Your horse doesn't run on air any more than your automobile does. Correctly fueling your horse is at the heart of good nutrition, but it doesn't stop there.
If your car is “injured”, you just replace parts. Your horse needs to repair tissues stressed by exercise or disease through nutrition, build and strengthen bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments through nutrition, manufacture red cells, fight infections, produce sweat and carry out the billions of biochemical reactions needed to burn fuel and build or repair tissues through nutrition.
The human diet typically contains a wide array of different foods, each with a different nutritional profile. This helps guarantee requirements for protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals are met. In contrast, many horses eat precisely the same meal day in and day out.
When you buy dog food, cat food, fish food or bird food, you are buying a nutritionally balanced package. Same thing for bagged horse feed but bagged feeds are only part of the horse's diet. Most of your horse's nutrition comes from hay or pasture. If that is not balanced, neither is the overall diet.
Livestock producers, whether dairy, beef, hogs or chickens, invest considerable time and money into balancing their diets. Why? Because it pays off in their bottom line. Balanced nutrition means more milk, more meat, less disease – in short, the healthiest, most robust animals. Calories alone won't get you there. Quality protein, adequate vitamins and carefully balanced minerals make the difference.
The equine marketplace is flooded with supplements, each designed to put this or that “patch” onto a problem that has its roots in inadequate nutrition. If your diet is correctly balanced in the first place, supplying supplemental nutrients based on what is missing or excessive in the base diet, you can throw all of those away and discover what livestock producers have known for a very long time, correct feeding doesn't have to be expensive and it more than pays for itself.
It's even more important for horses under stress, be it pregnancy, lactation, growth, exercise, injury, infection. Sound nutrition isn't a cure-all or an “alternative” approach to health. It's much more than that. It's essential. Every function in your horse's body depends on it.
This site is about equine nutrition, but it's not offering feeds or supplements. It's offering knowledge.
Copyright 2008-16 Eleanor M. Kellon, VMD Website designed by "Graphically Challenged Ink"