Why do I need an Equine Nutritionist?

 

As an Equine Nutritionist I have spent hours upon hours studying the difference between oats and corn as an energy source, the difference between soy and lupins as a protein source and have an in-depth understanding of what minerals and vitamins the horse needs (and how much). I can explain to you exactly why your horse needs so much roughage (trust me, it does) and if you're having issues with your horse's weight, its coat isn't shiny, or it doesn't have enough energy I can also help with this.

 

I understand and have treated common health issues such as tying up and Cushing's and can let you know exactly what your foal, yearling or weanling needs to ensure proper growth and development.

 

 In addition to improving your horse's health from the inside out, chances are I can also save you quite a bit of money. Most of my clients report that their feed bill reduced considerably after my feed recommendations - this is often due to my preference to use wholefoods over processed, pelleted options. Of course, if you'd rather continue to use your favourite brand of complete feed, that's totally fine, I can still work with you to ensure your horse is getting everything it needs, no more, no less.  

 

Why do faecal egg counts?

 

In recent years, frequent administration of worming products (anthelmintics) has been the way we all manage parasites in our horses. While this has reduced the number of parasites (nematodes), they’re cunning little buggers who will stop at nothing to procreate. Over time, frequent exposure to anthelmintics has allowed nematodes to build up resistance in horses, exactly the same as how humans have built up resistance to antibiotics.

 

This all means that our worming products have become less and less effective, we have to worm more and more, and our horses build up more and more resistance. I think you can see where this is going! And why would you want to put poisonous stuff in your horse if it doesn't have parasites anyway?

 

What’s also interesting is that recent research has shown that a relatively small number of horses (between 15% and 20%) are responsible for carrying 80% of all the worms! This is more commonly known as the 80:20 rule. This means that some horses DO need to be wormed really regularly (20% of them) while the other 80% don't. Wouldn't you like to know whether your horse belongs in the 20% or the 80% and if you REALLY need to worm him?

 

While our horses can’t tell us how many parasites they have using words, they can via the other more unsavoury end - and that’s where me, a bucketload of rubber gloves, and a microscope come in! Contact me now to arrange it!

 

What's an eleven point health check?

 

An eleven point health check is a simple way of checking your horse's vital signs. It's included in any on-site diet analysis and covers the following:

 

1. Heart rate

2. Mucous membrane status

3. Respiratory rate

4. Body condition (using Henneke's scale out of 9)

5. Hoof condition

6. Excrement check (if possible)

7. Level of alertness/attitude

8. Coat/skin condition

9. Fluid status

10. Eyes

11. Temperature (if requested)

 

*Please note I am not a vet and cannot do what a vet does. This is a simple way of seeing if your horse's vitals appear as they should. 

 
 

Why do I need to do a pasture/hay analysis?

If we're lucky we get to feed our horses once or twice a day. The rest of the day they spend eating whatever is in the paddock. This is the majority of their diet usually. Do you really know what they're eating? What minerals are in the soil? What plants make up the paddocks? A pasture analysis (or hay analysis if the horse isn't on pasture) combines high tech near infrared and plasma spectroscopy for a complete nutritional profile. Please note that this test is performed offsite. The test includes:

 

  • moisture 

  • dry matter 

  • digestible energy 

  • crude protein

  • estimated lysine 

  • acid detergent fibre 

  • neutral detergent fibre

  • lignin 

  • magnesium

  • potassium

  • sodium

  • iron

  • zinc

  • copper

  • manganese

  • molybdenum

  • Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrates (ESC) 

  • Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC) 

  • starch 

  • non fibre carbohydrates (NFC) 

  • fat 

  • ash 

  • calcium 

  • phosphorus