Homogenized Hay and Other Perils of the Modern Sporthorse Diet
Imagine if you will the most beautiful hay you can think of. How about a big gorgeous three string bale of Timothy? It’s delicious green shoots bound tightly in uniform nutritious flakes with not so much as a single blade of another type of grass in the whole bale. Even if you conjured images of a drool-worthy first-cut bale of leafy alfalfa or any other strain of chopped and formed grassy equine delicacy, your description of equine fodder perfection likely included the assumption that your imagined bale was of a specific and exclusive type of grass, and of course, 100% weed free.
When a bale of hay can cost more than a week’s groceries, you’re not wrong to demand the utmost quality, especially when hay makes up the majority of your horse’s diet. You’re also completely within your rights to demand that said hay is weed-free. After all, you paid for every blade of that hay and weeds aren’t as nutritious as grasses...some can even be dangerous!
So you sell a kidney, or take a second mortgage, or whatever it is you have to do to insure that Dobbin has the highest quality hay you can find. Two flakes in the morning & three in the evening of the exact same perfect hay...Every. Single. Day.
Freeze Frame: Now...Consider if you will the grazing habits of horses in their natural habitat. While it’s true that what fills the bellies of your horse’s wild cousins wouldn’t hold a candle to that of your boy’s daily constitutional in terms of pure nutritional content, but the diets of horses who graze the open plains have a distinct advantage over the pampered rations of the modern sporthorse when it comes to maintaining gut health...That advantage is variety.
If you’ve ever watched your horse graze unfettered, you’ve likely witnessed him eat mouthfuls of dirt, sticks, leaves, or a varied sundry of other pica-esque fare. Whatever his pleasure be, it’s evident even to the casual observer of this equine behavior that nutrition isn’t the sole purpose of all things consumed.
Horses in the wild have a rather inclusive palate, with diets that contain literally hundreds of different types of grasses and other plants, as well as small sticks and minerals from the varied types of dirt on which they roam. They instinctively seek out various herbs, their intuition guiding them to nourish and heal their ails with a plethora of available natural remedies. The herbivorous smorgasbord works in unison with their near continuous grazing and movement to maintain harmonious digestive balance.
Modern sporthorses may eat like kings by human standards, but the pristine state of their fare limits their ability to intuitively balance their diet and naturally self medicate when necessary. The herbs in Sporthorse Apothecary’s Gut Tonic represent over 45 different species of plants, each with its own potent natural compounds that work to balance and condition the equine digestive tract. This completely natural mixture goes beyond symptom relief, restoring true health and vitality to the entire GI Tract.