Several years ago, I subscribed to an equine nutrition service called FeedXL. While I found it useful and liked it a lot, I eventually let my subscription lapse. Once I settled on a diet that worked for my horses, I didn’t need it any more.
Many things have changed in the years since I last used it: Madigan is an adult, Story joined the herd, and I feed hay free-choice. It seemed like a good time to reactivate my account.
FeedXL is easy to use. After creating an account and selecting a plan, you enter information about your horse and what your horse eats. The most difficult part of this process is estimating your pasture or hay quality; if you’re like me and haven’t had either tested, it’s a bit of a guess. For example, my horses eat bermuda hay. It’s good quality in that it’s soft, green, smells good, and is free from weeds, pests, and mold. But I don’t know how much selenium it has or if should be rated as “good” or “best”. Entering feed is much more straightforward, as FeedXL has a database of over 40,000 feeds and supplements. If the product you feed isn’t in the database, you can add it yourself. Once everything your horse eats is added to their diet, FeedXL provides an analysis. If your horse’s diet is lacking, you can use FeedXL’s Feed Finder or Supplement Finder tools to find a feed or supplement to fill in the gaps.
I was primarily interested in finding out how balanced Story and Madigan’s diets are. Both are easy keepers. Story is straight-up fat and Madigan is chubby. They eat a small amount of grain every day because it’s the easiest way to feed them medication. (Story is on Equioxx and Madigan is on Platinum Skin & Allergy.) I suspected their diets were lacking, but wanted to see what was missing before searching northeastern Oklahoma feed stores for a ration balancer or ordering my favorite equine multivitamin online.
As you can see, Madigan is deficient in a few areas. Luckily, these deficiencies can be corrected by increasing the amount of salt in his diet and adding a multivitamin. (I don’t do free choice salt any more after Madigan gnawed down a 50 lb block in two days a couple of years ago. Truly a special creature.)
Since the horses’ diets and workloads won’t change much over the winter, I plan to cancel FeedXL after this month and re-subscribe in the spring when the pasture comes in. A standard plan subscription for four horses ran me $33/month, which I think is a reasonable rate.
Have you used FeedXL? Do you enjoy tinkering with your horses’ diets? I prefer to keep it simple and keep costs down as much as possible, and FeedXL is a pretty useful tool for that!