There is Nutrition and There is Optimum Nutrition

By Jeannie Lieb

Posted on October 5th, 2015 in General

Edouard asked if I would write a series of posts explaining how I provide optimum nutrition for horses in my care.  What is Optimum Nutrition?  It is about feeding what the horse requires not just in the way of  calories but equally important the major and trace minerals they require in the proportions they require, and the vitamins that are missing from their diet.  That is optimum nutrition.  Sounds like a lot of work right?  Nope!  The learning took time because I was part of the leading edge of owners trying to solve metabolic issues via diet.  The actual implementation is very easy!

I always find case studies with before and after pictures interesting you will be following with the case of my most recently acquired asil Arabian.  But before I do that I will show you some before and after pictures of another asil Arabian to find its way into my care. So you can see what the “restored” horse looks like.

This is the completed case of the tail female *Hadba mare RL Bilquis 2006cm.  RL Bilquis time with me lasted from November 2012 until September 2014when I delivered her to her new home in Ohio to be part of a budding preservation breeding program.

I rescued RL Bilquis in November of 2011 after she’d been badly handled/abused, starved, and put through a stockyard auction where she and the stallion she was with were the only 2 horses that did not end up on the meat buyer trucks. And that was only because they had their registration papers with them. This is what she looked like after getting off the shipper’s truck at my place 2 months after she was bought out of the auction.


As you can see she is very under weight and her coat is rough. What you can’t see is all the bot fly eggs all over her body and her misshapen hooves. ( I won’t go into hoof rehabilitation here unless there is a desire for that. I cover that on my Facebook page but can do it here too if there is a demand for it.)  I had the vet out immediately after she arrived to check if she was in foal and she was, approximately 4-5 months along. Not good body condition for a horse in general never mind a pregnant mare.

Fast forward 6 months and this is what she looked like right before she foaled  in May 2013.  Turning her from what you see above to what you see below and having her deliver a healthy filly with no complications is about more than calories. It is about providing those calories along with optimum nutrition for a horse her size, exercise level and pregnant condition.  The second picture was taken right before I took her to Ohio. And what a wonderful mare she developed into after overcoming so much adversity in her short life thus far!


I enjoy sharing my knowledge and even if only one other asil Arabian benefits from these posts they will be worth the effort I put into them.

One Response to “There is Nutrition and There is Optimum Nutrition”

  1. A little about my background in equine nutrition. Back in 1999 I bought a 7yo Haflinger mare for my then 10yo daughter. She had a very cresty neck and I was concerned to I called the vet out. At that time the condition known now as Insulin Resistance was not known generally know about. He said control her weight with diet and exercise but had no recommendations as to diet. So off I went on the internet trying to find some information about what this mare should and shouldn’t be eating. I tried, first, a “mix your own feed” which was supposed to be the answer. I tried free choice minerals (they don’t work, horses do not eat what they are supposed to just like humans don’t), I tried various supplements and after a year I happened across the Yahoo group “Equine Cushings”. This was of interest to me because I had a late 20’s gelding that had developed the condition. This group was moderated by Dr.Eleanor Kellon . I learned SO MUCH about nutrition from that group. And I tried her recommendations and it WORKED! So I’ve followed Dr. Kellon ever since and have taken, so far, these courses from her: Nutrition as Therapy, NRC Plus, Neuro and Muscular Disorders, Cushings and IR, Managing Pregnancy and Growth, Comprehensive Care of the Older Horse, Basic Radiograph Reading and Arthritis and Other Lameness. I continue learning by subscribing to her E-magazine The Horse’s Mouth which also provides access to the Yahoo group “The Horses Mouth” where members can ask questions and make suggestions for articles of Dr. Kellon. Everything I tell you I do I have tried myself on my own horses. I’ve had several horses of different breed come through my barn and it’s only been in the past 4 years that I’ve limited myself to asil Arabians.

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