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When do I need to supplement my horse with vitamins and minerals?

When do I need to supplement my horse with vitamins and minerals?
5 May 2020 | Foran Equine

We hear lots about vitamins and minerals when it comes to feeding our horses these days, they are an essential inclusion in any equine diet, but all the information out there can be a bit puzzling.  Different feed manufacturer’s do different things, some do not include any, while others vary the amount according to the type of feed, whether it be performance or convalescence.

When feeding a hard feed that includes a vitamin and mineral package, it can be a little confusing when a nutritionist advises you to add another source of them to your horse’s diet.  This advice may be based on the amount of hard feed you’re providing, if it’s too little then it may not meet the recommended daily requirements for your horse.  For feeds that have little or no vitamin and mineral package added, then supplementing the diet with these things is important to ensure your horse is receiving a fully balanced diet.

So, we know that ensuring your horse is receiving an optimal supply of vitamins and minerals is vital, but did you know this is also the case for certain amino acids?  There are 11 amino acids classed as essential, they must be provided in the diet, because the horse cannot make them for itself. Further to this lysine and methionine are known as limiting essential amino acids, because without them the work of other amino acids is limited further. Feeds with a low-quality protein source will often lack adequate levels of these essential amino acids, resulting in the need to supplement your horse’s daily ration.

Apart from your hard feed ration not providing enough, either due to amount fed or type, there are multiple reasons why you may need to consider supplementing your horse’s diet with additional nutrients, these could include:

  • You have a good doer who requires little or no hard feed but still needs a fully balanced diet.
  • You need to limit hard feed intake due to specific conditions, such as; laminitis, insulin resistance or equine metabolic syndrome.
  • Your horse may have poor appetite meaning you need to boost nutrient intake in a concentrated way, as well as increasing B vitamin intake to stimulate appetite.
  • You may be feeding a diet of straights, such as oats or barley which are naturally low in certain vitamins and minerals; e.g. oats have low calcium which disrupts the calcium phosphorus ratio of the total diet.
  • You may have a horse that is on a forage only diet.Chevinal

Foran Equine Chevinal is a highly palatable liquid that provides an extensive list of vitamins and minerals, plus the essential amino acids lysine and methionine.  Foran Equine Chevinal can address the above scenarios to optimise your horse’s nutritional intake.  It has the convenience of being given orally or fed as part of your daily feed ration, reducing the need for excess hard feed.

Being able to provide a low calorie, well balanced supplement to boost nutrient intake is of importance with the “good doer”.  With these horses, monitoring body condition score (BCS) is crucial, you should aim for a score of 3 (out of 5) and you should feed according to BCS and exercise levels.  If your horse’s exercise level is reduced, you should alter hard feed intake and provide a supplement like Foran Equine Chevinal to maintain a balanced diet without the excess of calories.

It can be difficult to know how to provide a well-balanced diet for your horse, especially without giving any unwanted calories, get in touch with our nutritional experts to discuss your individual horse’s needs and how best to meet them to optimise your horse’s well being throughout the year.