About Dr Nerida Richards

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Entries by Dr Nerida Richards

Feeding the Easy Keeper

The mistake a lot of us make with an overweight horse is just thinking that we shouldn’t feed it very much at all, and generally feed it a very low quality diet (straw for example) or lock it up so it can’t eat much at all. The problem with doing this is that while you will do a good job of restricting calories and causing weight loss, you will also be severely restricting protein, vitamin and mineral intakes, and in doing that, you are going to cause more health problems than you can imagine.

Alfalfa (Lucerne) Hay: Friend or Foe?

Known as lucerne in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, alfalfa hay enjoys a varied reputation amongst horse people, with some using it as a highly valued component of their horse’s diet and others avoiding it with almost religious fervour. So, who is right? Is alfalfa hay a suitable forage for horses? Or are there other more suitable forages? The answer is yes, and yes. Alfalfa hay is a valuable forage for horses when fed to the right classes of horses and in the correct amounts for its full benefit to be realised. The following article looks at the nutrients contained in alfalfa hay and its many and varied uses in the horse industry.

Complete Feeds vs Balancer Pellets: Choosing a Feeding Method

Complete Feeds, Concentrates/Balancer Pellets and Supplements—Choosing how to feed

While there are many commercial feed and supplement options available, they can be classified into 3 broad categories; complete feeds, concentrates/balancer pellets and supplements. Depending on your own personal preferences you can use one or a combination of these options to put together a diet for your horse.

This article will take a look at what the 3 options are, how they should be used and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Avoiding Gastric Ulcers in Horses

Equine Gastric Ulcers: Using feeding management to reduce their incidence and severity

Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is a major equine health problem worldwide. Some studies have reported an incidence of ulcers in performance horses in excess of 90% of horses training. A more recent study conducted in Western Australia found 53% of horses had ulcers.

Feeding for Weight Gain

7 Simple steps for putting weight on your horse

While many of us struggle to keep weight off our horses (and ourselves!) it seems a large number of horse owners have equal trouble when it comes to putting weight on their horses. Putting weight on, and keeping weight on a horse that is a “hard keeper” can sometimes be a frustrating task for the horse’s owner. But, it needn’t be a difficult thing to do.

Building Topline

It doesn’t matter which equine discipline you are involved in, building and maintaining a strong topline on your horse is important. Strong toplines attract judges or buyers and also help ensure the horse’s back remains strong and healthy.

While work and correct muscle conditioning play a huge role in developing and maintaining topline, nutrition plays an equally important role. To build topline you need to provide the right nutrients. Here are some tips on feeding for topline.

Feeding for a Brilliant Coat Shine

There is nothing more pleasing to a horse owner’s eye than a brilliant, shiny coat. And aside from looking great, a shiny coat also indicates the horse is healthy inside and out. Question is, how do you make your horse shine? It is really quite easy if you follow these simple steps.

Bodyweight Estimation: Which Method Is Best?

Bodyweight estimation—which method is best?

Having an accurate bodyweight for your horse is critical when formulating your horse’s diet. Overestimating your horse’s bodyweight may mean you feed too much, resulting in weight gain and wasted money on feed that is surplus to your horse’s needs. Underestimating could result in underfeeding your horse, possibly causing weight loss and nutrient deficiencies.

Biotin: Should You Supplement?

Biotin is a vitamin essential for many functions in a horse’s body, including: fatty acid synthesis, protein and energy metabolism and cell proliferation.

The question is, how do you know how much to feed your horse?

In equine nutrition biotin is best known and most commonly used to positively influence hoof quality. There are many biotin supplements available. Some contain only biotin, others also have nutrients like methionine and organic zinc. These supplements are marketed as hoof supplements and the one thing they usually have in common is they are expensive. The question is, does your horse actually need supplemental biotin?

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