Diet Analysis and Formulation

Farm VisitDietary evaluations look thoroughly at your horse’s current diet evaluating it against his requirement to insure that all nutrient needs are met for optimal health and peak performance.  Utilizing special software, Summit Equine Nutrition is able to evaluate and formulate diets for all classifications of horse or pony.  Dr. Thunes will make recommendations on how to correct any deficiencies or imbalances that are identified suggesting specific feeds and supplements.

Evaluations may be carried out as part of a farm visit or remotely when a farm visit is not practical.  Different levels of remote service are available the specifics of each are outline HERE.

Diet evaluations and re-formulations may take two to four weeks to complete and are performed on a first come, first served basis. However, if your horse is currently suffering from a critical health event and needs dietary support, please call for immediate assistance as we may be able to prioritize your case.

Examples of horses who benefit from in depth dietary analysis include:

  • Breeding stock and youngstock
  • Competition horses participating in all disciplines
  • Pleasure horses
  • Aged horses
  • Those suffering from health issues such as cushings disease, insulin resistance, laminitis, arthritis, hives, dry skin, PSSM, EPSM, COPD, poor hoof quality, ulcers etc.

Prior to performing an evaluation information must be gathered that will allow Dr. Thunes to determine your horses nutrient requirements.  During the first step your horse will be condition scored and measurements taken for weight estimation.  When working remotely instructions on how to do this will be provided to you and photographs of your horse may be requested.  A full diet, health and exercise history will then be collected either in person or by way of a questionnaire and initial phone consultation.

This information enables Dr. Thunes to determine the horse’s nutrient requirement according to the 2007 guidelines of the National Research Council (NRC).  From here, the types and amounts of the feeds and supplements in the current diet are loaded into the software. Wherever possible, the horse’s actual forage is sampled and sent for analysis, as forage should always be the main component of the diet and can potentially provide a large proportion of the horse’s total nutrients. When actual analyses are not practical, existing values for similar hay are used.

In-Person Consultations

In person consultations last approximately one hour per horse.  Prior to meeting with Dr. Thunes she will ask you to provide the names of all the products that you are currently feeding so that she can be sure to have the nutrient analysis for each product in her software system.  This will enable her to provide you with a hard copy of the analysis during the consultation.  Should you wish to test your hay a probe may be borrowed from Summit prior to the meeting date so that you can take a sample and send it to the lab for analysis.

During the consultation you will be provided with a hard copy of the analysis that contains graphs and tables showing the required amounts of energy, protein, lysine, and several vitamins and minerals including; calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, copper, zinc, selenium and vitamin E as well as others.  These tables and figures will also show the amounts of each nutrient provided by the current diet and identify deficiencies and imbalances which will be discussed by Dr Thunes.  She will then make suggestions for improvement and when possible provide a second hard copy with the recommended changes.  Examples of the types of graphs and figures provided are shown on this page for your information.

If the situation is particularly complex it may not be possible to provide a final solution at the time of the consultation and when this occurs a report will be emailed to you with the final solutions.  Dr Thunes’ recommendations always include exact products and amounts to be fed.

An example of the type of figure provided during a dietary evaluation showing the proportion of each nutrient’s requirement provided by the diet as well as the relative amount of each nutrient provided by each item in the diet (represented by the different colors). This figure clearly shows that there are numerous deficiencies as well as some excesses in this diet.

An example of a table provided during an in depth dietary analysis showing the nutrient requirements and nutrients provided by the horse’s current diet which is clearly deficient in several areas.

Summary

  • You provide Dr. Thunes with information about current diet
  • Dr. Thunes condition scores and weighs you horse and the feed being fed
  • Dietary analysis is performed and discussed and a hard copy of results is provided
  • Dr. Thunes discusses recommended changes and a second hard copy of the proposed diet is provided for comparison, including exact products and amounts to be fed

Remote Consultations

While advantageous, in person consultations are not always possible or practical.  In these situations a remote in-depth analysis is recommended.

SILVER and GOLD Packages

Our Silver and Gold packages provides the same analysis as an in-person consultation (discussed above) except they are preformed remotely and therefore Dr. Thunes does not meet your horse or discuss her findings and recommendations with you in person.

Once all the required information has been sent to Dr Thunes she will perform her analysis and either summarize her findings (Silver package) or provide them to you in a full pdf document (Gold package).  Recommendations are provided stating the exact products, amounts to be fed as well as any other recommendations.  The Gold package also includes a series of follow-up graphs and tables detailing the improvements made.  The Gold package reports include the same figures and tables provided during an in-person consultation.

Summary

  • You provide Dr. Thunes with information about current diet and other pertinent information.
  • You condition score and take weight measurements of your horse.
  • You weigh all feed being fed.
  • Dr. Thunes performs dietary analysis remotely and provides her findings in either a summary or full written report.
  • Dr. Thunes details recommended changes including exact products and amounts to be fed and for the Gold report provides a detailed second hard copy showing the proposed diet for comparison.

Dr. Thunes applies the same level of analysis and scrutiny during a both a Silver and Gold analysis however she does not provide full written reports of the analysis and recommendations in the Silver package.  Rather than the tables and graphs shown above, a summary of the major findings are provided along with a detailed dietary plan that will rectify any issues.

Because we want to make sure that you are completely happy with our recommendations and because each horse is an individual we provide at least one follow-up phone consultation with all our services except the Bronze package.