Basic Feeding Of Horses – Supplements

I don’t believe in any supplement for horses unless there is a deficiency.  With the exception of starvation, mineral and vitamin deficiencies are rare in horses.

In every area of the country horse owners tell me their area is low in selenium yet I have never seen a case of selenium deficiency in horses.  In my general practice between 1984 and 1998 I would inject vitamin E plus selenium into mares a month before their delivery date to prevent retained placentas.  However the percentage of mares retaining their placentas was the same for mares I had injected (it had not prevented it) and those I had not given it.

Joint supplements and treats, herbs and spices, seeds and byproducts, chemicals and oils are really only carbohydrates, fats, proteins and minerals.  The purpose of “supplements” is to feed something missing in the diet yet there are few things that are missing for this efficient herbivore.

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I don’t believe in any supplement for horses unless there is a deficiency.  With the exception of starvation, mineral and vitamin deficiencies are rare in horses.

In every area of the country horse owners tell me their area is low in selenium yet I have never seen a case of selenium deficiency in horses.  In my general practice between 1984 and 1998 I would inject vitamin E plus selenium into mares a month before their delivery date to prevent retained placentas.  However the percentage of mares retaining their placentas was the same for mares I had injected (it had not prevented it) and those I had not given it.

Joint supplements and treats, herbs and spices, seeds and byproducts, chemicals and oils are really only carbohydrates, fats, proteins and minerals.  The purpose of “supplements” is to feed something missing in the diet yet there are few things that are missing for this efficient herbivore.  

The word “essential” is used in front of materials needed to be consumed and cannot be manufactured by the horse.  There is abundant evidence in horses and humans for the need to consume some of the amino acids to build the proteins of life. These essential amino acids that cannot be manufactured in the body are missing in the mono-grass fields that horses live in today and the mono-grass hay they are fed. 

All the fatty acids the horse needs are all made from the bacterial digestion of cellulose (structural carbohydrates of plants) and are therefore not considered essential because they do not need to be consumed.  They are manufactured in the body.  Minerals are abundant in water and plants grown in well maintained soil.  The hind gut bacteria make all the vitamins they need.

I believe that feeding supplements to horses is unnecessary unless there is a specific need.  I also believe there is a chronic protein deficiency and adding high quality protein to the diet is all a horse really needs to get the horses thriving when pastured in a non-wild field (cultivated), fed hay and. Most importantly, fed grain.

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Supplements – Decomplexicating Equine Nutrition Part 10 of 12

Betrayal

Mineral Deficiency In Horse Hay And Pasture

The Horsemanship Nutrition Course – included in the membership.