Nutrition is vital to health, impacting the immune response, muscle and tendon health, hoof, skin and even vision. It is critical to almost every facet and function of the body, including energy production, which is at the root source. As important as it is, nutrition is not always easy to achieve as forage sources can vary from season to season and demands by the body can equally fluctuate. Many horse owners rely on supplemental vitamin/mineral products which are actually synthetic nutrient derivatives, which do not provide the same value as those obtained from real food. Our horses want and demand better!
How to feed a horse is one of the most popular questions that I get as a veterinarian. There are many things to consider, mainly being macro and micro nutrient provisions, which include proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Protein is essential for the body in a variety of ways, from building muscle mass to regulation of metabolic function. How much protein is needed is dependent on each horse and the demands present. Exact recommendations are hard to make, generally speaking, but in most cases, we have to look at each individual horse, demands, existing health problems and dietary sources.