Growing Home Ep. 11- Innovation in Equine Nutrition with Karen Davison Ph.D.

Growing Home Ep. 11- Innovation in Equine Nutrition with Karen Davison Ph.D.

This episode, we talk to Karen Davison Ph.D., a equine nutritionist who has worked at Purina for 25 years, to learn more about Purina’s innovative products, and horse care in general. 

Hosts Len and Terry


Listen on Apple

Listen on Google

Listen on Stitcher

 Purina History

Purina was founded as the Robinson-Danforth Commission in 1894. Their first feed was Horse and Mule Chow.

Founder William H. Danforth made the connection between nutrition and an animal’s health and wellbeing.

Created checkerboard logo in 1902.

Established research farm in 1926.

Hired the first dedicated equine nutritionist in 1965.

There are two Purina companies. In 1986, Ralston-Purina split. The Purina brand that appears in grocery stores is owned by Nestle. The Purina brand that appears in feed stores, like Mackey’s, is owned by Land O’ Lakes. Karen Davison works for Land O’ Lakes’ Purina.

Products are tested on both company-owned animals, and animals out in the real world, including employee owned animals.


High Fat Diets for Horses

Horses don’t ordinarily have high fat diets, so horses sometimes won’t eat it. In developing this kind of product, taste and nutrition are taken into account.  

High fat diets are good for racing and brooding horses.

Purina had researched high fat diets in horses since the 70’s. They sold their first high fat horse product in the 80’s.


Outlast is a dietary supplement designed to control stomach acids. It can be top-dressed or given as a snack, especially before or after stressful or strenuous activity. Outlast is also found pre-mixed into some of Purina’s horse feeds.

Click on the image to check them out; 

Outlast’s key ingredients are proprietary forms of magnesium and calcified seaweed that has a high buffering capacity.

Many horses develop gastric discomfort, or even ulcers. This is caused by stomach acids accumulating and damaging the stomach. The pain from this will make horses behave differently and hard to ride.

Owners that feed Outlast will notice that their horse will calm down with it.

Consult Purina brochure and veterinarian about gastric issues. Use Outlast to support whatever treatment suggested by veterinarian.

Independent Purina dealers are taught about their products. The Purina Animal Nutrition website also has tools to help determine what product is the best for their animal.

However, keep in mind what kind of feed a horse needs and how much to give. Some feeds are made to be given in small amounts, and others in large amounts.


Weight Tape and Healthy Horse App

Most horse owners don’t know their horse’s weight. The average guess tends to be off by 150 lbs in either direction. An 1100lbs horse could be seen as weighing from 850 to 1350lbs.

Purina’s weight tape is based on a statistical regression equation, which makes it highly accurate. However, it’s ordinarily only useable with horses up to 1350.

Purina developed the Healthy Horse app in conjunction with Dr. Krishona Martinson of the University of Michigan. After us take measurements of the horse with a 100 inch cloth measuring tape, it will calculate the current weight and ideal weight, which is a body conditioning score of 5.

Feeding recommendations are based on “the average horse”, when in reality, nobody has “the average horse”. Among other things, the owner should consider the horse’s metabolism, and the quantity and the quality of hay fed to the horse.

Using the Henneke body condition system is important in determining a horse’s health and weight. In specific, the owner should be feeling where fat accumulates on a horse, including the crest, withers, topline, tail, shoulders and ribs. 

Weigh hay when you buy it and when you feed it to your horses.

Use the Purina Feed Scoop when feeding Purina products for accurate measurements. There are different markings for different kinds of Purina food.

If you have any questions, you can call 800-227-8941 for Purina’s customer service. Customer service agents will answer simpler questions, but if you have a more complicated question, you’ll be forwarded to one of the PhDs at Purina.

Previous episode Growing Home Ep. 12- The Oh-So-Easy Approach to Roses with Terry Therrien and Len Giddix
Next episode Growing Home Ep. 10- How and When to Plant - Terry Therrien and Len Giddix

Leave a comment

* Required fields