Poll Recap: Equine Nutrition Information

Poll Recap: Equine Nutrition Information

Most respondents said they get information from nutrition articles or by consulting their vet or equine nutritionist.

Photo: The Horse Staff

Does your horse have arthritis in his joints? There’s a supplement for that. Have trouble keeping weight on your mare? There’s one for that, too. Moody mare or grumpy gelding? Yes, there’s even supplements designed to fix those problems.

Horse owners have hundreds of options available when it comes to meeting their horse’s nutritional needs. But how do you know which supplement to use, and who do you ask? Last week we asked our readers where they get their information about equine nutritional supplements. More than 800 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 817 respondents, 228 (28%) said they get their information regarding supplements from equine nutrition articles, while 199 (24%) and 102 (12%) said they consult their veterinarians and equine nutritionists, respectively. Another 82 readers (10%) said they find information on online forums, and 73 individuals (9%) get information from horse-owning friends. Forty-nine respondents (6%) said they consult their trainer for information on supplements, and just 28 readers said they obtain information from mail-order catalogues. The remaining 56 respondents (7%) said they obtain information from places other than those listed in the poll.

Additionally, more than 50 people commented about where they get information on nutritional supplements for their horses:

Several people commented that they rely on multiple sources for information:

  • “I consult my vet, the Nutrient Requirements of Horses book, and online forums.”
  • “I will get recommendations from my vet and friends, then research different options available.”
  • “I get information from a wide variety of sources, including online research and The Horse.”
  • “I use a variety of resources: vet, nutritionists, articles on the Internet/in magazines, distributors, etc.”
  • “I read, use my trainer, and talk with my vet.”
  • “I get information from my vet, recognized online vets, and peer-reviewed nutrition articles.”
  • “I consult a biochemist, respected nutritionists, and online articles from reliable sources.”
  • “I use my many years of experience along with articles, holistic and conventional vet, farrier, and massage therapist.”
  • “I have some excellent industry sources that I rely on for this kind of information.”
  • “I consult many sources, but I would never risk any changes without the vet's approval.”

Some said they consult their equine nutritionist for information on supplements:

  • “My horse's nutritionist is my go-to resource for anything feed- or supplement-related. Love her!”
  • “I consult a feed company nutritionist.”
  • “My equine nutritionist answers all my questions about anything nutrition-related. She's the best!”

Others said they get information from their veterinarian:

  • “I consult my vet regarding all aspects of my horse's health, including his diet.”
  • “Although I get info from articles and catalogs, my vet has final say on value of a supplement.”

A few people said they rely on personal knowledge and experience:

  • “I have studied horse medicine and do have some knowledge of my own.”
  • “I mainly rely on my 40+ years of experience with what works and what to avoid.”
  • “I have 65 years of experience, and I ask the vet if there are problems”
  • “I have a degree in equine science from Auburn and I use the updated Equine Nutrition Guide.”
  • “I owe the base of my knowledge to college courses in livestock nutrition.”

And several others shared other sources of information about and general comments on supplements:

  • “I ask my barn owner/manager.”
  • “I don't feed supplements.”
  • “I research solutions for problems I want to correct.”
  • “I don't currently feed supplements to my horse, but when I do, I'll consult my vet and read online.”
  • “My barn manager has done amazing research.”
  • "I read research studies.”
  • “I consult research recapped on TheHorse.com.”
  • “I read manufacturer websites.”
  • “I get information from the feed companies.”
  • “SmartPak provides useful comparison charts.”
  • “I research them.”
  • “I read scientific research papers.”
  • “My farrier is my source of information.”
  • “I mainly scientific literature. I make my own feed, too.”
  • “I ask my barefoot trimmer.”
  • “I read information from the U.S. Pony Club.”
  • “I read company websites.”
  • “I depend on my trainer as she is very knowledgeable.”

You can find more information about what’s in a supplement, how to identify unhealthy horse feed and supplement ingredients, and find out how supplements can help provide your horse with important trace minerals that might be lacking in his hay on TheHorse.com.

This week, we want to know: Do you soak or steam your horse’s hay before feeding? Tell us why or why not and share your comments on TheHorse.com/polls!

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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