Heath & Nutrition

Hi. I’m Dr. Shannon (Pratt) Phillips and I’m a frequent contributor to several of the HPG publications. I grew up in Toronto and used to ride hunters, but now I’m living a little further south with my husband, two kids, cat and corgi dog. I am an equine nutritionist (MS and PhD in equine nutrition), and my job at North Carolina State University is to teach and conduct research in the area of equine science and nutrition. I like to write because it gives me an opportunity to bring the equine nutrition and health research findings to the end users – the owners, trainers and ultimately the horses themselves.

What the heck is an “omic”?

The new buzz word(s) in the field of biology is anything that ends with “omics” – such as metabolomics or proteomics. The omics part really just refers to the complete or total collection pool of compounds in the body. For…

Magnesium Supplementation and Horses

Calming supplements are one of the top categories of a popular equine supplement company, and magnesium is one of the most common ingredients in these products. Magnesium does appear to play a role in normal brain and motor neuron (the…

New Body Weight Estimation Equations

Because the health consequences of obesity are severe, it is important for horse owners to learn how to accurately and objectively assess their horse’s body weight and condition. Body weight estimation equations are available for light horse breeds, ponies and…

Maternal Nutrition and Fetal Programming

You are what you eat certainly applies to horses, and may even apply to what their mothers eat. Maternal nutrition and fetal programming was the subject of the Equine Species symposium at the Joint Annual Meeting of the American Society…

More About Soaking Hay

There is ample research available regarding the benefits of soaking hay: 1) to reduce water soluble carbohydrate content for horses that may be sensitive to sugars, such as those with insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome or polysaccharide storage myopathy; and…

The Science of Slow Feeder Hay Nets

So we all know that you should limit your overweight horse’s calorie intake if he is on a diet, and after eliminating grain, some horses also need to have limited hay. In order to prevent stereotypic behaviour development and boredom,…

Feeding Elite Show Jumpers

The Equine Science Society recently held their symposium, and as usual, there was an excellent assortment of equine research studies in areas of nutrition, exercise physiology, reproduction, genetics, production and management, and teaching and learning. In the next few months…

What Can Your Horse’s Hair Reveal About His Nutritional Status?

Ensuring your horse is getting all of his required nutrients is important for his overall health and nutrition. As a nutritionist, I feel the best way to determine if a diet is meeting a horse’s nutritional needs is to evaluate…

Does a High Starch Diet Affect Behaviour?

It is pretty common knowledge that too much starch in a horse’s diet can increase the risk of colic or laminitis, and may contribute to the development of insulin resistance. Many owners also blame sweet feeds or other high starch…

Horses and Food Allergies

Often, I am asked about feeding horses with allergies, which tends to confuse me because there are very few documented cases of true food allergies. In fact, most allergens for horses are environmental – mold, pollens, mites and other insects,…

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