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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

November 3, 2011

The Challenge of Feeding Beet Pulp

Yes, really.  For years and years my horses have had a daily beet pulp mash.  In the spring Phebes and Cree suddenly refused to eat it after having had a love-fest with the stuff for about seven years.  We scrubbed feed buckets and bleached them.  Nope!  not gonna eat it.  We altered the ratio of this and that, and it lay stewing and attracting flies and we dumped out a lot of feed.  Finally we shrugged our shoulders and said enough...just eat, we will give you more of your dry ration.

Why the beet pulp?  Fiber and water.  Well-soaked beet plumps up to gynormous proportions as it greedily holds water.  The nirvana of hydration is a hind gut loaded with fiber and water.

Along came Journey.  I tried with abject failure to interest her in the stuff.   More wasted feed, back on dry ration, and so went the summer.

We tried again this past week, and now beet pulp is the feed of choice for all three horses.  Go figure?  Nothing changed.  It is the very same bag we were feeding out of before, beet pulp without molasses.  So Journey gets another little distance horse wanna be notch carved into her saddle cantle.    Thus far we have worked out:

Boots fitting.
Saddle pad that works.
Saddle that works.
The worst of barn sour worked out.
Bucking pretty well ironed out.
Feed worked out.
Eating on trail.
Drinking on trail.

It's a start.  Much more to go as I try to deep breathe and work through one little thing at a time.

I'm holding out hope...I might have found a LSD training buddy.  Crossing fingers on that. ~ E.G.


  1. I love beet pulp. I have had horses that ate it year round but I have also had horses that refused it all summer, every summer, and were eager for it again in the fall. No explanation, the ones that did this were consistent.

  2. I've had that same issue with beet pulp over the same time span. My theory is that the manufacturing process changed enough or the weather changed enough during their growing season (I know of several freeze outs) that the horses just didn't like the taste. I love all the good things about beet pulp. The head of EquineCSI stayed with us for a few days and spent a lot of time riding the mountain with me; we spent lots of time talking nutrition, feet, etc. He said beet pulp was one of the best things you could feed ANY horse of ANY age because of all the benefits; not just for older or sick or skinny horses! He said few people knew that it contains an enzyme that helps the horse absorb more protein from the hay they eat.
    So glad Journey is coming along so well; sort of like her name!