The below article is written by B.Sc M.Ed, independent equine nutritionist, Carol Layton
A lot of companies are persuasive with making a horse owner think they need to buy a mineral/vitamin product that has everything in it. Many nutritionists including Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD disagree. The better approach is feeding what horses are most likely to need. If your horse is on a high fibre/forage intake (a number of kg’s of grain), then these mixes are ideal. Rather than being an all singing, all dancing smorgasbord of nutrients (everything but the kitchen sink) in tiny amounts per serve, these mixes target what is most likely too low in the intake, using premium mineral sources backed by research, in quantities that make a difference. All the Balanced Equine mixes contain significant amounts of copper and zinc, all the mixes are designed so the amount fed per day can be increased if needed if there are high levels iron or manganese in the intake. Minerals compete with each other, one example is copper and zinc. This article explains Mineral Interactions
To help decide which mix, consider the following:
I need the key minerals only - section 1
I need the key minerals and vitamins - section 2
I need support for my laminitic horse - section 4
The best mineral mix for most horses, most situations: Equi Horse +Se
Equi Horse +Se (formerly known as Hoof Rescue +Se) is generally recommended for most situations. Equi Horse +Se contains high levels of copper and zinc, the two minerals most likely to be too low plus iodine, some calcium and phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. It’s not unusual for horses to be too low in selenium. Grass and hay grown in the most common type of soils; acidic to neutral pH are documented to be too low in selenium. Soil conditions, especially pH influence plant uptake of selenium. Equi Horse +Se has a very conservative amount of selenium, 1 mg per day for the standard feeding rate.
Don’t need selenium?
When selenium isn’t needed: Equi Horse
If the intake is providing sufficient selenium then Equi Horse (formerly known as Hoof Rescue) mix may be more appropriate. The only difference between Equi Horse and Equi Horse +Se is that Equi Horse doesn’t have selenium. It’s important to not overdo selenium as too much can be toxic, even fatal. However it’s also important to not have too little. These articles by Dr Eleanor Kellon DVM are very helpful:
Don’t Fear Selenium
Lose your Fear of Selenium
Don’t need selenium or magnesium, need a mix that is all about copper and zinc: Best Guess
If your horse is not likely to be magnesium or selenium deficient, then Best Guess mix is the best choice; copper, zinc and iodine. Best Guess mix in addition to any of the Balanced Equine mixes is ideal if you do need to increase the level of copper and zinc without the other nutrients: magnesium, selenium and so forth being increased. Or it might be another product that has the typically low levels of copper and zinc. We know from the many thousands of pasture and hay tests that all are too low in copper and zinc.
If you would like to feed your horse additional biotin, HoofXtra vitamin and mineral mix (formerly known as Laminitis Rescue) is the one. This mix was formulated with insulin resistant (IR)/EMS horses in mind to support a low sugar + starch intake but would be beneficial for any horse. HoofXtra has copper, zinc, magnesium, selenium and the B vitamins biotin, folic acid and pyridoxine.
If you would like to feed additional biotin on it’s own, Biotin can also be purchased on it’s own, along with other minerals and vitamins sold with no other additives.
I would like my IR/laminitic horse to have a mix based on Dr Eleanor Kellon’s recommendations: HoofXtra
This mix was formulated with insulin resistant (IR)/EMS horses in mind to support a low sugar + starch intake but would be beneficial for any horse. HoofXtra has copper, zinc, magnesium, selenium and the B vitamins biotin, folic acid and pyridoxine.
You will notice that there are not a huge range of nutrients as it’s simply unnecessary. Would you like to read more?
Why are Balanced Equine mineral mixes NOT the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type?
Equine Amino is designed to be fed along with any of the above mineral mixes. If you have a muscle building/topline or hoof quality (shelly) hoof issues, consider Equine Amino with the essential amino acids recommended by Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD. If the mineral mixes like Equi Horse +Se contained amino acids, it would make the cost of the mix a lot more expensive, and even more expensive if you needed to trial a higher amount for a high iron or manganese intake. I chose not to make a product that contains minerals AND amino acids as not ALL horses need additional supplementation of minerals AND amino acids. There are many examples of products that are a combination of both, they either have poor levels of minerals or too low levels of amino acids or both. If your horse is on a high quality protein intake (pasture improved grasses, actively growing) it’s far less likely you need additional amino acids.