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Wed, Feb 09


Zoom Webinar

Feeding Horses Naturally: Nature vs the NRC

What does it mean to feed horses "naturally"? Some horses continue to be fed as “nature-intended” with 24/7 access to fresh pasture and room to roam, but what about the rest? Learn from a long time equine nutritionist and researcher what "Natural" means to her and the science behind it.

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Feeding Horses Naturally: Nature vs the NRC
Feeding Horses Naturally: Nature vs the NRC

Time & Location

Feb 09, 2022, 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM MST

Zoom Webinar

About the Event

Registration is required for this event. After registering, participants will receive details for joining the webinar 1 week, 1 day and 1 hour before the event! Within one hour of the event, your confirmation email will include the Zoom link details. If you do NOT receive these emails, please check your spam/junk folders first. You may also want to put on your safe senders list.


Nature versus the NRC: Utilizing an understanding of the “natural” diet of the horse in contrast to defined guidelines.

A comprehensive look at nutrients available in nature compared to equine nutrient requirements and the modern diets we feed them.

Horses can survive on a variety of feedstuffs that they ingest if they are relatively equine-specific and the horses’ forage requirements are met for basic gastrointestinal health. It is safe to say that some horses in the United States continue to be fed as “nature-intended” with 24/7 access to fresh pasture or adequate plant material and enough room to continually move and graze. Many other horses, however, have only limited or no access to pasture and their movement is greatly restricted via stall confinement or small areas to move. In addition, there is a wide variety in what we ask horses to do, from horses that are simply pasture pets, to horses performing as elite-level athletes in racing and competitions. And when we look at all these factors from a nutrition perspective, how do the nutrients provided by nature match up with the requirements as set by the National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements for Horses? And how do these nutrients provided by nature compare to how we are feeding many modern horses today? This presentation will examine these factors and shed light on differences between the NRC nutrient requirements and what is provided by both nature and/or modern feeding practices in several scenarios, to identify areas of mismatch that could be potentially addressed or researched further in an effort to improve the health and well-being of horses.

Dr. Mary Beth Gordon is the Director of Lifestyle Technical Innovation for Purina Animal Nutrition (Land O'Lakes, Inc.) as well as the Director of Equine Research and New Product Development. She leads the multi-species research and technical solutions teams for all lifestyle species including horse, backyard poultry, SHOW animals, small ruminants, deer, aquaculture and dogs & cats (for PMI branded products). Specifically, for equine, her ambitious research team has completed over 350 research protocols at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, leading to the creation of 16 new products and 15+ reformulated products in the equine market since 2005. This research encompasses exercise physiology, growth and reproduction, and digestive physiology including palatability, intake, and microbiome work. Mary Beth earned her BS in Animal Science from Delaware Valley University and PhD in Animal Science with a specialty in Equine Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Rutgers University. Her graduate research focused on the effects of exercise on the hormonal regulation of appetite in horses and her work was the first to characterize the appetite stimulating hormone, ghrelin, in equine. She is published in numerous scientific journals including The Veterinary Journal, Equine Veterinary Journal, Journal of Animal Science, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science and Equine Comparative Exercise Physiology. She has also co-authored chapters in textbooks such as Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery. In addition to her work at Purina Animal Nutrition, Mary Beth is active in the show horse world as a dressage rider, owning sport horses.

Learn  more about Dr. MaryBeth Gordon by CLICKING HERE.

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