Horses are designed by nature to be browsers & foragers. They generally do not do well on our lowland grasses & clovers. Their digestive system is around 30m long & is very effective if they take in the correct foods.They are designed to have constant forage passing through their system, in part because they are unable to control the level of stomach acid they produce.
High levels of sugar & starch can have a negative effect on their gut bacteria, leading to toxins affecting their body, most commonly the feet.
Incorrect levels of minerals can inhibit the absorption & utilisation of other nutrients. Low levels of electrolytes can affect the body’s ability to work correctly, especially during & after exercise.
Like all animals horses have levels of nutrients, including minerals which are calculated to be their daily required intakes for a healthy body. The National Research Council publishes these & it is possible to apply them to your horse’s diet, putting forage intakes first & supplementing to reach the recommended intake levels. The body’s requirements differ slightly with work load, age & some metabolic issues but not necessarily in winter or summer. Diets should be balanced all year round.
Many horses do ok with some deficiencies & excesses but body issues, especially hoof problems, can really be put on the path to recovery by addressing the diet.
We can help you review your horse’s diet to optimise it for her health. Diet is one of the key things we will focus on with hoof rehabilitation.