Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home Ridecamp Archives
[Archives Index]   [Date Index]   [Thread Index]   [Author Index]   [Subject Index]

[RC] alternative to Platinum Performance - Susan E. Garlinghouse, DVM

Hi all,

I promise I won’t give Barbara or Diane grief over their comments that horses primarily need good forage and calories, because that’s a very true statement.  I published some of the research on the effects excessive thinness has on endurance performance, so it’s been a personal soapbox for me for a long time.  I dearly love seeing riders being sternly admonished to feed enough calories these days instead of keeping them looking like walking hat racks.<g> 


And I certainly don’t have any problem with horses being maintained without supplements, lots of horses do that and by golly, will live to a happy and ripe old age.  Overnutrition is still more of a problem than undernutrition, and in most cases, I’d rather see a horse not being fed any supplements at all, rather than being supplemented a scoop of this, a dash of that, another handful of something else without some real thought and math going into it first---98% of the time, the end result is worse than no supplements at all.


However, just a few additional thoughts to ponder.  Yes, horses in the wild can do well without anything other than forage, but they also don’t do what we ask our distance horses to do---and while I have seen plenty of really great horses that grew up on nothing other than great forage, I’ve also seen horses with catastrophic deficiencies that will never even be rideable, let alone good distance horses, for want of some sufficient nutrition.


There’s also a problem in providing just good forage---we don’t always know which batch is great and which batch is sadly deficient.  The forages we see today are often a lot different from those of even twenty years ago, and you can’t really evaluate which is which without forage analysis.  Easy to do if you’re buying a big lot, but difficult if you have to buy hay a few bales at a time; or are having it provided to you by the barn owner without your input or control.  It would be a lot easier if every horse had access to a diversified, natural pasturage with a hundred different species of grasses and plants to browse through and choose from---but they usually don’t.


Third, even providing forage, oats and corn oil can cause problems that you want to avoid if you can.  It might be a marginally balanced ration in some cases, but with (to put it politely) lots of room for improvement for others.  If you know for a fact that forage, oats and some corn oil is balanced for your horse, great.  But if you just assume that’s an accurate statement without some analysis and number-crunching, you’re most likely wrong to one extent or another.  It doesn’t mean it’s life-threatening, it’s also just not optimal.  There are worse things in life, so I’m not likely to point the accusatory finger of doom at you and proclaim you a Bad Mommy.


So we have to consider whether as owners we’re okay with providing a ration that is ‘sufficient’ for what we want to accomplish; or do we want *optimum* nutrition?  Even that can be hard to nail down---despite all the new and wunnerful numbers, we still don’t really know exactly what constitutes the exact optimal requirements for any given horse.  We’re just getting better at defining what’s less-than-wunnerful, or at defining this-is-more-wunnerful-than-before, but anyone that tells you they have the exact numbers of precisely what your horse needs for every nutrient is talking through their hat, or trying to sell you something.  Best we can do is define what seems to be true for some horses, and hope yours falls somewhere into the bell-shaped curve as well.  Nutrition is not an exact science, and never will be.


Taking all that into account, it’s not unreasonable to just feed forage and some grain, if you know what the quality of your forage is, and know if and where the problems are.  It’s *also* not unreasonable to try to use a judicious shotgun to fill in some of the nutritional holes that might be there with a high quality supplement.  I happen to like Platinum Performance, but it’s not so unique that other premium brands won’t also do just as well---I certainly don’t sell the stuff or get any kickbacks from them.  I also happen to feed Ultium and if I ran out of PP for a few months or so, the nutrients in the Ultium do  a pretty good job of filling those in without much additional help.  The extra nutrients I provide are primarily those that I specifically know need some supplementing for my guys (or nutrients that I otherwise want at a higher level), AND that I know I’m not providing in excess by themselves or in competition with other nutrients.  If I had access to good pasture, I wouldn’t have to---but I don’t, so I provide those nutrients the next best way I can, which is via a quality supplement.  For my kids, it’s because I want to feed them *optimally* , but they would hardly be unhealthy or staggering with malnutrition if I didn’t add the supplements.


Hope this isn’t too meandering, and just add a few more random thoughts to mull over.  As usual, JMO. J


Susan Garlinghouse, DVM



[RC] president's cup photos, oddfarm