I just finished half of an old book on feeding the horse written by a professor of nutrition. It is called “Horse Feeding And Nutrition” by Tony Cunha. Published in 1980, this was the second edition in 1991 – 30 years ago.
What was so striking to me were these several points:
- I know the people referenced as the scientists, researchers and students after each chapter.
- The information in the book is what they taught me exactly when I attended vet school at Cornell.
- The author quickly points out that little is known about a scientific basis for feeding horses and that most of the information presented in the book is from pigs, chicks and ruminants.
- The feed companies took this information and ran with it creating most of the feeds and feeding information we have today.
- Most of the “new” research is driven by feed and supplement companies, and this bias has harmed our horses since he wrote this book.
This book has strengthened my conviction that the food and how we feed our horses have to change. Only human research has recently reworked its plan to fight back the bias of food and drug companies. However, all of this has led only to more confusion. I don’t want this for you, the horse owner. However, I needed to step back in time to understand where we have all come from in our education. And like ghosts, the people in this book have reached me personally and given me insights on a level we would never see otherwise. Because of this, I will continue to honor their work but challenge it all the same.