Where Do Horse Owners Get Supplement Advice?

Owners considered veterinarians the most reliable information source, which researchers found encouraging.
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Where Do Horse Owners Get Supplement Advice?
When asked to list all sources used to obtain information about nutritional supplements, respondents’ top five answers included veterinarians (49.8%), internet articles or reviews (39.4%), other horse owners (38.7%), coaches or trainers (36.5%), and nutritionists (33.4%). | Photo: The Horse Staff
With a click of a mouse, owners have access to thousands of nutritional supplements purported to support their horses’ joints, digestive tracts, overall wellness, and more. But, who do they consider as their go-to source for advice on which of those supplements to choose?

While attending the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary and Medical Science, in the U.K., Rachael Gemmill partnered with nutritionists at the University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine, also in the U.K., on a study to evaluate what factors affect owners’ decisions regarding supplement use in dressage and eventing horses.

The team developed an online survey that included questions about the nutritional supplements participants feed, the sources of information they use to select supplements for their horses, and their opinions of these sources. The team received 757 surveys that met the inclusion criteria.

Respondents competed in either eventing (19.9%), dressage (56.6%), or both (23.5%). Females comprised more than 96% of the participants in both categories, with a majority between the ages of 22 and 34. Other demographic data showed most participants both owned and competed their horses (90.3%) and kept their horses at home (44.7%)

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Kristen M. Janicki, a lifelong horsewoman, was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky, studying under Dr. Laurie Lawrence in the area of Equine Nutrition. Kristen has been a performance horse nutritionist for an industry feed manufacturer for more than a decade. Her job entails evaluating and improving the performance of the sport horse through proper nutrition.

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