As they say, you are what you eat. The same is true for your horse. The basis for good health is a good diet.
All horses should have access to fresh, clean water at all times. If this is not possible, your horse should be allowed to drink as much water as he wants at least 5 times a day. Your horse should also have salt available, since most diets have less salt than the horse requires.
Feeding the Individual
The primary feed for horses is forage, either grass (in season, here in New England) or clean hay. These will provide your horse with all of the fiber his intestinal tract requires for proper function. Forage also provides the bulk of the calories needed by the horse, and much of the protein, vitamins and minerals as well. Grain is added to supplement the hay or grass, especially for hard-working horses and youngsters.
Each horse is an individual, and should be fed as such. The upper level event or endurance horse will equine requires far more calories, and a different nutritional profile, than does the weekend pleasure horse. The old, thin horse has very different nutritional requirements than does the older horse with Cushings. Dr. Hoyns can help you formulate an appropriate feeding program for your horse.
Selenium & Vitamin E Deficiencies?
Selenium, a micro-mineral, is deficient in North Eastern soils, and thus hay and pasture in the area. Selenium deficiency can cause muscle soreness, or even tying up. We find that even with feeding grain, many horses are deficient in Selenium and require additional supplementation. A blood test can help determine if your horse needs extra Selenium added to his diet.
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, is also deficient in our hays, especially during the winter. While fresh pasture has good levels of Vitamin E, it rapidly deteriorates in hay during storage, leaving horses fed just hay without enough E. Vitamin E is a potent anti-oxidant, and is extremely important for muscle function. It is easily supplemented via Vitamin E capsules. Deficiencies can be determined with a blood test.