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The Forage Porridge: Equine Physiology Focused Mash Kits

At Honos Nutrition Co., we’re passionate about horses, science, and doing the best we can do for our horses, while empowering others to do the same. We're not alone in this goal, and we want to support like-minded individuals and businesses!

Today, we're featuring The Forage Porridge, a forage-based mash kit (with a lovely tribute origin story) designed with equine physiology in mind!

How did your business get started?

I started The Forage Porridge because of my late mare, Daisy. She was an incredibly picky horse and a hard keeper. She inspired me to dive deep into equine nutrition and learn as much possible in order to help her. In December 2022, I wanted to make some cute gifts for my barn friends and landed on making mashes with hay pellets as the base, so as to not introduce too much of a new food at once, as the horse’s microbiome is incredibly sensitive to change. I thought they turned out cute and posted some pictures on my personal instagram asking if anyone wanted to buy some- and to my surprise, within 48 hours I had to stop taking orders and learn very quickly how to make a business! That is how the Forage Porridge came to be.

Why are science-based practices important to you?

I believe that science-based methods should be the foundation upon which we build our horse’s diets. They evolved as monogastric hindgut fiber fermenters, and we should mimic their natural evolutionary design by providing a forage-first diet. Research has proven that consistent fiber access is ideal for a horse's well-being. I like facts based upon peer-reviewed data, simply because it is the most tested body of evidence we have to support our decisions. This is why the ingredient with the largest percentage in our mash kits is a hay pellet.

How have horses shaped your love for science?

Oh, I definitely dived into the deep end! I pursued an education in equine nutrition through Legacy Equine Nutrition, and am now a certified Equine Nutrition Advisor. I also have attended an equine brain clinic, and understanding their brain structure (including holding one) was absolutely fascinating! I LOVE science as it applies to horses because it helps me understand how they think, how their digestive systems work, and helps me to become a better horse person because I understand their physiological needs. I have a deep reverence for the science of horses that has only continued to grow over the years. I believe in order to be a good horse person, you must understand them.

Tell us about the products/services you currently offer! Where can interested customers learn more?

The Forage Porridge offers forage-based mash kits for horses, with a variety of flavors and range from low sugar options, dried fruit, flower petals, to some with puff peppermints (my late mare’s favorite treat ever). They are a great alternative to a sugar-laden ‘cake’ and make perfect horsie birthday buckets! The idea is to soak the porridge in water to create that mashy soup, so it is a good way to get more water into the digestive tract of your horse. The largest size is 14 ounces dry weight, so if you feed the whole bag the size adheres to the rule of not feeding more than one pound of a new feed per day. It can also be split up into multiple servings and used as meal toppers for a picky eater, post-ride snack, or just for fun!

I also try to promote local artisans, and have unique hand-made products available in very limited stock. We just sold out of these beautiful handmade ceramic mugs, and I have ordered a new batch of custom 2-gallon bucket sized Porridge Paddles from my woodworker artisan. They are the PERFECT thing to mix meals with, and are such high quality products from a horse-safe wood, birch. I will let you all know when they are back in stock! Hopefully some fun merch and swag options will be available soon, too!

I am active on Instagram @theforageporridge or visit my website to order!

Intentional product development is what makes for great products, whether it’s ingestibles, management tools or topicals - tell us about your development process!

I start by thinking about the base of the product- do I want to have teff pellets and beet pulp, just teff pellets, or alfalfa pellets? Then I layer in an omega of either flax or chia seeds, then I think about the flavor toppings. Do I want flower petals for the pretty factor? Do I want a flavor such as peppermint leaves or anise? What about a fruit or carrot option? What combo or item have I not had before?

The flavors come to me in different ways. For example, I was listening to the Midnights album by T Swift and the song “Snow on the Beach” came on, and I thought to myself that it was a great name for a mash flavor. I built the mash around that name, coconut for the snow, flax for the sand, peppermint leaves for the winter flavor. The original four flavors were flavors Daisy tried out and loved (Peppermint & Carrot, Carrot Cake, The Herbalist, No Sugar Mint).

For the development of the Porridge Paddles, I was so annoyed with using a metal sweat scraper to stir buckets at my previous barn. It hurt my hand and was not efficient. So I wanted something that felt nice in the hand, was thick enough to move hay pellets or grain around with water, and had a beveled edge to scrape out the bucket easily. 

What advice would you give your younger, horsey self?

Keep seeking knowledge. Say yes to things that feel right, and no when your gut thinks something is wrong. Do not be blindly loyal for loyalty’s sake, know that it is okay to move on when you have learned the lesson you needed from that particular person. Follow your heart, and spend more time listening to horses than to humans.

What has been the most rewarding part of starting your business?

Connecting with a vibrant community of horse people across the country has been amazing. It brings me great joy whenever anyone sends me a picture or a video of their horse enjoying a Forage Porridge!

The horse community is vast and strong, and I feel so blessed to have made deep friendships and connections with people I never would have expected.

Thank you so much Connie! We're so inspired by what you do! Shop Forage Porridge here.


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