In this article, and the next, we would like to touch on an area of horse nutrition that poses most difficulty for the owner – that is Minerals and Vitamins. This is such a complex area that we must be very careful to be guided by the professionally qualified Nutritionist. Horse owners are infamous for adding a bit of this and a bit of that to feeds already balanced by the experts. I sometimes think that this extra adding simply makes the owner feel that they are giving their horse something special. All this is done in the genuine interest of the horse but not necessarily with the knowledge of mineral and vitamin interaction. It is not as simple as throwing in a handful of minerals. A mineral added at incorrect levels can affect the absorption and interaction with other minerals.
For example, elevated copper (Cu ) in the diet can increase the need for selenium ( Se ). Bran contains high levels of phosphorus and these high levels inhibit the absorption of calcium in the gut. Therefore because of the significance of calcium to the growing horse, bran should not be included in their ration.
We have all heard the saying ‘a little knowledge is dangerous’. Well when it comes to equine nutrition this can be very true. Mi-Feed ensures that all horse feeds are nutritionally balanced and advise that extra minerals and vitamins should not be added without proper consultation. If you mix your own feeds we suggest that you use our Equine Gold Premix or seek advice from a professional on the best Mineral and Vitamin Premix to suit your horses requirements in this geographic region.
There are two types of mineral groups essential to the horse. The first of these are Macro Minerals and as the name suggests they are required in relatively large amounts. The group includes calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride and sulphur. The second, required in very small quantities, are called trace minerals and include iron, zinc, manganese, copper, cobalt, selenium, fluorine, iodine and molybdenum.
Horses by nature are forage (pasture) eating animals. In areas where pasture is naturally good or improved, horses fed lucerne hay in addition to grazing and performing little or no work can usually survive on virtually no mineral supplementation. Unfortunately most coastal pastures in this part of the world are deficient in certain minerals. Hence the need to include mineral supplementation. This is especially important when horses are in work and on grain based diets. Because grains contain less essential minerals than forage feeds, once a horse is in work and feeding on a grain mix, mineral supplementation is critical to total health. Mineral and vitamin requirements of mares in foal and for growing horses are generally double the normal requirements. Mi-Feed’s Breed Performer addresses this requirement to ensure normal growth and development.
Mi-Feed is based on the Sunshine Coast. This fact alone makes us aware of just how important Mineral and Vitamin supplementation is in a mix fed to animals in subtropical regions.
We have consulted with leaders in the field to ensure our Equine Premix’s meet the needs of horses being fed Micronised feeds from Mi-Feed.