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Vitamin & Mineral Balancers

Basic Needs Still Deserve Basic Science

Copper, zinc, selenium, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin B1, folic acid, biotin… and these are just a few of the list of vitamins and minerals that can be fed to horses.

Look at the label on a vitamin and mineral supplement and you may see 30 or more different ingredients listed. What’s more, if you compare the labels of different products and certainly from different manufacturers, you will find dramatic differences in amounts, ingredients, and versions of even for the same vitamin or mineral.

So what determines a horse or pony's vitamin and mineral requirements? There are a large number of different factors. For example: age, breed, soil type where forage grows (some soils will be deficient for certain minerals and others may supply an excess), hours of work each week, discipline (endurance, racing, dressage, show jumping, trail, reining, etc., all have different demands), level of competition, time of year, stage of growth (growing, mature, veteran), gender/reproductive status (stallion, mare, pregnant mare, lactating mare, gelding), underlying disease (e.g. respiratory disease, muscle disease, GI health), etc.

In simple terms the requirements can probably best described by age, weight, and activity level, such as leisure (low-moderate activity) versus performance (moderate to high activity). Further, horses that are considered veterans (15 years or more and low to moderate activity) have special needs to help support aging tissues and less active immune systems. So how should vitamin and mineral supplements for these different groups be formulated? It should certainly not be random or by guesswork. 

There is a large volume of scientific literature concerning requirements and safe levels of different nutrients that are usually included in vitamin and mineral supplements. Much of this information is readily available to anyone in the form of published scientific papers; it’s simply a case of sitting down and being able to evaluate it and apply it. Much of the information has also been incorporated into consensus publications such as the NRC (National Research Council, USA) Nutrient Requirements of Horses, the BASF, and books such as Equine Applied and Clinical Nutrition.

Our WellHorse range (Leisure, Performance, and Veteran are formulated to meet these exact needs. 

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