How Well Do British Owners Understand Equine Nutrition?

A recent survey suggests that many horse owners have a poor understanding of equine nutrition.

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The measurements, ratios, and percentages involved in constructing a horse’s diet can make the average horse owner’s head spin. But it’s not to be overlooked; appropriate nutrition is vital to equine health.

Results from several studies have suggested that many owners aren’t feeding their horses properly, primarily due to a simple lack of nutrition knowledge. To verify this, Holly Coward, BSc (hons) Equine Sports Science, at Hartpury College in Gloucester, U.K., surveyed a population of British horse owners who are their horses’ sole caretakers to determine their level of equine nutrition knowledge and feeding practices. Victoria Lewis, MSc, program manager of equestrian sport science at Hartpury College shared the study results at the 11th International Society of Equitation Science Conference, held Aug. 6-9 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“The objectives were to find out the extent of the horse owner’s equestrian experience, their use of the rule of feeding as outlined by the British Horse Society, whether they are members of any equestrian organizations, their knowledge of some key aspects of basic equine nutrition which includes the nutritional value of feeds, and if there are any relationships between nutrition knowledge and the other three variables,” Lewis said.

She gathered 306 completed surveys. The mean score among them was a 13 (52%) out of a possible 25 points

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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