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“What should I feed my horse?”
It’s a question that horse owners ask their farriers from time to time. The easy answer is, “Well, you need to feed a balanced diet.” Yet, a horse owner doesn’t always understand what that is.
“The good thing about a horse is that the way it looks on the outside is a direct reflection of what’s going on inside the horse,” Mike Barker of Life Data Labs told attendees at the 2017 International Hoof-Care Summit. “It tells us how nutritionally sound that particular animal is. And, not only is the outside of the horse an indicator, but the foot of the horse is an indicator, as well.”
Whether a horse is overweight or underweight, has collapsed heels or crumbly horn, it’s an indication of a poor diet.
“We can either have a deficiency, an excess or a toxicity problem in either protein, energy — which I often refer to as calories — vitamins or minerals,” he explains. “If we have a deficiency or too much, then that creates an inadequate diet and that’s going to work on the outward appearance of the horse. It’s going to work on the foot, as well.”
The outward appearance of a horse directly reflects whether it’s nutritionally sound.
Too much of a vitamin, mineral or an amino acid can result in a deficiency
of another that’s vital to the horse’s diet.
An excess of methionine is often mistaken for white line disease.