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Nutrition

Food

Food is 80% of the battle. Look at Zoe Davis, Introduction to Horse Biology, to see how important good nutrition is not just for general health but directly for the health of the musculo-skeletal system. Vitamin A is essential for growth and maintenance of body tissue. Vitamin D is essential for good bone formation and joint integrity. Vitamin E is essential for muscle integrity and is highly implicated in various muscle disorders. If the nutrition system is optimised (see also teeth and digestive system) then many problems will have been prevented before they could even begin.  We have designed our own food which includes all the vitamins, minerals and herbs which the horse, in a naturally wild environment, would seek out according to its own needs.  We do not use salt stones for example because our horses get everything they need in the feed.  The feed can be fed all the time including to pregnant and sick animals as a way of supporting a system under stress (be it good stress i.e. pregnancy or bad stress i.e. illness), then depending on the workload of the horse you can feed more or less. The great thing about the feed is that the horses cannot overeat it as it forage and grains mixed together.

Hay and Straw

It is vitally important that the horse has access to hay and / or straw.  Horses have relatively inefficient digestive systems and will naturally eat up to 16 hours a day but it is also important that the hay or straw is of good quality.  Smell it, feel it and if it doesn't smell good it probably isn't.  Above all make sure it does not contain any fungal growth from having been stored in any damp conditions.  It is quite possible for certain horses to die from just being fed the wrong hay or poor quality hay.  It is less important for straw since it is mainly for bedding but horses will eat straw even if there is hay in the stable as a supplement to their diet.  We use straw for this purpose.  Yes, it is more work but we believe it is the  best bedding for the horse and that is our philosophy, nothing but the best. Remember that vitamin D is an essential vitamin and there are only 2 sources: the sun on the skin and sun-dried hay

Water

Water is often overlooked but horses, like us, are 70% water so of course the quality of the water can make a substantial difference.  Have your water tested to make sure it is good quality and does not contain any dangerous impurities.  You may want to look at the Kangen water system which can be used to purify and alkalise your water.

Samsara Equitation Equine Rehab Centre - nr. Whitney-on-Wye, HerefordSamsara Equitation Equine Rehab Centre - nr. Whitney-on-Wye, Hereford

 

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