Have you ever wondered who decides what goes into your horse’s supplements?
Meet Dr. Amanda Bradbery, Ph.D. equine nutritionist for FullBucket Health, who works in collaboration with the FullBucket team to formulate the supplements that keep your companion working and performance horses feeling their best.
We wrote this blog for you to get an inside look into the woman behind your horse’s formulas.
Growing up in Chester, Virginia, Amanda became immersed in the equine industry after her first introduction to horses at 12 years old. From then on, she would work in exchange for lessons and riding opportunities – mucking stalls, feeding, grooming, and any other odd chores that would allow her to spend more time doing what she loved most – a story familiar to many of us who grew up loving horses.
Amanda grew up riding and showing hunters but has an appreciation for horses in all disciplines of the sport.
“Watching horses perform their respective sporting events with grace, strength, and will is what lights me up in my career,” she says.
While spending her summers in Kentucky interning 6 days a week, on her off morning you could find her watching workouts before sunrise at Keeneland, inspired by the power and athleticism of up-and-coming equine athletes.
When asked about her favorite aspects of the horse industry, she replied “the horses!”. However, she also appreciates the culture and community that flourishes in the industry. “To have people across so many cultures connect through a shared passion for an animal and a sport is truly incredible.”
Driven by Research
While she “never anticipated horses would be [her] career,” Amanda now works to improve equine health and performance on a daily basis. She credits her mentor, Dr. Josie Coverdale, with helping to grow her passion for equine-specific research in graduate school.
Now an assistant professor at Montana State University, Dr. Amanda Bradbery completed her bachelor’s degree in Animal & Poultry Science at Virginia Tech in 2012, followed by her M.S. and Ph.D. in Animal Science with a focus in equine nutrition at Texas A&M University in 2014 and 2019.
Overall, her independent and collaborative research efforts focus on the nutrition and growth of performance horses.
“It is hard to pick a single research area that holds the most passion,” she says.
Recently, work that started during Dr. Bradbery’s graduate career focusing on the generational effects of maternal nutrition has shifted to include a focus on newborn foal health, which “certainly makes the job fun!”
She also enjoys determining the effects of early performance training on young and growing horses, and identifying problems in the industry that could prevent a horse from reaching their true performance potential.
“I love that I get to investigate so many ways to optimize performance and support the well-being of horses.”
As an equine nutritionist, Dr. Bradbery has an in-depth knowledge of the horse’s digestive and overall physiology and nutritional requirements. Rations and strategic supplementation formulated to meet a horse’s requirements allow them to perform to their full genetic potential.
By staying up-to-date on recent scientific breakthroughs, nutritionists use research to inform their decisions, advice, and product formulations.
“The best way supplement companies can help horses reach their potential is through research. Investigating ingredient efficacy and safety versus simply using the next most popular ingredient.”
This research is exactly what helps set FullBucket apart.
“FullBucket truly focuses on the animal and using ingredients with known benefits,” Amanda says, “With veterinarian founders of the company and a Ph.D. nutritionist on staff, FullBucket has a rare company environment with collaborative efforts of broad expertise that have the potential to leave a substantial positive impact on the industry and the animals that work hard for us.”
Looking Ahead and Shaping the Future
With a passion for mentoring budding equine industry professionals, Amanda states that students motivate her to keep going, recognizing that “today’s students are the future leaders of our industry.”
“From youth just beginning their exposure to the industry to graduate students pursuing higher education in the animal sciences, that is what pushes me to be better every day.”
Looking ahead, Dr. Bradbery aims to play a role in continuing to advance the equine industry through science.
“From a nutritional perspective, we can improve by recognizing that horses are not humans and that the fads in human nutrition are not always the best for our horses. There is always room for improvement in every industry.”
Additionally, she recognizes the importance of sharing scientific knowledge with all members of the horse community:
“We need to be better at making research available and understandable with concerted efforts to optimize management and nutritional strategies. This will be the best way to make a major push for maximizing health and performance horse potential.”
FullBucket is thankful for our collaboration with Dr. Bradbery that helps us to improve animal health by being good & doing good.