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equine nutritionist?

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  • equine nutritionist?

    Where do I find one to "hire" to evaluate my horse's feed? After reading so many conflicting opinions on countless threads about putting weight on a hard keeper - my head is still spinning! I'd rather spend $ on getting an "official" opinion than continuing to throw $ out the window perhaps on more cool calories, rice bran, beet pulp, alfalfa cubes...............

    I'm not sure if this is something I hire someone for a phone/email consultation or in person?

  • #2
    Call your local Vet School and ask them if they have a nutritionist on staff or one to recommend. DO NOT use one who is paid by a particular feed company--they are beholden to that company and will try to sell you their products. That would be fine IF they were well-educated and accurate, but they aren't. Usually they are nothing more than sales people who took a workshop on ration balancing or something.

    I found MAJOR errors in the knowledge of THREE feed reps/nutritionists in our area. They don't know how to calculate the needs of sport horses (all the charts are in size of horse x hours worked. Who really works their horses for several hours per day? A hard dressage ride or event conditioning lastin "only" an hour would put your horse in "light work" category.

    They WAY underestimate the need for certain minerals and vitamins, like vitamin E. They just don't get it. And they really can't differentiate between different metabolisms, like OTTB'S versus warmbloods versus draft crosses. They do NOT need the same food.

    Arrrgghhh.
    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the boarders at the barn I board at (whew, that was a mouthful), has contacted Dr. Kellan, the nutritionist guru and has done feed analysis with her and was very pleased.
      RIP Mydan Mydandy+
      RIP Barichello

      Comment


      • #4
        I second not going to a feed company nutritionist, who only pushes their feed. I learned this the hard way last summer. It was an expensive lesson.
        When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

        Comment


        • #5
          Equine Nutrionist

          I've used Kathleen Gustafson - katmando@kc.rr.com - for three years. She is associated with the Equine Cushings group (my horse doesn't have Cushings or any other physical problem). I have one horse that I keep at home. I have room in my barn for a year's worth of hay, so once/year I send a sample of the hay to a lab to be analyzed. They send the results to me and to Kathleen. I complete an online form for Kathleen which gives basic info about the horse and what he's eating. She combines this info with the lab results of the hay and tells me what to add to his diet. For 2009, the lab charged $29 to analyze the hay and Kathleen charged $45 to determine what I need to add to his diet. I find her very accessible and willing to give me advice and information after the analysis is done and if I just have a question. I would definitely recommend her.

          Comment


          • #6
            Call your local vet school.

            Where are you local to? Dr Sarah Ralston at Rutgers in NJ is a nutritional specialist ( To answer the above, I don't know how tied into Purina she is, etc, but I've found her advice helpful and non-brand loyal )

            Comment


            • #7
              YOU can PM me if you like

              I do them all the time.
              Or there's:
              Dr Juliet Getty,
              Dr Sarah Ralston
              Dr Judy Reynolds.
              I can get you contact info for them if that helps

              Yours
              MW
              Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
              Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
              New edition of book is out:
              Horse Nutrition Handbook.

              www.knabstruppers4usa.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Ditto Dr. Sarah Ralston. She's a COTH member but I haven't seen her post in awhile. You can probably contact her through Rutgers:

                http://nutrition.rutgers.edu/faculty/ralston.html

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Great. I am in southeastern PA, so I guess I could try New Bolton or Sarah Ralston. I have one horse with severe and chronic allergies and another one that seems to have the metabolism I would die for (doesn't gain a pound and eats everything put in front of him!).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you need my input

                    Originally posted by awaywego View Post
                    Great. I am in southeastern PA, so I guess I could try New Bolton or Sarah Ralston. I have one horse with severe and chronic allergies and another one that seems to have the metabolism I would die for (doesn't gain a pound and eats everything put in front of him!).
                    Here's what I need to know.
                    Details of the horse in question;
                    Age, size, weight, breed, gender, work load.
                    Current diet, as in how much (weight) of Hay, type of hay, how much (weight) of grain, type of grain, any supplements.

                    What the problem is that you are seeing.
                    It's also helpful to know where you are and what kind of feeds & types of hay are available in your area.

                    YOurs
                    MW
                    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                    New edition of book is out:
                    Horse Nutrition Handbook.

                    www.knabstruppers4usa.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When I worked as a barn manager, we used KER (Kentucky Equine Research). They have their own product line but as long as you discussed up front that you didn't want to be sold their products, they were very willing to help consult and work with you. I personally loved working with them. They have consultants that usually travel through the area. I lived just south of New Bolton so I know they come through your area.
                      Here is a link: http://www.ker.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My farrier was telling me that one of his other clients was using a service where she sent in blood samples on her horse, and there was a company who would mix custom supplements based on what the horse as lacking. He didn't have the particulars, but I'd never heard of such a thing and wondered if anyone else has.
                        ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                          My farrier was telling me that one of his other clients was using a service where she sent in blood samples on her horse, and there was a company who would mix custom supplements based on what the horse as lacking. He didn't have the particulars, but I'd never heard of such a thing and wondered if anyone else has.
                          Perhaps you are talking about the Nutritional Blood Test developed by Dr. Bob Goldstein VMD

                          http://www.healingcenterforanimals.com/

                          The website concentrates on small animals but I and others I know have used it very successfully with horses, such as solving very difficult health problems with very hard keepers.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A rose by any other name?????

                            So what does it take to call oneself an equine nutritionist? It appears to be a very malleable title.
                            There are folks passing themselves off as 'nutritionalists' that have only read books, or have a spreadsheet made up by someone who has read books, or learned about nutrition raising goats in Australia. There are trimmers/trainer/nutritionists that never took a college class in anything. There are Drs in other fields that self studied. There are people employed by feed companies called nutritionists who have a BS in general equine management. There are other feed company employees that have PhD's in equine nutrition. How do we tell the difference?
                            Are there any industry standards by which we can determine who is actually studied the subject in a university level? Who is really qualified?
                            I have been introduced as an expert in equine nutrition, but I am always quick to point out I have no training in the subject. I just read a lot of books, and go to a lot of nutrition conferences, rub elbows and ask good questions. Evidently others are not so quick to correct that misconception.
                            Katy
                            Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Interesting question Katy

                              What does constitute sufficient qualifications/training for an Equine Nutritionist.

                              A BS in Animal Science and a weekend training course when employed by the Feed company.

                              4 yrs of higher education learning about surgery, pharmacology, physiology, etc with 1 course, 1 semester on nutrition for all the species lumped together.

                              4 yrs of grad school concentrating on nutrition of a few species, along with research and plenty of studying. Papers written, articles written, a book published.

                              Hmm.
                              MW
                              Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                              Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                              New edition of book is out:
                              Horse Nutrition Handbook.

                              www.knabstruppers4usa.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Gosh. So maybe it is appropriate to ask about qualifications when we hire someone to consult? And perhaps take advice with a grain of salt depending on their training.
                                Katy
                                Are you feeding your horse like a cow? www.safergrass.org

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I would think that was wise myself.

                                  Originally posted by Katy Watts View Post
                                  Gosh. So maybe it is appropriate to ask about qualifications when we hire someone to consult? And perhaps take advice with a grain of salt depending on their training.
                                  Katy
                                  Yes, ask about qualifications before you hire!. At least then you know if there is likely to be some solid training and information behind the answer.
                                  MW
                                  Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                                  Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                                  New edition of book is out:
                                  Horse Nutrition Handbook.

                                  www.knabstruppers4usa.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Equine Nutritionists

                                    Originally posted by spaceagejuliet View Post
                                    Call your local vet school.

                                    Where are you local to? Dr Sarah Ralston at Rutgers in NJ is a nutritional specialist ( To answer the above, I don't know how tied into Purina she is, etc, but I've found her advice helpful and non-brand loyal )
                                    No connection to Purina what so ever now-I did do some consulting for them back in the late 80's/early 90's on Equine Senior. And their current head nutritionists, Dr. Mary Beth Gordon did start out as my grad student at Rutgers. However, she finished up with an exercise physiologist, non-nutrition person, so I'm not "beholden" to her either. My colleague, Dr. Carey Williams was trained by the same nutrition guru who supervised my PhD, Dr. David Kronfeld (Who unfortunately died recently). Dr. Williams is an extension specialist at Rutgers and does consults on a regular basis and has an "ask the expert" forum at our Rutgers website: www.esc.rutgers.edu. She also trained the newest addition to Nutrena/Cargill's nutrition team, Dr. Emily Lamprecht.

                                    If you contact New Bolton Center with an equine nutrition question you will usually be referred to me! Very few Veterinary schools have equine nutrition specialists on staff-to my knowledge only VPI, Tufts, Iowa, Oklahoma, California and Tufts can claim that distinction at this time. The western schools are using PhD Animal science trained nutritionists. They are great, but often not as tuned into clinical problems.

                                    I was not checking the forums for quite a while (too much else going on) but will start checking in periodically

                                    You can find out what is going on at Rutgers at the website above or my Young Horse site: http://younghorse.rutgers.edu.
                                    Sarah Ralston

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The Pony Club "A" manual.

                                      I like reading and figuring out this kind of stuff on my own.
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        You also can learn how to do it yourself via online courses, see
                                        www.drkellon.com
                                        Jeanie
                                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

                                        Comment

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