Forage First Program


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General Horse Feeding questions







Q. Why do we want to use forage-based feeding programs?
A. Horses are grazing animals with digestive tracts best suited for eating forages for 15-20 hours per day. They have relatively small stomachs, that hold less than 2 gallons of feed, and huge hindguts that hold 23-30 gallons of fibrous material while billions of bacteria work to digest it. This is a very efficient system that works in the long-term best interest of horses, if they are fed a lot of grass or hay. In fact, forage is the best source of fiber, energy and protein for horses. However, forages do not provide vitamins and minerals in the correct amounts and proportions for horses, so they must be supplemented.

Q. What is a gradual feed change?
A. A gradual feed change involves removing and adding feed ingredients in 1 lb. or smaller amounts every 2-3 days. Gradual changes are required for horses, because a large amount of digestion occurs with the help of microbes in the hindgut. The microbe populations need time to adjust to different feedstuffs. Generally, cereal grains should be changed more gradually than grain-free feeds, low-grain feeds and hays because the cereal grains are the hardest dietary components for horses to digest. We recommend using grain-free and low-grain feeds for this reason.

Q. What is a custom feeding analysis?
A. A custom feeding analysis is an examination of your current feeding program with recommendations for a program designed specifically for your horse. It is the most precise way to feed your horse to help it achieve optimal performance.



A. FORAGE FIRST is ADM® Alliance Nutrition®'s forage-based horse feeding program in which good-quality forage, GROSTRONG® vitamin-mineral products, stabilized rice bran/Omega Flax® products and Specialized Premium Blends and Fortified Feeds are combined to produce balanced total rations. With this combination of feeds, horses can perform at their best when fed less grain than they would receive from typical horse rations. Also, FORAGE FIRST horses usually exhibit a consistent energy level rather than a 'grain high' attitude (often associated with high-grain rations) that requires 'ride-down time' and can increase the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries.

Q. Can HEALTHY GLO® and GROSTRONG® Minerals be fed with feeds like PRIMEGLO®, SENIORGLO® Patriot® and GROSTRONG Ultra-Fiber Horse Feed?
A. Absolutely. HEALTHY GLO and GROSTRONG Minerals allow us to customize PRIMEGLO, SENIORGLO, Patriot, GROSTRONG Ultra-Fiber Horse Feed and all of our other feeds more than we ever could in the past. When our customers have overweight horses, we can recommend GROSTRONG Minerals and little or no concentrate feed. This way we meet the vitamin and mineral needs without contributing to the weight problem. And, when horses need additional weight or energy, we use HEALTHY GLO along with the feed. This allows the horse to eat more forage for a healthier digestive tract. Yet, he can still gain weight and look great! A large majority of horse owners feed traditional, grain-based rations. But, they also use 2-3 supplements!! We are now able to offer full nutritional services to our customers, including the best traditional feeds, which are formulated using the most up-to-date research information available, and the best two supplements on the market for horses. We also have increased technical service and the free Equine Nutrition HELPLINE (1-800-680-8254) where horse owners can call for feeding suggestions. Many questions are also answered at our online library at www.grostrong.com.

Q. Can I feed this program to a horse with laminitis, history of colic, tying up, EPM, HYPP?
A. For all horses with medical conditions, you should work closely with your veterinarian and nutritionist to develop rations. FORAGE FIRST programs are usually safer for horses than traditional high-grain rations, because many metabolic disorders, such as laminitis, colic, ulcers and tying up can result from improper digestion of starches in typical rations. HEALTHY GLO is recommended, for horses with several kinds of tying-up problems, by researchers and veterinarians. HEALTHY GLO and GROSTRONG Minerals provide important nutrients like Vitamin E and Selenium that are recommended for horses recovering from Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). Horses with Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP) thrive on FORAGE FIRST programs, as long as the potassium content of the total ration is controlled and large amounts of potassium are not fed in meals. GROSTRONG Minerals do not contain added potassium, so are safe for horses with HYPP. For help with rations for horses with HYPP, contact AN.EquineHelp@adm.com.

Q. Why don't you put it all in one bag?
A. Nutrient requirements vary from horse to horse, making it impossible to make one formula that works for every horse. And, vitamins and minerals are required for proper utilization of both the forage and the concentrate portions of the ration. Therefore, as the hay to concentrate ratio changes, the vitamin and mineral content of the concentrate becomes inadequate for the total ration. For instance, one horse might require 20 pounds of good-quality hay and two pounds of POWERGLO, and another horse does best on 15 pounds of hay and six pounds of POWERGLO. Both horses should have two ounces of GROSTRONG Minerals, so it is impossible to put them into the POWERGLO in the correct amount for both horses. Therefore, we recommend that additional GROSTRONG Minerals be fed free-choice with all products except GROSTRONG Mintrate®.


Q. Why are GROSTRONG Minerals the right choice for horses?
A. ADM Alliance Nutrition has produced top-quality, balanced animal mineral supplements since 1885 and horse supplements since 1925. GROSTRONG Minerals are specially formulated to provide 27 vitamins, minerals and electrolytes to complement the nutrients found in forages and grains in order to allow horses to perform to their genetic potential. Since minerals interact with each other in the body, they must be provided in the correct proportions as well as the correct amounts. There are two formulations, one with a 2:1 Ca:P ratio for use with grass hays and mixed hays and one with a 1.2:1 Ca:P ratio for use with straight legumes (alfalfa and clover) and when more precise control of Ca:P ratio is desired. GROSTRONG products are convenient to use. In granular form, GROSTRONG Minerals are available in 25-pound bags. GROSTRONG 25 lb pasture blocks and QuadBLOCKs (the unique 25-pound blocks that can easily be divided into four mini-blocks for use in individual stalls) are also available.

Q. Why do I need to feed GROSTRONG vitamins/minerals with HEALTHY GLO®, MOORGLO®, JUNIORGLO®, PRIMEGLO®, POWERGLO®, SENIORGLO®, etc.?
A. GROSTRONG vitamin/mineral products complement the nutrients found in forages. Horses should receive 1/2 to 3 oz of GROSTRONG Minerals per day. Some of the minerals are found in the fortified feeds (JUNIORGLO, PRIMEGLO, POWERGLO, SENIORGLO, GROSTRONG Ultra-Fiber Horse Feed, Patriot Performance Horse Feeds). Since different horses need different amounts of these feeds, it is not possible to include the GROSTRONG Minerals in the feeds in the correct amounts for all horses at different feeding rates. If you feed the recommended amount of these feeds, the GROSTRONG Minerals are provided, but if you feed less than the recommended rate, add GROSTRONG Minerals to make up the difference, or just offer them free-choice. The minerals are balanced around the salt, so most horses consume appropriate amounts of them. Always monitor consumption of free-choice products.  The HEALTHY GLO and MOORGLO are supplements that do not contain GROSTRONG Minerals, so they must be fed with GROSTRONG Minerals.

Q. Is the GROSTRONG vitamin/mineral in the HEALTHY GLO?
A. No, HEALTHY GLO is stabilized rice bran with ground flax seed and a few other ingredients. The GROSTRONG Minerals should be fed separately as part of FORAGE FIRST programs.

Q. I've heard that horses sometimes need additional electrolytes. What are they, and are they provided in FORAGE FIRST programs?
A. Yes. Electrolytes are minerals that ionize, or become charged particles in water. They are essential for many metabolic processes. The most common electrolytes are sodium and chlorine (the two minerals that make up table salt) and potassium. Calcium and magnesium are also required felectrolytes. Horses cannot store excess electrolytes, so they are normally excreted in the urine and in sweat, which is produced to cool animals after work or in hot weather. Therefore, electrolytes must be replaced in the daily ration, and they should be included in high-quality feeds. In almost all situations, there is more than enough potassium in hays and pastures for horses, so none should be added. Horses with the genetic disorder Hyperkalemic Period Paralysis (HYPP) are unusually sensitive to potassium in normal amounts. See the HYPP section  for more information. Sodium, chlorine, calcium and magnesium are usually deficient in horse feeds.  GROSTRONG Minerals are formulated to contain the correct amounts of sodium, chlorine, calcium and magnesium to complement horse feeds. HEALTHY GLO is a good source of potassium. Therefore, FORAGE FIRST programs are excellent sources of balanced electrolytes for horses, and there is no need for additional electrolyte supplementation (except possibly for very hard working horses or those working in very hot, humid climates). Most horse electrolytes contain a lot of potassium, which forces horses to get rid of it, placing more stress on the endocrine system. Non-potassium horse electrolytes should be used.



A. HEALTHY GLO is stabilized rice bran blended with Omega FlaxTM ground flax seed. Rice bran is the brown part of the rice kernel that is left on the brown rice and milled off from white rice. Rice bran accounts for only 5-8% of the paddy rice weight, but contains over 60% of the nutrients found in each kernel of rice. Raw rice bran is very unstable; therefore it can become rancid within 24 hours if not stabilized. The rice bran in HEALTHY GLO is stabilized with an extrusion process that gives it a shelf life of over one year and, at the same time, retains the high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and vegetable oil (20%). HEALTHY GLO is fed for its fat, omega 3 essential fatty acid, hypo-allergenic protein, vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content.

Q. Is HEALTHY GLO a supplement?
A. In Feeding and Care of the Horse (Lewis, LD. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1995), Lewis defines a supplement as "a feed mixture added to a diet to increase the amount of a specific nutrient(s)". However, most people think of a supplement as something fed in relatively small amounts. HEALTHY GLO is a feed, because it provides many nutrients rather than a few. But, since it is fed at the rate of 1/2 to 2 lb. per day, it is commonly called a supplement. Whether considered a feed or a supplement, HEALTHY GLO is a very beneficial component of FORAGE FIRST feeding programs.

Q. Will HEALTHY GLO make my horse gain weight?
A. Horses gain weight when they consume more energy than they use up. HEALTHY GLO can be used to put weight on horses that are too thin, because it provides more useable energy per pound than typical feeds, grains and forages. When HEALTHY GLO replaces some grains in a total ration, horses can be fed to gain or lose weight or stay the same, depending on the horse's needs.

Q. Will HEALTHY GLO make my horse shiny?
A. HEALTHY GLO contains fatty acids that cause a typical healthy horse's coat to 'glo' or shine. That is why the product was named HEALTHY GLO.

Q. Will HEALTHY GLO make my horse too hyper?
A. HEALTHY GLO provides more energy per pound than grains, but it does not produce a 'grain high' that is a typical response to the starches in grains. In fact, most horses become quieter when switched from high-grain rations to rations containing HEALTHY GLO and little or no grain. Therefore, HEALTHY GLO should not make a horse too hyper.

Q. How much HEALTHY GLO do I feed?
A. In order to determine how much HEALTHY GLO to feed, you need to know the age, breed, size, medical status, reproductive status and workload of your horse as well as its current body condition and its current feeding program. When you provide this information to our HELPLINE service at 1-(800) 680-8254, we will make ration suggestions specifically for your horse. Typical feeding rates for HEALTHY GLO are 1/2 to 2 lb. per day. Some elite athletes are fed 4 or more pounds per day.

Q. What does HEALTHY GLO look like, is it a pellet?
A. HEALTHY GLO is stabilized rice bran and ground flax seed with a few other ingredients, which comes in two forms, a texture that is called a meal, and a mini-pellet, called a nugget. It is golden in color and resembles wheat bran, except it is heavier and seems moister because of the 20-25% fat content. It has a fresh nutty smell. It is mostly extruded and very digestible. Interestingly, it is water soluble, so it can be mixed with any combination of whole grains and/or pellets by simply adding a little water. (See also MOORGLO, our pelleted stabilized rice bran/Omega Flax supplement below.)

Q. Do horses like HEALTHY GLO?
A. Most horses like HEALTHY GLO the first time they receive it. Some horses take a few days to adjust to it. Most horses prefer it to grains once they become accustomed to eating it.

Q. Why do I need to reduce grain?
A. The nutrients formerly provided by grains are now provided by HEALTHY GLO, GROSTRONG Minerals and your good-quality forages. Large amounts of grains will actually interfere with the digestion and absorption of the HEALTHY GLO and forages.

Q. Why does this program replace so much grain?
A. HEALTHY GLO has more energy per pound than grains and can improve the digestibility of the other components of the ration. Additional energy can also be provided by increasing the forage content of the ration.

Q. Does HEALTHY GLO have a reversed calcium to phosphorus ratio?
A. No. All cereal grains, including oats, corn, barley, wheat, etc. have more phosphorus than calcium which is referred to as a reversed Ca:P ratio. Calcium is added to HEALTHY GLO and MOORGLO to balance the Ca:Phos ratios. However, FORAGE FIRST programs are balanced for calcium and phosphorus and it is the total ration that must be balanced, not the individual components of the program. In fact, most FORAGE FIRST programs have a better total Ca:P ratio than many traditional rations with large amounts of legume hays (alfalfa and clover) containing too much calcium or rations with several pounds of unfortified grains like oats and corn. Rations should be designed so that horses receive about 2 parts of calcium for every 1 part phosphorus (2:1 ratio). Mature horses can tolerate up to about 5:1 without problems. You should not add phosphorus above 0.5% in the concentrate for mature horses. Growing horses should receive rations at about 1.2:1 if possible. Total horse rations should always have more calcium than phosphorus.

Q. Why do many horses calm down when fed HEALTHY GLO?
A. HEALTHY GLO contains B vitamins and tryptophan (an amino acid) that have been associated with a calming effect on animals and humans. However, the main reason that many horses changed from high-grain rations to HEALTHY GLO rations seem calmer is that they no longer are eating a lot of starch from carbohydrates that tends to produce a 'grain high.' HEALTHY GLO doesn't provide nutrients that increase the glycemic response (increased blood sugar), so, often, the final result is a 'calmer horse.'

Q. Why does HEALTHY GLO seem so expensive?
A. HEALTHY GLO might seem expensive because people are accustomed to looking at feeds on a cost per bag basis. However, since you feed only 1/2 to 2 lb. per day, it only costs about $0.35 to $1.40 per horse daily. Compare this to sweet feeds that cost $10.00-$16.00 per bag, but last only 3-4 days, and you will find that the other feeds are really the expensive ones. Our programs make maximum use of the good-quality forage that is available and economical in each area of the country. And, feeding more forage and less grain is in the best interest of your horse's digestive health.

Q. Why is stabilized rice bran better than top-dressed vegetable oil?
A. HEALTHY GLO provides a relative DE (digestible energy) of about 2.4 Mcal per pound compared to 1.9 Mcal per cup of vegetable oil. HEALTHY GLO also contains many other nutrients, such as high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and digestible fiber. Vegetable oil is pure fat, so when you top-dress with oil, the protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber in the rest of the diet become diluted. Then, in order to metabolize the fat, vitamins and minerals must be taken from the rest of the ration or from the horse's body. Also, vegetable oil, when top-dressed on feeds, can interfere with proper digestion of the grains and hays in horse rations. HEALTHY GLO is more palatable and less messy than oils and has a much longer shelf life. The rice oil in HEALTHY GLO is a natural source of gamma oryzanol, a very potent antioxidant known to improve muscle function in humans and animals. As you can see, there are many reasons to feed HEALTHY GLO rather than vegetable oils.


Q. What is MOORGLO®?
A. MOORGLO is a pelleted stabilized rice bran/Omega FlaxTM product (containing HEALTHY GLO), which is enhanced with calcium, yeast, natural-source vitamin E, CitriStimTM and Soy ShineTM. MOORGLO is designed to be fed with GROSTRONG Minerals for Horses products. MOORGLO is a key component of FORAGE FIRST horse feeding programs. Both MOORGLO and HEALTHY GLO provide energy, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E (all natural sources). They replace some or all of the grains in typical horse rations with nutrients that are highly digestible. MOORGLO has less fat (18%), a lower price per bag and a higher feeding rate then HEALTHY GLO. With FORAGE FIRST programs, horses can perform at their best with less grain and less risk of digestive and musculo-skeletal disorders associated with high grain intake (colic, founder, tying up, ulcers).

Q. Why does MOORGLO contain stabilized rice bran?
A. Stabilized rice bran contains over 20% fat and provides energy from rice oil and structural carbohydrates. Stabilized rice bran is the only source of certain antioxidants that are reported to enhance lean muscle growth. Stabilized rice bran is also an all-natural source of vitamin E and many B-complex vitamins necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Q. Why should MOORGLO be fed with GROSTRONG Minerals for Horses products?
A. MOORGLO was formulated to be fed with GROSTRONG Minerals products in order to best complement the nutrients found in good-quality forages for the needs of many different horses. In order for MOORGLO to have a variable feeding rate, the minerals and vitamins must be left out so that many combinations with GROSTRONG Minerals product are possible. If they were in the MOORGLO, there would only be one possible ratio and MOORGLO could not be used for other species of animals, such as sheep and some goats that are sensitive to copper and cannot have feeds with the normal amount of copper fed to horses. GROSTRONG Mineral products come in many forms; granular, pasture Block, QuadBLOCKs (the unique 25-pound blocks that can easily be divided into four mini-blocks for use in individual stalls), StaySTRONG Metabolic Mineral Pellets, PRO-VITA-MIN 20 Tubs and also in many horse feeds.

Q. How much MOORGLO and GROSTRONG Minerals should be fed?
A. General Recommendations are to feed I-3 lb of MOORGLO and I-3 oz of GROSTRONG Minerals (granular, Block or QuadBLOCK) along with about 15-25 lb of good-quality forage and additional grains or feed products only when necessary. The exact amount fed will depend on the age, reproductive status, workload, condition, and size of the horse. However, a good rule of thumb is to feed 4 oz of MOORGLO per 100 lb of body weight per horse daily, then adjust according to the horse's body condition and individual variability.




ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. , a wholly owned subsidiary of the Archer Daniels Midland Company