Horse Eating

Have you evaluated your horse’s nutrition program lately? How about your own nutrition? Because March is National Nutrition Month, we wanted to give you a gentle reminder about the importance of good nutrition for both yourself and your horse. Here’s why.

The quality of the nutrition that you or your horse receive affects many different aspects of the way that your body functions. Poor nutrition can lead to poor overall health, and is closely linked with illness and other health conditions. A person or horse suffering from poor nutrition will be more susceptible to diseases, and their recovery from injuries will be slower than it would if their diet was of a higher quality.

Additionally, nutrition will affect your athletic performance. You and your horse are athletes. To perform at high athletic levels demands that your body be functioning as efficiently as possible. Poor nutrition will result in lackluster athletic performance; neither you nor your horse will be able to achieve top-quality results if you’re suffering from poor nutrition. You can also be left tired and moody because your body is not getting the nutrients that it needs.

Poor or improper nutrition can lead to some specific problems in horses. Laminitis may occur if your horse consumes too much grain or grass rich in sugar. Feeding dusty, moldy hay can result in a case of heaves which can cause your horse to cough and wheeze. Horses prone to tying up can be greatly affected by poor nutrition and electrolyte imbalances. Additionally, horses who lack proper nutrition or have severe nutrient imbalances or deficiencies in their diets can be prone to growth disorders which can affect them for their entire lives.

So how can you ensure that your horse is getting the nutrition that he needs? The best place to begin is to work with an equine nutritionist or your veterinarian to establish a feeding program that will meet your horse’s specific individual needs. Learning to analyze the contents of your horse’s grain is a good step towards understanding what you are putting into your horse’s body. Having your hay tested for its nutrient qualities will also give you a baseline toward determining if you need to supplement your horse’s diet.

As you improve your horse’s diet, be sure to take a look at your own nutrition, too. You are half of the partnership with your horse, so your athletic performance and overall health is just as important as your horse’s. Take a look at your diet – are you eating high-quality foods containing the nutrients that you need to be healthy? You may need to supplement your meals with vitamins and minerals. It is best to consult with your doctor or a qualified nutritional coach to determine the best diet for you.

The feeds in your horse’s barn and the foods in your own kitchen strongly affect both your own and your horse’s performance. In honor of National Nutrition Month, take a look at both of your diets to make sure that your nutritional needs are being met.

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