Web chat: supplements to help your horse

  • Replay our live web chat for tips on choosing the right supplement for your horse's needs

    Horse & Hound hosted a live web chat, in association with Nupafeed, discussing how training, management and equine supplements can work together to help your horse, on Thursday 4 July from 12noon until 2pm.

    Jemma Noble BSc(Hons) of Nupafeed, who is also a British Show Horse Association panel ride judge, and Jo Bower MSc Eq.S, an independent equine nutritionist from HorseSource, were on hand to answer readers’ questions.

    For more information about Nupafeed visit www.nupafeed.co.uk

    If you would like a free analysis of your horse’s feeding regime, email horsesource@btconnect.com

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      Equine supplements live web chat (07/04/2013) 



    H&H Carol: 

    Thank you to Jo and Jemma for your informative responses. And good luck to everyone in the competition!

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:58 H&H Carol
    H&H Carol: 

    Great to have everyone on boad. For the chance to win a tub of Nupafeed supplement of your choice, including Seabuckthorn, please email jemma@nupafeed.net with #hhlivechat in the subject line.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:56 H&H Carol
    Jo Bower: 

    If anyone would like to discuss health concerns you have such as gastric ulcers, dehydration, colic, laminitis, coat and hoof health or have forage analysis undertaken to identify any mineral difficiences, please do get in touch at horsesource@btconnect.com

    Thanks for joining us today with all your great questions.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:53 Jo Bower
    Jemma Noble: 

    If you would like any further information on the Nupafeed range of products please visit our website at www.nupafeed.co.uk or contact me direct at jemma@nupafeed.net

    We love hearing from our customers so please do get in touch!

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:51 Jemma Noble
    Jo Bower: 

    A truly independent nutritionist will be able to advise you on your horse’s dietary requirements, while a vet to can give you on any specific health matters. Anyone who would like to discuss their horse’s rations is welcome to contact me at horsesource@btconnect.com

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:46 Jo Bower
    H&H Carol: 

    If a horse owner is confused about what they should be feeding their horses, and what supplements (if any) are appropriate, what would you recommend?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:44 H&H Carol
    Jo Bower: 

    Supplements have their role for specific issues that have been correctly identified, such as joint issues, stress, gastric problems and the like. Some owners add supplements to their feed really just in case and this risks serious unbalancing the diet. We tend to give feed as ‘love’ to our horses, which can be difficult to resist.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:42 Jo Bower
    Jo Bower: 

    I think the danger is when a complete feed is being fed at the recommended levels for the correct weight of the horse and general vitamin and mineral supplements are added to the ration to give confidence to their owner that their horse is ‘getting everything he needs’. This can totally undo the work of nutritionists in producing the complete formula.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:39 Jo Bower
    H&H Carol: 

    Do you think that many well meaning owners over supplement their horses?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:37 H&H Carol
    Jemma Noble: 

    Magnesium calmers can be given to a yearling, based on an appropriate dose for his weight. If he is a settled horse and it’s a single journey it would probably be easiest to use the paste syringe of MAH on the day.

    Seabuckthorn is also ideal for this situation as it is a very good supplement to support your horse’s natural defences, giving an immunity boost during stressful situations such as travelling for the first time. It works extremely well alongside MAH

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:30 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From GillGill: ] 

    I am going to be travelling a yearling for the first time, at what age can I give a calmer to them and how much?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:26 Gill
    Jemma Noble: 

    Hi guest

    Extensive research has been done on this subject. I would be very happy to discuss this with you in detail via email and I can send you lots of interesting reading. Please do get in touch at jemma@nupafeed.net.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:24 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

    Can you expand on what scientific research has been done regarding stress and magnesium?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:22 Guest
    Jo Bower: 

    Hi Susan

    If you would like to have a free diet assessment for your horse, then please do get in touch at horsesource@btconnect.com

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:21 Jo Bower
    Jemma Noble: 

    Hi Susan

    Firstly review your horse’s overall health so you are sure there are no underlying problems that could be making her lethargic. You are doing the right thing by limiting her calorific intake to prevent her gaining excess weight. A general vitamin and mineral supplement may be a good idea to ensure she is getting everything she needs.

    For a boost to help sustain her energy levels you could try Nupafeed Staying Power. It contains l-carnitine, which the body needs in order to be able to mobilise fat and take it to the mitocondria, which are the cells’ power units.

    It also helps with cell cycling, keeping the environment favourable for energy production, so is an important nutrient for optimum energy levels. We also include MAH magnesium in the Nupafeed Staying Power, which is important for normal gloucose metabilism and energy production. It is also very closely linked to insulin sensitivity, which could be really important for horses at risk of obesity and potential laminitis.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:20 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From SusanSusan: ] 

    My horse is on limited rations during the summer due to being a good doer. But I find she tires easily and I end up working much harder riding her in the summer than in the winter. Is there anything you could recommend to help?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:13 Susan
    [Comment From Guest1Guest1: ] 

    Great, I’ll keep feeding it so as I think it has some effect on the flies. Thanks 🙂

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:08 Guest1
    Jo Bower: 

    Garlic does have some insect repellant effect, but you would have to feed very large quantities indeed to have a negative effect on the gut process. The garlic, as with all insect repellants, basically masks the smell of the horse, which doesn’t stop the flies from biting, but makes the horse a less attractive dinner!

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:06 Jo Bower
    [Comment From Guest1Guest1: ] 

    My mare is very sensitive to flies and so I’ve been feeding her garlic twice a day to deter flies from biting her. However I’ve also heard that garlic is bad for the gut microflora. Am I doing the right or wrong thing?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:05 Guest1
    Jemma Noble: 

    Yes it’s very important to make sure your horse is fed a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients. You have to look at the whole picture, but when looking at stress in particular magnesium is a key nutrient supported by indepth scientific research.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:04 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From EMILYEMILY: ] 

    So how do you know if it just magnesium that is lacking? could it not be a combination of nutrients?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:02 EMILY
    Jemma Noble: 

    This is a common misconception. The optimum intake of calcium to magnesium is 2:1 which almost no horses will be getting without supplementation.

    Because the importance of magnesium has now been recognised, feed companies have added it to their feeds, which is an improvement. But looking at a some feeds promoted as having magnesium, the ration is still only 3:1 and the magnesium added is commonly magnesium oxide, which is difficult for the horse to absorb.

    It is also important to consider that stress increases magnesium requirements. This is a factor not accounted for in most cases.

    The only situation where magnesium would ‘sedate’ would be if given intraveniously or if the horse has kidney problems and cannot excrete excess amounts.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 1:02 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From EMILYEMILY: ] 

    I thought magnesium sedates? With so many feeds including added magnesium, it would make sense that most horses are already well supplemented with magnesium, therefore, unlikely to need more. So if they get too much, I’m guessing that’s when sedation occurs.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:57 EMILY
    Jo Bower: 

    There are lots of calming products on the market, including those not based on magnesium. However at Nupafeed we choose not to include any other ingredients in our MAH products, because magnesium is well proven and is very good for the horse. MAH (magnesium l aspartate hydrochloride – the type of magnesium we use) is human grade, has been developed to be absorbed better than other types of magnesium and be better for your horse.

    There are many alternatives you may choose to try, but we aware there is very little evidence behind these ingredients, with most research having proved them not to work. Nupafeed feel it is important to help stress at its cause, rather than masking symptoms with something that could make your horse feel drowsy.

    You also need to consider the way you feed and manage your horse, as these will also affect your horse’s behaviour.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:56 Jo Bower
    [Comment From EMILYEMILY: ] 

    Are there other supplements that I can feed my horse to calm him other than Magnesium?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:50 EMILY
    [Comment From EmmaEmma: ] 

    Thank you, it is nice to ask direct questions and get the answers straight away!

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:49 Emma
    Jemma Noble: 

    Key signs to look out for include:

    poor appetite or intermitant eating, where horse takes a mouthful of feed, loses interst then comes back for more

    not maintaining weight or having trouble gaining condition

    mild or recurrant colic attacks

    in more severe cases, vices may occur such as wind sucking, box walking, cribbing and poor behaviour when tacked up

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:49 Jemma Noble
    Jemma Noble: 

    Feeding fibre first is still the main principle of nfeeding that should always be adhered to, as horses gain over 80% of their energy for maintenance from fibre only. Feeding high levels of high starch grain based feeds may contribute to ulcers.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:47 Jemma Noble
    Jemma Noble: 

    I think that horses are now put under more stress at an early age and have been removed so far from their natural environment that as well as better diagnosis, there are more ulcers.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:45 Jemma Noble
    H&H Carol: 

    Research has shown a huge rise in gastric ulcers in horses. Do you think more horses have ulcers now than they used to, or is it just that we diagnose them more? And what can owners do about it?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:44 H&H Carol
    Jo Bower: 

    Hi Emma

    The main component of joint cartilage are compounds called gags, mostly chondroitin. Gloucosamine is a component of these and supplementation is designed to help the body build the gags for joint maintenance. Green lipped mussel is slightly different. It is a complete supplement in itself rather than an isolated component. It has many ingredients which work together for the end result. This does include high levels of chondroitin, but there are also many important minerals and a unique lipid omega 3, which is particularly benefit.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:40 Jo Bower
    [Comment From EmmaEmma: ] 

    Hi, I feed my horse a joint product with Glucosamine? What is the difference between Green Lipped Mussel and Glucosamine?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:37 Emma
    Jo Bower: 

    Hi Emma. No syringes can be given at the racecourse, but the supplement itself is fully approved. You just need to give it before arrival at the track. Hope that helps clarify that for you.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:37 Jo Bower
    [Comment From EmmaEmma: ] 

    Hi Jemma, my partner trains racehorses and we thought that you could not give syringes at a racecourse? As you mention the syringes are legal under racing rules does this mean we can give them at the track?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:36 Emma
    Jo Bower: 

    It’s difficult to advise you without knowing exactly what you are feeding. If you would like a free detailed diet assessment, please contact me by email on horsesource@btconnect.com and I am sure we can get her sparkling again!

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:36 Jo Bower
    [Comment From BobbieBobbie: ] 

    My mare is lacking sparkle this summer she is normaly on a calmer but had to take her off this or I would of had a kick along pony! She must need something else but I don’t want her to go nut on it? Any clue

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:34 Bobbie
    Jo Bower: 

    Seabuckthorn can also help in this situation. It works on the adrenal gland to naturally reduce stress reaction and improves capacity to deal with stressful situations as well.

    It is essential to encourage hydration if your horse sweats proffuselly as this is the first performance limiting factor for horses in hard work such as racing.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:33 Jo Bower
    Jemma Noble: 

    A stress of a race day, with the travelling etc, is going to heighten your horse’s stress reactions and cause him to run his race before he starts!

    Magnesium is incredibly important for managing stress within the body and can help keep your horse on an even keel.

    Unlikely some other calming ingedients, magnesium will not limit your horse’s performance. It has in fact been shown to enhance endurance and muscle strength.

    Nupafeed MHM liquid and syringes are both entirely legal under racing and FEI rules.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:31 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From GeorgeGeorge: ] 

    HI…I have a race horse that records incredible track times but on the race track shows behaviour problems (i.e. doesn’t finish his races, anxious, sweats etc.) any suggestions?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:28 George
    Jemma Noble: 

    Hi Guest

    The importance of good joint supplements has been well established so try not to be disheartened.

    There are so many on the market now that results may vary a great deal. A relatively new product to the equine market is Green Lipped Mussell, which has been proven to help arthritis in humans, dogs and more recently horses.

    Feeding Green Lipped Mussell of good quality and in the appropriate quantity for a horse can really support the structure nand the integrity of the joint. This should be visable by reduced stiffness, especially for horses in the early stage of arthritis.

    It’s important to remember that joint wear is only going to increase with age so the more you can do now to help him the better.

    Also try to avoid hard and unlevel ground when riding.

    Nupafeed FlexGLM contains more Green Lipped Mussell than any other joint supplement on the market.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:27 Jemma Noble
    [Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

    My horse as arthritus in his front fore and sound some of the time, I have tried supplemnts and nothing I feel have worked.What would you advise

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:23 Guest
    H&H Carol: 

    Sorry, few technical issues. The answer appeared before the question there!

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:23 H&H Carol
    [Comment From AnnieAnnie: ] 

    What is good around supplement for a dressage horse she is a tb and can get stressed at shows but at home she is lovely just can’t seam to cope with the added presser of going somewhere

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:23 Annie
    Jemma Noble: 

    Magnesium is the body’ss single most important stress management nutrient. We know that any form of stress, physical or mental deplets magnesium in the body hightening stress responses, which can mean your horse is more likely to become anxious or tense. Feeding magnesium on the day, via a product like Nupafeed’s MAH concentrated syringes, can really help your horse manage the extra stress of competition allowing him to stay focused and relaxed without the use of more sedative ingredients found in some other calmers.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:21 Jemma Noble
    Jo Bower: 

    It increases the benefit of what is being fed, by improving nutrient absorbtion.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:16 Jo Bower
    Jo Bower: 

    It is a totally natural formula. It is not an antacid. Seabuckthorn has been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Indian medicine for good gut health. It does not stop acid production like drug therapies, but helps buffer the acids which are essential for digestion.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:15 Jo Bower
    [Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

    So not to be fed for direct Gastric Ulcers?Does it contain calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate? my current product does and i believe that is what is needed to control the acid

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:14 Guest
    Jo Bower: 

    A major benefit is the improvement in gastric health due to the high level of phytonutrients, ideal for horses in stressful situations who may have ulceration.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:13 Jo Bower
    Jo Bower: 

    Hi Nicki

    The Horse Source Seabuckthorn has been specifically formulated to produce maximum health benefits for horses. It is what we would propably call a ‘super fruit’ and benefits the horses in a great many ways. High in Vit C (15x more than an orange) it provides great anti oxident protection and supports all the hollow tubes in the horse with its polar lipid content. It uniquely contains all omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:12 Jo Bower
    [Comment From NickiNicki: ] 

    Can you tell me a little more about your seabuckthorn product

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:09 Nicki
    [Comment From GuestGuest: ] 


    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:08 Guest
    Jo Bower: 

    However, the scientific advances have improved the overall quality of most feeds and can guide us as making the right decisons.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:08 Jo Bower
    Jo Bower: 

    I think the potential for confusion due to the wide variety of options available is significant, whereas 20/30yrs ago there were far less supplements known and used.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:05 Jo Bower
    H&H Carol: 

    So while we are waiting for your questions, let’s have a chat about feeding and supplements in general.

    Jo and Jemma, do you think it’s harder to feed horses correctly now there is so much choice?

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:04 H&H Carol
    H&H Carol: 

    Here waiting to answer your questions is Jemma Noble BSc(Hons) of Nupafeed, who is also a British Show Horse Association panel ride judge, and Jo Bower MSc Eq.S, who is an independent equine nutritionist. Jemma will also be happy to take showing-related questions during the live chat.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:01 H&H Carol
    H&H Carol: 

    Welcome to our supplements live chat.

    Thursday July 4, 2013 12:00 H&H Carol

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