The starting point for this course is the 2007 National Research Council recommendations for feeding horses. However, that's all they are – a starting point. They are a tool you will use in evaluating every diet, but I want this to be more than just a nuts and bolts number game. We'll cover individual nutrients, what they do, why they are essential and how they interact. Feeding a horse properly isn't like building a house or putting together a puzzle. It's more like baking a cake. If you leave the baking powder out of a cake recipe, the results are catastrophic and you end up with a cracker instead of a cake. This is the equivalent of a full blown nutritional deficiency. However, adding too much also has negative effects. To get the perfect cake, all ingredients need to be balanced. This dynamic approach, focusing just as much on balance as on intake of individual nutrients, is what I have seen to be the most effective – and also efficient – way to build a sound diet.
The material for each section of the course will be posted on the internet weekly as a pdf file. It will include the material I want to cover, links for further reading, and a series of review questions that will emphasize the most important points. When you receive the next week's material, the answers to the questions from the week before will be at the front.
This is a no pressure learning situation. There is no “mandatory attendance” at any time, no grades. The review questions are for your use only. I assume that anyone taking the course is doing so because they want to learn more about equine nutrition. You can read when it is convenient for you to do so. However, if you wish to receive credit for this course an exam will be given towards the end of the course. You will need a 70% to pass. You may take the test more than once.
I'll open the a Yahoo Groups discussion group in advance of the course starting. This will be a group exclusively for course enrollees. When you join, I'd like you to post a brief introduction about yourself in a file that will be called “Members Info”, and a description of what you are currently feeding in a file called “Members Diets”. This is an international group so I will use that information to make sure course material and links to resources are useful for all of you. In the diets section, also list any health or performance problems you are having. Use this group to ask questions about any part of the course material at any time. If you fall behind (life happens), you will have the opportunity to join the Yahoo group for the next run of the course if you think that would be beneficial to you (no fee second time around).
Your course materials will include updated information from the 2007 NRC in each section, but if you wish to purchase the 2007 NRC you can order it here: