Introducing a new supplement to a picky horse in 4 easy steps

Horses are naturally suspicious of new flavors and odors, some more so than others. The key to introducing a new supplement to a picky eater is to do it slowly. This gives the horse an opportunity to get used to the new flavor without becoming overwhelmed by it.

The following strategy works like a charm.

The idea is to mix the new flavor with something your horse already finds irresistible! It can be unsweetened applesauce, grated carrots, or even soaked beet pulp. Let’s call this our secret sauce. (Note for horses on a low-sugar diet: A few ounces of unsweetened applesauce or grated carrots will not add enough sugar into the diet to raise the overall NSC levels or add significant calories to the diet.)

Step 1:

Make sure your horse will readily eat your choice of “secret sauce.” For the purpose of this example, we’ll use unsweetened applesauce.

Just before feed time, mix a couple of tablespoons of applesauce with a small portion of your horse’s regular feed. Once the horse has finished that, feed the rest of their regular meal. Do this for 2 or 3 days.

Step 2:

When introducing the new supplement, start with about 4 oz. of unsweetened applesauce and mix in a small amount (1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon) of the new supplement. Add a handful of their regular feed, mix well and offer this mixture to them. Once they eat it, follow up with the remaining portion of their regular meal. Do this for 2 or 3 days. Very few horses turn this mixture down and it allows them to get a hint of the new flavor without becoming overwhelmed by it.

Step 3:

Over the next 5 to 7 days, add a little more supplement and a little more of the regular feed to the unsweetened applesauce each day until you are able to add the required amount of supplement to the meal.

Step 4:

Slowly reduce the amount of applesauce you are adding to the feed until you don’t need any at all.

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