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Frequently Asked Questions

Equine nutrition is important to us at The Healthy Horse Company. We help answer your most common questions below about our analysis services and supplements. If you have a question that isn’t on this list, please contact Sally, who is always happy to help. 

We provide an information sheet giving full instructions on how to collect a good representative sample of your hay/haylage/grass. This is available as a download from each analysis service page on our web-shop. Please follow the instructions carefully.

Results take about 2-3 weeks, from when the sample is received at our offices. Results will be sent to you by email. Please ensure our email: healthyhorseco@gmail.com is in your Contacts so prevent our email going in to your Spam Folder.

A Nutritional analysis is carried out in an Accredited laboratory using high tech near infrared technology to identify a full range of data – Dry Matter, Digestible Energy, Crude Protein, Acid Detergent Fibre, Neutral Detergent Fibre, Water Soluble Carbohydrates, Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrates (Simple Sugars), Starch, and Non Fibre Carbohydrates. Both starch and Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrates (sugar) levels are especially important to owners managing EMS horses and those suffering from or prone to laminitis.

A Mineral analysis is carried out in an Accredited laboratory to identify the levels of minerals in the sample provided – Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Cobalt, Iodine, Iron, Aluminium, Molybdenum, Sulphur, and Lead.

In both instances, we provide full details on how to obtain an accurate sample of your forage for the laboratory. This is available as an Instructions Download on the details page of each analysis on our Web-shop.

If you are considering purchasing a Feed Plan, you will also need to purchase both a Nutritional and Mineral analysis of your forage (hay/haylage, and sometimes grass too if your horse’s diet is predominantly grass).

A Mineral analysis is carried out in an  Accredited laboratory to identify the levels of minerals in the sample provided – Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, Cobalt, Iodine, Iron, Aluminium, Molybdenum, Sulphur, and Lead.

In both instances, we provide full details on how to obtain an accurate sample of your forage for the laboratory. This is available as an Instructions Download on the details page of each analysis on our Web-shop.

If you are considering purchasing a Feed Plan, you will also need to purchase both a Nutritional and Mineral analysis of your forage (hay/haylage, and sometimes grass too if your horse’s diet is predominantly grass).

All our analysis tests are carried out by fully Accredited UK and International laboratories. The results are based on the analysis sample collected, therefore it is important that you collect a good representative sample for testing. This will mean taking samples from as many bales as possible. Please follow the sampling instructions carefully.

Yes you can, but to avoid any additional costs due to price increases by the Laboratories, please use your analysis kit within 4 months of purchase. If you send it in after 4 months, you may incur an additional cost.

We provide a simple-to-understand table of results.  We aim to make the whole process as easy as possible and user-friendly!  For this reason, we have become the UK’s preferred company offering analysis services.  If you are unsure of the results,  you can contact Sally who is happy to help. 

This depends on what you would like to achieve and the reason why you decided to have your forage analysed:

  • Some owners choose to enhance and balance their horse’s diets, by purchasing an off-the-shelf product from our Healthy Horse Company range of Balancers or individual vitamins, minerals and amino acids available through our web-shop.
  • For a Bespoke solution, our Equine Nutrition Consultant – Sally, offers a Feed Plan Service using the results of your Forage Analysis (both Nutritional and Mineral).  We ask you to complete an Equine Information Form to identify your horse’s present diet, management, health issues, workload, weight, age, etc., as well as any other concerns or issues you may have. Using this information and the Forage Analysis Results, Sally will formulate an improved feed plan/diet for your horse on a targeted nutrition basis, taking into account NRC guidelines and mineral balancing ratios to optimise the uptake of essential nutrients and optimise your horse’s health and performance. We understand that many owners favour particular feed brand and ingredients (or will avoid some brands) and we are happy to build this into your horse’s feed plan,  or create a totally new diet based on your horse’s needs and requirements. For many horses it may be a simple case of balancing the diet to correct vitamin and mineral imbalances. A Feed Plan can be purchased through our web-shop
  • Some owners like to take advantage of our Bespoke Balancer Service. We can provide you with a pre-mixed Balancer formulated specifically to your horse’s exact requirements (saving owners time and the worry of buying individual products and mixing the correct quantities). A Bespoke Balancer can be provided based on the results of a Feed Plan already provided by Sally – our Equine Nutrition Consultant, or based on your own individual requirements.

Please contact Sally for a quote.

Yes, you can!  We understand that not everyone can access a supply of hay/haylage which comes from one farm all year round.  In this situation, we can draw on the extensive database we hold of forage samples results from all over the UK, and can create a Feed Plan using averages of UK forage.  A Feed Plan will identify whether your horse is receiving sufficient Digestible Energy (calories), a good level of protein and amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and comes with recommendations of how to improve the diet taking into consideration your horses individual needs.  

Forage Analysis is an extremely useful tool for creating diets for all types of horses. In terms of the question, ‘What is the point?’ – well, let us look at the facts. Horse-owners tend to buy hay or haylage without knowing the nutritional or mineral content. It may look the ‘right’ colour and smell lovely – but does it provide the correct nutrition?

Bagged feed may be balanced in its own right, but does not take into account the nutritional or mineral profile of the forage in the horse’s diet, which when fed together, may then cause an imbalance.

The basis of any well-planned equine diet is forage. However, hay or haylage may be produced from fields that have been over-fertilised or even neglected; horse owners are feeding a completely unknown quantity, in terms of the nutritional and mineral content. Forage (this unknown part of the diet) is usually 90% of a horse’s diet.

Forage analysis is the scientific analysis of the nutritional and mineral profile of forage – hay, haylage and grass – carried out in an accredited laboratory under strict guidelines and test conditions.

Once a horse owner has their Forage Analysis results, they can clearly see if their hay/haylage is providing their horse with good quality digestible energy, protein, and minerals, and also (particularly important for those managing EMS/laminitic horses or ponies) the levels of sugar (ESC) and starch present.  From this, a balanced diet can then be developed. Help to understand the results can be provided by Sally, our Equine Nutrition Consultants who specialises in this area, as well as advice on how to create a balanced diet and mineral supplementation (if required). Adding small amounts of targeted minerals can bring equine health benefits such as improvements in hoof quality, anxiety levels, skin health etc.

Iron was first exploited in England around 2,700 years ago, according to English Heritage, with sand and clay soils yielding iron ore.  It is perhaps because of this history that hay yields today are commonly high in iron (and Manganese), ascertained by forage analysis. A sample of hay that contains particularly high levels of Iron can restrict the horses’ nutritional uptake of minerals such as Zinc and Copper. Zinc is essential for the healing processes, blood clotting, insulin production, energy metabolism, nerve function, strong hooves and a healthy coat. Meanwhile, Copper is essential for the repair, maintenance and development of hooves, joints, bones and connective tissue. Hence, by balancing and supplementing Zinc and Copper in the correct ratios to Iron (and Manganese), the horse can receive the optimum amount of these minerals to boost health.

A Hygiene Analysis identifies the levels of Yeast, Moulds and Dust (Thermophilic Actinomycetes) in your forage. Horses consume a large amount of forage so it is important to know if it would be detrimental to your horse’s health through scientific analysis. The analysis is carried out by an Accredited UK laboratory. We provide full details and support on how to obtain an accurate sample of your forage through an Instructions Download available on the details page of the analysis on our web-shop.

This test is ideal if your forage is very dusty or is showing signs of mouldy spores or has been exposed to damp conditions. Our report will indicate whether your forage is appropriate to feed to horses.

This test is ideal if you own your own land,  or are in a position to apply a trace element mineral dressing to the land grazed to improve the soil. 

To grow healthy grass suitable for horses it needs to be supported by healthy balanced soil ensuring the root-zone provides the grass with the correct balance of nutrients. Horses grazing the land will then acquire the correct balance of nutrients through their natural diet.  Our Soil Analysis identifies the levels of Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sulphur, Manganese, Copper, Boron, Zinc, Molybdenum, Iron, Sodium, Cobalt, Iodine, Selenium, Organic Matter, Cation Exchange Capacity and pH.

Our Soil Analysis test is specifically for horse grazing paddocks and provides a detailed report on the health of your soil and identifies imbalances.  It also carries recommendations on what you need to apply to the soil to balance any deficiencies/excesses.   Together with our Soil Consultants we provide follow up advice to you and can supply a tailor-made trace element (mineral) dressing, at a competitive rate, based on the results of your analysis.  

The application of a trace element dressing is a long-term strategy to improve your soil and the nutrients in the grass grazed, which can ultimately reduce the level of mineral supplementation required in your horse’s diet. Following the application of a trace element dressing, we recommend a Soil Analysis re-test in 2-3 years’ time.

Our trace element dressing is a mixture of granules and fine powder.  This can be applied via a spinner tractor attachment, with a domestic lawn spreader or even by hand (for small areas).  Obviously, it is beneficial for the dressing to be applied as evenly as possible so a spinner attachment on a tractor is the ideal solution. 

A trace element dressing can be applied at any time of the year.  The weather conditions are the most important factor.  A trace element dressing should be applied when weather conditions are calm, preferably just before a light shower of rain so that the dressing is washed down off the leaf of the grass and on to the soil.  Once that has happened and there is no dressing visible on the grass, horses can be returned to the area for grazing.  

Our test results may recommend other nutrients be applied to your Soil, such as potash or lime, which are available directly from local agricultural suppliers.  If these are to be applied too, it may be necessary to remove the horses from the treated area for a few weeks.

Is your horse's diet the best it can be? If you are concerned with your horse's health and would like to discuss improvements...
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