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First Posted: Jan 3, 2011
Oct 29, 2012

Bran Mash and Horses

by Debora Johnson

What is bran mash? How is bran mash prepared for a horse? Is it good for your horse? Can it hurt your horse? When should it be fed? How often should it be fed? Are there beneficial affects of bran mash? What is the down side to bran mash?

What Is Bran Mash?

Bran (wheat) and rice are used for mashes. Both mashes are high in fiber, protein and calories. Rice mash has more fat content and is gentler to the intestinal lining.

How Do You Make A Bran Mash?

It is not difficult to make a bran mash. We use 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. of either wheat or rice bran mash. We add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of molasses and approximately 4 cups of hot water. The mash needs to sit in the water for 10-15 minutes. We cover the bucket with a clean towel while the bran mash is cooling. The amount of water you add depends on the desired consistency you desire. It has to cool down before being fed so that you do not burn your horse's mouth, etc. Applesauce, cut up apples, carrots, or whatever "special" treat your horse enjoys can be added to the bran mash right before feeding it to your horse. The same goes for meds or other supplements you might be adding. Heat can change the effectiveness of certain meds, etc.

Is Bran Mash Good for Your Horse?
  • Most horses find mashes to be a special treat. Nutritionally mashes provide B vitamins niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and fiber. It is interesting to note that beet pulp and grass hay are a better source of fiber.
  • Mashes are often used for mares right after foaling.
  • Horses with teeth problems can benefit from mashes.
  • Mashes are used for dehydrated horses.
  • Meds can be hidden in mashes if your horse is difficult.
Can Mashes Hurt Your Horse?

Mashes can have a negative effect on horses if fed too often. Do not allow mashes to constitute more than 10% of the daily ration of an adult horse. It should not be fed more than twice a week. Mashes are high in phosphorous and cause calcium and other mineral imbalances. Through the years it has been said that mashes have a laxative effect. The prevailing science indicates that this has not really been proven. Mashes should not be fed to horses under 3 years of age. It could have a bad impact on bone (skeletal problems) and mineral levels.

Myths

Bran mashes, according to university studies, do not help to prevent colic or "clear a horse's gut". It should also be noted that warm bran mashes do not actually warm a horse up in cold weather.

For More Information:

Bran Mash: What's it Really Good For?

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