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August 10, 2016

Common Equine Nutrition Questions

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Dr. Mark gets a ton of questions about nutrition and proper feeding protocol. Below is an email exchange between Dr. Mark and a customer. This advice is beneficial for all horse owners….

Thank you for the great nutrition information!  I especially like the “What Goes in the Bucket” chart; very helpful.  I will be gradually changing his diet to a healthier, low-sugar program.  I do have a question or two, though.

First of all, I am having trouble finding unstablized rice bran.  If I can’t find unstabilized, then stabilized rice bran is better than no rice bran, right?

Stabilized rice bran is certainly second best. It is almost as healthy, but it is about 3x more expensive. But, you can definitely feed it without any problems. 

Secondly, do you have a particular probiotic that you recommend?

I like Forco brand probiotics. However, if you are feeding Excel it has a probiotic in it and you shouldn’t need both. So does the Essential Complete Vitamin and Mineral Supplement. I usually won’t recommend a probiotic on top of it unless you are having a specific digestive issue.  

Lastly, would the recommended Vitamin/Mineral supplement (Essential) be used only if my horse does not end up with a personalized, specifically formulated supplement based on his Horse Hair Analysis?

You should have your horse on BOTH a good quality complete vitamin and mineral supplement (because it will provide many more ingredients than will be included in the Personal Supplement) and the Personal Supplement.  

And one last (maybe silly) question:  I know, I know, NO SUGAR!  Does that mean he can’t have his four “reward” carrots at the end of a ride? He looks forward to them so……..

Carrots are a “natural” source of sugar, so I don’t mind if a horse gets a few a day, but, probably no more than four. Carrots are certainly much better for a horse than any type of processed sugars like treats with molasses or peppermints or sugar cubes, etc.

And in case any of you were wondering how this horse is doing after Dr. Mark’s recommended diet changes…

Dr. DePaolo,

I just want to give you an update on Phinny.

It’s been three months since we took him off of all grains, cut out sugars, and started giving him alfalfa/timothy pellets, rice bran, and his Personal Supplement (along with his Coastal Hay).  I am only able to give him his Supplement once a day (due to boarding situation), but even so, I am completely amazed by the change in him.

Before the change in his diet, he acted as if he were having hallucinations, and was terrified of everything.  Seriously, EVERYTHING; he had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even lead him into the arena, as the lines in the dirt were too terrifying.  He couldn’t go from shade to sun, from dirt to grass, or walk over a shadow.  He’s always been quirky, and everyone at the barn just joked about what a “nut” he is, but this was way beyond behavioral. I even had his eyes checked by two different vets, thinking maybe his eyesight was going bad. When I got the hair analysis back, and saw the heavy-metal toxicities, I realized that it was probably neurological and not a vision problem.

Thank heavens a friend told me about you and the Hair Analysis.

Now, three months into it, HE’S A NEW HORSE!!  He is ridden six days a week, no problems.  No shying, no spooking, no terrors, just a remarkably smart and willing horse.  It’s truly a miracle!

Thank you so much!  I am a Hair Analysis evangelist now, telling everyone about this life-changing result. Please know how grateful I am.


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