By Mary McCashin
Reatas & Recipes

In my studies and practice as a Nutritional Therapist I regularly see “holes” in individuals’ diets and lifestyles. No matter how great your diet might be, most people are generally missing certain key nutrients.  As equestrians, we are often live a life that is made up of little sleep, long hours, LOTS of coffee, sweaty summers, bundled up winters, and feeling old by the time we’re 30 thanks to one too many buck-offs. And while we wouldn’t trade our lifestyle for anything, there are things we can (and should) be doing to support our bodies and the stress we put on them.

Fish Oil – 1,000mg daily (minimum amount)

EVERYONE should take fish oil. Every human on the planet should take fish oil. Omega 3 EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) are crucial to our bodies. The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food or supplementation.

TCE Fish Oil

What’s so special about omega 3? Without getting too complicated, three of the most common types of omega 3 are EPA, DHA and ALA. They are an integral and crucial part of cell membranes throughout the body. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They regulate genetic function, help prevent heart disease and stroke. They may also help with rheumatoid arthritis, general brain function including memory, and play protective roles in cancer and autoimmune disorders.  I’m a huge fan of Nordic Naturals Omega Lemon.

Vitamin D-3 – 1,000U daily

Every equestrian thinks they get enough sun – we’re certainly out in it enough! However, how much of that time are we slathered in sunscreen or bundled up in long sleeve shirts? The “Sunshine Vitamin” D-3 is present in very few foods. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut which helps with bone health, including protecting older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps with cell growth within the body, neuromuscular and immune function, and can help reduce inflammation.


Vitamin D is also known to help with depression and minor weight loss. If you feel generally tired, aches and pains, or weak bones you might just be deficient.  I’m a huge fan of Thorne Research’s, or again Nordic Naturals simply for the higher quality. However, any Vitamin D-3 is better than none.

Ashwaghanda – 500mg daily

Go ahead, try to pronounce it, and have a little laugh. Ash-wa-gone-dah is there for people who feel stressed, anxious, have difficulty concentrating, have a lack of energy so therefore mainstream coffee (I see you, coffee drinkers…).  The wonderful herbal supplement additionally protects the immune system, reduces anxiety and depression, helps reduce brain-cell degeneration, offer anti-inflammatory benefits, menopausal support, and stabilizes blood sugar just to name a few things it does.  I use Pure Encapsulations (again for quality purposes).

Magnesium – 300-500mg daily

Magnesium is a mineral that is crucial to the body’s function. It’s beneficial in combating high blood pressure, keeps bones strong, and maintains a healthy heart. It is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.  Most people don’t eat a lot of magnesium rich foods.

TCE Magnesium

If you drink soda, you need to take magnesium. Most dark colored sodas contain phosphates that essentially flush magnesium out of your system. (You also shouldn’t drink soda, but that’s a tangent for a different time.)  Magnesium helps promote relaxation and a more restful sleep. Who doesn’t need some relaxation?  If you eat sugar you need to take magnesium. It causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys.  If you drink caffeinated beverages such as soda, coffee, or tea regularly your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased. (If you have a sensitive stomach I recommend starting on a low dose as magnesium can get things um, “moving”.)  BONUS TIP: Unless you’re taking calcium with your magnesium (or vice versa), your body cannot absorb either nutrient properly or efficiently.

A Well-Rounded Multivitamin

Let’s face it, no one eats clean, organic, and healthy 100% of the time. Horse show concessions rarely have a gluten-free option much less anything that will benefit your body.  A well-rounded multi isn’t going to hurt anyone. Everyone should take one because you’re also not eating 6-12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. We buy carrots for our horses, not ourselves!  We can all benefit from Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1/B2/B12, Zinc, Folate, Biotin, Selenium, etc. (See where I’m going here?)  Pick a quality multi and you won’t be sorry. Again, I think Pure Encapsulations O.N.E is a wonderful, quality product.  I can tell you to take your vitamins, see the benefits in 30-60 days, and choose health, but ultimately that choice is yours to make. Think of all the supplements each and every one of us have fed our horses at some point – why would you not do the same for yourself?

TCE Multi

*I am a licensed ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and a NTA Nutritional Therapy Consultant. These are merely my recommendations and not the advisement of licensed medical doctor. If you have any pre-existing conditions or are currently on prescription medication, please speak to your health care professional before adding any vitamins or supplements to your diet.