Articles by Karen Briggs

Nutrient Strategies

How to Read the Feed Label

You may need to read between the lines on that feed label to correctly interpret the nutritional value of a feed for your hoof-care customers
For many horse owners, buying feed is more of a habit than an intellectual process.
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Nutrient Strategies

Horses & H2O

Your clients may not think of water as a nutrient, but it’s the most essential dietary ingredient of all
After 48 hours without water, a horse may lose 6.8% of its bodyweight, which can reach to 9% within 72 hours. If summer heat is involved, a horse could lose 16% of its bodyweight in 3 days.
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Nutrient Strategies

Those Amazing Minerals

While they may not make up a very big portion of the daily diet, minerals play a key nutrition role and contribute significantly to horse health
Of all the ingredients found in a horse's diet, minerals are among the most unusual.
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Nutrient Solutions

Those Vital Vitamins

Vitamins have the power to promote and regulate virtually all of the body’s normal functions

We’re veering back into more familiar territory with this month’s nutrition topic. Most farriers have at least a passing familiarity with the role of vitamins in hoof health — and indeed, several play a vital part in the growth of healthy horn and soft tissues.


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Nutrient Strategies

The Real Low-Down on Fats

Here’s plenty of ammunition to help answer concerns from hoof-care clients concerning the fat supplementation controversy
If there’s a nutritional buzzword for the twenty-first century, it’s fat. While we struggle to keep our own diets as low fat as possible, it’s only in recent years that your hoof-care clients have recognized the value of raising the fat levels in the equine athlete’s diet.
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Nutrient Strategies

Protein: What It Is, What It Isn’t

Let’s clear up some of the misunderstandings about the role of protein in the equine diet

Protein’s role in the diet is to provide amino acids (the building blocks of bones, muscles and soft tissues) for growth and repair. So it’s easy to see why, for many generations, we assumed that the more protein in the diet, the better a horse could perform. But somewhere along the way, many people made the leap from “growth and repair” to “energy source.” But protein, and its component amino acids, is not all that good for providing energy.


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Nutrient Strategies

Dealing With Carbohydrates, Energy and Other Nutritional Mysteries

Given the opportunity and good health, the horses you work with will choose to consume enough feed to meet their energy needs
If forages provide the “maintenance” energy that horses need for the workings of everyday life — grazing, sleeping, wandering from pasture to pasture, maintaining internal temperature — then cereal grains like oats, corn and barley are the turbo-charged portion of the diet.
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Nutrient Strategies

Focusing on Forage

A diet based on forage means a happy, healthy equine digestive tract in the horses that you trim and shoe

Grazing is a full-time job for horses. Given their druthers, they’ll graze for 14 hours or more every day, with their broad, flat teeth and sideways chewing motions making short work of the tough, stemmy grasses and weeds that they favor. Like all true herbivores, horses get most of their daily energy requirements from eating plant fibers.


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Taking a Trip Down the GI Tract

Understanding how a horse’s digestive system is designed is the first step toward helping your clients fully understand equine nutrition.

For all of the stable-management and health-care expertise I’ve accumulated over more than 30 years, the trimming of feet is one area that I never dared delve into.


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