In this article we explore the relationship between Equine Nutrition, Equine Pasture Management and Equine Herbal Medicine with Leslie Williamson of the NCTM Senior lecturing team.
In light of the ‘Valentines Day’ weekend that has just past, my mind turns to a song when thinking about the relationship between Equine Nutrition, Equine Pasture Management and Equine Herbal Medicine.
“Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage, this I tell ya brother, you can’t have one without the other, love and marriage, love and marriage, it’s an institute you can’t disparage, ask the local ‘NCTM’ and they will say it’s elementary”… ...
The trilogy of learning about Equine nutrition, pasture management and the complimentary aspect of herbal medicine is no doubt the starting foundation when considering your horse from the inside out. The variables to consider will depend on where you live in Australia and how you ‘have to’ house your horse. The size of paddock, the type of pasture and the time spent out on the pasture all need to be considered when prescribing the most beneficial diet for each horse’s individual requirements. However we must not forget that the horse is designed to roam eating and foraging through a variety of grass species, the optimisation of the digestive process converting the nutrients ingested from naturally growing roughage into energy actually supply the horse quite a variety of health benefits overall. The stomach of the horse although small allows for continuous trickle eating, the small and large intestines is where the digestion of protein, fats, carbohydrates along with the nutrient uptake of minerals and vitamins takes place. Once you understand the digestion processes from start to finish, the importance of pasture and what to add to their diet all becomes a lot simpler. Taking in to account other factors about your horses’ requirements will include age, sex, breed, height, weight and exercise regime. It is only then, that you can ensure the nutritional requirements are being met and adjusted as required throughout each of the seasons and understand the importance of not doubling up on too many food additives that ultimately end up in the paddock as expensive excreted waste. Where does Herbal medicine come into this marriage?
Herbs have a dual function; they are foods as well as medicines, build general health and at the same time assist the healing process, we will discuss more aspects of this next time… For now I leave you with this to consider about your human-horse partnership of Love and Marriage; when herbal medicine, nutrition and pasture management is studied correctly there is no doubt this combination of knowledge can provide outstanding long lasting results in the management of equine health and performance. ..‘this I tell ya educationally, you can’t have one without the other..
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