Feed and NutritionEquine supplementation is a hot topic: Are supplements necessary? Effective? Over-used? Dangerous? Expensive? Supplements have become a major part of equine nutrition, and there are countless types of horses out there that benefit from and need them – high-performance athletes, horses with certain health problems, horses without access to high-quality forage, etc. – but over-supplementation is becoming a common and costly problem.

Make sure you’re educated about your horse’s nutritional needs before piling on the supplements. They’re not only expensive, but they could be doing more harm than good if not used correctly. Don’t just base your supplement decisions and practices on recommendation and opinion, talk to a veterinarian or equine nutritionist, evaluate what your horse really requires, and steer clear from supplements that aren’t tested or proven. See TheHorse.com’s article “Cutting Costs: Ditch Supplements That Are Unnecessary” for further reading.

Equine nutritionist Amy M. Gill, PhD, addresses supplements and treatments that are widely accepted, well-studied, and effective in her article,  “Alternative Supplements and Medicine.” What have you found to be ineffective and worth cutting out of your horse’s diet? Are there products you have discovered to be more economical alternatives to expensive supplements, as these additions are clearly here to stay? For instance, a less expensive alternative to a joint supplement is vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids such as those from ground flaxseed, or rather than spending a lot of money on a fat supplement, you can add oil to your horse’s feed.

Read more cost-saving tips and information about supplements in the complete Feed and Nutrition chapter of Thrifty Horsekeeping here.