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Natural Horse Supplies Discussed And Reviewed
Founded initially by equine herbalist Suzanne Woodward DBTh, MRH, MURHP, Equine Natural Health is a complete resource for those who want to know more about natural horse supplies, treatments, therapies and products for horses.
Alternative and complementary equine health care using natural horse supplies is both accessible and increasingly accepted amongst horse owners and trainers.
More and more horse supplements and treatments are appearing on the market. As well as looking at the herbs to treat horses, such as Chamomile, Clivers & Marigold and Calendula, we will also review available natural products. These mostly fall into two areas of:
- Treating ailments and supporting wellbeing
- Modifying behavioural problems
Horse Diet Supplements – Are They Necessary?
The vision of horses out in lush, green meadows is one every owner looks forward to, especially during those long winter months. But can you really assess your horse’s inner health by looking at a field of grass?
Grass, like hay, can only offer the nutrients from the soil in which it is grown so your horse could be lacking an essential nutrient from his forage diet and you wouldn’t necessarily know.
Dietary supplements are the ‘go-to’ remedy for so many equine conditions and problems.
There are multiple off the shelf and veterinary prescribed supplements and additives for a whole range of issues and conditions including:
- Gastric and gut health
- Respiratory compromise, coughing and pollen-related issues
- Joint supplements to promote the good health of joint components, joint fluid and cartilage
- Hoof supplements to boost growth or help to maintain strong, good quality horn
- Skin & coat supplements
- Immune system boosters
- Supplements that support performance horses in very hard work
- Behavioural problems
- Lifestyle, muscle maintenance and overall support for the horse’s wellbeing
Soil and grass analysis – You can’t tell by looking!
Every year, grass growth is different.
It depends on winter rainfall levels, the arrival of spring, ambient temperatures and how much rain continues throughout the growing season.
The same applies to cut hay which will vary hugely depending on the quality of the crop, how long the hay lay on the field, and how much rainfall it had.
It is possible to have the herbage and soil of your fields analysed, and this is a relatively straightforward process.
However, scientific evaluation is a better option as part of your long-term pasture management strategy during those periods when the fields are not in use.
You can also get your hay analysed, but this is more useful as a guide for protein and sugar levels and potentially identifying horses for whom the hay might not be suitable.
Rather than hoping for the best, a broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement will take the guesswork out of your horse’s core nutritional requirements.
It covers horses at rest solely on a grass and hay diet and horses in light work who are receiving hard rations but not in sufficient amounts to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral levels.
The Competition Season
In the summer months, we ask our horses to work particularly hard – local shows, county shows, horse trials and Pony Club and riding club qualifiers.
Many horses can compete on a diet of just hay and grass, and it is surprising how much energy and stamina a simple diet can provide.
It’s great for your horse to have as natural a diet as possible but do you have that nagging concern at the back of your mind that there is just not quite enough energy for competition?
You don’t want your horse to struggle, but you also don’t want to overfeed him either with all the health and temperament issues associated with this.
Why not think about a balancer or tonic to help maintain healthy gut function and assist your horse in really deriving the most from his food? T
his will help support him through the stresses of travelling and competition, which can also deplete resources.
Competition time is exciting and not just for the rider!
Sharp, performance horses and young green horses may boil over and not give of their best despite the correct preparation and training.
Calmers are an invaluable tool to take the edge off, allowing the horse perform to the best of his ability and not become so stressed by travelling, the competition arena, a change of routine or different accommodation.
Magnesium and Calcium are the most popular ingredients in most calmers, which can be liquid or powder.
Hard-working horses need good muscle tone and development to work athletically and stay sound and well.
Performance supplements add in amino-acids to the horse’s diet to aid correct muscle development, supporting the rider’s training and schooling and competition prowess.
But they can also help muscle repair after strenuous activity and encourage growth in immature horses. Horses coming back into work after a period of rest of rehabilitation will also benefit.
There are lots of things which can contribute to a horse misbehaving, some are fixable some more difficult. If you see a sudden change in horses behaviour, you should first consider and rule out these two key points.
Unfortunately, horses cannot tell us where it hurts. Some horses can become very subdued with pain or infection. Horses are hugely good at hiding things, but others will be resistant such as refusing jumps or seemingly just downright naughty – bucking or rearing.
2. Change of regimen – exercise; medical treatment; diet; yard; ownership:
When horses move homes, they can become stressful and unsettled until they get used to the new yard or situation.
A sharp horse, with an inexperienced handler or rider, will quickly take advantage and become challenging and sometimes dangerous.
Horses are sensitive creatures and dietary supplements, and natural horse supplies and remedies are often an early consideration for animals who are exhibiting sudden changes of behaviour.
Before you reach for your computer to search for an appropriate solution, you must rule out other factors which may be the cause of the current situation.
Summary – Use of Natural Horse Supplies
Using natural horse supplies and equine supplements gives the informed owner the chance to influence their horse’s physical health and temperament to good effect.
Grass, hay and good feeding can’t always provide the optimum nutritional levels for so many reasons, and it can be hard to determine what may be lacking.
Targeted use of supplements can only enhance an already sound diet and should form part of every owner’s repertoire of horse management.
These products are based mainly on natural horse supplies and remedies.
They have been carefully developed by scientists and vets who understand the physiological requirements of the working horse and the challenges many owners face with this excitable and temperamental creature of flight.