Thursday, February 12, 2015


Horse nutrition is not my strong point.  It's such a huge topic and there's so much information AND so much marketing out there.  Horses are not humans and their digestive systems are nothing like ours.  I'm sure lots of feed companies pack their products with extras that horses simply don't need.

I've been in the natural pet food industry for 20 years, so I know the tricks of the trade.  Unfortunately, I don't know enough about horse nutrition to know what my horse 'needs', what is actually bad for my horse and what they just put in their to ensure that the horse will eat it.


I see lots of feeds with molasses in them.  Knowing that horses probably don't go foraging for molasses, I'm assuming that this is put in to cover up ingredients that the horse wouldn't eat.  Things like soybean meal.  Soybean meal in the dog/cat industry is used because it's cheap.  Why is it used in horse food?  Same reason?

Licorice is currently getting LMF Super Supplement, but when I move barns I can feed him whatever I want in terms of grain and vitamins and minerals.  He's hot enough that I don't want to feed him ANY grain.  Does he need a vitamin/mineral supplement?  He will be on all day grass turnout every day from dusk til dawn, plus he will get timothy hay and his supplements (SmartPak Ultra Digest and Cosequin ASU for his joints).
Licorice's new digs:  Patterson Creek Farm

Can anyone point me to a no nonsense website or article to help figure out if a multi vitamin is good sense or just good marketing?


  1. I don't have a website for you, but here's a starting point. Western Washington grass has almost no nutrients; hay is also lacking in some important minerals. It's recommended that all horses in this area be given some sort of mineral supplementation. Here's where the internet goes crazy.. you can do free choice (mineral and salt lick), a "multivitamin" like CA Trace, or from a fortified feed (what we think of as grain, but this includes ration balancers- which have added protein).

    I find my easy keepers do really well on just hay and 1lb of a ration balancer.
    My favorite pelleted food (for added calories without grain) is Haystack Special Blend pellets.

    Happy researching :)

  2. You have to test your hay and pasture to be sure. Most horses are fine on pasture even if the pasture quality looks crappy. Look at the horse. Is he shiny? Fat? Good feet? Then you are fine. Ration balancer is not needed unless he's in heavy work and even then a lot if them have junk ingredients. Soy is used for added fibre and fluff. I would feed a pro biotic for 3 months on 3 months off. Recommend Equine choice. Loose salt is also a must. One tablespoon daily at least. This will keep your horse hydrated and colic free. Most horses don't even need grain. It's a horse owner thing to make owners feel better. Unless you are in heavy work 5 days a week (jumping courses, canter fitness sets) or you have a hard keeper.

    A carrot with loose salt and probiotic is suffice. Most supplements don't even make it through the hydrochloride acid in the stomach.

    I'm a certified Equine Nutrtionist.

  3. Supplement companies will tell you that a horse who does not get an adequate portion of grain should be on a multi vitamin. It really depends on how he looks and the quality of hay and grass he's getting.