There are two rules of thumb about fats and oils. The first is that the more saturated the fat is, the less inflammatory it is. The second is that the shorter the fatty acid chain is (as in short chain, medium chain and long chain fatty acids), the better it is. Unfortunately, these rules of fats are made for humans. We can only assume and extrapolate for horses. There are some important reasons why there is a lack of good information in feeding horses. One is that there is little independent research on this subject. By independent I mean that there isn’t an agenda or a company behind the research. The second is a little subtler. Let me explain.
Can we really compare the horse of today with one from 1000 or 10,000 years ago? More importantly, if we could find ancient horses untouched by humans and test them for nutrition, how would this compare with your horse living today? If your horse is kept in a stall, competes somewhere every weekend, lives in FL for the winter and 1500 miles away for the summer, is fed grain and carrots or is not fed them – how can all of these variables be considered when determining what to feed a horse that only grazed naturally thousands of years ago?
Have you ever been frustrated by how much time you spend making sure your horse has all the necessary supplements and wished there was a way to simplify the process? After all your research, are you confident your supplement program is designed to deliver results and that the individual supplements will work together? Well, you aren’t alone. Lots of horse owners feel the same way.
For Marian Nilsen, owner of Healthy Horse Boutique, a company that prides itself on caring for horses with healthy, safe, effective methods, finding a solution to the supplement jungle became a mission.
“One day I was in the barn mixing and measuring when I really wanted to be riding, teaching and training. I just felt like there had to be an answer. So, I approached equine nutritionist Gabriele Sutton of KAM Animal Services, a company that focuses on therapeutic supplements for better health, to see if she had any clues on how I could simplify supplementing my horses.”
Not a day goes by that a trainer is not being asked by a client about the importance of supplements for his or her horse.
As equine nutritionists, we are often asked to have a look at this bucket or that pail and are requested to comment on supplement brands, ingredients, dosage or to make a recommendation on which supplement one should feed that will keep the horse healthy, sound and strong.
There also is the matter of those nasty health issues one likes to prevent, like colic, laminitis, inflammation and all those other types of problems. Their hope is to overcome these with not only proper feed and hay, but also with the right balanced nutrient approach and appropriate supplementation that focuses on the individual horse.
There are surely enough products out there that promise to do that job, but is the trainer now responsible to educate his or her client about the “right” feed and supplement program for his client’s horse(s)? After all, the trainer’s clients may think that because he is the person working and training the horse, he should know!