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General Nutritionist Q&A

Customer: “What experience do you have with horses who crib? I have been given a horse with this habit and I read that correct nutrition can help eliminate the desire for them to crib. Just want to get your thoughts. I’ve never had a cribber so this is new to me.”
Answer from Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Dr. Kelsey Johnson Nonella: I personally have been lucky enough to never own a cribber. However, I have known a few people that have had cribbers. It is a habit that once developed can be nearly impossible to break. I would recommend keeping a cribbing collar on the horse, because a horse that cribs consistently can wear their front teeth down, making it hard for them to eat. Also, if you can, allow a lot of turn out time, and free-choice hay. Sweet feeds have been observed to increase the frequency of a cribber cribbing. A link has found between ulcers and cribbing as well. It is unknown if the ulcers are created from cribbing or vice versa. Research has shown that genetics play a role in cribbing. Therefore, horses are unlikely to learn the habit from a cribber. If you want to read a great article with a lot of research on cribbing go to:
Customer: “If I feed Mega Dose to my mare what kind of salt block should I use?”
Answer from Equine Nutritionist, Del Johnson: Feed a plain salt block. Trace Mineral Blocks offer very little but will do no harm if you have them on hand. You will require only the plain salt.
Customer: “I’ve been giving my horses Horse Guard for years and I use free feed salt. Normally I just use straight un-iodized salt figuring they get the iodine they need in the Horse Guard. My feed store was out of the stuff I normally buy & very highly recommended Redmond Salt. The warehouse guy accidentally gave me a high iodized bag. Luckily I read the label before I opened it & saw the iodine levels (it’s for cattle), but I noticed a warning that said not to allow more than 1/4 oz per head per day or you’d go over the 10mg/head/day max recommended dose. What is the recommended Iodine dose for a horse? Is it the 10mg or is that just for cattle? What about all of the other stuff? I’d just as soon give them the Redmond Salt that’s not processed, but I’m over my head on the trace mineral stuff.”
Answer from Equine Nutritionist, Del Johnson: Thanks for your questions about iodized salt. 1989 NRC on equines estimated that the iodine requirement of horses 1 to 6 mg per day for a 1000 lb horse. The maximal tolerable dietary concentration of iodine has been estimated to be 50 mg of iodine/day for a 1000 lb horse. The guarantee for iodine in salt is by weight in ounces not volume. A product that provides 100 ppm has 100 mg in 2.2 lbs. That works out to 2.84 mg of iodine per ounce. Salt that is 10 parts per million would provide .284 mg of iodine per ounce. Horses will eat 1 ounce of salt per day on average. This is a dangerous assumption if your trace mineral is in the salt because consumption varies from 0 ounces of salt per day to over 3 ounces per day. The reason for the variance is complex. Horses working hard and sweating will require more salt. Horses on hay that has been salted will not consume salt. If it is hot they will eat more, cold they eat less. Salt, like water, is a nutrient that animals actually select to fulfill their requirement….this is not true of other nutrients. My recommendation is that you provide plain salt without additives – free choice. Having said that most iodized and trace mineral salt provides so little of these nutrients that they do not cause a problem.
Customer: “Is the soy that is used in Super Weight Gain non-GMO (Genetically Modified)?”
Answer from Equine Nutritionist, Del Johnson: Thanks for your question. In the US it is difficult to get non-GMO soybeans through conventional suppliers. Below is a statement on non-GMO soybeans from GMO Compass: GM plants are widespread in the world’s leading soybean-producing countries. • The United States (85%) and Argentina (98%) produce almost exclusively GM soybeans. In these countries, GM soybeans are approved without restrictions and are treated just like conventional soybeans. Producers and government officials in the US and Argentina do not see a reason to keep GM and conventionally bred cultivars separate – whether during harvest, shipment, storage or processing. Soybean imports from these countries generally contain a high amount of GM content. We are not able to specify for non-GMO so we assume that our beans can contain GMO beans. I hope this was helpful in understanding the beans that we use. When we order we order Number One Soybeans with white hylems.
Customer: “My horse chews wood, and I am hoping if I add some more supplements it will curb that need. I feed him 2 lbs of Well Solve LS, Hoof blast (Biotin), one scoop of Tyrol-L and I ordered the Simplete Essential and was to start adding that to his diet. He has surgery 1 year ago and they removed part of his coffin bone. He had thin soles and now has good sole thickness. What would you suggest for the Simplete Essential amount?”
Answer from Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Dr. Kelsey Johnson Nonella: It is great to hear that your horse is doing better after his surgery. I think Simplete would be a great option for you to feed your horse for simplicity for you. You may consider feeding your horse Simplete Senior/Active, which would add more MSM and Glucosamine. I recommend feeding him grass hay, 2 lbs of Simplete(whichever you feel is the best fit for your horse), Tyrol-L, and Biotin Hoof Blast. I assume that this horse had laminitis. If you have access to two different qualities of grass hay I would recommend feeding a couple flakes of good quality grass hay morning and night, and then as a filler feeding a lower quality grass hay to him so that he can nibble on it throughout the day. Typically, wood chewing is done due to boredom. By giving him access to the lower quality grass hay all day this may turn his attention to the hay rather than the wood.
Customer: "Will my horse get ‘hot’ if I feed Horse Guard Products?” 
Answer from Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Dr. Kelsey Johnson Nonella: The answer is no. When providing your horse with a balanced vitamin-mineral supplement your horse may actually horse feel better if they are deficient in something. Our products contain very little to no fillers. The beauty in top-dressing with a supplement is that it allows you to cater your feed regime to your horse’s energy needs, and the type of energy that you feel is most beneficial for your horse…. unlike complete feeds. To start, Horse Guard provides them a daily vitamin-mineral supplement in a 2-ounce dose. If you consider the size difference between horses and humans, this would be comparable to a person taking a one-day vitamin. This allows you to add whatever type of hay you find most suitable for your horse, along with any grains/feedstuff to their energy intake. When discussing grains/feedstuff, there are two major categories to consider. 1. Feeds that are considered “hot” contain grains, corn, molasses, or a mixture. The energy source comes from carbohydrates and starch, and is broken down into simple sugars easily. This makes them easily available to the horse, and therefore supply the horse with energy very quickly. A comparison, is children with a “sugar-high”. Image result for horse oats 2. “Cool” energy sources are feeds that contain beet pulp, rice bran, or extruded soy. These products are mainly fiber, protein, and fats, and are low in carbohydrates and starch. Protein and fats are complex molecules, and take longer for the body to breakdown into a useable energy. Therefore, there is a slower release of energy to the body. Fats are the slowest source of energy, but the most energy-efficient form in feed. Each gram of fat supplies the body with about 9 calories, more than twice that supplied by protein or carbohydrates. Feeds high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates and starches, can be beneficial to horses that have a tendency to be nervous or have metabolic disorders. Because of the efficiency of the energy in fat, these products can also be helpful to horses that have a hard time keeping weight on. Ensure that your horse’s vitamin mineral nutritional needs are getting fulfilled, then cater to their energy needs. First your horse one of our complete vitamin-mineral supplements to ensure this. Then, choose the best hay and type of grain/feedstuff for your horse’s energy level. You should be able to enjoy your happy, healthy horse to the fullest by following this one easy bit of advice.
Customer: “I have a 5-year-old QH all-around mare. She has been in a training program for about 5 weeks now to prepare her for the coming year show circuit. She is getting Purina Ultium, free choice salt mineral block, Grass alfalfa mix hay and horse guard. I've noticed the last week her wanting to lick and eat the dirt. Shes clearly lacking something. Suggestions?”
Answer from Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Dr. Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Your mare sounds like she is being fed a good, balanced diet. She may be consuming the dirt out of boredom. Does she have the ability to graze on her hay throughout the day, or is it limited to more of a meal feeding? If you have the option to let her nibble on hay throughout the day, this may curb her appetite from eating so much dirt. However, it is perfectly normal for horses to consumed some dirt. If you would like to read an article about horses eating dirt, here is a great article written by Dr. Amy Gill. I wouldn’t change anything in the diet unless you need to modify her energy level once you starting showing. Hope this helps.
Customer: “My question is whether to feed my horse oats or beet pulp? I’ve been seeing many articles on feeding them instead of commercial grains to horses, but am confused on which is best since the article does pros on just that product. Are there major differences in them, do feeding amounts matter, what are pros and cons to both? My horse is an easy keeper so he really only gets enough grain to eat his Horse Guard supplements and not feel left out while everyone else is getting some!”
Answer from Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Dr. Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Thank you for the question. Oats and beet pulp are good feedstuffs to provide your horse with energy. They cater to different needs in feeding. Oats are a great, traditional grain. The energy source of oats comes from starch, which is perfectly fine unless you have a horse with a metabolic disorder. Beet pulp is high in fiber and low in starch. It is a by-product that is a good feedstuff for horses with metabolic disorders, and horses that are “hot”. When feeding one of the products along with hay, you can cater the amount fed to the amount of energy the horse needs. Since your horse is an easy keeper, I think you are doing a great job by just feeding enough grain to get him to eat his supplements. You are smart to feed oats or beet pulp rather than a commercial feed because you are getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need in your Horse Guard top-dress supplement, and are saving money by not feeding additional, unnecessary vitamin/mineral supplementation. In summary, these feedstuffs are both good. They just cater to different needs. If I were you, I would feed whichever is more cost-effective for you. With good hay and supplementation, your horse should be getting what he needs. Thank you for taking such good care of your horse.
Customer: “Hello, I have a 19-month-old Andalusian that is already 15.2 hands. I am feeding mostly orchard grass and about 1/3 of his diet is a grass alfalfa mix. No grain. His weight is good. I feed him Horse Guard. He seems gassier than my other horses. His stool is normal, he has had a panacur powerpack (was gassy before that. What are common causes of gas in horses? I have fed all of my horses Horse Guard for over 10 yrs. I live outside Portland, OR. Thanks”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: It is perfectly normal for horses to be very gassy. As they ferment forage in their hindgut gas is produced as a by-product. So, it sounds if your Andalusian has a very efficient digestive tract. You have nothing to worry about. If he’s in good body condition, I would keep him on his current feed regime.
Customer: “I am considering switching my horses to Simplete, but I’m worried about the soy. There are articles saying ‘don’t feed soy to horses’ and that it can be a pro-inflammatory. But I have also heard good things about soy. Can you help me out?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Full-fat extruded soy is an amazing feedstuff when balanced correctly in a ration. Full-fat extruded soy is a great source of high-quality protein and very high in lysine (unlike most feedstuffs). Lysine is the first-limiting amino acids in horses. It is important that the soybeans are extruded, like they are in simplete, rather than soy meal because the fat in soy meal is extracted with harsh chemicals. I feed all of my horses Simplete and they look and feel amazing.
Customer: “Hello, I feed my 3 horse and mini oats, Cocosoya oil, and Horse Guard. I’m wondering if the Horse Guard has a sufficient amount of amino acids in it?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: When fed high-quality hay with the oats, oil, and Horse Guard, your horses are receiving sufficient amino acids. There are only few times that you would have to worry about insufficient amounts of amino acids. A young horse or skinny horse on low-quality forage would be most likely lysine deficient.
Customer: “I was wondering why my horse needs to eat Horse Guard daily?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Your horse needs Horse Guard daily in order to meet his vitamin-mineral requirements. It is just like humans taking a one-a-day vitamin, however, much more important for your horse because they don’t get the variety in their diet that we do.
Customer: “I was curious if we need to keep giving our horses trace mineral salt with selenium now that we feed them trifecta? If not, what do you recommend?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: You just need to give them access to a plain white salt block. No need to spend the extra money on a trace mineral block because you are getting everything in Trifecta.
Customer: “I am currently giving horse guard to my 4-year-old, 20+-year-old pregnant mare and my 25-year-old mule. Can I leave out there mineral blocks it since starting the horse guard/trifecta?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Also, you can leave the mineral block out because there are only very trace amounts in the block. After the mineral block is gone I would recommend just buying a plain white salt block. It will be more cost-effective for you when feeding trifecta. I think you will be very happy with the trifecta. It is what we feed to all 15 of our own horses.
Customer: “I have a 22yr. Old Percheron gelding that has lymphedema. My vet has put him in retirement. I am fine with this. However, I now see him losing his topline. His backbone is showing, I see withers (he didn’t have because he was so round) and the apple bottom is replaced with two bones showing on top of his rump. Can I get any of this back? He has been wormed and had his teeth floated. He stays inside under a fan during the heat of the day. Has all the pasture he wants. Gets senior pellets (about 7 lbs.) also hay during the day when under the fan. Will any of your products help this? Right now he only has two sores on his legs. They look really good. I know I need to watch his fat intake. What can I do?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Conditions with our horses like these are never fun. Management is important to try and slow the progression as much as possible. First off, exercise is key in helping to keep circulation. So being on pasture is great for movement. As far as supplementation, for your horse I would recommend Trifecta. It has a powerful probiotic to help with digestion so he can get more out of the feed he is consuming, so he can start putting weight back on. The joint support in Trifecta, also contains MSM which will help with inflammation, and help to slow the progression on the disease. The vitamin/mineral supplement will also ensure that he has adequate levels for optimal health and immunity. We have an amazing weight gain supplement that contains a vitamin/mineral supplement and probiotics. However, it is high in fat and protein. Therefore, I think Trifecta is the best option for him.
Customer: “I want to convert ppm in one pound of feed to mg. How do I do that?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: PPM is mg/kg so 1 mg/lb = 2.2 ppm. In a 2 oz dose of Horse Guard there are 3 mg of selenium.
Customer: “I am currently supplementing all of my horses (10) with Mega Dose which supplies 8000 IU of Vitamin D3. I live on the coast of Oregon where our horses are blanketed a lot due to weather and sunlight is in short supply this time of year. Should I consider a Vitamin D supplement during the winter? (Requirements call for 22000 IU of D.)” Vitamin D in horses in the Northwest
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson-Nonella: Thank you for the question. When feeding your horses a 4 ounce scoop of Mega Dose your horses are receiving 2,000 IUs of vitamin D. Your horses are also receiving 2000-10,000 IUs of vitamin D from your hay. An average 1,100 lb horse requires 3,300 IUs of vitamin D daily per the National Research Council. So your horses are receiving enough vitamin D from Mega-Dose and hay to meet their vitamin D requirement even with the limited exposure to sunlight. No need to supplement your horses with extra vitamin D. Below I have included a table showing the requirement of vitamin D for each stage of horse. Table 5: Comparisons of Daily Vitamin D Requirements for a Horse with Mature weight of 1100 pounds. State of Production or Growth D (IU) Maintenance 3,300 12 months of age 5,600 Early pregnancy 3,300 Lactation (3 months) 3,300 Moderate exercise 3,300 Nutrient requirements are estimated from the National Research Council’s Recommendations for Nutrient Requirements of Horses (2007). b) These levels take into account all sources of vitamins in the diet including hay, grains and supplements. b) Different sources of vitamins will have differing concentrations of vitamins so accounting for ingredients and reading labels is important.
Customer:“Hello, I am inquiring about your product for a horse who ties up, and as well is allergic to any type of soy product. What can I do for this type of horse?”
Answer by Ph.D. Equine Nutritionist, Kelsey Johnson Nonella: Thank you for your question. Our products would address a selenium and vitamin E deficiency that for very often linked to horses tying up. I would recommend one of two products. The first product that I would recommend is Horse Guard. It is a vitamin-mineral with 3 mg of organic selenium and probiotics. The product that we feed all of our horses is Trifecta. It contains the vitamin-mineral supplement of horse guard along with a complete gut, hoof, and joint supplement. Both of these products contain no soy and would help your horse out tremendously.

1 Response

Jennifer Parrott

Jennifer Parrott

March 05, 2021

Do you have something to keep a stomach ulcer from coming back. She doesn’t have one anymore and a preventative is what I think I’m looking for.
Thank you,
Jennifer Parrott

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