Perhaps your horse’s workload has recently increased and you are concerned about his maintaining a healthy weight as he transitions to a new lifestyle or maybe you have been monitoring your horse’s weight and realize that he needs to gain or lose a few pounds. If so, you may have considered working with an equine nutritionist. Equine nutritionists can be found working in a variety of areas including feed companies and land grant universities but wherever they work their goal is to provide nutritional information that will benefit the horse to its caretakers. Before you consult with a nutritionist, consider these helpful tips for making the time spent as worthwhile as possible.
Know what’s in your feed. Have the feed label of any feeds you use readily available so that you may include the information in your consultation. You’ll also want to be able to provide information about the amount of feed you provide for your horse and the number of times you provide it.
Supplemental Information. If you add any supplements to your horse’s diet that may include those for hooves or joints, free choice salt or mineral blocks, or oils such as vegetable or corn be prepared to answer any questions about why you chose to provide these.
Test your hay before making contact. Prior to making contact have your hay’s nutritional content tested, perhaps by your local Extension Service, then have this information at hand along with being knowledgeable about the type or types of hay and the particular cutting of the hay you provide for your horse. Additionally, you will want to be at least generally knowledgeable about your pastures and how much time you allow your horse to graze them.
Treats. If you regularly provide treats for your horse to aid in activities such as stretching make certain that you have the same information available as you would for your feed.
Keep other general information nearby. In addition to being able to provide specific information about your horse’s age, breed, gender, and health status be prepared to answer questions that honestly reflect his fitness and workload and about why you are considering making a change to his current regimen.
By keeping these tips in mind you’ll be able to provide your nutritionist with a complete picture and take away a game plan for improvement.