Why I am investing in my horses' gut health
Ashra McAvinue, Te Rangi Equestrian. Eventer, Horsemanship Clinician & Riding Coach
Anyone who knows me well, knows about my struggles with endometriosis and the journey this has led me on to address pain and wellbeing naturally. Living with chronic pain has had a significant impact on my daily life. It has also led me on a wellness journey that I may not have ventured into had I not been diagnosed with endo.
After investing time and money in surgeries and drugs - painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication and all the while developing worsening symptoms as endo continued to impact on my life, I decided to try something more alternative. I connected with a brilliant naturopath who helped me to divert the rapid decline in my health through my diet. This addressed the inflammatory havoc that endo was wreaking on my body.
Why is this relevant to how I care for my horses?
It is relevant because in order to heal myself, I had to address my gut health. Good gut health has a positive impact on every single cell in the body. And while horses are quite different to us in many ways; they are very much the same in that if their gut health is taken care of, then they have the ability to feel better, look better and perform better. Simple!
When I first met Poseidon’s Founder, Linda, it didn’t take me long to become pretty fascinated and excited by what Poseidon had to offer my horses. The concept of gut health is not new to me due to my journey with my own health and I am no stranger, like many horse owners, to some of the equine health issues we face as horse owners. Things like ulcers, hindgut issues, respiratory issues, behavioural issues…the list goes on.
The equestrian world is rife with options, feeds for this, supplements for that - it can become a minefield and I would be lying if I said I had never been in a position where I was over-doing certain supplements or avoiding certain feeds because I had become bamboozled by the myriad of information around equine health and well-being.
Enter Poseidon Animal Health
Three carefully crafted equine supplements to tick all the boxes - and a scientific focus on what my horses actually need based on their breed, condition, history and workload.
What I am loving about Poseidon is that my horse's diet is evaluated using science - the guess work is taken away. I am in the early stages of refining my horses' diets holistically and thoroughly with the help of Nikita from Vani.
This includes a proper analysis of pasture and hay and a detailed and thorough breakdown of each horse's nutritional needs based on workload, time at pasture, body condition, my goals for them physically, and their needs for the upcoming eventing season.
All photos thanks to Julia Murch Photography.
This takes away so much of the angst and the guess work around feeding and supplementation - and it comes as no surprise to learn that there are things I am spending money on that I really do not need!!
How often might our horses be acting out or demonstrating reactive behaviour due to pain or discomfort? What if we could get our hands on a simple and effective range of equine supplements that could minimise this, while bringing our horses into prime health and condition - and even improving performance?
This excerpt from Poseidon’s website sums it up:
‘Even with the best of care, our modern-day horses experience stress. Competitions, strenuous work, transport, dental work, farrier visits, illness, long days competing or working, extreme heat and humidity, extreme cold, time off feed, or other changes to our horse’s normal routine all cause some level of stress
That stress can compromise gut health. Gut bacterial populations can shift. Your horse may eat less, they often stop drinking, muscles dehydrate and fatigue, performance suffers, leaky gut can develop and wellbeing is often compromised. AND our horse's behaviour can become anxious and highly strung, making riding unsafe - and unenjoyable!’
I want the best for my horses, and I am in a community of equestrians who I know feel the same - it is not at all uncommon to hear friends agonising over their horses' health and wellbeing, and prioritising their horses nutritional needs well above their own.
We wouldn't be spending so much time, energy and investment in our horses if we didn't love them and want the best for them.
The Poseidon factor
Improvements in condition, shinier and richer coats as we move further into Spring, power and energy at my fingertips, regulated behaviour…
it is a great feeling to be coming into the eventing season feeling safe in the knowledge that I am providing my horses with the nutrition and support they need, to do the very best that they can.
Try the free equine nutrition calculator on this website and see how your horse’s nutrition needs vs feed input balance out.
Poseidon welcomes questions about your horse and will be really happy to help advise on what you may need (or not need!). And if you’d like a personal consult, reach out to Nikita at Vani.
Wishing you and your horse all the best,