Equine Nutrition Cheat Sheet! October 01 2018, 0 Comments

PASTURED HORSES

I get countless calls and emails asking me from horse owners for advice on what supplement to purchase for their horses.  I thought it would be helpful to spread the love and provide some of the basics I review with every client before making a recommendation.  Choosing a supplement can be very overwhelming, so I hope this helps you all get more comfortable with the choices in the market. Happy shopping!!

BASELINE EQUINE NUTRITION CHEAT SHEET

Is this you every time you think about buying supplements but don’t know where to start?

 Frustration with Suppleme

Fear not! This little cheat sheet is here to help set you on the right path! Just ask yourself a few key questions and you’ll be on your way.

Question 1. What is your horse’s living situation?

Question 2. What do you feed your horse?

Question 3. Do you have ingredient duplication?

Question 4. Does your horse have any health issues?

 

QUESTION 1: WHAT IS YOUR HORSE'S LIVING SITUATION?

  • Pasture, grass available 24/7.
    • Your wallet thanks you!
    • All you need is love! And free choice salt (non-iodized)
    • Be careful if you irrigate your pasture- you can put your horse in danger of founder or laminitis 
  • Pasture, Dry Lot
    • Please add SALT (non-idodized)
    • If you feed your hay in meals (aka not free choice or slow feeder), then:
      • Hindgut acidosis support
      • Remove sand/dirt in digestive tract
      • Consider whether your horse has ulcers- discuss with your vet
  • Corral/Stall, Dry Lot
    • SALT! (you guessed it, non-iodized)
    • If you feed your hay in meals (aka not free choice or slow feeder), then:
      • Hindgut acidosis support/ulcer risk
      • Remove sand/dirt from digestive tract
    • Anti-inflammatories to adjust for reduced movement

QUESTION 2: WHAT DO YOU FEED YOUR HORSE? 

  • Just Hay
    • Good start! Hay is the key to any good feeding program, but know that hay is commonly missing a few key ingredients lost during the drying process which your horse’s body does not produce on its own:
      • Selenium (dependent on your area)
      • Magnesium
      • Vitamins A/Beta Carotene, E (Vit. A in alfalfa, not in most grass hays)
      • Essential Fatty Acids 
  • Grass
    • Your horse is getting what he needs. Just add plain SALT. (not iodized salt).
  • Hay plus concentrated feed (e.g. Purina, Nutrena grains, and many others)
    • You need to do an analysis of the grain you are feeding to see what’s in it! Some key things to look for are:
      • Feeding amount requirements on the label- your horse only gets the % of nutrients on the label if you feed the required amounts on the label
      • Calcium to Phosphorus ration should be 2:1- 6:1
      • Calcium to Magnesium ratio should be 1:1-2:1
    • Deficiencies in hay will be the same as above, but need to be considered in light of what’s in your concentrated grain before selecting a supplement.
      • Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses and Beta Carotene is preferable to Vitamin A as BC cannot be overdosed on and is plant-based.  General rule of thumb is to feed an adult horse 30 IU per kg of bodyweight or 72 mg per kg of bodyweight of BC
      • Vitamin E cannot be overdosed; general rule of thumb is to provide 1 IU/kg of body weight.

QUESTION 3: DO YOU HAVE INGREDIENT DUPLICATION?

Some vitamins horses can overdose on and some they cannot.  Also, as mentioned above minerals need to be fed in balanced proportions.  When we combine various sources of supplements, we need to watch out for duplication.  We have a tool on our website- the Supplements Analyzer- that will help you compare ingredients and amounts across products.  This is a key tool when selecting multiple supplements.

QUESTION 4: DOES YOUR HORSE HAVE ANY HEALTH ISSUES?

This is the tough question and something you should explore with your veterinarian and definitely needs to be taken into account when designing a nutrition plan for your horse. However, if you have any questions or would like our advice, feel free to call Whole Equine anytime for a free consultation: 844-946-5378.

We hope you found this to be a helpful guide and feel free to reach out to us at info@wholeequine.com anytime if we can be of assistance!