Max Wild Horse Diet

MAX (1996 to May 2022)

For some reason, I never took the time to add Max to this list. Max was 25 when I bought him as a riding horse. He did spend two years giving rides to me and my grandkids. It wasn't often, but he had a lot of body issues that needed dealt with. They are as follows:

1) Extreme digestive issues. I wasn't told until after I bought him that Max was having colic episodes 5-6 times a year. I do believe lack of proper care and stress was a huge factor in that. Max was an unused stallion for 19 years of his life. He was only AI collected once a year but lived on a property surrounded by mares. He became a "windsucker" because of all that stress. Even though he was owned by one person most of that time, he was passed from caretaker to caretaker, fed garbage food, and mostly kept in a stall in a very moldy, dusty barn. His last two years before coming to me, he was owned by a very ignorant person who was new to horses, and didn't really care about Max and his issues. I was able to get Max down to collicking 1 to 2 times a year, mostly because we were still working on healing his digestive tract, and figuring out what his triggers were. He was an internaliser, so when he stressed, rather than acting out, he wind sucked. He also need ALL foods (including hay) wet down during winter months as he would not drink enough water, even when given a bucket of warm water. You can see in the picture below of how wrinkled Max's face was due to stress and pain. (Taken by me just before I bought him)

2) Because of being mainly stalled and stressed, Max had a lot of body issues that needed to be taken care of. His right hock was damaged (most likely from kicking the stall) and his right front knee was very arthritic from pawing while eating due to stomach pain. He had multiple body work sessions, plus we do regular carrot stretches, and lots of walking to help with his issues. However, in his last year with us, Max injured himself several times trying to "be the stud", but his old body just want up to it. 

Due to Max's long term digestive issues, in his last year with us he started having minor choke problems. In May of 2022 I went out to feed and found standing in a corner, unwilling to be caught and salivating heavily. The vet diagnosed him with "deep chest choke". Treatment would leave damage and scaring, which would lead to more choke issues and more potential colics. We decided at that time that the old boy have paid his dues and it was time for him to join our "Heavenly Herd". Months later and I still miss him running up to the gate at mealtime, whinnying and tossing his head like he was a young stud again. You were a good old boy, Max. Rest in peace. 

Max's Diet (fed twice daily)

Endless local grass hay, wet down. As he was very nutritionally deficient in the beginning, he was eating about 8 flakes a day (stalled, no grazing) in a slow feed hay bag, but reduced to 4 to 6 flakes a day, depending on weather and grazing available once we brought him home. 

  • 2 cups (dry measure) Teff Pellets (4 cups in winter)
  • 1 to 2 cups Rice Bran Pellets
  • 1 to 2 cups Coolstance
  • Joint Rebuilder Plus 1 to 2 tablespoons 
  • MSM 1 tbs
  • Tummy B Calm 2 tbs to start, reduced to 1 tbs after seeing improvements. 
  • 2 tbs Nutritional Yeast to help keep up muscle mass
  • 2 tbs Kelp for added minerals

1 to 2 tbs Mineral Salts (we use Redmond Rock but also leave out Redmond blocks for free feeding) When we first bought Max, I noticed he had been trying to eat the giant salt block the past own had given him. He had very soft feet and it took nearly a year before his body was remineralized and he started growing decent feet. He was never skinny in the past, but he was not fed properly so was very nutritionally starved. 

Outside of not feeding him well, Max was also not...loved. He was a very emotionally distant horse and had a hard time connecting. In his last year I finally felt he was figuring out how to connect to people. My non horse person husband and him definitely made a connection and they became "buds". He also finally allowed me to give him pets and love on him so on the day it was finally time to say goodbye, I was able to love on him and give him comfort and I felt he knew that and accepted it. It was also very clear he was telling me it was time to say goodbye. I can't say he was the horse I have been the closest to, but he definitely took a piece of my heart. Moreso than I realized until after he was gone. I am very happy he got to spend his last few years with us.