Friday, September 26, 2014

Feeding Beet Pulp

Tristan has not been drinking as much as I would like lately, and with plans to take him on the road on Sunday, I wanted some extra tricks up my sleeve. I'll incorporate electrolytes into his feeding plan over the next few days, but wanted something to give him on Sunday while we're away.

Enter beet pulp. Beet pulp is basically the shreds of what's left over after all the sugar has been processed out of beets. Sounds delicious, right? It's actually nutritious (for horses, anyway) and most importantly low in starch. Dr. Kellon, a leading expert on Cushings nutrition, suggests it as great safe calories. While it can actually be fed dry (another old wives' tale bites the dust), it also absorbs a TON of water - which makes it ideal for my purposes.

I bought 35lb of beet pulp for about $13 at my local feed store (literally right off Main Street of the state capital, oh Vermont, never change), making it also pretty inexpensive. Whoo! I queried the collective wisdom of COTH to see if I could feed it intermittently, and the answer was a strong affirmative. (Let me hasten to add that COTH is not my one-stop-shop for veterinary answers, but for straightforward practical questions, they are great. When the answers all come back "yup, no problem, go ahead" I feel on safe ground.)

To be extra cautious, I am giving him a few handfuls per day in the days leading up to the ride to get his gut used to the beet pulp again. (He has eaten it in the past at other barns with no problem.)

So tonight, after puppy class, I went out to give him his first bit of beet pulp. I mixed two heaping handfuls of dry shredded beet pulp with about 2Q of water.

Dry, before adding water.

After adding water.

Then I set my timer for 15 minutes and proceeded to wander around. I didn't want to start on any cleaning projects because I quite foolishly had not changed into jeans after work and didn't want to completely destroy my work pants. I petted Tristan on the nose (he was BUSY with his HAY, MOM), and wandered around outside.

My pretty new car, posing in front of the dry lot paddocks, with foliage backdrop.

I checked on the water level in Tristan's paddock: pretty good. (Not low enough to make me haul more out in my work pants...)

Then I turned around and the barn was pretty.

I brought the beet pulp out so it could enjoy the view. This is halfway through soaking.

Done! This is especially soupy beet pulp, but I was still amazed at how much water it soaked up.

A+ pony approved!

Tristan ate the beet pulp up beautifully, even slurping the extra water. Victory! (For now, says the pessimistic side of me.)

He'll get a few more handfuls Friday & Saturday night, and then half a bucket of dry + full bucket of water on Sunday at lunch. Every little bit of extra water I can get into him helps.


  1. Beet pulp is great. I've fed it a lot in the paste. I've had a couple horses get "tired" of it and stop eating it after a couple months so took a break. It just depends on the horse. I prefer the no molasses variety :)

  2. Woo, love beet pulp! All the horses at my barn get it and slurp it up with tons of enthusiasm. (You can tell when they've eaten recently, because they're all wearing half of breakfast on their faces!)

  3. Love beet pulp. Think it's a really really good thing to feed them!


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