Get the Food Right!

Hi fellow Prepsters!

For those of you who don’t know me, I am Lauren Knopp. I’m a 25 year old professional dressage rider and trainer based out of my family’s farm, IDA Farm, in Wellington, FL. I became a professional when I was 22, and started my own business when I was 24. We have 5 barns at IDA, and I manage one barn with 24 stalls. I have everything from people who just board their horse with me and use my services and also people who train with me. I have three of my own competition horses. Don Gregory is a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding schooling Grand Prix, Samoa 51 is a 7 year old schooling the fourth level, and Degas SSF is 9 and we are confirming the third level.

Now for the good stuff. Most people always write about a certain training issue to help fellow riders out, which is great and can be super helpful. However, in this blog post, I’m going to write about something that sometimes can be swept under the rug – nutrition for your equine partner.

Think of this as Nutrition 101, this is like a crash course. Of course, always talk to your nutritionist or veterinarian!

Nutrition for your equine is extremely important. Now, what you feed your horse will vary depending on health issues, the energy level you wish to achieve, the sport you do, and also your location.

I am a dressage rider, so my nutrition goals may be different than a polo player or a steeplechaser. Dressage horses require more fat and fiber and lower starch and sugar levels in order to have a steady energy level, we don’t want or need quick bursts of energy. We want a steady energy from our horses without the crazy “high” from too much sugary grain. A polo pony or a steeplechaser may choose something with lower fat and higher sugar content for that added boost needed, not long-term energy.

I am lucky enough to represent Buckeye Nutrition and Master’s Circle hay and supplements. Between these two companies, I can be assured that my horse’s nutrition is taken care of. Buckeye has many great feeds. I feed Cadence Ultra, EQ8 Senior, and Safe –n – easy in my barn. I feed Buckeye Cadence Ultra to my competition horses. Cadence Ultra is a great feed with numerous benefits listed below:

Fortified with GRO ‘N WIN® technology Supplies elevated vitamins and chelated minerals along with balanced essential amino acids for superior protein quality to help maintain your horse’s muscle and bone integrity
Added ULTIMATE FINISH® Provides a controlled release of highly digestible fats
Calm Calories Higher levels of soybean oil increase energy density while maintaining low starch and sugar to help lessen hyperactivity
Heat-Processed A blend of extruded and pelleted feed increases digestibility to limit starch from reaching and upsetting the hindgut
Superior antioxidant content Supports the immune function of your horse
Elevated levels of biotin Supports optimum hoof health

This feed is 14% protein, 14% fat, and 23% NSC. I also add an additional 1.5 pounds of Gro – n – Win into their daily grain intake of 4 pounds of grain a day. I find that with Buckeye, my horses eat less grain, which makes me incredibly happy!

Next are supplements. Master’s Circle has 18 different supplements geared to help your horse reach his maximum potential. I have my three on their Joint Shield, Gastro Shield, and Electrolytes. I have noticed a HUGE difference in my horses since on their supplements, especially their Gastro Shield! It is important to not over supplement your horse, so make sure your fortified grain does not have something you are already supplementing.

Hay is also extremely important. Make sure your hay is good quality and consistent! It is also really important to check the sugar and starch levels in your hay. If your hay provider doesn’t have an analysis of the hay, then I would not use it until it is tested, especially if you have a horse with metabolic issues! I use Master’s Circle Township blend hay, which is a blend of Timothy, Orchard, and Brome hay, and it averages 8-9% protein and has a very low sugar/starch level! I feed my horses around 20 pounds of hay a day. You should feed your horse 10% of what their body weight is to make sure they are getting enough forage in their diet!

I hope this crash course has shined some light on equine nutrition, and has educated some of you! Training, care, and farrier play important roles, but the nutrition is one of the most important! To learn more about Buckeye visit and to learn more about Master’s Circle visit and to learn more about me visit

Until next time!

– L



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