Importance of Nutrition
Updated: Jan 23, 2018
Nutrition is an important consideration for horses at all stages of their life.
Even healthy horse on good hay or pasture with light work will need supplements (since they are "confined" to a space with the same nutrients or lack there of); however, growing, working, pregnant and older horses require much more consideration to their nutritional needs and it can be crucial to get what they need in order to thrive.
Nutrient deficiencies and imbalances in hay are common, even in hay that looks to be of high quality. Soil fertility, texture and pH, environmental conditions during growth and hay curing, stage of growth when cut, species and variety all contribute to the quality of hay. It is important to know, through testing/analysis, the amount of protein, what vitamins and minerals are lacking in your hay or pasture and therefore, what is needed to supplement for a “complete diet".
A diet that is lacking in the early stages of development, including inutero, could result in very short working career. It is very important to know your horse, understand their needs according to their level of activity and their "job" in life. Whether your horse is a competitive athlete, a pleasure horse, or a broodmare with a new foal by her side, the need for proper nutrition based on individual needs is so important.
The fact is, horses are grazers by design and they need access to good hay 24-7 (yes, 24-7) that is very palatable, soft in texture, full of nutrients, protein, vitamins and minerals. Horses need to eat constantly for good digestion and overall health. Horses that go 4 hours or more without hay go into a starvation mode and become susceptible to conditions such as gastric ulcers or colic.
At SCS we test our hay every year to ensure we are feeding to fill every nutritional gap based on each individual horse's age and athletic needs. We grow most of our own hay on our property so we are able to do our absolute best to cut our hay at its peak growth stage to maximize its digestibility and nutrition.
AT SCS, our feeding program includes Buckeye Nutrition and we have been very pleased with the
results we see in each of our horses. Pictured Below: SCS broodmare Finesse; You can't see her 2 month old baby in this photo but we feel this is what a healthy (nursing) mare looks like. And that 2 month old foal, he has grown into a big, strong, athletic competitor!