Myths and Misconceptions About Equine Nutrition

Does alfalfa make horses “hot”? Should they not eat before exercising? Many of our feeding practices are based on tradition, but what’s really best for our horses?
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Does alfalfa make horses “hot”? Should they not eat before exercising? Many of our feeding practices are based on tradition, but what’s really best for our horses?

About the Experts:

Clair Thunes

Dr. Clair ThunesClair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Clarity Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature Donkeys and everything in between. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master‚’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club.

Robert Jacobs

Dr. Robert Jacobs

Robert Jacobs, MS, PhD, is the Equine Innovation Manager at Purina Animal Nutrition. Jacobs and his team conduct innovative research focused on nutrition for horses, including palatability and eating behavior, gastrointestinal physiology, microbiome studies, exercise physiology, and growth and development. They perform their studies at the equine unit of the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Missouri, a 300-acre facility home to more than 80 horses ranging in age from newborn to 30. Jacobs earned his BS and MS in Animal Sciences from the University of Florida and continued his studies, completing his PhD in equine reproductive physiology and nutrition at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he investigated the role of omega-3 supplementation on the equine uterine environment and early pregnancy in obese, metabolically compromised horses. Research is a passion for Jacobs, but his favorite part of the day includes walking the pastures to check on the horses.

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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