Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find Part 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: Any suggestions on how to better understand what is included in a horse supplement from the feed tag?
By Emily Dickson
A: Learning how to read a feed tag will help provide your horse with the highest quality nutrients, from minerals to probiotics. As an involved horse owner, no doubt you have spent time carefully selecting a feed to match your horse’s needs.
You have probably read the purpose statement on the feed tag identifying the grain that will best suit your horse’s stage of life. You have likely even studied the guaranteed analysis to determine the feed’s crude protein, crude fat and crude fiber levels.
This is a great start, but there’s a bigger story to be told from each bag’s feed tag — one that is more interesting than you may realize.
While there is a lot more information that you can glean from a horse feed tag, start by looking for these three pieces of information: trace minerals (zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese), selenium and any added ingredients that help support gut health in horses.
Looking at the guaranteed analysis is a good start, but it does not tell you anything about the quality or forms in which these important nutrients are included.
When you start reading the feed tag ingredient list, do not hesitate to call the feed company to ask more specific questions. Nutrition is the basis of every animal’s quality of life. Take it seriously and you will absolutely see a difference in your horse’s health and performance.
Emily Dickson is the lifestyle marketing manager for Alltech, with company headquarters based in Nicholasville, Ky.
Click here to read part 2 of the Oct. 7, 2021, installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Is there an easy way to improve the blood circulation in the hooves of my mare? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.