Today I have a guest post discussing the benefits of supplementing. This is something I struggle with, because my tendency is to want to SUPPLEMENT ALL THE THINGS but I am both a) poor b) not very knowledgeable when it comes to supplements.
The Benefits of Supplements for the Health of your Horse
In an ideal world your horse would probably spend most of his time grazing and wandering, with a few short breaks for sleeping. He would travel great distances as he grazed but would try to expend the minimum of energy in order to conserve his reserves for fleeing from predators.
Desirable as this might be to your horse; this is clearly not an option. Those of us who keep horses know only too well the hard work and expense that goes into maintaining their stables, fields and associated items and we expect our horses to respond by giving us a few short hours of their time each day.
From hacking to driving and from racing to dressage, there is a huge variety of disciplines for horse and rider to participate in and all of them require our horses to be in the peak of physical condition in order to meet our expectations.
Are supplements really necessary?
Ask most horse owners to name a supplement and the first thing that tends to come to mind is magnesium. In the world of riding, magnesium has taken on almost mystical properties thanks to its widespread use as a calmer for nervous, excitable and flighty horses. Often used as the first line of defence whenever a horse displays challenging behaviour, magnesium is just the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to providing supplements for your horse.
The demands of carrying a rider create stresses and strains for a horse’s bones and musculature. Over time our horses can suffer from joint pain, inflammation, arthritis and a host of other associated problems. Repeated school movements place additional strain on the horse and so it makes perfect sense that we should work to keep our horses’ joints, muscles and bones in optimum condition in order to cope with these demands.
Talk to any horse owner who has experienced hoof problems such as laminitis and they will tell you of the supplements available to minimise the risks of this dreadful condition. Science now indicates that laminitis can be diet related and nutritional balance can help to reduce the risks of this and other conditions.
Distressing skin conditions such as sweet itch can in some cases be controlled through careful nutritional support and supplementation, making this an important avenue of investigation for the horse owner facing a long-term health condition in their horse.
How do I know which supplements to choose?
Your vet or farrier may suggest a supplement which could be of benefit to your horse, but most of us begin supplementation on the advice of a friend or after seeing someone else achieve results. Most feed companies offer expert advice on supplementation and there is a wealth of knowledge available online for those prepared to spend a little time on research.
Most companies suggest allowing at least three months to see the full effects of a supplementation programme, but in some instances, such as magnesium calmers, the effect can be almost instantaneous.
For a fantastic selection of nutritional supplements for your horse check out http://www.tensupplements.co.
So what about you – are you pro or anti supplements? I’m very much pro supplementing, but think it’s something that merits a significant amount of research and as always, talking to your vet!
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post’s contents, though I do think supplementing is a great idea and something to consider!