Vets Agree: Healthy Toplines Can Contribute to Equine Well-Being

Horse owners who want their horses to be as healthy as possible should focus on developing their topline. That conclusion is based on a survey of American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), which showed that seven out of 10 equine veterinarians consider adequate muscling surrounding/supporting the horse’s spine (topline) is key to equine well-being. The same survey showed that 62 percent of equine veterinarians believe a healthy topline is key to fewer injuries.

So what makes a healthy topline?

“There’s a lot of lore and confusion about the best way to build a healthy topline,” said Abby Keegan, Equine Innovation & Application Lead for Cargill Animal Nutrition’s Nutrena brand. “Many people believe topline problems are simply a result of the horse not yet being in work, while others blame breed or genetics.”

However, years of Nutrena research and field trials have shown that balanced nutrition should form the core of any topline development or maintenance program. Horses, like people, need a nutritious diet to have a strong, healthy core.

Select Nutrena feed formulations contain easy-to-digest amino acids, the building blocks of protein. The correct amount and sources of amino acids–based on individual factors, such as a horse’s age and weight–is essential to create strong topline muscles, from withers to hind quarters.

Equine owners can now access an online tool,, to help gauge their horse’s specific topline condition, and determine the best nutritional approach to improve it. The site offers an easy, state-of-the-art, Topline Evaluation System to help owners accurately assess their horse’s muscular condition and track improvements over time.

Based on that evaluation, the tool recommends the right mix of feeds and supplements for their horse’s specific needs. The evaluation is grounded in Nutrena’s extensive expertise in equine health and nutrition.

“The right nutritional balance, fed at the correct rates, may improve topline – both internally and visually–in as little as a few weeks,” said Keegan.

The equine veterinarian study was commissioned by Nutrena and conducted by AAEP. More than 400 veterinarians were surveyed in April 2016.

To learn more about topline and which Nutrena products are best suited for your horse, visit

About Cargill
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and 150 years of experience. We have 150,000 employees in 70 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit and our News Center.

About Cargill Animal Nutrition
Cargill’s animal nutrition business has more than 20,000 employees at more than 275 facilities in 40 countries. Fueled by our innovation and research, we offer a range of products and services to feed manufacturers, animal producers, and feed retailers around the world, helping put food on the plates of nearly one billion people around the world every day. Cargill’s animal nutrition business offers a range of compound feed, premixes, feed additives, supply chain and risk management solutions, software tools and animal nutrition expertise that is unmatched in the industry. For more information about Cargill Animal Nutrition, visit:

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