For centuries, horses have relied solely on water and grazing for sustenance. Just as with humans, scientific research has identified many vitamins and minerals that can enhance the equine diet. In addition to providing a nutritional boost, equine supplements can help prevent or fight disease, and aid in providing valuable support for hooves, the coat, joints, and more.
Depending on the method of delivery, supplements are variously available in pellet form, as a feed-through product to be mixed with regular feed, or as treats. Older horses, pregnant or lactating mares, and active horse will be most likely to be placed a supplement regimin; as always, discuss with your veterinarian. Some recommendations might include the following:
- Protein: a key source of energy, and the building blocks of muscles and ligaments.
- Fats: another energy source, usually provided via vegetable oil or rice bran.
- Vitamins: recommended for ill or less active horses, since most vitamins are acquired naturally (e.g. vitamin D via sunlight, vitamin E in forage)
- Minerals: prescribed to complement the allowances of sodium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and others naturally available in feed and forage
- Electrolytes: to help replenish nutrients after exercise and other intense physical activities
In addition to the examples already mentioned, key supplements available today can help with respiratory ailments, muscle recovery, inflammatory conditions, and calming. Most recommended horse supplements are all natural or herbal, as opposed to synthetic, to complement the horse’s delicate digestive system.
A healthy horse is a happy horse, and a happy horse makes a happy owner. Maintaining your horse’s health with proper food and supplements will help ensure he or she reaches the full potential lifespan.