Everyone needs good nutrition. Your horse is no exception. Horse nutritional requirements should be given a high priority because bad nutrition leads to stress, poor performance, dulling of the coat and susceptibility to disease.
We just have to think that our nutritional needs as human beings are similarly the same as with horses but with some variations great and small. Great because they’re bigger than us and small because some ingredients like trace minerals that are always given in small doses. What are the four basic food groups? They are, carbohydrates to make us go, proteins to make us grow, vitamins and minerals to make us glow. The same principles apply in preparing for the horse’s nutritional requirements.
The bone of contention is always on the correct proportion for each component. Almost any veterinarian that is worth his salt, has something to say about the proper nutritional requirements. This is just natural because situations are as varied as the fish on the sea. Although the NRC or the National Research Council has come up with respectable guidelines, they are just guidelines as the title suggests. Horses in some particular situations may require more carbohydrates because of longer working or training hours. Young, growing horses need more protein. The more varied the sources of nutrients the better for the horse.
Protein requirements may differ mostly in connection with the horse’s age and activities. Young horses and those in training need more protein because they need to regenerate body tissues faster than older and more docile horses. Indiscriminate use of proteins would not help the cause of the horses if not given according to their needs. The presence of Amino acids should be the top concern. Amino acids are the basic templates in manufacturing the nutrients that horses needs in the development of body tissues and at the same time maintaining it.
Vitamins A,D,E among others are primarily important. The two C’s in minerals calcium and copper together with the S’s salt and selenium are very important. Together with zinc and phosphorous they round up the mineral requirements. Preparing horse nutritional requirements requires a field of expertise.
The need for an ample supply of fresh water must not be overlooked.
As always, diet and feed stuffs may lack in essential nutrition so it is always good to provide a high quality, complete supplement to ensure no deficiencies.