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  • November 10, 2022 3 min read

    If you walk into a stock feeder these days, you will most likely be overwhelmed with all the supplements available for your horse. However, there are a few supplements you should consider feeding your horse due to some vitamins and minerals rapidly depleting in feedstuffs; hence the bioavailability can be low, so your horse isn't getting the required dosage. Let's take a look at some of these vitamins and minerals below. 

    Vitamin E is essential for a horse's immune system as well as their cardiovascular, circulatory, neuromuscular and reproductive functions. Horses are unable to make their own Vitamin E and so rely on food as their primary source. You may think hay would be a good source of Vitamin E; however, as soon as the hay is harvested, up to 85% of Vitamin E is lost! Therefore if your horse is predominantly on a hay-based diet or if you don't have access to green pastures, then it may be worthwhile supplementing with Vitamin E.  

    The dosage rate for Vitamin E is 1500 - 2000 IU per day for a 500 kg horse when at rest or in light work. Vitamin E can be supplemented using capsules from your local supermarket, or you can buy Vitamin E supplements such as KER Nano-E, Virbac White-E, Ranvet Muscle E or Kohnkes Own Mag E. 

    Lysine is an essential amino acid that is also often found to be deficient in the horse's diet, particularly in horses fed a hay-based diet or cereal grains. Similarly to Vitamin E, the horse cannot make its own lysine and must be supplemented. Lysine is essential for growth, tissue repair, blood building and muscle development primarily because it allows protein in feed to be used by the body. The recommended feeding rate of lysine is about 6g to 10g per day for a 500kg horse, and lysine is available to purchase from Animal Health Solutions or Stance Equitec L-Lysine. 

    To ensure that your horse is performing at its best, it is beneficial to consider Omega-3 supplementation. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for central nervous system development, immune function and the maintenance of cell membrane structure and function. Omega-3 supplementation is often recommended for those horses on a predominantly hay-based diet, as they would often miss out on this essential fatty acid. Omega-3s can be supplemented in various ways in the horse's diet, such as whole ground linseeds or linseed oil, KER EO-3, or CEN Oil. 

    Electrolytes (salt) are also a crucial mineral that controls blood volume, muscle and nerve function, plus maintains the blood's pH level. As we are entering into summer, the hot and humid weather will mean our horses require more salt in their diet. Horses in heavy work will also need to be supplemented. Horses need about 10g of salt per day for a 500kg horse. You can choose to supplement this directly in their feed by using table salt or butcher's salt. You can also use a salt block in their stable so that they can choose when to take in more salt. Some people like to feed iodised salt; however, if you are feeding a commercially prepared feed, chances are that feed will contain iodine, and so iodised salt may not be appropriate in this instance. 

    The best way to ensure that your horse receives an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals for its workload is to conduct a feed analysis. This will ensure that your diet is well-balanced and suitable for your horse. It also may save you some money, as often we tend to over-supplement our horses, and in some instances, over-supplementation can be hazardous to our horse's health. Therefore before altering or making any changes to your horse's diet, it is highly recommended to conduct a detailed feed analysis or consult an equine nutritionist or your vet. 

    We have an extensive range of vitamin and mineral supplements, so if you are looking for something in particular, please visit us in-store or online; we would be more than happy to help! 

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