The Equine Practice Inc, Travels With Doc T

A Question About Soybeans

A simple question came to me recently that needs to be discussed.  A horse owner asked, “The above link is an article circulating on FB; I was curious if you’ve read this? Thoughts? Thank you so much!”  Here is the link for those interested:  https://blog.biostarus.com/on-the-subject-of-soy/

This was a well written article.  Many of the author’s points seem valid but her conclusions of using soy beans in horse feed avoids the differences of soy beans and soy bean meal.

Whole soy beans, ground soy beans, soy bean hulls and soy bean oil are all inflammatory in humans and I would assume also inflammatory in horses.  Green soy beans are toxic in all mono gastric animals including horses and humans.  Most if not all legumes are not well tolerated by humans (including miso and soy sauce) while legumes are well tolerated by equids (alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, etc).  However I know of no horses turned out on fields of soybeans or fed soybean hay.  The peanut plant, another legume, is fed as a hay to horses and the peanut (not a “nut”) is often fed as a treat to laminitis and insulin resistant horses.  

This article discusses soy beans and soy bean oil but not soy bean meal (SBM). Soy beans are first de-hulled when making SBM and then the oil is extracted. What remains is “toasted” using moist steam heat and then hammered into a coarse meal. The result is a highly digestible source of all essential amino acids for all animals.

A winter scene in Tennessee

The Objections According To The Article

There are two major objections to the feeding of soybeans to horses that I hear from everyone.  These are their genetic modification to resist the use of glyphosate and the use of glyphosate on the crop.

In modifying the plant’s genes, the leaf no longer is affected by the broad leaf weed and plant killer glyphosate.  The gene splicing is done at a specific location but I have not seen how any modification in one part of the genetic code affects any other part of the code.  There are thousands of individual genes in plants and animals and each are influenced by the foods eaten, the environmental stresses, and the seasons in all animals and plants.  I believe this lack of knowledge is what causes the fear in people worried on how any genetic modification will affect any system or organism.  Currently there are no reports of illnesses or diseases caused by consuming genetically modified food in any animal including humans.  But before you jump on me for saying this, consider that there are so many variables that it is impossible to isolate just 1 variant such as feeding a GM food versus feeding a non GM food with all else being equal.  Intellectually, there is obviously a difference.  But there is no proof, and in fact there is a lack of proof in this divisive subject where a specifically modified gene has caused a plant to be inedible or disease producing.  

It is evident that by genetically modifying soybeans there has been an increased yield of a less cost-to-produce product.  This has increased the consumption of land and for this reason, genetically modified foods may be adversely affecting our planet.  There is also a suspicion that the GM foods may also be affecting the gut microbes so necessary for survival but we are waiting for substantial proof of this.  There are so many other things affecting gut microbes that this possibility can only be added a long list.

Glyphosate (made by about 8 different manufacturers and called different names, one of which is Round Up) is an herbicide that kills broad leaf plants such as weeds as well as the leaf of the genetically unmodified soybean plant.  It has a half life of between 120 and 180 days.  It is sprayed onto the genetically modified soybean crop to kill the competing weeds without killing the soybean plant.  It is applied early in the growth cycle before the bean is evident.  Therefore the soy bean has no glyphosate on it or if it does, it has already diminished in strength by harvest time.  In addition, any remaining glyphosate is removed when the hard shell of the soy bean is removed in the de-hulling process when making soy bean meal (SBM).

The Omega 3 and 6 oils she discusses in soybean oil are not a factor in discussing SBM as there is no oil.  All fats including the Omegas come from the microbial digestion of cellulose in the hind gut of the horse.

Trypsin inhibitor protein (TIP) is found in soybeans.  Some people believe that this is another reason not to feed SBM to horses but it is not mentioned in her article.  This protein blocks the naturally occurring enzyme trypsin found in the small intestine (horses and humans) whose job is to break apart proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids.  Thus theoretically the TIP in soybeans would prevent the proteins in SBM from being utilized.  However from what I can find out, the TIP may or may not be in SBM.  Further almost everyone agrees that SBM protein is absorbed well with a biological availability between 74 and 80 percent.  To date, there is no measurement available to accurately determine the precise movement of the amino acids from any food into the body of an animal including humans.  However it has been determined that SBM provides all the essential amino acids for humans and thus for horses.  It is one of the few foods available to horses that does this.  For this reason I do not believe that TIP is a reason not to feed SBM.

The article suggests that mares being fed soybeans have an altered reproductive cycle affecting fertility and behavior.  The article does not distinguish between horses being fed only soy beans, what form they are in (whole, ground or meal) or if they were also being fed other ingredients such as corn, wheat, oats or any grain byproducts or supplements.  Many people trying the no grain diet see major behavioral changes such as focused attention, willing partnership and an improved work ethic.  Maybe grain, grain byproducts, supplements IN ADDITION TO soybeans in any form is why these mares and stallions have poor behavior as the season puts them through stressful reproductive cycles.  The theory that these horses could also be chronically protein deficient is also not addressed.  Hormones are proteins or protein – fat combinations that may struggle to be manufactured if there are not enough amino acids to make them.

The article mentions bloating caused by the large sugar molecules (oligosaccharides) found in soy beans.  This is a common problem found in all animals consuming whole soy beans.  However these oligosaccharides are effectively removed or broken down in the making of SBM.  In my experience, SBM has not caused bloat in horses or the dogs who beg for it at feeding time in the barn.

A friendly bovine in Tennessee

The Making Of Soy Bean Meal

The first step in the making of SBM is to remove the hard outer shell called the hull.  The process is called de-hulling and the shell is either thrown out or is put back into animal feed (Soybean hulls) as a source of fiber.  A horse gets all the fiber it needs from the cellulose of grass and hay.  This is a waste product and should not be fed to horses.  In fact the target of the whole soybean process is the creation of soybean oil used in the human food industry as an inexpensive vegetable oil.  To get this oil, the soy bean must be de-hulled and is therefore a waste product.

The article describes the solvent extraction process where the oil is removed from the soy bean.  The oil and the solvent used called hexane are heated to remove the solvent from the oil.  This heating denatures the oil making it even more inflammatory than if eaten raw.  Hexane is also a pollutant though I am sure that it is well controlled in reputable manufacturing plants (even reused).   But there is no mention in the article of the remaining meal.  In reality, the meal is now devoid of oil and outer hull.  There is no glyphosate, hull, oil or possibly any genetic modified material in the meal.  

The final step in making SBM is toasting it which the de-hulled and de-oiled bean actually is gently heated with moist steam.

Busy hands getting ready for the show season.

Conclusions from the article

The article never addresses soy bean meal specifically as a feed for horses.  Rather it just says soy beans should not be fed to horses while never looking at SBM as an exclusive ingredient in horse feed.  I agree with the article in that any horse feed that has inflammatory ingredients such as soy bean hulls, soy bean oil or whole soy beans is not beneficial to horses.  As a side note, soy bean oil is added to lubricate the machines making the feed.  Remember they must use food grade lubricants to do this.  SBM has no added oils because it is not made into a pellet.  The dried flake is hammered into particles the size of coffee grounds.  Most manufactures add an anti-caking ingredient which apparently has no ill effects on horses.  Some add molasses which is ridiculous and unnecessary.

Some people consider the effects of a genetically modified plant, the use of glyphosate and the destruction of forests for planting soy beans as reasons to not feed SBM to horses.  The concern for horse owners, however, is the chronic protein deficiency seen when horses are dependent on carbohydrates (fed grain and “good” hay all year long).  The most efficient solution is to stop the feeding of inflammatory ingredients and to supplement with an efficient source of protein which is SBM.  

It is better to look at SBM as a treatment for an illness.  The goal of feeding SBM is to replace the lost amino acids. This will restore the proteins used in all of the body systems (connective, integument, immune, neurological, hormonal, vitamin, enzymes and more).  Once restored, SBM can be removed.  Like any other manufactured or holistic medicine, there is always a treatment protocol and there are always side effects.  It is up to the user to weigh every side effects to the benefits of using a medicine.  To date both in my experience and in researching I have not found any adverse effects to the use of adding soy bean meal to the diet of a horse for 1 to 2 years or until the amino acid reserves have been restored.  The benefits of feeding SBM to horses in every health system of the horse far outweighs the objections, perceived or real.

If you disagree with this then at least stop feeding all the other things that are causing gut inflammation.  Stop the protein loss.

Comments 42

  1. Thanks again for an in depth explanation. I can always count on you for an honest evaluation to clear the air on so much conflicting info. See you soon!

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  2. Yes, but how do you feel about contributing to the adverse effects that GMO is afffecting our planet. How about finding a way to get SBM that isn’t GMO?

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      There are a lot of non-gm sources of SBM and many people have found them.

      According to the current research in humans, there are many people changing their minds about any perceived ill effects on GM of food. I have yet to see a report of any ill effects of GM foods on horses. I believe the jury is still out on GM effects on the gut microbes.

      But let me address something I feel is more sinister and few talk about. This is carbohydrate dependency in horses (and humans) and the deleterious effect on the cell function and the conversion of protein to sugar. To me, this is getting to the root cause of more problems in horses and is the basis of my hypothesis that carbohydrate dependency is the cause of chronic protein deficiency in horses. To this, then, I suggest that soy bean meal is more of a treatment given only long enough to restock the amino acid reservoir. This will take 1 to 2 years according to my observations. There is no test other than when the horse’s urine starts to have an ammonia smell then the protein being fed is breaking down into urea and glucose in the gut. Time to stop as the signs of chronic protein deficiency should be all gone.

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          Alfalfa hay does not have a complete amino acid profile plus its bioavailability is 50% versus 80% of SBM with ALL the essential amino acids.

          If you want to avoid SBM then you will need to find a variety of amino acid sources that give the horse all 10 and in enough amounts. This will require some investigation. A lot of people are using hemp as a protein source as well as coconut meal. Maybe a mix of ingredients is available to horses. SBM seems to do the job so well and so completely with decades of use from the 1970’s. I still have not found demonstrable evidence that GM SBM has had a deleterious effect on horses but to be honest, no one is talking about the carbohydrates dependency causing chronic protein deficiency in horses either. This is to me a more egregious problem that a temporary use of SBM can resolve.

          Overall, we need to find a scientist with enough money to do an analysis of all I am talking about. Until then, I am banking on the results people are reporting to me in these comments. And to all those reading this, please let us know if you have seen a direct or measurable issue with GM SBM. We all need to hear about it.

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            We have found bulk sources via web searches and someone in WA state has found some. Every area is different.

  3. I have two questions? Can you use roasted soybeans instead of meal ? and is one better than the other.Second question is, if using Alfalfas pellets and soybean meal how much of each should you feed ? I’ve always been a as little grain as possible person, if I need grain I use oats and a free choice mineral/ salt Grostrong. But I have a few that just aren’t looking as good as normal this year, lost their toplines and hay quality on east coast is awful this year. I think this would help mine just in what quanity ?

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      1) No don’t use roasted soy beans. The soy bean meal has been dehulled and the oil extracted and both of these can be inflammatory. I am not sure that roasted soy beans would have one or both of these removed.

      2) Alfalfa pellets should equal in weight to 1 flake of hay. Maybe 4 pounds. But if feeding alfalfa hay then only a handful of pellets is enough. SBM should be fed at 1 pound per day for a horse 1000 to 1400 pounds. Adjust to the weight of a pony, mini or draft. Also adjust to the severity, chronicity, age of the horse.

      A lost top line is one sign of protein deficiency. It will take 6 to 12 months to replace this if all causes of inflammation is removed. This includes oats. Be careful of many mineral mixes that contain sugar (red salt licks have corn syrup and molasses). Vitamins don’t need to be added if there is enough protein available and the gut microbes are healthy.

      “Poor quality” hay is actually cellulose which is a fat source of energy for horses. This actually helps the cells to recover from their summer sugar loads and is beneficial to horses. Don’t discount the value as long as there is no dust and the horse is eating it. For more information on this please read all my nutrition blogs or better yet, take the nutrition course.

      1. When it comes to not feeding an vitamin or minerals what about Vitamin E? Everything I’ve read by equine nutritionists says that if your horse is not eating pasture grass they are not getting any vitamin E at all. Vitamin E is very important for muscle development and neurological issues.

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          Vitamin E is essential for many nerve functions but how many horses are seen with this deficiency other than starvation cases? At the last AAEP meeting Vitamin E was discussed and apparently there is only 1 kind that gets absorbed while the others are not. But when listening to the presentation, I was not convinced that adding Vitamin E is necessary in horses whose gut microbes are normal and the gut lining is not inflamed.

          My premise to all my discussions is simple. All animals have evolved to have available all they need to thrive including making of all vitamins (which are just proteins). When we alter the natural state, specifically when we alter the raw materials presented to the digestive tract of ANY animal (including humans), we create an imbalance. While I personally hate the word “balance” because there really is no such thing in animals, I will use “imbalance” in that a shift occurs from being efficient to being inefficient in a process. This inefficiency causes certain thing to be made either less (a vitamin deficiency) or more (increased cortisol).

          While there may be documentation that a horse is low in Vitamin E and there may be discussions of which Vitamin E supplement should be used, few if any are looking at the question of WHY there is a deficiency. There may be postulations but as far as reproducible and quantifiable cases of cause and effect, there are none.

          For example, when horses were first fed grain they all developed rickets due to the high phosphorus in grains. This leached out the calcium from bones. The solution was to add dicalcium phosphate to all grains. The result was no more rickets. What they didn’t mention was that the now increased levels of calcium and phosphorus prevented the absorption of magnesium. This is an “imbalance” in the efficiency of minerals in the horse. The result of this shift is hyper excitability in horses. But instead of removing the cause, marketers suggest you add magnesium to the diet. Yes it does calm horses but what else is this shifting?

          If we get back to the most efficient state, the body will be at its finest.

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            Most of the info on Vit E is written by people selling it (every item on the 1st page of a Google search for Vitamin E in horses was this way). Down on the list were articles saying that horses get adequate Vit E from pastures.

            Plants make Vit E and humans and horses ingest this. Green leafy vegetables and some oils supply humans and pasture grasses are the source for horses.

            At the last AAEP meeting a paper was presented on which Vit E source should be used. The paper is at home so from my memory I think it said the Vit E in powder form was not absorbed at all. I need to verify this but I am positive that one form or another (powdered v in oil) was definitely not absorbed.

            More importantly, Vit E in humans has a vague purpose. Many studies on Vit E supplementation have shown no effect on a number of diseases and a moderate effect on others. There is enough evidence that over all, Vit E supplementation in humans is correlated with an increase in death rate. Yikes! In fact 2 studies have shown that Vit E prescriptions are DOWN about 50% in the past 10 years. The bottom line in humans is that Vit E deficiency is rare in humans.

            It may be good to supplement with Vit E in horses with no access to pasture or fed only old hay. But Vit E deficiency in horses is rare too with the exception of starved horses and foals born to starved horses.

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            I can’t remember exactly but it was discussed at the AAEP meeting last Dec in San Fransisco. I have the notes back home so when I get there I will post it (if I remember).

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  4. I enjoyed your article, thank you. It’s a fresh perspective and very specific. Can you please explain the protein quality difference between SBM and alfalfa? Why not feed alfalfa instead of SBM as a protein additive/method to replace lost amino acids especially since horses are designed to eat forage (based on how their digestive system works)? Thanks!

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      Thanks Melanie. Soy bean meal provides ALL of the essential amino acids where alfalfa only provides some (not sure exactly which are missing though). Also SBM protein is absorbed at about 80% while alfalfa (and grasses) are absorbed at 50%.

      Remember that alfalfa and soy beans are both legumes. But the meal made from the soy bean plant, while not a forage, is still OK for horses (based on its use since I’ve been with horses – 1973).

      Finally, 1 pound of SBM at 48% protein is about 175 grams of a full spectrum amino acids while 4 pounds of alfalfa hay at 12% protein is about 109 grams of a limited spectrum of amino acids. Unfortunately there is no test to determine which amino acids are missing in a horse.

      1. You say in the blog that the SBM supplementation can be stopped after a year or two, once ant protein deficiency has been corrected.

        So after 1-2 years are you advocating that we feed only pasture, grass hay, 4-5 pounds of alfalfa, and natural salt?

        What about the fact that alfalfa has only a limited spectrum of amino acids whereas at SBM covers the full spectrum?

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          The reason for the protein deficiency is threefold. First there are limited amino acids in the feeds of horses today to restock the lost amino acids. Second through gut inflammation and anti ulcer medication there is a reduced digestion of proteins. Third the carbohydrate dependency effect causes mitochondrial exhaustion which leads to cellular dysfunction and death. That causes gluconeogenesis which in turn depletes the amino acid resources.

          Once you see the amino acid supply return (good top line, good hoof health, decreased illness and lameness) then the recycling program of amino acids is complete. The downside to continually adding extra protein is that the gut will perform gluconeogenesis on it before or after it is absorbed. The horse will then be on a higher sugar diet and the urine will have the ammonia odor. This is why the Atkins diet in humans would eventually become ineffective.

          Feeding horses (or humans) is a continually adjusting art form. But for now, step one is eliminating gut inflammation by feeding horses what they were developed to eat. Step two is to restore the lost amino acids. Step three is to adjust for season, age, degree of use and genetics. Feeding horses in captivity requires all of us to use our eyes and adjust throughout their lives.

          Once you see the horse looking good in the top line and hooves, decrease the amount of protein fed to ¼ pound per day or even eliminate it during the summer pasture where they might have access to other plants.

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            One of the most expensive parts of owning a horse is the land needed to keep them. Today it is common to have either no pasture or too many horses for the available land. This said we need to look at city dwelling horses less than a century ago. Or we could look at the asses living in poverty in Ethiopia and other lands where they are kept as beasts of burden (personal communication this week from a client who visits there regularly). For whatever reason there is little to no pasture it must be remembered that all equids are grazers with a hind gut fementing machine for forage.

            When horses are kept in unnatural conditions we need to provide as much forage as is needed to maintain their health. Unfortunately in many areas hay is more expensive than complete feeds so owners go there first for feed. These grains and byproducts create an amino acid deficiency which the SBM resolves.

            Once the amino acid reserves are replenished then horses on only hay should be maintained on a reduced amount of SBM. This is where we need to use our eyes and our nose. A diminishing top line or a poor hair coat and you will know that they need more. A good top line, good hooves and a nice hair coat but an ammonia smell in the urine means the horse is turning your protein feed into fuel. That is when you need to stop feeding SBM for a while.

            Every horse and every farm will be different. As a rule of thumb I have been suggesting 1 pound SBM per horse (1000 to 1400 pounds) per day for 1 to 2 years. When the horse looks good, you can reduce the amount to a quarter pound per day as a “top off.” Remember the amino acids recycle with the exception of the hooves and hair.

            I hope this helps everyone. Thank again ELAINE for asking these questions so we can all learn.

  5. Thanks for explaining how SBM is made, I was always curious about how the bean and oil were removed. Interesting how the oil is used to lubricate the machines making the meal. Thanks for doing all the research for us. We appreciate all your help and hard work to keep our horses and ponies healthy.

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  6. Where can SBM be bought? I can’t find coconut meal either. Only renew gold which has rice bran included. I have a neurological horse and would like to see if amino acid supplementation would help at all.
    There is a supplement that offers amino acids with great reviews but it’s $100 for a month I believe. I would rather supplement through a meal if possible.
    Thanks for the great article.

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      There are some areas where SBM is hard to find. Keep looking or just ask your feed dealer to get it for you. they come in 50 pound bags so 1 bag is 50 days per horse. At about $20 per bag, it is a lot less expensive and it works so well. If you do get several bags, store it in rat proof containers. They’re not dumb! They need protein too!

      Coolstance will set you up as a local distributorship if you think this might be a way to go for you. Remember, Coolstance is for older horses needing extra non-inflammatory fats during the winter. As spring is coming soon and the grass gets better, many of the older horses start to get their fat back on plus add the muscle from the SBM. In other words, Coolstance is good if you can get it but if you can’t then blankets and / or time. As a last resort for very thin horses, I have seen Renew Gold work well but I would use it only until the grass starts to come back.

    2. Try chia. The amino acid profile is fantastic and unlike flax, you don’t have to grind it before feeding. The ALA’s are readily available so the horse doesn’t need to convert them. 1/4-1/2 cup per day is enough to be of benefit to a horse.

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        Thanks for this information.

        There are some human functional doctors who are suggesting avoiding chia seeds due to inflammation in the gut. I tend to be conservative on using ANY soft seeds in horses due to the lectins. There is no sound evidence that chia seeds help horses compared with SBM.

        When adding a protein supplement (SBM, whey, chia, coconut meal) please remember that you are only trying to restore the lost amino acids from protein resorption secondary to chronic carbohydrate dependency. Whatever you choose to feed, it is only temporary (1 to 2 years with SBM),

        Due to SBM’s track record of decades of use with no ill side effects, I would stay with them known supplement that works in horses.

  7. Always learn so much from Doc T’s articles and now his reader’s comments to this piece. So grateful you are on the case for our horses. A really big thank you.

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      Thank you for taking the time to read the comments. I agree that these comments really answer a lot of questions.

  8. Hello Dr. T. When I first found your blogs, I stayed up till 2:am reading alllll of them. (I am not a night owl) so, I was a little fuzzy on detail and have left you a few questions on other blogs, thank you for responding. I have gone back to read them again, and have taken time to read the comments, quite helpful, others had similar questions. I am now at day 10 of no-grain for my 3 horses. Please help me out again…

    1- My horses are not liking the Alfalfa pellets. I did try Timothy-Alfalfa pellets, they eat those just fine. Have other horses refused Alfalfa pellets? I live in Texas, and not comfortable about buying Alfalfa due to the Blister Beetle.

    2-Soybean meal, is to much Phosphorus an issue with SBM? still fuzzy on that issue. I have not offered the SBM (it will be in later today) do horses ever refuse to eat it?

    Thank you for generously sharing your Nutrition information. I have been sharing your website to everyone I know. I think you are absolutely on track, and ahead of what is to come.

    PS: have tried to sign up to receive your info in my email, but it does not seem to respond.

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      1) Horses usually like the alfalfa pellets. There is no problem feeding the mixed pellets. I agree with your blister beetle concern. You should be OK with the T-A pellets and you can add the SBM to this.

      2) SBM is a legume and not a grain. All grains are high in P but I am not sure about SBM. I would suspect that SBM will not affect the minerals in your horse because I have never seen this happen. If high P was a problem in SBM then manufacturers would be adding dicalcium phosphate to it to prevent rickets (big head disease, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism).

      Thank you so much for becoming your horse’s advocate. Please either contact me directly via the web site contact form about your problem subscribing to the newsletter. Better yet, join TheHorsesAdvocate.com or enroll in the nutrition course (link there). You will automatically be subscribed AND you will receive my book (pdf version) of The Ten Irrefutable Laws of Horsemanship.

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          The Equine Practice is the company and the hub of all information. I have several websites associated with it: TheHorsesAdvocate.com HorsemanshipDentistry.com EquineDentistryWithoutDrama.com HorsemanshipDentistrySchool,com EquineDentistrySchoolOnline.com

          The Horse’s Advocate also has a subdomain: University.TheHorsesAdvocate.com The main domain will be going through a complete makeover this year and more courses will be added to the university site.

  9. I have had my 13 yo OTTB on hay only (no additives/no supplements) diet for six months now. He gets Timothy pellets/alfalfa cubes and free choice orchard/Timothy hay. I am looking to start him on a “top line builder” because he is finally sweating, back to his previous weight and jumping again. He had lost 40 pounds after initially starting the hay only diet, but we kept with it because you said he would gain it back (and he did!!) He went last summer with horrible complications from androhydrosis. He needed vet intervention for severe dehydration and his vet says he is the worse case he ever saw. I want to THANK DOC T SO MUCH for his phenomenal turnaround. I do have some questions regarding which suggested topline builder I should start. You’ve suggested Manna Pros Calf manna w/ corn – I thought we weren’t supposed to feed corn at all. The other is Nutrenas pro add ultimate which on the ingredients list contains soybean/vegetable oil (I thought these were a no no also). I have considered adding Nutrena’s top line advanced support because it’s a very limited ingredient product and seems to cover all of his needs (but it has wheat gluten and rice bran oil). Can you please advise on what I should start him on and why it’s ok to give the product. The horse is doing so fantastic that I don’t want to reverse his progress. When I had started the hay only diet I was accidentally feeding some grain that was a hidden ingredient in his previous vitamin regimen and until I stopped EVERYTHING so he was only on his hay with no additives did he start to turn around which leads me to believe he is highly sensitive to any grain.

    Thank you again for his enormous progress and look forward to your suggestions on my next step. MUCH APPRECIATED!!

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      Hi Rebekah and thank you for this update.

      I am constantly updating the information I give here as more information comes in. It becomes complicated as I update things and I apologize. Please read this blog: https://theequinepractice.com/protein-for-horses-revisited/

      I do not recommend Calf Manna (or Horse Manna which does not have corn) or ProAdd because the ingredients keep changing and not for the better.

      What I am recommending for a protein source is soy bean meal. It is economical and efficient in adding the essential amino acids needed for everything including the top line. Feed 1 pound per day (1000 to 1400 pound horse) until the top line returns (and the hair coat and hooves repair or hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and immune molecules). This takes 1 to 2 years depending on the amount of amino acid deficit.

      Thank you again for helping your horse.

  10. Hi – thank you for the article . I am hoping you can clarify . Whole roasted soyabeans vs soyabean meal . If I grind the whole roasted beans I have a meal , however they would contain the oil . Is this the reason you suggest the already oil extracted meal ? I don’t mean to be dense but need to straighten it out in my head . Thank you .

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      Soy bean meal (SBM) has the hulls removed and then the oil extracted. Both the hull and the oil could be inflammatory in the gut assuming they follow the human gut reaction to these. The hulls may have lectins that may cause leaky gut. The oil may bind with the lipopolysaccharides (broken pieces of dead gut bacteria) which then penetrate the gut lining setting up inflammation.

      The roasting is a high temperature process which may damage the proteins in the roasted soy beans. All of this is not good and reasons to not feed roasted soppy beans.

      Once the bean is de-hulled and has had the oil extracted it is then “toasted” which means it is steamed (don’t ask me why they call it toasting) and then it is hammered (not ground) into a meal. An anti-caking agent is added. That’s it.

      I personally have used SBM alone or in mixes since 1973 when I started with horses and the track record is good. However recently the protein mixes that have SBM as the main ingredient have added some suspect ingredients so I now recommend straight SBM. And at about $20 for 50 pounds you just can’t get a better return on investment.

      Thank you for having the courage to ask what you thought might be a question that implied you were dense. I am very grateful that you did because if we were all afraid to ask something we would be stuck where we are. Not asking is NOT being your horse’s advocate. But you did and your horse will thank you. So do I.

  11. Hi Dr. Tucker:

    Word is getting out! Last week, I sent a friend (who was visiting that area from Kansas) to a feed store in Southern Pines for SBM and when she asked if it was dehulled/toasted/oil-extracted, all the employees turned and looked at her and one said “do you know Allie?” Allie is a friend of mine that I told about your diet and who has spread the word in her area, and the feed store has had a dramatic increase in SBM sales. My KS friend bought the last bag they had in stock.

    This week I was on a training trip in Tryon and went to the feed store there to pick up SBM while I was in town. When I ordered it, the lady said they had to vastly increase their orders of both SBM and Coolstance over the last four months because so many people have started feeding it. I know this is because of several people there who have heard my horse’s story and who then started the diet and spread the word. The feed store here in Aiken has also reported noticeable increase in SBM production.

    My saddle fitter was out today and is thrilled by the beautiful, lean muscling on my FEI horse and the healthy condition and lack of hay belly on my 21-year-old draft cross. She was interested in the diet and your theory on chronic protein deficiency and kissing spine, so I sent her that blog post. She responded “Awesome! Thank you! Man, I’m working on a horse right now that looks just like the picture from the article! How do you go about telling people about this without sounding like you’re criticizing the way their horse looks?! 😬” She’s going to use my horses as an example and suggest your blogs.

    My vet was out last week to do spring shots and Coggins and was thrilled by what she saw. The 22-y-o horse who had a huge hole in his check ligament six months ago now looks fantastic on U/S and sound, far exceeding our original conservative expectations, and she credits the protein supplementation as an important factor.

    Thank you again for your generous help. I credit your ideas with saving my partnership with my very talented FEI dressage horse. Not one explosion or moment of dangerous behavior in the six months on The Diet, and not one drop of gastroguard or ulcer treatment. He is lean, muscled, strong, and working very well. Getting closer to that GP debut!

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      Thanks for this testimony! Sharing it here will help those hesitating to try this program – then they in turn will share their stories and we will ALL learn together. Best of luck with your GP debut – let us all know how it goes with some future updates!

Your thoughts are important for all to hear and may help others to learn from your experiences. Take the time to add to the discussion. However due to time limitations I will probably not answer direct questions to me. Thanks, Doc T

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