You may be wasting hard-earned cash if you’re feeding mature (but not old), healthy pleasure horses a multi-vitamin supplement when they’re grazing good pasture!
Vitamins are defined as ‘organic substances that are necessary for correct nutrition in plants and animals.’ Although they’re only needed in small quantities, vitamins are essential for the formation of coenzymes to regulate many metabolic processes and as important antioxidants to support immune function and muscle recovery after exercise.
Although ALL HORSES NEED to have minerals added to balance their diets (especially copper, zinc, selenium, iodine and often calcium, phosphorous, salt and magnesium), vitamins excess to requirements can reach toxic levels or will just make expensive urine. That’s money down the toilet!
Mature horses in light work usually get all the vitamins they need from their feed, especially if they’re grazing good green pasture. The exception is vitamin E which, although present in pasture, is frequently not at high enough levels to meet the horse’s requirements. Therefore it is worthwhile to add a vitamin E supplement, and many owners choose to add biotin as an aid to hoof growth and quality.
Growing, hard-working, breeding, sick, stressed and aged horses all will benefit from broad-spectrum vitamin supplementation.
Vitamins for Horses
Horses eating more hay than green grass can become vitamin A deficient, since levels of this vitamin decline rapidly in stored hay.
Green feed, grains and the microbes in a healthy horse gut produce many of the B-group vitamins that a horse requires. The physical stress of hard work, growing, illness or transport negatively impacts on gut health, reducing vitamin B production at a time when their need for these vitamins are high. The eight B-group vitamins are thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cyanocobalamin (B12).
Unlike humans, horses make their own vitamin C supplies in the liver but it is advisable to supplement additional vitamin C to horses in heavy work or over the age of 15.
Horses exposed to sunlight produce adequate supplies of vitamin D in their skin.
Vitamin K is required for blood clotting and bone health and usually sourced from fresh green plants and microbial synthesis within the gut. Vitamin K is frequently added to vitamin supplements for growing and hard-working horses.
Multi-Vitamin Supplements for Horses
The Equine Vit&Min range features two supplements which BALANCE MINERAL levels but only provide essential vitamin E and a serve of biotin for mature horses in light work with access to good grazing.
Equine Vit&Min’s EVM ESSENTIALS contains all the nutrients we consider ESSENTIAL in balancing horse diets, providing Australia’s most affordable excellence in equine nutrition. EVM Essentials contains the same mineral levels as the popular EVM Premium Blend but without the extra vitamins that horses at rest or in light work rarely need. A single scoop provides all the minerals required to overcome deficiencies and balance mineral ratios along with a generous serve of essential vitamin E and biotin.
Equine Vit&Min TropiCAL Blend provides all the minerals often missing from the diet including extra calcium for horses grazing high oxalate pastures. TropiCAL contains a blend of chelated and inorganic minerals with added salt, biotin and Vitamin E.
All Equine Vit&Min products give you the freedom to raise or lower your horse’s calorie intake (by feeding more or less hard feed) with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that mineral requirements are being met.