What’s On The Menu Today?
Why do horses eat wood fences and barns, destroy trees for
consumption of bark, gobble up dirt, feast upon manure, lap at urine
puddles or prefer one bale of hay and not another? Could this
behavior be considered a form of free choicing?
Evidence suggests that animals, given the opportunity and
resources, instinctively seek out nutrients to remedy nutritional
imbalances, excesses and/or deficiencies existing within their diet
including their water. Free choice supplementation provides the
opportunity for nutrients to be balanced accurately for each
individual horse in its own unique environment on a continuum. A
horse’s body is never static; its nutritional needs vary
considerably day by day, even hour to hour.
To satisfy these needs you may equip your barn with combinations
of a specified few or multiple free choice supplements without great
expense or increased labor. Free choice supplements may be
specifically identified for your environment and your sources of
hay, feeds and water. Nutritional requirements of special need
horses, such as those with metabolic disorders, performance horses,
mares and foals may flourish when provided the elements they lack in
optimum amounts. Free choice supplementation allows for nutritional
freedom without forcing horses into generic nutritional molds.
What you may enjoy most about free choice supplementation is what
you can learn. Would it be presumptuous to believe that we know
everything about equine nutrition? Let your horse be the teacher and
This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s
“Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which will take place twice
a month starting in January. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign
up for the January 10th (which will focus on your horse’s digestion
and gut health) and January 31st (targeting balanced feed and
supplements) webinars. These webinars will conclude with a question
and answer session, so be ready with your nutrition questions.