Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Do you even know what you are feeding?

Don't throw your money away on feed and supplements without educating yourself on what they do and don't do. People spend millions of dollars on pretty packaging and promises of a more muscular and faster race horse. Just because there is a picture of a horse running fast on the bag, doesn't mean that it's right for your race horse. I have jokingly said, "if there is not a picture of a horse breathing fire on the bag then I don't by it.". That's my big marketing joke. This is why I am a horseman and not a comic.

Read your feed bag, which I bet most of you have no idea how to and what your are looking for, other than protein content. Protein is important, but you need to adjust the levels based on each horse's age, weight, body type, exercise, and metabolism. First of all, if you think that what you are feeding out of the bag is what your horses diet contains, then your are wrong. And yes, protein is the building block for muscles, but your are feeding a race horse not a body builder. And yes, you CAN put too much muscle on a horse unless he is pulling a plow. Bulk muscle is good for slow heavy work, not fast running.

Don't waste your time or money on the latest fad in equine sports nutrition. Stick with what you know and what is backed by some sort of scientific research. Supplements are that for a reason. They are to supplement the diet with what is lacking. Unlike drugs, they do not have extensive controlled studies to back their claims.

Not all supplements are what they seem... For example: Fat Cat is not a fat supplement, it's a protein and Carbohydrate supplement. Who knew? Unless of course you read the label. Fat is actually what the product lacks. If you added Fat Cat to the diet, thinking you were adding fat and reducing protein, then you were doing the opposite.

Most people don't take into consideration that the protein, fat and carbohydrates that the horse gets varies by the type and quantity of hay and other supplements that are fed. Your grain should actually supplement a good quality hay diet. A horse will get most of what he needs from vegetation anyway. Just read your feed label to see what vitamins and minerals are added. You pay a premium price for the added nutrition. Why spend double? So make sure before you add supplements to the grain, it doesn't already consist of it. Selenium and vitamin E are common supplements that I see horsemen add to their feeding regiment. I also see that same horsemen using a premium feed which already contains sufficient amounts of these supplements. Therefore, throwing money away by adding an excess which is just wasted because the body only absorbs a certain level and the rest is wasted. - Christopher Crocker

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