Everyone needs good nutrition. Your horse is no exception. Horse nutritional requirements should be given a high priority because bad nutrition leads to stress, poor performance, dulling of the coat and susceptibility to disease.
We just have to think that our nutritional needs as human beings are similarly the same as with horses but with some variations great and small. Great because they're bigger than us and small because of some ingredients like trace minerals that are always given in small doses.
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What are the four basic food groups? They are, carbohydrates to make us go, proteins to make us grow, vitamins and minerals to make us glow. The same principles apply in preparing for the horse's nutritional requirements.
The bone of contention is always on the correct proportion for each component. Almost any veterinarian that is worth his salt, has something to say about the proper nutritional requirements. This is just natural because situations are as varied as the fish on the sea.
Although the NRC or the National Research Council has come up with respectable guidelines, they are just guidelines as the title suggests. Horses in some particular situations may require more carbohydrates because of longer working or training hours. Young, growing horses need more protein. The more varied the sources of nutrients the better for the horse.