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The nutritional journey of the horse is quite vast, but I will share of it what I have learned from a trimmers perspective and continue to update this section as I evolve and learn more.
  1. Please read Pete Ramey's Article - 'Feeding the Hoof ', it is excellent! http://www.hoofrehab.com/diet.htm I have recommended FOCUS HF from SOURCE http://www.4source.com/products/focushf.shtml for hooves when my trim, the environment and everything else just isn't producing a good quality hoof.  Our hays just don't always supply enough of the nutrients and this supplement really packs a punch to jump start the hooves into growing a well connected wall and white line.
  2. If you are motivated, test your hay after each new shipment. To learn more about Hay testing visit http://www.safergrass.org/ . I use Triple Crown Low Starch for my beasts, they test for free, but you can test with other grain companies and other labs. You just take a sample of 10 or so bails  (use a hay corer or just grab a handful), put in a plastic bag and send to the location that will be testing your hay. Triple Crown emails the results to me within a week and we modify the amount or type of grain I am feeding based on the hay quality. For growing or older horses this is great to keep the weight on.
  3. I had the vet pull blood tests on my horses (about $140 a pop) for food, grass, hay, shaving, bug etc allergies, including molds (ex: my Lusitano is allergic to Penicillin!). My Thoroughbred is allergic to wheat, corn and oats, my Lusitano is allergic to oats and molasses but not wheat. This was helpful as every time he eats anything high in sugar his hooves get a bounding pulse, this goes hand in hand with his intolerance to sweets.
  4. I also pulled a hair test on them. Just collect about half a baggy of hair from the chest and send it in to http://www.uckele.com/ they will send you the results back. A hair test is good for learning the toxic levels of metals your horse is being exposed to, for example Aluminum.  It is recomended to use hair over blood for toxins.
  5. Then depending on the results you may want to test the hay, the water, soil or even the grain to find out where the toxins are coming from, I found this site to be really good http://www.sdklabs.com/agtest.asp?group=n6&t=1
  6. If you are motivated to take a nutritional course, I did, it was very informative with Dr. Kellon, she is the guru of nutrition. She will also do evaluations for you if you provide hay tests and what you are currently feeding your horse, she can devise a nutritional plan for you. She also specialises in insulin resistance and cushings. Her website is http://www.drkellon.com/