“I don’t need my horse to look like a show horse.”
“He’s just a camp drafter, looks don’t count.”
“She’s only a few months in foal and the grass is good.”
“They look healthy, and I never need the vet.”
“He’s spelling. I’ll save some money, he won’t need supplements now.”
“She’s fat, she doesn’t need a feed.”
“They get silly when fed supplements.”
If you’ve ever avoided supplementing minerals for these reasons then your horse has been mineral deficient – either not getting enough of every mineral required OR from a secondary deficiency caused by consuming minerals that are not balanced across the diet (too much of one means not absorbing enough of another). We know this from looking at the mineral levels from thousands of samples of plants that have been accurately measured.
- The levels of minerals in grass don’t provide everything a horse needs to meet the minimum daily requirement for every mineral.
- The ratios of minerals in grass aren’t balanced to provide the mineral ratios that research demonstrates are necessary for optimal nutrition. For instance, the grass in the graph above contains 32 times as much iron as copper, when the horse needs around 6 times more iron than copper in the diet. This ratio imbalance could exacerbate the copper deficiency. Therefore copper must be supplemented to balance the amount of iron naturally occurring in the pasture.
- This trend is true even includes well fertilised good quality grasses and grasses grown on good soils.
Why? It’s because plants only put into leaves and stems the nutrients they need to be plants (they’re not too worried about the nutritional requirements of those who eat them!). These facts are based on scientifically measured values – the mineral content of plants AND the proven daily minimum levels a horse needs to avoid a deficiency.
Although minerals are often fed as part of a pre-mixed feed, they can be supplemented separately to give the owner control over the level of calories consumed while still providing all the minerals needed. This is particularly important for horses who get enough (or more than enough!) calories from grass alone.
What could be different if I do start to supplement with minerals?
- Healthy hoof growth – no hoof, no horse! Important for every horse from broodmares and trail ride mounts to performance horses.
- Your horse’s body can repair and maintain itself more effectively for ongoing performance.
- Improved endurance is possible as the body has enough minerals to make enzymes critical for energy utilisation.
- Better feed use efficiency because the body has enough minerals to use energy more efficiently so you can feed less.
- A more resilient immune system.
- Optimal reproductive performance, with more mares in foal first cycle. Click here to read more about feeding pregnant mares.
- Less bone development and joint problems in growing horses.
- Less risk of diseases known to be caused by mineral deficiencies such as white muscle disease and bighead.
- A smaller feed bill.
- A darker, shiner coat (whether you like it or not!).
“Do I have to feed Equine Vit&Min to get these results?”
The answer is “No.” Minerals provided in the right amounts and correct ratios relative to each other will boost the health and performance of a previously deficient horse no matter whether they’re provided by a pre-mixed hard feed, Equine Vit&Min or any other quality supplement designed to balance the rest of the diet, including forage. However, with such a small daily cost and a unique ability to balance mineral ratios across the whole diet, the Equine Vit&Min range of powders and pellets makes it very simple to get the mineral levels just right. If you don’t believe me, just ask any qualified equine nutritionist!