Featured post

4 Ways To Train Your Horse Faster And Better

Training any horse is a difficult process.  It takes a well-experienced rider to train horses as well as lots of time and a bucket load of ...

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Danger Horses Face With Minerals in Their Diet!

Today I'll show you how important it is to provide your horse with the correct balance of minerals to ensure you have the most healthy horse possible!  I recommend getting tests every year to get a good idea of what you are working with.   

 1. Iodine 

Now, I personally know a lot of people who give their horse seaweed as a supplement!  Some people use it for something that it is not meant for and some people use it because they think their horse needs extra iodine.  It's true, seaweed is a great way to get your horse to have extra iodine but only in certain situations!  Any horse that is ridden 7 days a week should need extra iodine right?  Well not exactly!  If your horse is in LIGHT or even MEDIUM work, even if ridden 7 days a week (very possible) should not need any extra iodine as they will get all they need from daily forage.  If your horse is in HEAVY work over 3 days per week then they will most likely require seaweed.  Other circumstances mares in foal who are in the last few months and occasionally stallions at stud.    

Now, on to dosage.   A normal tub of seaweed supplement will come with a 50ml scoop which will carry around 40-60 mg of iodine.  A horse which already gets iodine from forage will need around 7 mg of iodine per day meaning the 50ml scoop you get will give your horse around 7 times the recommended amount!  Feeding your horse seaweed can be fine if you know or think that your horse needed more iodine but you should only give them a 1ml scoop per day!  A scoop of that size sounds like nothing but will give your horse an extra 1.2 mg of iodine per day.  

 2. Iron  

Again, horses need iron!  You can, however, overload your horse with iron!  If your horse gets too much iron it can cause havoc for other essential vitamins.  Iron overload can cause other vitamins like copper and zinc to not be absorbed properly causing an imbalance.  Iron supplements are usually advertised as an energy or to enhance performance.  Your horse will get all the iron it needs (usually more!) from daily forage without adding more!  So if your horse needs a performance boost then choose a product with low iron! 

 3. Copper 

Copper is another important mineral that horses need but if they get too little or too much then it can cause a number of issues.  Too little copper can cause anaemia (and then be mistaken for an iron deficiency!)   whereas too much copper will cause a zinc deficiency and selenium absorption problems.   

Grass hay will provide around 9 mg per kg.  Now, a horse that weight 500kg should eat around 12.5kg of forage daily.  That means they will get around 112.5mg of copper.  This means that they will be getting 12.5mg more than the recommended 100 mg per day.  It doesn't sound like the biggest problem but the smallest change can make other minerals not perform in the correct way!   

4.  Magnesium  

Magnesium goes the same way as a lot of horses can have too much.  9 kg of forage (remembering that horses need around 12.5 kg of forage a day) carries around 22.7 g of magnesium!   
The problem is that makes people think that they do not get enough magnesium is that because of other minerals causing an imbalance and because the magnesium found in forage is not as absorbing your horse ill using only absorb 40-60%.  This means that a horse will still absorb around 9.8 – 11.6 g per day!   
A horse needs around 7.5 g for a normal horse and 15 g for competition horses.  Now,  a healthy horse's system will only use what it needs and pass the rest but a horse that already has a mineral imbalance will not cope well. 

 5.  Zinc 

Like I mentioned, when your horse consumes to much iron they can get a zinc deficiency.  Now, with the recommended amount of 12.5 kg of forage a day if your horse eats only hay they will consume around 312 mg of zinc per day.  If your horse eats grass then they will consume around 425 mg of zinc per day.  So, a grass fed only grass will absorb the right amount of zinc while a hay fed horse will need an extra 88 mg per day unless they have an imbalance.    

The best plan you get your horse to consume a healthy amount of each mineral I have mentioned is to get your land, hay and horse tested once a year to provide an accurate reading for what you need to supplement your horse so they get a balanced intake of minerals!   



  1. Super post and today you are Haynets Blog of the Day! Come and take a look: