FEED AND NUTRITION

A BALANCING ACT WITH MINERALS

HORSES ARE FED HAY BY THE BALE, WATER BY THE BUCKET AND GRAIN BY THE SCOOP. IT IS EASY TO SEE, MEASURE, AND REGULATE THE POUNDS AN GALLONS OF THESE DIETARY STAPLES IN A HORSE'S DAILY RATIONS.  IN CONTRAST, HORSES CONSUME MERE SPOONFULS OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS DAILY.  MOST OF THOSE ARE LOCKED WITHIN THE BASIC FEEDSTUFFS AND THESE ARE INVISIBLE TO THE EYE.  THE AMOUNT OF ANY INDIVIDUAL VITAMIN OR MINERAL A HORSE EATS DAILY MAY SEEM TRIVIAL IN THE CONTEXT OF ITS TOTAL DIET, BUT IT'S IMPACT ON THE ANIMAL'S OVERALL HEALTH IS FAR FROM INSIGNIFICANT.

MINERALS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR THOUSAND BO BIOCHEMICAL FUNCTIONS THAT OCCUR THROUGHOUT THE BODY.  WITHOUT THEM, BONES COULD NOT FORM, MUSCLES COULD NOT CONTRACT, AND THE BRAIN WOULD NOT FUNCTION.  WHILE THE HORSES BODY CAN MANUFACTURE CERTAIN VITAMINS ON ITS OWN, ALL OF ITS MINERAL NEEDS MUSTY BE SUPPLIED FROM DIETARY SOURCES.  

MATURE HORSES THAT ARE IDE OR IN LIGHT WORK CAN EASILY MEET THEIR DAILY MINERAL NEEDS IF THEY RECEIVE HIGH QUALITY FOLIAGE GROWN ON WELL MANAGED SOILS AND HAVE FREE ACCESS TO A LOOSE TRACE MINERALIZED SALT MIX.  THE MAJOR MINERALS IN A HORSE'S DIET AND THEIR FUNCTIONS ARE LISTED BELOW:

 

MACRO MINERALS

CALCIUM(CA):  ROLE IN DIET - BONE FORMATION. About 35% of the equine skeleton is made up of calcium and plays a crucial roles in cell-energy transfer, muscle contractions and blood clotting.

CHLORIDE (CL): ROLE IN DIET - Helps maintain the body's acid-base balance, aids in he conduction of the nerve and muscle impulses and regulated fluid pressures throughout the body tissues.  Chloride is essential component of both liver bile and hydrochloric acid used in digestion.

Magnesium (Mg):  ROLE IN DIET:  Magnesium is essential for strong bones and isn't necessary to activate many enzymes in the body. 

PHOSPHOROUS (P):  ROLE IN DIET:  Phosphorous makes up 14% to 17% of the horse's bones.  It is essential in the chemical reaction that create energy to move the horse's muscles.  Phosphorous is also used within the body to create specific fats, proteins, and acids needed for various body functions.