Equine Nutrition Tips I
Adapted from an article by Bob
Many feed supplements have been developed to
address specific needs for horses. While they
may lack definitive scientific support,
anecdotal evidence shows that these supplements
are indeed beneficial.
However, before we begin to worry about what
supplements to feed our mounts we first need to
have a basic understanding of what an equine
needs in its general diet. This article hopes to
What Horses Have to Have:
1. Water - it makes up over 50% of their body
2. Protein - made up of amino acids
a. 23 total amino acids
b. 10 essential amino acids
c. dl-methionine is the most important amino
acid for hoof growth. It helps prevent edema
and various infections, and works with
choline to fight against tumors.
3. Fats - an energy source for the horse.
Fats have 2.25 x more energy per gram than
proteins or carbohydrates.
a. Calcium and phosphorus
c. Sodium, chloride and potassium
d. Iodine - stops the spread of fungus and
dreaded bacteria and viruses in the hoof and
skin. Certain amounts work through the
thyroid gland to produce helpful bacterial
antibodies needed for good health.
e. Trace minerals. One of the most important
is zinc. It helps
promote tissue growth at a faster rate.
Helps fight infections.
f. Inositol - Helps to properly utilize
choline. Promotes healthy hair, hoof and
g. Selenium - A mineral essential in
promoting hoof growth and quality. It is
also required for proper muscle function and
endurance. Selenium possesses anti-fungal
a. Fat soluble: A, D, E, and K
Vitamin A - promotes tissue growth, strong
bones, hoof, healthy skin, hair, teeth and
gums. Helps build resistance to disease.
Vitamin D - Helps properly utilize vitamin
A, calcium, phosphorus. Necessary for strong
bones, teeth and hoofs.
Vitamin E - Helps to retard cellular aging;
an anti-oxidant. Supplies oxygen to the
cells for better endurance. Helps fight
fatigue, accelerates healing and growth.
b. Water soluble: Thiamine, riboflavin,
niacin, vitamin C, pantothenic acid,
pyridoxine and biotin.
Niacin - Helps increase circulation of blood
to areas of the body for faster healing and
dl-biotin - Second most important nutrient
in hoof growth and repair. Helps alleviate
eczema and dermatitis through utilization of
Choline - Helps eliminate poisons from the
system by aiding the liver; helps nerve
response to aid the healing.
Now that these six major
areas of nutrition needs have been addressed in
the next article we'll discuss supplements in
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