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"I don't think it's rocket science," says Dr. Stephen Jackson. "

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    "I don't think it's rocket science," says Dr. Stephen Jackson. "

    I thought this is a pretty good article on the subject of feeding. Granted it slanted towards TBs and racing. But the fundamentals are the same regardless of breed and or disciplines. I esp like the fact he puts his money where his mouth is. Owns a farm, breeds to race and sell. But mostly race.

    "I tell my clients that if someone comes to them and says [their feed] is going to make this horse run faster, or jump higher, or eliminate OCD [developmental disease affecting bone and cartilage], then they need to run just as fast as they can away from that person," he says.

    "Because there is no silver bullet. Nutrition, certainly, is not a silver bullet. It's a tiny piece of the entire process of raising an athlete. "So to think that you can come up with a nutrient or supplement that's going to move a horse up is folly. At least I'm not smart enough to find it. You do the little things right: observe the horse, both on the racetrack and in the barn, and if he isn't doing right you try to figure out what it is."





    This is the link to entire interview

    http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com...for-knowledge/

    #2
    I personally think that feeding has morphed into a mess that many people screw up on a regular basis.

    It isn't rocket science and it never has been. When we stop thinking for ourselves and take the word of companies who are profiting off feed sales, our horses are the losers on the deal.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by candyappy View Post
      I personally think that feeding has morphed into a mess that many people screw up on a regular basis.

      It isn't rocket science and it never has been. When we stop thinking for ourselves and take the word of companies who are profiting off feed sales, our horses are the losers on the deal.

      I agree. Most horses aren't working nearly as hard as their owners think they are. Most horses don't need much more than good forage and minerals. A lot of people I know place too much emphasis on the nutrition in concentrates and not enough on the nutrition in the hay they're buying.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks gumtree for an article from a person with real credentials and real life experience. There are people on this board who feel that if you don't hit that FeedXL spreadsheet on the nose then you are not feeding your horse right. Wonder how Dr. Jackson achieved so much success without it? By looking at the horse in front of him. The horse tells you whether or not he is doing good.

        "His abiding faith in old lore is consistent with Jackson's background as yet another significant influence on the modern American Thoroughbred who learned the ropes with Quarter Horses in Texas. His father was an extension horse specialist and, after reading animal science at Texas A&M, Jackson came up to the University of Kentucky for a PhD in equine nutrition. Foxhunting accelerated a passion for Thoroughbreds and, in terms of his own vocation, he found that the breed offered the ultimate challenge: to be raised sound enough to support its speed."

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you Gumtree. I too find it amazing that the horses we had in the 50's and 60's survived to reproduce.

          IIRC Omelene was the final word. Plain oats were in many barns, along with plain corn.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
            Thank you Gumtree. I too find it amazing that the horses we had in the 50's and 60's survived to reproduce.

            IIRC Omelene was the final word. Plain oats were in many barns, along with plain corn.
            And how much longer do horses routinely live compared to those in the 50's and 60s? How much longer are they able to be ridden? Better knowledge about feeding only part of that but my bet is it contributes.
            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post

              And how much longer do horses routinely live compared to those in the 50's and 60s? How much longer are they able to be ridden? Better knowledge about feeding only part of that but my bet is it contributes.
              For the most part, the horses we grew up on were sounder, longer. A horse in most cases was working in its early to mid twenties.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by tinah View Post

                For the most part, the horses we grew up on were sounder, longer. A horse in most cases was working in its early to mid twenties.
                I think it may have been that the horses were not sound just either were ridden lame, or met a not-so-talked-about end.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post

                  And how much longer do horses routinely live compared to those in the 50's and 60s? How much longer are they able to be ridden? Better knowledge about feeding only part of that but my bet is it contributes.
                  But while nutrition knowledge advanced so did everything else (non-invasive imaging technology, better shoeing practices, better vaccination protocols, more careful saddle fit, attention to dentition, etc.). No one suggests that better feeding practices are a nullity, just that the current mania over supplements and feeding minutia are practices that add cost but don't necessarily add value.

                  G.
                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The troubling thing to me is that reliable and scientific info about supplements is very difficult to find. There is no Consumer Reports for equine supplementation. I am amazed at the number of supplements touted in almost any catalog with no proof that they do anything. We must be a very susceptible bunch

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by gumtree View Post
                      [/I]
                      I absolutely agree with his overall commentary. I agree that most of the time, there isn't an outright deficiency, at least if you're feeding an appropriate amount of a good fortified feed. All hay? You're going to have a vitamin E deficiency, but many good feeds, fed properly, will make up for most, if not all of that.

                      But there's more to an optimal diet than an outright deficiency. I wonder what he knows and thinks of proper ratios. A diet can have enough, in raw numbers, of many minerals, but have ratios way off, which creates a deficiency of another nature

                      And unless you've got enough money and resources to bring on the best possible hay in an amount to last you through at least 6 months (before starting the process over again), you're left with the fact that many hays available and affordable are lacking. Formulating that "diet type ideal" may well involve supplements, and that's not a failure on the part of the owner.

                      Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                      I personally think that feeding has morphed into a mess that many people screw up on a regular basis.

                      It isn't rocket science and it never has been. When we stop thinking for ourselves and take the word of companies who are profiting off feed sales, our horses are the losers on the deal.
                      Right, it's not rocket science, but too many people don't take the time to look at it all as a course - learn one thing at a time, understand it, look at the facts and not the marketing, and understand some biology and chemistry and physiology. It's SO easy today to look at reputable sources which speak Layperson and learn the basics. But because people tend to want things spoonfed to them, love to allow marketers to tell them what they should be doing to be a Good Horse Owner, they just follow the masses and over- and incorrectly supplement.

                      PEOPLE have allowed themselves to create a mess. Science hasn't created the mess.

                      Originally posted by Wanderosa View Post


                      I agree. Most horses aren't working nearly as hard as their owners think they are. Most horses don't need much more than good forage and minerals. A lot of people I know place too much emphasis on the nutrition in concentrates and not enough on the nutrition in the hay they're buying.
                      I agree. I'm not really sure why more people don't understand that the majority of the horse's calories and nutrition (should) come from grass and hay, and that it's cheaper to buy better quality hay (if available!) than shove a bunch of feed into them. When it's needed, it's needed. When people cannot get high quality hay, for whatever reason, then it's on them to understand how to supplement.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post
                        The troubling thing to me is that reliable and scientific info about supplements is very difficult to find. There is no Consumer Reports for equine supplementation. I am amazed at the number of supplements touted in almost any catalog with no proof that they do anything. We must be a very susceptible bunch
                        Yes, and no. The supplements themselves? Rarely, because most companies will never pay to have any study done on their particular product.

                        But a great many ingredients of those supplements do have science behind them, even in horses. Glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin sulfate, green lipped muscle, resveratrol, and many more, have been studied in horses.

                        The key is having the understanding to look at the amounts used in those studies to provide the expected benefits, and the amounts found in a serving of the supplement. Too often, the amounts in the supps fall far short of the amounts used in the studies.

                        At the same time, many of the companies will link to a valid study and say "contains X ingredient proven to reduce oxidative stress by 30%", or something like that. And at face value, that is actually true. Except they leave out the rest of the study information, the critical pieces, which showed that the 30% reduction was a small piece of the puzzle, and the study did not say that the reduction was of any value, or worse, stating it was not of any value.

                        Or they reference studies, even done in horses (or worse, done in mice ) but the study is full of "may" and "might" and "inconclusive but warrants further research" and there is no further research.

                        Do. Your. Homework. Assume a marketer is twisting words, stretching the truth, leaving out critical pieces of information, or worse, just lying.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by JB View Post

                          Yes, and no. The supplements themselves? Rarely, because most companies will never pay to have any study done on their particular product.

                          But a great many ingredients of those supplements do have science behind them, even in horses. Glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin sulfate, green lipped muscle, resveratrol, and many more, have been studied in horses.

                          The key is having the understanding to look at the amounts used in those studies to provide the expected benefits, and the amounts found in a serving of the supplement. Too often, the amounts in the supps fall far short of the amounts used in the studies.

                          At the same time, many of the companies will link to a valid study and say "contains X ingredient proven to reduce oxidative stress by 30%", or something like that. And at face value, that is actually true. Except they leave out the rest of the study information, the critical pieces, which showed that the 30% reduction was a small piece of the puzzle, and the study did not say that the reduction was of any value, or worse, stating it was not of any value.

                          Or they reference studies, even done in horses (or worse, done in mice ) but the study is full of "may" and "might" and "inconclusive but warrants further research" and there is no further research.

                          Do. Your. Homework. Assume a marketer is twisting words, stretching the truth, leaving out critical pieces of information, or worse, just lying.
                          But doesn't this all sort of beg the question? Should there not be a showing of need BEFORE you start adding stuff to the ration? If the horse is performing to the level required by their use does that not suggest that whatever is being done is being done correctly? Or at least adequately?

                          Put another way, if there's no evidence that something is broke, why are we working on a fix?

                          Money spent on useless nostrums is money not available for that better quality hay. Or a better quality farrier. Or a better fitting saddle. Or lessons for the rider.

                          When it comes to "supplements," just say "no" until somebody demonstrates that your horse has a problem and the supplement suggested is proven to address that problem. Or, better, don't say "no"; say HELL NO!!!

                          G.

                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Because any product that has the word "Smart" in it, makes us feel like we are doing it right, and if we don't do it, we are DUMB.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I am very grateful that most of the feed reps I work with regularly emphasize in their training (for staff and customers) that the base of good equine nutrition is quality hay and enough of it. If an owner only needs one bag of a ration balancer a month to cover non-forage nutritional bases for their horse, and that is what is right for the horse, they are not going to push something else to sell a higher volume.
                              Leap, and the net will appear

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                                But doesn't this all sort of beg the question? Should there not be a showing of need BEFORE you start adding stuff to the ration? If the horse is performing to the level required by their use does that not suggest that whatever is being done is being done correctly? Or at least adequately?

                                Put another way, if there's no evidence that something is broke, why are we working on a fix?

                                Money spent on useless nostrums is money not available for that better quality hay. Or a better quality farrier. Or a better fitting saddle. Or lessons for the rider.

                                When it comes to "supplements," just say "no" until somebody demonstrates that your horse has a problem and the supplement suggested is proven to address that problem. Or, better, don't say "no"; say HELL NO!!!

                                G.
                                IMHO there are 2 ways to look at this:

                                1) Evaluate things on a regular basis to ensure that the horse is getting all of what he needs, in the right ratios, starting with the best quality hay (which is not an absolute thing, it depends on the horse's needs) and going from there. The goal is to work to prevent problems we know start arising from things like low vitamin E, high iron which means low copper and zinc, and other things.

                                2) Or, wait until there's a problem, which likely didn't start yesterday, and play catch-up.

                                I prefer Option 1.

                                I want optimal health, not just serviceable health.

                                Showing a need shouldn't be when the horse shows something's wrong, because when it comes to diet, those things can take months or years to show up

                                Sure, his feet may hold up well enough for years, with shoes and very skilled farrier, despite a dietary imbalance, and then "suddenly" something environmental tips the balance and his feet are "suddenly" falling apart.

                                He may perform well enough at a younger age, due to the amazing ability of younger muscles to recover better, despite being a bit low in selenium, until "suddenly" at age 12 he's not doing so well and it's chalked up to wear and tear - except maybe it's not.

                                There was no evidence my 9yo car battery was dying because heck, my car started every day, until the day it didn't, and symptoms were not that of a sick battery. If I'd been paying attention to the fact that it was 9 years old, I might have connected some dots between a few weird symptoms over the last several months and decided "I should get this battery tested". We did get it tested, and while it still had a full charge, there were dead cells

                                Be a little proactive. Better quality hay isn't always the answer - can't get what you can't find, and who's going to scour the country to find hay that 1) can be trucked 1000 miles to you, or 2) will even be perfectly balanced? All hay has deficiencies, it's not just about calories or protein. And if you're dealing with a metabolic horse who needs low NSC hay, you often are sacrificing some other nutrients in the meantime, and since you MUST have that low NSC hay or your horse will founder, then that IS the best hay for that horse. Around here? Even the best quality hay has too much iron, and either outright not enough copper and zinc, or too little in relation to the iron.

                                Most people do supplement with too many things that aren't doing anything, or they've doubled up on certain nutrients and are wasting their money or worse, causing harm (which will likely take months or years to show up). Or with things that are doing something, but are a more $$ way to go about it because that person doesn't want to make other changes that would be cheaper and at least as, if not more beneficial.

                                But a lot of situations do require supplementation based on doing the best that can already be done in the situation at hand.
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  The biggest take home is feed and supplement to what the horse needs.

                                  Research your horse's needs. Match the supplement to what base nutrition you have available, not by what's trendy or who is spending the most on marketing. My horse did phenomenally on a hoof supplement that I seldom see heavily advertised (Focus Hoof from Source). I spent a good chunk of time comparing ingredients, which supplement manufacturers often try their hardest to make it look like there is more in their product than there is, requiring an obnoxious amount of conversions to compare everything in the same format. Luckily that's part of my job, so I actually got paid to do it and pass that information on to our customers, too.

                                  This is was in spite of a diet that, on paper, looked like it had plenty of nutrients to support healthy hooves but he didn't read that paper and needed more of something. The results were pretty astounding.

                                  The point is to make educated decisions. I am very lucky to work in an environment saturated with very educated horsepeople in many facets of the industry. Not everyone has that, and winnowing through the dross is hard.
                                  Leap, and the net will appear

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I think the people who identify with Dr. Stephen Jackson's quote largely fall into two categories:

                                    1. Those with a solid understanding of nutrition who approach new fads and trends with a healthy degree of skepticism. (Which is probably where Dr. Jackson himself lies, along with most COTHers)

                                    2. People who want validation for closed-mindedness and their tendency to irrationally eschew progress. "We've been doing it this way for the past XX years, and if it was good enough then, it's good enough now."

                                    I did enough graduate work in equine nutrition to feel like I can respond to Dr. Jackson by saying there is indeed a "silver bullet," and that silver bullet is good nutrition. Nutrition is not "one size fits all." Raw ingredients don't come perfectly balanced. If you blindly assume forage provides the horse everything needed and protein and energy just need to be supplemented as appropriate, you're going to "wreck the balance" just as quickly as the person who over-supplements for the latest trends and crazes.

                                    I don't think this means everyone needs to become a FeedXL junky; quite frankly, I hate the abuse of FeedXL, because it also operates with overarching assumptions. But I do think you need to have a general understanding of what's in your forage and observe what symptoms your horse is displaying. Minor symptoms of a lacking nutrient will manifest long before any blood test registers a deficiency, as the body is going to maintain homeostasis.
                                    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      That last part is what too many don't understand - you are not going to see anything but a sever gross abnormality of nutrient status for most things, in blood work. By the time things are to that point, you've got a pretty obviously sick/struggling horse.
                                      ______________________________
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by JB View Post

                                        IMHO there are 2 ways to look at this:

                                        1) Evaluate things on a regular basis to ensure that the horse is getting all of what he needs, in the right ratios, starting with the best quality hay (which is not an absolute thing, it depends on the horse's needs) and going from there. The goal is to work to prevent problems we know start arising from things like low vitamin E, high iron which means low copper and zinc, and other things.

                                        2) Or, wait until there's a problem, which likely didn't start yesterday, and play catch-up.

                                        I prefer Option 1.

                                        I want optimal health, not just serviceable health.

                                        Showing a need shouldn't be when the horse shows something's wrong, because when it comes to diet, those things can take months or years to show up

                                        Sure, his feet may hold up well enough for years, with shoes and very skilled farrier, despite a dietary imbalance, and then "suddenly" something environmental tips the balance and his feet are "suddenly" falling apart.

                                        He may perform well enough at a younger age, due to the amazing ability of younger muscles to recover better, despite being a bit low in selenium, until "suddenly" at age 12 he's not doing so well and it's chalked up to wear and tear - except maybe it's not.

                                        There was no evidence my 9yo car battery was dying because heck, my car started every day, until the day it didn't, and symptoms were not that of a sick battery. If I'd been paying attention to the fact that it was 9 years old, I might have connected some dots between a few weird symptoms over the last several months and decided "I should get this battery tested". We did get it tested, and while it still had a full charge, there were dead cells

                                        Be a little proactive. Better quality hay isn't always the answer - can't get what you can't find, and who's going to scour the country to find hay that 1) can be trucked 1000 miles to you, or 2) will even be perfectly balanced? All hay has deficiencies, it's not just about calories or protein. And if you're dealing with a metabolic horse who needs low NSC hay, you often are sacrificing some other nutrients in the meantime, and since you MUST have that low NSC hay or your horse will founder, then that IS the best hay for that horse. Around here? Even the best quality hay has too much iron, and either outright not enough copper and zinc, or too little in relation to the iron.

                                        Most people do supplement with too many things that aren't doing anything, or they've doubled up on certain nutrients and are wasting their money or worse, causing harm (which will likely take months or years to show up). Or with things that are doing something, but are a more $$ way to go about it because that person doesn't want to make other changes that would be cheaper and at least as, if not more beneficial.

                                        But a lot of situations do require supplementation based on doing the best that can already be done in the situation at hand.
                                        You've still begged the question.

                                        I'm not a enemy of supplementation. I'm not a friend of supplementation on willy-nilly basis. And this is NOT a binary choice! That is the biggest fallacy of all!!!

                                        I presume you're familiar with the SOAP analysis? That is a fine model to use to make a decision. So that's my view from the saddle.

                                        G.
                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                        Comment

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