Choose One and Stick To It!Ernie

There are two choices when it comes to feeding your horse Vitamins & Minerals

  1. Feed plain feeds and add your Vitamins & Minerals separately
  2. Feed pre-mixed feeds that include vitamins and  minerals

Actually there is a third option and that is ‘don’t bother at all’ in the hope that the grass and any other feed will provide sufficient nutrition to keep the horse healthy. Spare horses or those not being ridden are often  left to their own devices in this way but if you want the quiet ride at the weekend, the best performance at the event or a strong, healthy foal, then best not to take any chances.

Most people want to do their best by their horse so will go for the first two options. The most important thing is to choose option 1 or 2 and stick to it!

Feeding a scoop of a pre-mixed feed and then adding bits and pieces from other sources leads to your horse’s nutrition being a ‘hodge-podge’. You run the risk of doubling up on some elements and not providing enough of others. This can have more serious consequences for your horse than what you at first think as you are tinkering with his delicate metabolism. Doubling up on nutrients like selenium can lead to serious toxicity issues.

In the photo is Ernie, a HOY Champion Debutante Park Hack who was fed plain feeds with Premium NZ Horse Minerals since he was 2 years old.

 

What to choose?

Cherokee

We have had the BEST results since swapping to plain feeds and adding vitamins & minerals that are already mixed  in the correct ratios and contain the necessary co-factors ( other vitamins or minerals which are necessary for the original mineral to be utilised).
For instance magnesium is a vital co-factor for calcium to be deposited into bones and Vitamin E is necessary for selenium to work.

The Advantages of Option 1...

  • That you can vary the carbohydrate (sugar & starch) content of your horse’s diet without varying the dose of Vitamins and Minerals. If your horse needs to lose weight you can cut down the carbs without messing with his mineral levels. When varying the amounts of pre-mixed feeds you are varying everything in that feed.
  • You can add top quality vitamins & minerals containing organic forms better utilised within the horse. Being already attached to their appropriate amino acid they will not interfere with the absorption of other minerals. This is especially the case with minerals like iron. Horses are usually well supplied with iron as they are always nibbling around on the dirt. If a supplement contains large quantities of inorganic iron then it will be detrimental to copper, zinc and Vit E absorption. Organic iron, on the other hand, being already attached will give maximum use of the copper, zinc & Vit E in the blend.
  • The effect of the vitamins & minerals in combination is far greater than  if  you added the effect of each  separate component creating a superior synergyof the whole brew giving you the most value for money.

 


Supplementation

When horses become minerally deficient or imbalanced it will show as perplexing health and behavioural issues, impaired movement and proneness to laminitis and head-flicking.  

Supplementing with effective Vitamins and Minerals is absolutely the economical way to go when you consider the alternatives costs of all the on-going  investigations and treatments when you can’t figure out what is going wrong! You are better to spend your money on good hay (to correctly feed the flora in the hind-gut with coarse fibrous material ) and high spec Vitamins & Minerals, the building blocks of superb health. Health bills go down, riding enjoyment goes up!
It is an unfortunate fact that in NZ, most of our horses are finished their useful lives before they are 20! They should still be rideable at least to their late twenties and early thirties. For one thing they can only live as long as their teeth!

Chronic lifetime deficiencies of minerals like calcium, magnesium, boron, phosphorous, copper, zinc and Vitamin D will mean early onset of bad dentition. Retirement will come too soon due to degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, and arthritis. Sway backs develop, and/or  Cushing’s sets in.

The onset of  these conditions should be postponed for five to ten years by providing a high fibre, minerally balanced diet since conception!