16 COMMENTS

  1. Bran being fed once a week to keep a horse “regular” is the biggest myth. In people fiber is something that keeps us regular but our diet is not nearly filled with the precent of fiber a horse needs and gets. If it was the metamucil company would be out of business. In horses the percentage of fiber in hay way outnumbers the percent in bran. The biggest cause of the horse having loose stool is the once a week bran that causes a mild digestive upset. When thinking of a lot of feeding myths you have to put the chemical and mineral quantities and qualities in place of common know how that has been around for centuries.
    Thanks for reading- Asaka, equine science degree earner

  2. Your article was not only very interesting and enlightening, but it also made me realize the necessity of exposing even more horse owners to the points that you brought up. About a year ago, my boarding stable began feeding a weekly bran mash after one of the owner’s horses came down with colic. Their goal in this was to PREVENT a future episode (luckily, they have since stopped feeding the bran). At that time, I did not think anything of it, but now their actions seem entirely counterintuitive. The sad fact is that, as I now realize, the stable could’ve actually been encouraging additional colic cases without meaning to. This underscores the necessity of debunking bran myths and making sure that the information is widely known and accessible to other uninformed horsemen and women.

  3. At my barn, it was decided by one of the horse owners that bran mash should be given every night to prevent colic. My horse started having diarrhea and now shows signs of founder. I thought the bran mash idea wasn’t a good one. I’m glad that I found this article. I’m going to make the other horse owners aware that bran mash isn’t necessary nor does it prevent colic. It seems some horse owners think they know everything and try and impart their not so intelligent wisdom on others, and the poor horses have to suffer.

  4. Wow, that is very interesting. I had no idea about the dangers of feeding a bran mash before. I am glad i read this article before feeding my horse a bran mash.

  5. I have fed a small bran mash once a week for many years. I began doing so after I had a horse with sand colic requiring surgery. When she came home the vet suggested I feed her a mash once a week for the rest of her life to help to remove any sand she may ingest. I have done this for all of my horses ever since. I have never had it cause loose stools and have very rarely had any colic at all. The horses do seem to enjoy it and it does make me feel good to give them a warm meal in the cold weather. I do also increase their hay when it is very cold out as well. I have heard elsewhere recently that the new school of thought is against bran mashes once a week due to the drastic change and I can understand that. I think I may switch mine over to a small amount daily. Thanks for the info.

  6. I’ve never fed any of my horses brand mash because of the very reason that we never drastically change their feed. When switching to a new feed, we introduce it gradually, so it never made any sense to me to completely and suddenly change a horse’s meal to a bran mash. This article does a great job of describing the physiology of the bran mash on the horse’s body. If I want to warm their feed because it’s very cold, I put hot water in their grain and let it get mushy.

  7. So, I thought about giving my horses bran mash because its a nice little treat and I thought it would warm them up a bit. After reading this though, it doesn’t sound like such a good idea anymore. I have been putting hot water in the grain so it can soften and they seem to like it just fine so I guess I will stick with that. Also, does putting hot water in the grain cause it to loose any of the nutrients? And how much extra calories does a bran mash have because I have a very easy keeper that I can’t afford to let her gain any weight.

  8. I would like to know, if feeding a bran mash is not good for the horse, then why does the vet tell me to feed a bran mash after a horse has colic?

  9. I have been feeding my gelding a bran mash daily for the past 7 years. Now I have heard it can harm him rather than help… I would like to say he gets 1 1/2 sm scoups everynight with water and he has never colic Is it best to take him off it? this article has confused me? do you or don’t you feed bran????

  10. Elizabeth, Hot water does cause food to lose nutrients, HOWEVER, if the water is left in it, and they eat the water with it, they will get the nutrients anyway, so I don’t think you should worry about that.

  11. If you feel strongly about adding hot water to your horse’s feed then restrict yourself to warm only. Hot water destroys the viability of vitamins, which is why you should steam your own veg and not keep them in hot water for long or all the goodness is removed

  12. I started feeding bran mash in the 70’s. Not sure how everyone does it, but I add cooked barley (I use oil and Molasses to barley as it is cooking). It is VERY important that calcium and potassium is added and that bran is dry crumbly not wet a gushy and mixed at every feeding not left mixed as it will get too wet. There are no recalls on this and keeps horse very level headed.

  13. We live in The Sonoran Desert and our horses intake alot of sand. Does not “Bran” assist in the digestive process ?

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