Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vitamins and Minerals

I've been doing a lot of research on vitamins and minerals in horses. What should they have, what would be too much, what is lacking in my area, and what the heck it all means. I made up a spreadsheet of Lilly's feed and supplements to make it easy for my brain to see what she's getting, but it doesn't include the grass or hay, so it's fairly incomplete. My boarding barn gets hay from many different suppliers, so while I could have it tested to know for sure what it contains, I'd have to have it retested again the next time they got a different batch of hay.

It's all a bit overwhelming to be honest... and it's all starting to stress me out.

Here's the spreadsheet I made up. It includes the Enrich Plus (formerly Enrich 32), the SmartHoof supplement, her U-Gard pellets, and her MSM. She's getting 1 lb of Enrich per day, which is the recommended amount for her size and work load. She also has a mineral block in her stall, but there's no way to know how much of that she's ingesting per day, so I didn't include that.

Feed and supplement spreadsheet.
Next I went searching for a list of mineral concentrations in my area. I don't know how old the information I found is, although it seemed to be fairly up to date based on the information on the site. I was searching specifically for zinc, so that's why it's highlighted in the picture below.

Mineral concentrations in my county.
After that was all done, I tried to find something that would tell me how much of each mineral horses should have per day. I'm not qualified to use the site I found that would tell me how to figure that out (I'd need a PhD. to use that site), so I ended up with something that was published about 15 years ago. How accurate it is for 2013, I don't know.

Daily requirements for horses.
Now that I have all the information (or most of it, maybe...), I have to try and make sense of it all. Milligrams, grams, percentages, parts per million... I was using conversion table websites like a crazy woman the other day. So far, I'm fairly clueless. I did speak with my vet about doing some blood work on Lilly, though, so we can see exactly what she's got going on inside. I'm hoping to be armed with a bit more information after my appointment with the trimmer tomorrow, so I told my vet I'd get back with her for sure about the blood work.

Thanks for all your comments about muzzles in the last post too... it's still on my radar. I'll probably end up getting her one and see how it goes.


  1. It is confusing but with a little bit of math, doable. If your hay is at least reasonably local, that can tell you a lot about likely mineral amounts.

  2. If you have the money to spend, FeedXL will cut most of that work out for you.

  3. Horse nutrition is way too complicated. I had a friend that had a horse nutritionist come out, and after the first visit where they figured out how to balance her diet perfectly (which I'm sure was way expensive) all follow up visits are free. Luckily my horse is pretty easy to figure out, but if I had a hard to keep horse, I might consider it.

    In my area we have an 'equilix' which I'm not sure if its formulated specifically for my area or if there are different ones based on the needs etc, but it is really good for them, somewhat expensive (about 70 dollars for i think a 25 lb salt lick) but obviously lasts a while, and contains a really nice balance of minerals

  4. Looks like our feeding program has been very similar! We were doing one pound of Enrich 32, a scoop of U-Gard, a scoop of MSM, and SmartOmega 3. After the show back in the spring we changed to U-Gard and SmartCombo to cover a few more bases. Loving it so far, darnit! Glad Husband doesn't look at the receipts...