In today’s world, horses live in environments far from their natural habitats, so they often face challenges like insulin resistance, laminitis, and sugar sensitivities. 

Many frustrated horse owners think they are meeting all the requirements for the health of their horses, yet they have seen little to no improvement- sometimes even a decline in their horse’s well-being. 

Today, I aim to shed light on this critical aspect of horse care by helping you navigate the complexities of equine nutrition.

The Insufficiencies of General Standards 

After seeing many horses struggling despite receiving what appeared to be an adequate supply of multis and nutritional requirements, I realized that meeting the general standards was not quite enough because, in so many cases, horses showed no improvement or got stuck in a plateau. 

The Challenge of Meeting General Equine Nutritional Requirements

That demanded a closer look. So, over the past five years, I have been focusing on it and becoming increasingly aware of how much our horses need that they are simply not getting. I saw horses with subtle signs of poor health, like dull hair coats, brittle hooves, runny eyes, and a heightened sensitivity to allergies- all indications that those horses may not have all the nutrition they need.

The Flaws in Traditional Nutrient Requirements

Even though guidelines for nutrient requirements exist, it is crucial to understand their limitations. Those guidelines often rely on studies conducted decades ago, which may not reflect the conditions horses face today. Many individual variations and countless factors could deplete nutrients for each horse, making it extremely challenging to apply general guidelines universally. The reality is that each horse has unique nutritional requirements, and it is a mistake to assume that the basic guidelines will ensure the optimal health of all horses. 

Nutritional Deficiencies and Chronic Health Challenges

Horses facing chronic health issues, from insulin resistance to laminitis and digestive problems, are often grappling with nutrient deficiencies. Those conditions can hinder their recovery and well-being, as horses require the essential building blocks to regain their health. I address that by looking at various nutrients, categorizing them into macronutrients and micronutrients, and emphasizing what each one does for a horse’s health.

Overlooking Critical Nutrients

The emphasis on specific nutrients, like Vitamins A, D, and E, mandated by regulatory agencies, tends to overlook other essential nutrients like B vitamins and Vitamin C, which can significantly impact a horse’s health. A lack of attention to these overlooked nutrients could lead to nutritional imbalances, which may not get detected with conventional testing methods. That is why it is crucial to recognize that horses require more than the minimum to thrive, and the absence of clinical signs does not necessarily mean that a nutrient is unnecessary.

Individual Factors Affecting Nutrient Status

A myriad of individual factors can contribute to nutrient deficiencies in horses. Lack of exercise, overmedication, overtraining, high stress levels, feed toxicity, illness, and imbalances in sugar, protein, and fats can all play a role. Those factors, when combined with inadequate nutrition, could lead to a substantial decline in a horse’s overall health.

The Holistic Approach to Equine Nutrition

In light of all these challenges, we need to take a holistic approach to equine nutrition and address the individual needs of each horse. We must learn about the various nutrients, their roles, and how they can benefit the health of our horses. 

The Importance of Becoming Proactive Researchers

The lack of readily available information on nutritional therapy and holistic health highlights why it is essential for horse owners to become proactive researchers. By keeping in mind that each horse is unique and may require a specific approach to address its individual nutritional needs, we can work toward improving the well-being of our equine companions.

Links and resources:

Connect with Elisha Edwards on her website 

Free Webinar Masterclass: Four Steps to Solving Equine Metabolic Syndrome Naturally