Blog > May 2019 > R.I.D.E.


May 20, 2019

Last week I spent time at the Purina research farm for a Professional Horseman's Conference. During the conference, I heard a presentation by Mary Beth Gordon, Ph.D., on supplements that really made me think. As proactive horse owners, we all strive to create the best possible living environment for our equine companions.  But are we providing supplements that pass the R.I.D.E. test? Numerous horse owners that I work with have a grocery list worth of supplements they incorporate into their daily feed programs, which dramatically increases their feed costs per horse per day. So, when balancing nutrition and cost, how should a horse owner choose which supplements to use?
R- Research     I- Ingredients      D-Dose    E-Efficacy

Gut health is popular in the animal and human world right now. And with the abundant options for pre and probiotics for equine, the choices can be overwhelming for a consumer. Purina has research to prove the benefit of prebiotics in an aging horse but take into consideration that not all prebiotics are created equal. So, look for data and feed levels that are appropriate for your horse's age and health. Probiotics, on the other hand, is an area needing more research. Questions to ask before using are: can these probiotics survive manufacturing and make it to the hindgut? What bugs will you be feeding with this probiotic and how much should be fed? Many of these questions don't have answers as the research shows no benefit.

How about joint supplements? Most owners use them to inhibit a horse's pain, improve synthesis, or reduce inflammation. Working with your veterinarian to evaluate a lameness is the best way to determine a treatment plan. Compare the costs of an oral supplement vs. a muscular injection and know the data behind the products to ensure you're getting what you pay for.

Finally, use R.I.D.E. to determine what vitamin and mineral supplements you should be adding to your horses' diet. Overall, a quality feed program should have your horse covered. Supplements can help if a horse isn't being fed enough or has special requirement such as PSSM. Testing your hay or pasture with your local CVA feed specialist can determine the quality of feedstuff your horse is consuming. A fun fact I learned during the horseman's conference was that pasture is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids. These acids may be helpful for stallion semen quality, joint health, and horses with a low dust diet. Keep in mind you are probably feeding a +1100 lb. animal and more than likely, sprinkling a supplemental top dress isn't providing an effective dose.

My tips to you when making a supplement purchase:

  •   Buy from a reputable supplier who has done equine research to back the product
  •   Read the ingredients and ask yourself if they really make a difference or are just "fluff"
  •   Become familiar with the NRC requirements to ensure a proper feed rate for a horse
  •   Track the process to make sure the product really produces the desired result
  •   Provide access to free choice salt

For more information about equine supplements or Purina horse feeds contact myself, Brandi at or our Purina Equine Specialist, Lindsey Kester at

by Brandi Salestrom

Posted: 5/20/2019 9:37:16 AM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments

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