Poll Recap: Readers Confident in Horses' Nutrition

Most respondents said they were somewhat or very confident that their horse is getting the nutrition he needs.

Photo: Thinkstock

Does your horse’s diet provide the nutrition he needs to be healthy? Are you sure? In last week’s poll, we asked our readers about their confidence in their horse’s nutritional program. More than 700 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 735 poll respondents, 676 (92%) said they were somewhat or very confident that their horse is getting the nutrition he needs to be healthy. Another 30 respondents (4%) said they were somewhat unconfident about their horse’s nutrition, and 22 individuals (3%) said they were not confident at all. The remaining seven respondents (1%) chose “other.”

Additionally, more than 50 people commented on their confidence in their horse’s nutrition:

Some shared why they are confident that their horse is getting the nutrition he needs:

  • “They are all healthy and have a good coat and hooves with lots of energy, so good enough.”
  • “My vet praises me for the good condition of all my horses.”
  • “I'm an equine nutritionist. My horse's diet is well balanced with his exercise and turnout program!”
  • “My 27-year-old mare looks like 15! The 21-year-old gelding is frisky and happy! The deep black 17-year-old mare is glowing!”
  • “My horses look great under the mud so I am doing something right.”
  • “Somewhat, since they all have glossy coats in all seasons and good, fast-growing feet.”

Several others commented on how they keep their horse’s nutrition in check:

  • “My equine nutritionist has formulated a balanced diet for my horse.”
  • “Custom-mixed feed to meet horses' needs, hay analyzed for nutrients. If it doesn't work, we reevaluate.”
  • “Vet checks twice a year confirm this.”
  • “My vet would tell me if my girls were not as healthy as they should be.”
  • “Hay test lets me know what to feed.”
  • “I have help from a vet and an equine nutritionist.”
  • “My hay is tested and an animal nutritionist balances each horse's ration based upon their particulars.”
  • “I am a veterinary technician, and consult with my horse's veterinarian and nutritionist on his diet.”
  • “My vet helped set up my feed plan.”
  • “I have my hay analyzed and supplement what it doesn't provide.”
  • “Our barn has had nutritionists and hay samples every year.”
  • “We have our hay tested and also feed a multi-vitamin formulated for our area.”
  • “I use good pasture, haylage, and a feed balancer that gives all the nutrients a horse needs.”
  • “Feeds are analyzed for nutrient content and the ration is evaluated by an equine nutritionist.”

Some respondents commented about their horse’s feeding program or diet:

  • “Hay from unfertilized natural grasses from varied sources and rock salt. No grains.”
  • “I feed a balancer so know that my horses get their requirements in a small amount.”
  • “Organic grass hay with a variety of grasses, weeds, clover, etc. Free access to himalayan salt blocks.”
  • “Lots of good quality hay, plus minimal balanced pellet feed as mineral delivery.”

Many others shared their equine nutritional frustrations or concerns:

  • “I board my OTTB who just is not keeping on weight.”
  • “My boarding stable changes feeds frequently and I don't like it.”
  • “I’m always concerned about quality of hay available in northwest Georgia. Usually, poor quality, weedy, foxtail.”
  • “The same horses on the same feeds for that past several years convinces me that the problem is feed.”
  • “Access to good quality hay is a concern.”
  • “I can't control my hay source. Hay looks good, but I have to use what is available and supplement.”
  • “I’m still struggling to balance a PSSM horse.”
  • “Not enough forage.”
  • “My horse is very hard to keep in shape. He needs lots of food to not get to thin.”
  • “I have a great dealer that sells quality hay, but my horse is a senior now & on stall rest. Big changes.”
  • “It’s difficult to always find high-quality hay.”
  • “I wonder. Sometimes I look in his feedbowl and it doesn't seem right, but they say it is!”

And a few left general comments:

  • “I am more careful about feeding now than I ever was in the past.”
  • “Keep it simple, but complete.”
  • “She gets good hay in the winter, hay/grass rest of the year-keeps good weight and a glossy coat.”
  • “No vet bills, no colic, no injuries equals a healthy horses”
  • “When in doubt, I ask for help.”
  • “I don't have a horse yet.”
  • “Unlike back in the 90s, horse nutrition is easy now, the science is there. No excuses for poor diet.”
  • “I haven't had my hay tested recently for nutrient content.”
  • “Constantly find new things to consider...”
  • “My horses are fat and happy, no vet bills except for shots. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”

Need more information on equine nutrition? Find out what should be included in every horse’s diet, listen to an equine nutritionist answer nutritional questions, and use our step-by-step infographic to ensure your horse’s diet is complete, all available on TheHorse.com! You can find additional resources on our “nutrition” topic page and submit questions to an equine nutritionist via our horse nutrition commentary

This week, we want to know: Have you ever owned a young horse, 4 years old or younger? If so, please tell us about your experiences! Vote now and share your comments at 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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