Why a whole food, natural diet?
If you read the ingredients in most feeds, you will find there is no real food, just lots of overly processed grains, corn, sugars, fillers, soy and artificial and synthetic ingredients that the horse is not really meant to eat. Even the "natural" feeds being put out along with the so called supplements that are supposed to help your horses, have been steering away from being pure. I personally like to know where my vitamins/minerals are coming from and prefer to get them from food instead of in pill form. This is why, feeding herbs along with a pelleted forage base best for horses as this is what they are meant to eat and digest. Herbs not only have amazing nutritional properties but, can heal on multiple levels, though there are some professionals who don't believe in their healing power. By healing, I don't necessarily mean "cure", I mean, healing in the sense of bringing relief to specific ailments your horse may be going through.
Here's a big truth. Weight and a shiny coat are NOT a sign that your horse is healthy. We pump our horses full of medications, vaccines and overly processed food and band-aid everything up, that if we don't see something, we think they are fine. We need to look deeper, to heal deeper and to understand why we see some of the things we see when our horses aren't feeling good or acting normal. We need to stop covering up symptoms by suppressing them and feed the body. We need to understand that mares for example, have many hormonal disruptions. They have cramps, they can get PMS, they can have too much estrogen (soy) and we need to help balance them instead of claiming they have the "mare stare". This goes for geldings as well. We need to understand that allergies are a immune response, which tells us something is deficient in the body. We need to treat and feed our horses as nature intended. We need to get to the root cause. We need to not band-aid pain but feed the bones and joints so they can heal on some level.
To quote Dr. Bill Vanergrift, the equine nutritionist who formulated the Triple Crown feed line. "In the last 20 years or so, horse owners are realizing that there are better ways to feed and treat our horses as they are pushed more to be top athletes and are willing to invest more on proper diet alone. The number of horses experiencing musculoskeletal and respiratory function disorders has risen." He goes on to say, "traditional veterinarian medicine has not been able to make significant progress towards treating many of these horses; so in part out of desperation and in part out of a renewed respect for alternative therapies, the use of herbal products, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care and even aromatherapy has increased dramatically."
Herbs have been used by both human and animals for thousands of years. There was a time when every thing came from the earth and were sought out. Wild horses still do this today. They have been found seeking the plant they need to help relieve certain symptoms or give them nutritional value. Dr. Eloy, a research scientist of chemical biology, ecology and medicinal chemistry at Cornell University has coined the self medication of animals Zoopharmacognosy.
Forage: Good quality hay/grass: A horse's digestive tract is designed to consume foods 24/7. It is essential to provide hay to a stalled horse or provide pasture and/or hay for the non-stalled horse. An empty stomach for too long has the potential to develop some types of digestive upset, including gastric ulcers in the stomach lining,
Fresh Clean Water: not only keeps horses hydrated but, helps dissolve nutrients for ingestion or wastes for excretion.
Salt (free choice): Sodium is important for muscle contraction, conduction of nerve impulses, and digestion of protein. Sodium also plays a key role in the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine.
Vitamins & Minerals: For growth, tissue maintenance, body function, and optimum athletic performance. Vitamins are classified as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Minerals are required for maintenance of body structure, fluid balance in cells (electrolytes), nerve conduction, and muscle contraction.
Omegas: Essential fatty acids are necessary for skin and coat health. A deficiency of omega-3 fats can lead to overly sensitive, itchy and inflamed skin. Shifting the ratio of essential fats more to what a horse would naturally be consuming in the wild may help to normalize inflammation in the skin and support skin health.
Bentonite Clay: trace minerals like calcium, iron, copper, and zinc. which are essential to horses. Also detoxifies heavy metals.
Kelp: best known as a source of iodine, kelp contains a wealth of other minerals. Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Kelp's trace minerals include chromium, manganese and zinc, as well as such ultra-trace minerals as germanium, iridium and rubidium. Not much is needed. Can be offered free choice as well.
Nutritional Yeast: full of B vitamins, including B-12 which helps the body upload protein for rebuilding muscle/greater muscle mass. Can slightly calming effect. Light golden in color with a nutty smell. Great for HOOVES!
Diatomaceous Earth: helps support their immune system, digestion and because Diatomaceous Earth is a form of silica it is known to give horses strong hoofs, healthier and shinier coats and manes.
The foundation of The Natural Equine Diet:
1. Forage pellets (timothy, orchard). If you live some where you can get different quality forage, that is great. To read more about forage pellets, those that are good and those that are not, CLICK HERE
2. The Natural Equine's whole food her blend Daily Support
3. The Natural Equine's whole food blend Daily Essential Support, vitamin/mineral blend.
These two blends combined, along with free choice salt, grazing (hay/grass) and clean water are the building blocks to achieve health in your horses. The other blends offered can be used with the base diet for more specific needs. Remember, every horse is different. That means some may need additional nutrients or less. If you are really trying to get to a deeper healing level, look at the Applied Zoopharmacognosy.
Please understand these herbs are not intended to be fed with a grain diet.