What does an Equine Nutritionist really DO?
I am fortunate enough to have the answer! I spent a great weekend with Dr. Clair, and part of our weekend was spent helping some great horse owners and horses with their diets. In a nutshell, Dr. Clair spends her time finding out about you, your horse, his job, his current diet, and his body condition now. Then, there is some calculating, some goal setting, some PhD magic, and wah-la!! A new and improved diet recommendation!
Now it sounds really easy to figure out, but there are a lot of factors that go into a diet recommendation. Your horse’s weight (which is calculated by Dr. Clair), his exercise routine, how he lives, his forage consumption and access to fresh grass, and other extenuating circumstances. What? Extenuating circumstances? How about skin conditions, metabolic issues, hoof condition, allergies, temperament, you name it. Dr. Clair believes in being hands on, and keeps her eyes peeled for things that owners may not be aware of. For example, how does you horse like his neighbor? Does she see stressors that are not so obvious? Lots of information to process!!
Then there is some crunching of numbers and creation of charts and graphs and some heavy duty computing by Dr. Clair on her computer. And the result is, well amazing. Not only do you get a chart of your horse’s current nutritional status, you get a proposed diet that corrects deficiencies and excessive nutrients. This proposed diet may be a tweaking of grain amounts, or addition/deletion of supplements. Those “extenuating circumstances” are addressed also!
This chart shows some missing pieces - those nutrients with red are deficient!
In a nutshell, Dr. Clair takes a very large volume of information in order to provide the best diet for your horse! It’s a fun process, and the results are amazing. You can learn more by visiting www.summit-equine.com.
Have you ever worked with an Equine Nutritionist?