Comparison of Cost and Effectiveness of Holistic Care vs. Co

After years of practicing both conventional and holistic medicine for horses, I decided to compare the cost, effectiveness, and net results of managing and treating horses holistically versus conventionally.

In this article I compare results for the average trail horse that is ridden about 2-3 times a week. I have used average feed and veterinary costs for my area (Austin, Texas), and drug and supplement costs from a major horse supply catalog.

I then discuss the issues related to each area of care, including feed, supplements, vaccines, dewormers, and first aid. Stay tuned for different profiles in coming months, when I will compare horses in difference disciplines, young horses, older horses, and broodmares.

>>> Holistic Horse <<<
Oats (2 lbs/day): $131
Hay (3 bales/week): $780
Super Blue Green Algae (1-2 tsp/day): $156
VEWT, West Nile Vaccinations: $48
Spectrabiotic Natural Wormer: $115
2 Fecal Exams: $32
Acidophilus (for occasional immune support): $7

>>> Conventional Horse <<<
Oats (4 lbs/day): $262
Hay (2 bales/week): $520
Hoof Supplements and Dressings ($30/month): $360
VEWT, West Nile, Flue, Rhino, Rabies Vaccinations: $80
Dewormer (6 times/year): $92
2 Bottles Penicillin: $20
A Course of Sulfa Antibiotics: $32
Fecal Exams: $32
12 Grams Bute: $10

COST DIFFERENCE: Holistic care costs $139 less per year
DAYS OFF FOR ILLNESS: 3 days for holistic care versus 21 days for conventional care

<><> Feed Costs <><>
Grain is slightly cheaper to feed and easier to store than hay, which makes the conventional horse slightly cheaper to feed on the one hand. On the other hand, the holistic horse, which has access to more hay, stays happy and entertained and is less likely to develop expensive habits and vices such as chewing on wood, cribbing, or weaving.

<><> Supplements <><>
In the past, hay and oats provided all the nutrition a horse needed, but these days common farming practices do not produce feeds that are high in vitamins and minerals. Hoof quality is the first area to be affected by such poor nutrition, and few horses can maintain healthy feet on a diet of hay and oats alone. If you doubt this, just check any horse supply catalog. The one I checked offered 22 topical hoof conditioners and 28 separate supplements. Cell Tech