Growing Controversies About Horse Feeds

With all the hubbub on the right way to read feed tags and evaluate changing equine feed guidelines, here's how to decide who to believe and who to ignore

I WISH I could tell you this is the end-all “how to” article of reading feed tags.

I wish I could tell you this is all you will ever need to know in making nutrition and product recommendations to your shoeing clients and all you will ever hear about this topic for the rest of your natural life.

I also wish I were 2 inches taller, 10 pounds lighter and independently wealthy.

The fact is that article upon article has been published trying to decipher just what equine feed tags really mean. And article after article dubs tags with catch-phrases such as “wealth of information” (one article) or “feed tags tell us a lot” (another article).


The sad truth is feed tags are often misleading or mislabeled. Some nutritionists even proclaim that the difference between the information given and the product received is downright criminal.

If you’re going to advise shoeing clients as to which feed or supplement is best, you may as well get used to the lack of easy answers and heed a few guidelines which may make the sifting process a little less hair-splitting.


If you have clients who give every horse in the barn the same feed, or worse yet, supplement, don’t be surprised if half the horses have hoof problems and half don’t, says Frank Gravlee, DVM and developer of Life Data Labs’ Farrier’s Formula in Cherokee, Ala.

Different Needs

“Horses are like people,” he says. “They vary…

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