Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Sevierville, TN
McDonalds is also sufficient. People can and do live on it long term (crazily enough). It it is not and will never be complete healthy nutrition for a human being. Neither would eating the same meal over and over as a rule. This is why they make multi vitamins and supplements for people. A RB or a mixed mineral does the same thing for a horse. Do people live eating inadequately? Sure. Could they feel better, have better endurance or energy, a better immune system, better skin and hair etc etc if they ate a more nutritionally complete diet? DEFINITELY. This is the nutrient deficient horse also.
There are a few facts here.
1. Horses have caloric needs and nutrient needs in their diet which are related but wholly separate needs that have to be looked at individually.
2. You can meet your horses caloric needs adequately and still have a nutrient deficient horse in good flesh.
3. Very few, if any, hays will provide 100% of the nutrient needs of a horse.
4. Nutrient needs will vary horse to horse but typically have a generic baseline that is safe to assume and base a feeding program around.
5. Hays grown in certain areas will be deficient in certain things. Age of hay also contributes to certain nutrients.
Therefore, hay alone (even the best) will not USUALLY provide all - or adequate - levels of certain nutrients a horse needs. An inadequate amount of a nutrient is a deficiency. There is no way around it.
Will a horse die if he is missing a particular nutrient? No. Not usually. But the fact remains, he is deficient. He is at your mercy as a domestic animal and cannot roam around to find something to eat that will make up that deficiency. You, the owner, are responsible for figuring it out and providing it.
Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)