pasture grasses tested at your local extension office. Stay tuned for part two for spring grain/workout feeds!

Find more horse nutrition here.