An adequate diet is one that provides the animal with all the nutrients it needs. However, depending on the situation and activity of each horse, it may be necessary to reinforce the feeding in several places. In today’s article we will talk about basic supplements for horses.
How to feed the horse?
The feeding of the horse depends on the activity that the animal carries out, especially if it is used for competitions or strenuous jobs. In these cases, it is advisable to review your diet incorporating the supplements to be taken daily.
Recommended daily rations
First of all, to ensure that the animal receives the right amount of food, the correct proportions of food must be calculated …
- Light activity: 70% forage and 30% feed.
- Moderate activity: 60% forage and 40% feed.
- Strenuous activity or competition: 50% forage and 50% feed.
In the latter case, due to high demands, it will be essential to incorporate specific supplements for horses.
What are supplements?
During sporting activities or strenuous work, the horse needs to complement its nutrition with vitamin supplements that increase the nutritional levels of the feed.
In this way, we try to reach the correct level of vitamins according to the needs of the animal.
Types of supplements
The vitamin supplements for horses on the market are sold in liquid, powder, granule or syringe format. It starts with the simplest, like Vitamin E or C, up to those that mix various nutrients.
Furthermore, there are supplements made with natural products. An example of this is the mix of nettle, flax and calendula.
Food supplements for horses: Where to start?
Vitamin A, D and K:
Vitamin A is often present naturally in the basic diet, as long as the fodder is of good quality and is given in adequate portions.
A quality forage is distinguished by its green color and a fresh and natural smell.
Vitamins C and B
These should be incorporated daily and usually dissolve in water.
Depending on the energy expenditure and the needs of the horse, they are also important:
- Boiled flax seeds: they provide protein. They should be given in small quantities during meals.
- Linseed oil: improves digestion and the animal’s coat.
- Cod liver oil: provides Vitamin D and is recommended in winter for animals that live in a box.
- Natural supplements: carrots and apples, great sources of vitamins and minerals and generally loved by horses.
Short term effects
If the diet is good but the animal needs more help to make the most of it, high-yield supplements are ideal.
These can be in liquid format based on:
- Vitamin B1, B2, B6.
- Folic acid.
What are nutraceuticals?
The vitamins we have seen so far are the basic ones in a diet. On the contrary, the Nutraceuticals are supplements that combine herbs with pharmaceutical items – not drugs.
They have the particularity of increasing the horse’s defenses and the body’s ability to absorb and heal itself. These produce a natural effect, and the benefits are long term.
Be careful not to overdo it
When talking about vitamins and horse supplements it is essential to respect the correct quantities.
If different supplements or mixtures of more supplements are administered, the total volume of the ration should be checked, as excessive consumption can be toxic to the animal.
Excess Vitamin A: generates kidney problems. The symptoms associated with it are:
- Loss of night vision.
- Excess of tears.
- Fertility reduction.
Excess Vitamin D, is highlighted with:
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- The animal drinks too much water and excess urine.
- Calcification of the kidneys.
Here is how to administer food supplements
- It must be taken into account that not all vitamins are the same. Furthermore, the body’s absorption capacity must also be considered.
- It is also necessary to evaluate which potent mixtures (Vitamin E with selenium) or degrade (Vitamin E or C with iron and copper) the effects of the supplement.
- It is good to rely on the nutrients the horse receives through hay, alfalfa, cereals or feed.
- The physical condition and the degree of work of the horse to identify the appropriate supplement should be reviewed.
- If you mix different supplements, make sure that you do not exceed the permitted nutrient levels.
Finally, it is always good to inquire and not believe all the promises of miracles and instant results. At the same time, it is advisable to consult a trusted veterinarian able to measure rations according to the specific situation of the animal.