Horse Feed

We carry select items from the following manufacturers. We are happy to special order any item we do no have on hand.

Please let us help you create the perfect diet for your Equine Partner.


Kruse, Western Milling King Feed Triple Crown Purina Mills LMF Modesto Milling


Livestock hay at Hawthorne Country Store

Hay is a field crop, whether planted or naturally occurring, which has been cut and dried for storage, usually baled, for later use as livestock feed. It includes alfalfa, oats, wheat, timothy, orchard, bermuda, clover, and most any grass, legume or grain grown to feed livestock the whole plant, stalk and seed. Straw is not considered hay because it is stalks only and not grown for feed since it has no nutritional value. Hay can be loose chopped, baled, pelleted or cubed.

Grass is a plant with thin, long leaves growing from top to bottom and includes cereals and bamboos. So grass hay is a livestock feed, usually baled, excluding legumes like alfalfa and clover.

The word “forage” can be a verb as in “Please turn the animals out into the pasture to forage for themselves.” It can also be a noun as in; “Forage should be a horse’s primary feed.” Forage is how animals eat in the wild. To forage is to find edibles wherever they can be found. Forage also means the roughage, (coarse herb cellulose) or non-concentrated feed that herbivores are designed to live on as their primary diet. Grains, molasses and oils are supplements to forage. Herbivores like horses can survive indefinitely on forage alone, (with water). But if too much grain, molasses or other concentrate is eaten within a short period, it can be fatal or cause other problems.

Alfalfa- is a legume meaning that it is related to beans and clover . It is a trifoliaged plant with blue-ish flowers. It is a high calorie and high calcium forage .The cutting we receive is not consistent but we try to get the best available from our local Imperial Valley. The protein content will vary between 13% and 18% . Alfalfa is the highest in calories per lb of all our forages. It is usually not recommended as a sole forage because it is so rich. Alfalfa also has some advantages in being a stomach soother, and it’s coarse stems are valuable roughage for ruminants.

Timothy Hay is a grass hay. It is higher in nutrients and calories than our other grasses. Its color is usually a consistent light green. It is broad long leafed and usually has lots of fuzzy seed heads. It is the preferred forage for rabbits. It’s cellular structure is large and digests easily. It is grown in high elevations such in Nevada, Utah and Oregon. The protein content is usually between 9 and 11.5 percent. It is usually the most expensive because of the transportation and because the 1st cutting is the most desirable.

Orchard Hay is a grass hay. It is between Timothy and Bermuda in calorie content. Its color can range from blue-green to brown re-rake. It is a broad leaf for 2nd and 3rd cuttings, or narrow with seed head for the 1st cutting. It is usually a soft grass hay. It’s cellular structure is large and digests easily. It is best grown in high elevations like Timothy. The protein content ranges around 5 to 9 percent.

Bermuda Hay is a grass hay. It is the lowest in calorie content. It’s a thin, round grass and can be short or long depending on the variety. Its cellular structure is small and tight. It is usually the least expensive grass. It is grown locally in Imperial Valley. The protein content varies between 3 and 7 percent.

We usually do not carry Oat Hay because it is inconsistently available in our area. We do carry Oat Pellets. Oat hay is high in sugar and so tastes good to horses.

We do not carry any mixed hay because they are inconsistent. For example: 1 bale is 20% alfalfa, and 80% Bermuda, the next bale is 60% alfalfa and 40% Bermuda. In this case a sensitive older horse may not be able to accommodate the change in forage without a transition time and could develop abdominal discomfort, known as colic. Horses cannot vomit and so a tummy ache can become deadly. We recommend a combination of hay but mixed at the control of the horse caretaker.

Senior Horse Feed

Nutrition for the Older Horse

By Dr. Randel Raub, Equine Nutritionist, Purina Mills, LLC Edited for Hawthorne Country Store
Before we can discuss diet requirements for the “older horse,” we first need to determine when a horse is considered to become older. While we typically may think of an older horse as one that is in its teens, the reality is that the genetics of the individual plus how it was cared for during its life will dictate when its nutritional needs begin to shift from that of an adult mature horse to that of a geriatric horse. That point in life may be sooner, or later, for some horses than it is for others. It’s also important to remember that aging is a gradual process and doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s estimated that there are over 700,000 senior horses living in the United States today. It seems as if there was a “horse baby boom” in the mid-to-late 1970s, making 9-11% of the total horse population today older horses. Many of these horses are well into their 20s or 30s, and still live very healthy, active lives due to better care and feeding. The best manner in which to care for older horses is to address their special needs prior to any significant decline in condition or health. As always, your veterinarian plays a key role in helping to ensure the continuing good health and longevity of your horse. Our three main areas of attention include nutrition, management, and health.

Let’s examine some of the typical problems of older horses, and how to resolve them


– Teeth that are worn or missing make chewing difficult for the horse. Poor dental care can also cause mouth ulcers resulting in pain. Poor teeth contribute to the horse not chewing its food long enough to produce the amount of saliva necessary for proper digestion. Saliva not only contains enzymes important for the digestion of feed, but it also helps to lubricate the esophagus for ease of swallowing. If you notice your horse dropping bits of feed or forage out of its mouth, chances are it’s time for a dental check. In addition to making sure that your horse’s teeth are in good condition, feeds that are processed and are easy to chew will help the problem. Water can also be added to the feed to make a gruel which will be even more edible for the horse with poor dental condition.

Digestive System

Digestive System- One of the problems with aging is that the motility of the horse’s digestive tract becomes compromised. One reason for this reduction in digestive motility may be due to the fact that the horse itself has become less active. However, digestive concerns still can occur in those individuals that remain active even as an older horse. Gas production and impactions can lead to colic symptoms. By feeding smaller meals more frequently, the horse can more easily digest and process its feed. Reducing starch or grain in the diet can be helpful in preventing excess gas and constipation. Increasing the amount of a high quality, easily digestible fiber source may also assist in this regard. As always, offer plenty of clean, fresh water to keep food moving through the system. Consider adding 2 ounces of salt to the horse’s diet to stimulate water consumption. Remember, horses prefer tepid water from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As part of the aging process, the older horse experiences a reduction in digestive efficiency, along with a decline in its ability to absorb nutrients. By feeding a processed feed, as opposed to whole grains, and by fortifying the nutrient levels in that feed, the horse is better able to absorb those nutrients which are made available in its diet. The basic 9 or 10% whole-grain diet that had sufficed in the horse’s earlier years simply will not provide adequate nutrition to the now older horse as the necessary nutrients are either not present at all, or are no longer available to the changing geriatric digestive system. Parasite infestation also hinders digestive capabilities, so a proper deworming and parasite control program must always remain paramount in proper maintenance and care of the horse at any age.


Respiratory- Senior horses may begin to experience some respiratory problems in the form of a chronic dry cough. In addition to veterinary help, changes in the feeding program and environment are also necessary. The first step is to reduce dust and allergens. Hay can be one of the culprits here! Feed only high-quality, clean hay and wet it down well with water prior to feeding. Or, eliminate hay from the diet by feeding a complete feed (one that includes forage). This offers a viable option in feeding horses with this condition as it eliminates much of the dust in the diet. Many of these horses will do significantly better if turned out to a grassy pasture.( Obviously, a dry pen turnout that is dusty will only worsen the situation.) Though full-time turnout is preferred, dramatic improvement may be seen if the horse has turnout for most of the day and is stabled at night.

Body Weight

Body Weight – Though some senior horses have a problem with being overweight, it is much more common to see older horses that have a challenge with becoming too thin. Aging tends to result in a reduction in muscle mass, along with difficulty in maintaining adequate weight. As mentioned earlier, the older horse may not absorb nutrients as efficiently as it had been able to do in its younger years, or may be experiencing problems with chewing and digesting. Monitor your horse’s BW using the established Body Condition Scoring System, paying special attention to weight over the top line, back and rib cage areas. If your horse is too thin, feed a processed feed that contains high quality, easily digested protein and readily available energy. If the horse is too fat, minimize grain intake to control calories, yet still assure that proper protein, along with correct vitamin and mineral balance, is being maintained.

Hair and Skin

Hair and Skin – An inadequate diet is often to blame for problems with hair, skin, and hooves in horses of all ages, but is especially evident in the older horse. Regular brushing and a good nutrition program will contribute greatly to resolving these conditions. Nutrients such as protein, essential fatty acids and vitamins are particularly important, and many times are inadequate in a typical diet. Poor haircoat in older horses can sometimes be due to Cushing’s disease. Symptoms of Cushing’s disease include long haircoats that shed late in the year or in patches, loss in muscle mass and excessive water intake. Consult your veterinarian if you feel your horse may be showing these symptoms. in a study of geriatric horses, over 70% of the horses over 20 years of age showed subclinical signs of pituitary or thyroid dysfunction. These dysfunctions can cause an intolerance to glucose or blood sugar. After a meal high in starch, such as cereal grains, blood levels of glucose and insulin become abnormally high. Horses with Cushing’s disease respond to diets that are lower in starch and higher in fat and fiber. With proper veterinary care and nutritional management, these horses can live for years after the appearance of the clinical signs.

Bones and Joints

Bones and Joints – As horses become older, we begin to see lameness which may be due to chronic founder or laminitis, arthritis, or stiffness from weakened bones due to demineralization. The first course of action is to obtain veterinary assistance to aid in alleviating discomfort. Depending upon the specific condition, management recommendations may vary. Nutritionally speaking, it is important to provide a nutritionally balanced diet providing more calories from fat and fiber, as opposed to starch, along with a good mineral balance.


Anemia is a reduction in red blood cells and can occur in horses of any age for a variety of reasons. In the older horse, anemia may be the result of poor nutrient utilization, or a decrease in red blood cell production. It can also be associated with heavy infestation of parasites. By providing a palatable, easily digested and balanced feed, the horse will receive and utilize the nutrients essential to its good health. In some situations, an extra bloodbuilding nutrient may be recommended by the veterinarian. In summary, our large population of older horses can continue to provide us with joy and entertainment for many, many years provided that we, as their caretakers, are aware of their changing needs and make certain that we do whatever we can to provide them with the best care possible in their golden years.

Senior Feed and Manufacturer Protein Fat Fiber First ingredients Feeding reccomendations
Triple Crown Senior by Western Milling/Kruse 14% not listed not listed Alfalfa meal, Wheat Midlings, shredded beet pulp, soybean hulls, cane molasses with hay 6 lbs per day, sole 12 lbs per day
Integrity adult/senior by Kelleys 13% 6.50 16 beet pulp shred, soybean hull, soybean meal, rice bran, oat hay pellet mollasses 1/2 to 3/4 lb per 100 lbs of horse body weight per day with forage
Life design senior no mollases by Nutrena 14% 5.00 16 wheat middlings, alfalfa meal, safflower meal, rice bran, soybean oil, soybean meal 10 to 18 lbs per day depending on size and work, as sole feed. Reduce by 1 lb for every 2 lbs of forage provided.
Golden Age Senior no Mollases by Kelleys 13% 4.00 16 alfalfa meal, wheat bran, corn, wheat flour, soybeanmeal, canola oil, rolled barley 12 to 18 lbs per day depending on horse size, work and ability to eat forage
Equine Senior by Purina 14% 5.50 17 Wheat middlings, alfalfa meal, rice hulls, cane molasses, soybean meal, beet pulp, rice bran, soybean oil, soybean hull, vegetable oil 8 to 18 lbs per day depending on size of horse, work level and ability to eat forage
Kruse Senior Textured 12% 4.00 18.7 alfalfa meal, rolled corn, molasses, beet pulp shred, recleaned oats, roasted soyeban, rolled balrey, soybean oil With forage and fresh water, split the feedings into at least twice per day and adjust the amount based on the horses size, condition and workload.
Kruse Senior Pellet 12% 3.90 16.5 alfalfa meal, ground corn, wheat millrun, roasted soybean, soybean oil, With forage and fresh water, split the feedings into at least twice per day and adjust the amount based on the horses size, condition and workload.
Equine Advantage Senior Advantage by Kruse 11.60% 3.90 17.3 recleaned oats, soy hull pellet, beet pulp shred, alfalfa meal, molasses, soybean meal, rolled barley, wheat millrun With forage and fresh water, split the feedings into at least twice per day and adjust the amount based on the horses size, condition and workload.
Perfectly Senior (summer/winter) by Kruse 14% 3.80 19 wheat millrun, soy hull pellet, alfalfa meal, ground barley, beet pulp shred, soybean meal, mol With forage and fresh water, split the feedings into at least twice per day and adjust the amount based on the horses size, condition and workload.
John Lyons Senior by Nutrena 14% 5.00 16 wheat middlings, suncrued alfalfa, rice bran, soybean hull, cane mollasses, ground wheat, ground corn, soybean meal, soybean oil, 4 to 14 lbs with forage or 1.25 to 1.5 lbs per 100 lbs of body weight as sole feed.