Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I providing my horse a good base of foundational nutrition?”
What is foundational nutrition?
That’s a somewhat loaded question that results in a variety of answers depending on whom you talk with. Throughout this series, I’ll explain my view on foundational nutrition, what it includes, and how it relates to your horse so she can consistently stay healthy.
A steady pattern I’ve noticed for more than 15 years is that the majority of people have difficulty staying healthy themselves, so how can they possibly understand what’s healthy for their horse?
For example, I once witnessed a well-known instructor who included information on equine nutrition in the course material. During breaks, that same instructor would walk outside and smoke a cigarette.
I’m a firm believer in setting good examples. To me, it’s not much different than an overweight doctor trying to educate me on how to eat right.
What I’ve found is that those who don’t take their own personal health seriously frequently struggle with understanding the best approach to take when it comes to their equine companion’s health, and they’re often easily swayed by popular opinion.
Some people may argue that good human health practices have nothing to do with horses, however, there are many similarities, not to mention some basic fundamentals, that must be in place in the diet for both horses and humans.
Foundational nutrition is the combination of nutrients your horse’s body needs on a regular basis so she can consistently stay free from disease and health issues.” ~ Stephanie Krahl
One step up from foundational nutrition is therapeutic nutrition.
The importance of nature’s foundation for health is something that’s usually overlooked by most equine guardians, although it’s not intentionally overlooked.
What I’ve found is that the key to a horse staying consistently healthy is to educate people and help them understand that there’s a foundational level of health that a horse must obtain. By providing a good foundation on a regular basis, therapeutic nutrition is usually no longer needed.
Once this is understood by equine guardians, they’ll usually continue to keep a good foundational program in place.
When a problem arises with a horse that’s health related, the first thing that’s usually addressed are symptoms rather than the underlying cause. Sometimes even holistic health care practitioners may jump right to the therapeutic side of the equation before first addressing the foundation.
Never give a lot of therapeutic nutrition until you make sure you have a good foundational base to build on.”
So Where Do You Start?
With so much conflicting information on equine nutrition, you may ask yourself, where do I start?
By taking the concept that nutrition comes from food, you have to first start by looking at your horse’s lifestyle. Where are the deficiencies coming from?
If you want to start adding nutrition into your horse’s life, you have to first start looking at what your horse’s life is like. So, the first question you have to ask yourself before wasting a lot of money on feeding supplements or on expensive commercial feeds is does your horse need them?
Does she REALLY need them?
Is there a need for basic supplementation on a constant basis in North America today? Keep in mind that what I’m going to talk about is NOT therapeutic. I’m talking about basic foundational nutrition.
Where do you start?
If your horse has any kind of symptom, that is where you start. Beyond that, what ever your diagnostic procedure may be, whether it be blood testing, hair analysis or muscle testing, then you add therapeutic nutrition on top of the foundation.
But always keep in mind, it’s important to first start with foundational nutrition.
Until Next Time …
In my next article in this series, I’ll explore more on whether or not your horse really needs supplements and how a return to health must begin with a change in diet.
Additionally, I’ll discuss nature’s foundation for health.
Keep it soulful,
Photo Credit – original photo modified in size and to include the Soulful Equine name and URL