How Diet Affects #Horse Behavior

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Do you struggle with a horse that’s “feeling his oats”? You’re not alone. Equine nutritionist and Rutgers University equine extension specialist Carey Williams, PhD, says the question she most frequently hears involves a horse that’s hyper-reactive or hyperexcitable. “Is there anything I can do with his feed to calm him down?” they typically ask.

As it turns out, there’s a lot you can do with your horse’s feed to calm him, combat behavioral problems and stereotypies, and more. Much of it involves what you feed; some involves how you feed (management); and some involves what you do in conjunction with feeding (socialization, medical management, exercise).

Many factors contribute to your horse’s behavior: his instinct, genetics, environment, health, and comfort are chief among them. So what’s the basis for your particular horse’s problem? “You really need to know the horse’s natural behavior first to find out if anything else (besides diet changes) will work,” says Williams. read more…

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