Can You Love a Neglected Horse too Much?

The natural tendency is to over-feed the thin horse that has been neglected, especially if the horse is a Rescue and Rehab. It is important to note that these horses often have medical issues along with inadequate nutrition. The most common medical problems include intestinal parasitism and poor dental health, exasperating the inadequate nutrition stemming from poor quality and low quantity feedstuffs.

Without considering the medical factors, improved nutrition may not help the horse’s health status, and increasing the caloric density of the diet may actually cause further complications if the additional carbohydrates or nutrients are indigestible.

Resolve any medical issues and feed the “basic” diet of good grade grass hay and/or pasture along with a nutrient supplement to not only provide nutrients that may have been deficient, but to also increase the diet’s feed efficiency. If the horse is underweight the caloric density of the diet can be slowly increased by feeding a concentrated calorie source such as oats, vegetable oil, or beet pulp.

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J. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS
Founder of Life Data Labs, Inc.
Developer of Farrier’s Formula®