We don’t often have time to take on requests for product reviews but when asked to do one for the book Natural Feeding for Horses by Alexandra Wesker MSc, we decided to make room in our schedule.
The book was published towards the end of 2015 and covers an important but often misunderstood and misinformed area of equine management – diet and feeding for the physical and emotional health of your horse.
Over the years, we have increasingly adopted a more natural feeding regime for our horses and witnessed the benefits this brings.
To-date, much of our own effort has been through trial-and-error due to a lack of reliable and easily accessible information.
To make things more difficult, when we did find relevant information it was often fragmented across different sources, very technical to decipher, and often seemingly contradictory.
So, when the book summary promised a single source of comprehensive, science based, and easily readable information we welcomed the request to give it a review.
If you have ever come across research or scientific papers on feeding horses, then you will probably have experienced how the technical data is typically presented in a very heavy going manner and not that easy for the layman to decipher.
Alexandra Wesker’s book is totally different. We are pleased to say that Alexandra has managed to capture her knowledge in a very readable style and without compromising the value of the content in any way.
It takes an expert knowledge of your subject and great communication skills to be able to achieve this.
The book is laid out in logical sections prefaced with an introductory guide on ‘how to use this book’.
The guide gives a summary of each section and explains how the book is set up to enable learning about feeding horses in general together with finding ways of making your own feeding practices more natural.
What’s nice is that Alexandra also explains how the layout of her book is flexible to different reader needs and personalities.
For example, those people that want to know how and why things work are advised that they will be best supported by reading the book from front to back, whilst those preferring a more ‘hands-on approach’ can start with the practical feeding tips beginning in later chapters.
Either way, Alexandra intelligently encourages finding a balance between theory and practical, learning as you go and finding what works best for your particular scenario.
Physically, the book itself is a paperback with 253 pages, packed with information together with helpful illustrations and data tables that support the text narrative.
In terms of content the book has six main sections:
- About Natural Feeding
- Starting With Natural Feeding
- Natural Feeding Levels
- Monitoring and Adjusting
- Changes in Requirements
- Tips and Examples
Within each of these sections there are a lot of interesting and important explanations, facts and insights.
The first part of the book educates on:
- The ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of Natural Feeding
- The implications for musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and psychological aspects of your horse’s health
- The different plant and grass species, including nutritional value and season application
- Nutritional requirements of horses and influencing factors
The remainder of the book explains how to adopt Natural Feeding practices and tailor them to your horse’s individual requirements.
A comprehensive method of analysing your horse’s feed level requirement is included, followed by how to introduce the change, and then how to monitor and make adjustments.
Practical tips are given towards the end of the book and represent a further source of important things to be aware of when feeding our horses.
If you are having difficulty using the information or need reassurance that you are interpreting it correct, then there are a number of example horse scenarios provided.
Identifying with these examples will assist in giving you an idea of how to feed your own horse.
Finally, there are appendices providing further information and guidance on things like estimating your horse’s body weight, how to replace one feed with another, typical nutritional values, etc.
Natural Feeding for Horses is a book that covers a lot of ground.
It provides a single source of comprehensive, scientifically based information that is easily understandable and flexible to the reader’s needs.
As such, the book is a valuable resource for both beginner and for those already focused on improving their approach to feeding horses.
If the book had been available when we first started looking at how we fed our horses then it would have saved us a lot of time and effort, and helped us avoid mistakes.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t have value to us now.
Its wealth of easily accessible information makes it a permanent reference book.
The information it provides has not only helped us understand why the things we have already changed worked, but also shows us further areas we can work on with confidence in the expertise behind the advice.
We would recommend this book to anyone that cares about their horse’s well being.
As the book’s subtitle says, it is for the emotional as well as the physical health of your horse.
So who could justify not being interested?
Based on our own experience we can give testimony to the benefits of adjusting to a more natural approach to your horse’s diet.
Each of our own horses has seen great improvements already and we have not implemented any where near all the recommendations of the book yet.
We have seen diet help improve many issues including; inability to keep weight on, moods, recurring colic, alopecia, poor hooves, and respiratory problems.
In our opinion, if you want to do the best for your horse then you should get yourself a copy of the book and put as much into practice as you can knowing that even small changes can have tangible and worthwhile results.
The book is available from Amazon via the following link:
Alexandra Wesker also has a website, just follow the link below:
(note: we have no affiliate relationship and receive no monetary benefit from you following these links)