Why Use Horse Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Why Use Horse Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Authored By AmacronEquine Admin

The health and wellbeing of your horse is of primary importance and many owners turn to horse vitamin and mineral supplements as both a practical and effective way to enhance their horse’s dietary and nutritional profile. Determining the best vitamin and mineral supplements for horses is more than trial and error. Appropriate advice, good research, quality equine supplements and close monitoring of your horse’s improvements and responses are best practice when it comes to ensuring your favourite four-legged is in optimal condition.

Love your horse

Supplementation can take a wide variety of roles in a horse’s life, at different times and for different reasons. Some of these roles include:

  • Protective – to provide a barrier or safeguard
  • Restorative – to assist in recovery and after times of lack
  • Replenishing – to rebuild and replace that lost through activity
  • Enhancing – to assist in optimal health and performance

Supplements provide simple-to-administer, easily accessible and effective ways to respond to the often daily challenges of feeding a horse appropriately, and meeting their changing needs physically, mentally and even emotionally.

Horse Supplements

While vitamins and minerals can be sourced from a variety of suppliers, formulations specifically developed for the equine industry ensure fitness for task, and safeguard against unintended misdosing or underdosing. The additional needs of large animals, such as horses, means owners need to understand the concentration of formulations and the unique needs of their horse. Reputable supplement suppliers can provide such reassurance, with research and advice an extension of their service.

What are some of the scenarios where vitamin and mineral supplementation might be appropriate or necessary? Here are ten reasons why your horse(s) might benefit from additional nutritional support:

  • Constitutional – Some horses, just like some humans, need a little extra support because of their inherent constitution. Internal and biochemical states within the body may inhibit the absorption of some nutrients or be influenced by particular likes or dislikes of a horse (sometimes known as the fussy eater).

  • General dietary inadequacies – Variations caused by change of paddock, change of location, and change of season may warrant vit and min support to help bridge changes in conditions. Soil quality is a key determinant of grass nutrients and this varies naturally from region to region and even paddock to paddock. Sunshine, rain, shade and the natural variations in season impact on the nutrients available in the natural diet. Even when pasture testing is done, and feeds are prepared to meet particular nutritional deficits in soil, it is often necessary to supplement as pasture can change from week to week. A vitamin and mineral balancer supplement such as Plusvital Racing Syrup (suitable for all horses) provides peace of mind that nutritional needs are being met.

  • To enhance particular dietary protocols – Many vitamins and minerals work in unison to improve efficacy and absorption – for example Vitamin D and calcium should be taken together. Quality formulations contain specific and proven ingredients that work synergistically to boost the value to health and maintain the right balance.

  • To foster or replenish the microbiome - Supporting good gut health and ensuring the right balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive system provides a baseline of optimal health. Gut related problems, such as ulcers, are the number one problem for horse owners and prevention is better than cure.
A probiotic pellet such as Gut Health Plus added to the daily feed routine will protect the gut lining, assist in digestion and help maintain the appropriate acid/alkaline balance in the gut – contributing to a healthier happier horse.

  • Different life stages or events – During the course of a lifetime every horse naturally moves through different growth and development stages that may place additional demands on the body.

    Pregnancy especially in the third trimester, lactation, recovery from injury, adolescence and growth stages particularly when young, are key times when horse supplements are appropriate and often necessary. A good nutrition boost during the third trimester is Plusvital Breeding Syrup, a vitamin and mineral balancer designed for broodmares and foals. Calphormin is another supplement that is helpful for broodmares, and also for foals from weaning until three years old. This Calcium & Phosphorus supplement ensures the development of strong and healthy bones ready for the rigours of sports and performance.

At the other end of the life span, ageing horses can be supported to improve quality of life, and help with inflammation or alleviation of discomfort such as that caused by arthritis or reduced joint mobility.

  • To support different levels of work – A turned out or resting horse will have different nutritional needs to one in the active competition season. During periods of intense work, vital minerals are lost through sweat, and supplementation can greatly aid recovery. Exercise periods in warmer weather place different demands on a horse than those in other seasons. A horse that is rugged or stabled for long periods of time during daylight hours may, for example, benefit from vitamin D supplementation.

  • To achieve a short-term outcome – Horse owners may seek specific outcomes from equine supplements such as improving coat shine or reducing anxious behaviours before floating or events.

  • To complement or support treatment plans suggested by your vet including other prescription medications, such as probiotics during or after a course of antibiotics or treatment for ulcers.

  • As part of a sustained dietary enhancement practice – No diet is perfect and some owners simply appreciate the added security of knowing they are proactively ensuring the best possible health for their horses.

  • As essential health insurance – Even a perfectly healthy horse can benefit from a supplementation program as a means of ensuring continued good health. Prevention is better than cure and early intervention is key to proactive health management. Many owners find assurance in continuous supplementation to get ahead of ‘when things go wrong’. Ask “What can I do to ensure my horse stays this healthy?” To further enhance a healthy future, proactive horse owners may also consider adopting the practice of steaming hay to reduce the likelihood of respiratory problems down the track.

The diagnosis of a health deficit and a suitable treatment plan is a series of decisions best made with the input of a trained medical professional such as your vet or nutritional specialist. It is important to understand any contraindications that may exist between any form of medical or general supplement and be fully informed as to likely outcomes and how to gauge the effectiveness of what you are supplementing and be able to adjust as required. Equine nutritional medicine is a highly specialised field and every horse can present differently. It’s also a fascinating field to study, and one that horse owners often fine rewarding and insightful. Understanding your horses’ health from the inside out can be illuminating both on the ground and in the saddle.

A trusted brand or endorsement from a reputable supplier is step number one. Always read the label and ask questions if you don’t understand what various ingredients are or do. And always check on palatability – we’ve all known a fussy eater who is surprisingly adept at rejecting feed buckets with previously unknown additions to them!

young child on horse

Good health is just the beginning for your horse – optimal health comes with a little knowledge and guidance, and a willingness to provide only the best vitamin and minerals supplements, together with your best care. A healthy horse is a thriving, happy horse.

If you would like any advice call the team at Amacron Equine 1300 791 653

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