Thank you to Nutrena for providing our readers with some great educational pieces.
Balancing Vitamin & Minerals in the Equine Diet
Horses fed strictly forage diets (hay or pasture) are almost always found to be deficient in their recommended vitamins & minerals. Most forages exhibit peaks & valleys in their vitamin & mineral content leaving the horse with the same peaks & valleys in their TOTAL diet. These “valleys” or deficiencies will typically manifest themselves in poor-hair quality, poor hoof quality or a general lack of condition in the horse. These might be good indications that your horse has a vitamin/mineral deficiency or imbalance within their diet, but deficiencies can often go visually unnoticed for months or even years.
It is important to remember that horses require a concentrate or supplement in addition to their hay to ensure the diet is balanced. The challenge lies in finding the right product fit whether it be SafeChoice (a concentrate); providing additional calories and the necessary vitamins and minerals, OR Empower Balance (supplement/balancer); which provides minimal calories but all the necessary vitamins and minerals, balancing the diet of the “easy keeper” or strictly forage diet. Concentrates & supplements should be fed at no less than the minimum recommended feeding rate based on your horse’s age and activity level to ensure that they are receiving the proper nutrients.
Lastly, all horses should have free-choice access to clean water and salt.
** Want to learn more about what’s in your hay and how to balance your horse’s diet? Come to the Idaho Horse Expo April 20-22nd at the Idaho Horse Park and visit the Nutrena booth! We’ll have hay testing with instant results and customized recommendations based on those results. For more info, including how to take a hay sample, go to www.nutrenaworld.com/hay.