Understandably many horse owners don’t have much of an understanding of what ‘Good nutrition’ means. If the horse’s diet is not meeting his daily requirements for the ESSENTIAL nutrients which are the building blocks of life, sooner or later his health will deteriorate.
Feeding a random collection of non-essential nutrients at best will be a temporary band-aid, delaying the inevitable.
Short or lush green pasture grass (which is not the forage they are adapted to) does not meet the horse’s daily requirements for ESSENTIAL nutrients. Instead, it is full of excesses and deficiencies which throw everything out of whack.
Chronic excesses and interactions from consuming such grass disturb critical metabolic pathways and processes and lead to the health, movement and behaviour issues so common in our domestic horses.
As a foundation for optimal health all horses need an expertly formulated broad spectrum vitamin, mineral and amino acid supplement. *
Some supplement companies advertise their products are ‘Complete’ but when you examine them closely, they are far from it.
They may have SOME trace minerals present but in such small quantities they are totally inadequate for large animals like horses.
Some are even missing critical elements like magnesium.
Some have less calcium than magnesium – based on the assumption that calcium is present in the diet from other sources and not understanding that there are other factors at play.
Some don’t contain vitamins on the assumption that the flora in the hind-gut produce adequate levels of them.
However, every time there is a digestive upset for whatever reason; usually an increase of potassium/nitrates in the grass due to a change in the weather or the season; the flora populations are injured, even destroyed and therefore cease production.
On top of this are the disturbances to the digestive environment caused by oral ulcer treatments.
Having conducted forage analyses on many of the pastures which horses were consuming when they developed issues, we soon realised that there is NO WAY you can simply ‘balance’ to it, there are far too many aspects, interactions, and variables which throw out calculations.
Processed feeds only remotely come close to supplying what the horse needs and that is only if fed in the amounts specified on the back of the bag for the weight of the horse.
Neither herbs nor other ‘natural products’ for instance, fulfil the horse’s basic nutritional requirements for macro and trace minerals and amino acids.
Feeding a whole lot of bits and pieces of this and that, is far from ideal and costly – for instance, feeding Brewer’s yeast for B vitamins doesn’t work because it doesn’t include vitamin B12 so then you have to feed something else to ensure they get this.
None of the protein sources have sufficient lysine, methionine, threonine for horses which is why horses lose top line, muscle tone, hoof quality along with a general deterioration in health.
*Premium MVA in NZ and the UK provide all of the ESSENTIAL nutrients in effective levels. (SupremeMVA in Australia)
Basile was being fed a long list of various items including turmeric, seaweed, a variety of herbs and a very basic brandX free choice multi vit mix, yet his health and hoof quality continued to deteriorate. He came to Cathy and was put onto her dry lot with hay, a basic feed consisting of oaten chaff, beet, copra (for taste) and crushed linseed with salt, PremiumMVA and ShapeUp added - You can see the difference - 5 months between photos. (Above and below)