Supplementing and the Equine Diet
How do we achieve and maintain a healthy, constitutionally strong, attractive and athletic horse, capable of the purpose we are striving for?
When presented with problems with horses, it is sometimes difficult to know where to begin. There are so many available options offered to horse owners, it can be confusing. ie: "What do I feed my horse and what supplements does my horse need?" This is a question I am constantly asked.
Here is a little of what I have learnt to be true.
We have been educated to and become fractional thinkers. This type of thinking around physiology will never completely cure anything, it will create another imbalance to find another cure for, to buy another supplement to try and fix the problem.
Google offers us availability to a wealth of knowledge, however we have to remember even scientifically proven evidence, arrived from an opinion of one. Science text books are also constantly being re-written.
I like simplicity. Once we start delving into complexity, we can become lost in the fog of isolated chemistry. Scientists once found that pectin was beneficial for regulating the digestive system, lowering blood pressure, lowering glucose levels, lowering bad cholesterol levels and so on. The synergy of the complete fruit is what truly heals. One isolate is usually antagonistic to another. So while we are supplementing to treat the on going problems we are faced with, we may see rapid improvement of the isolated problems. A bit further down the track ….'uh oh' we now have another problem only a little more serious than the last one. In nature only the strong survive. This is the same in every single cell in the body. The strong survive the weak die off. If the horse has inherited genetic weaknesses, problems may arise in these areas. This is not to say that we can’t strengthen these weaknesses and clean genes once we are aware of them. However while we isolate the weakness, treat them with isolated chemistry, we will continue to breed genetically weaker horses and not truly cure anything, only mask a myriad of symptoms.
I believe we are at a level, in most cases we are forced to supplement our horses due to many reasons. However we must respect that horses are herbivores therefore need a considerable amount ‘live green food’ as part of their diet. I don’t promote over fertilised pastures (chemical isolates are used in dressing pastures) and we have known for decades, herbicides etc will kill more than just weeds!
Horses who have had all living foods removed from their diet inevitably suffer long-term digestive and immune issues. They also may have great difficulty transitioning back to a living food diet. I do not promote removing live food from a horses diet. I don't take any horse completely off grass and have rehabilitated many with grass related issues. Respectfully often the variety of living food required is not available to most horses, therefore there is a need to supplement their diet.
When I first began my journey with horses and ponies, there was never the amount of problems we see today. I believe this is sadly due to intellectuality and the human desire to produce more product for business!
"KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE"