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WELCOME to MDDA

We’re glad you stopped by to visit our website on distance driving. Perhaps you’ve just discovered MDDA and want to learn more about just what we do. Perhaps you’ve come to check the schedule to see when and where competitive drives are being held or check the results of past drives. Or perhaps you are just interested in looking at some photographs of our horses and drivers at the various competitions. Whatever the reason, thanks for browsing and drop us a line if we can answer any questions or be of service to you.

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Wonder of Beet Pulp

The Simple Wonder of Beet Pulp

The large 40 lb. bag reads “BEET PULP SHREDS with Molasses” and right below it “Animal Food That’s Easy to Digest.”  The pictures show its purposeful use with 14 different animals and list in alphabetical order alpaca to sheep with cattle, horses and pigs somewhere in between.  Beet pulp is what’s left after the sugar has been extracted from sugar beets.  It is then dried and bagged for animal feeds.  Beet pulp has more fiber than grains and more calories than hays.

Just talk to someone in the distance horse world and they probably couldn’t live without it.  “There is no downside to feeding beet pulp,” remarked Monna Radtke, long time distance competitor, as she prepared her large bucket for the evening chores this February. She covered the half bucket of dried material with at least 2 inches more of hot tap water.  Some folks feed it dry but I like to feed it real wet. By the time I get to doing my chores (in about 15 minutes), all the water will be soaked up and it’s ready to go.  The beet pulp is like pureed hay, with its almost dustless fiber acting as a preventative filler.  Since horses don’t drink as much in the winter, it’s a great source of water which helps in preventing colic. I think feeding beet pulp also helps put weight on a horse.  It’s easily the best and simplest thing a horse owner can do to keep their horses happy and healthy.”

“With it being so cold the horses just seem to enjoy eating the warm mixture of beet pulp and grain,“ commented Wes Licht, current president of MDDA, “and it’s very noisy in the barn” as the horses are all slurping up his wet concoction. He believes the digestion of the fiber helps warm the horse on those cold nights.  Wes started feeding beet pulp after hearing Monna tell about it at a driving clinic several years ago and mixes up to 2x’s the wet beet pulp with one part of grain.  Even his weanlings enjoy eating every last bit of their beet pulp and grain “soup,” licking the grain buckets clean.  Wes especially likes to feed it when he knows his horses are working hard.  In the winter, they spend lots of energy pulling his bobsleigh loaded with passengers. In the spring and summer, he presoaks the beet pulp with cold water (this requires more soaking time than hot water) and uses it after a conditioning workout or when he finishes a competitive drive.  “I’m concerned when my horses don’t want to drink at an event and I want to keep their guts moving,” he added.

At a distance event, Monna fixes a wet beet pulp for her horses and adds a bunch of goodies to enhance its value and attractiveness.   She likes to mix in some grain, the very leafy parts of hay and pieces of apples and carrots.  “Carrots are better cause they are easier to digest,” she insisted.  She also puts in another fibrous sweet treat that her horses really enjoy but she didn’t want to divulge her “secret ingredient.”  “ It’s best not to feed grain the morning of a long ride – just keep the hay and water in front of them all the time.”

MDDA member Lana Santamaria, who competes with an Arabian cross named Noble, uses beet pulp regularly since this horse has difficulty with eating hay.  Her veterinarian Dr. R.A. Beecher, a well-known distance competitor himself, recommended feeding the beet pulp with Equine Senior pellets, which is a complete nutritional food for her aging horse.  The beet pulp provides the bulk of fiber in Noble’s diet and she indicated that he is in great body condition and looking good.  She plans on competing with him again this year.  Lana recommended reading an article about beet pulp in the September 2002 issue of John Lyons’ magazine, “The Perfect Horse.”

For whatever reason to use it, beet pulp has some healthy advantages.  It’s good stuff.

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