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Is Your Horse Getting Enough Minerals in Its Diet?


Minerals are an essential component of a horse's feed ration. Although they make up a small percentage of a horse's total diet, they play an important role in their overall health and performance. While hay and grain contains some of the minerals required by the horse, additional supplementation may be needed to provide the horse with an adequate amount of minerals.

"Horses that receive the proper amount of feed, a minimum of 0.5% of body weight per day, of a well fortified feed, such as Legends® or Triple Crown®, will not need additional mineral supplementation beyond salt," explains Southern States Equine Nutritionist Dr. Marty Adams. Unfortunately, a trace mineralized salt block isn't a one size fits all solution as horses require more than a "trace" of minerals. According to Dr. Adams, most trace mineralized salt blocks contain 96% or more salt, therefore not leaving much room for essential minerals.

Horses that have lower feeding rates, such as easy keepers, ponies and seniors, will require mineral supplementation. The Equimin® Horse mineral can be used to balance the diets of horses fed non-fortified or small amounts of grain. Available in granular or block form, Equimin® contains added biotin, yeast culture and organic minerals for increased nutrient digestion, enhanced immune response and supports hoof and coat condition. "Another option is to go with a more concentrated feed, like Triple Crown® Lite or a balancer pellet like Triple Crown® 30% or Legends® CarbCare Balancer Pellet, which have lower feeding rates," suggests Adams.

One of the most common problems Dr. Adams sees in horses that aren't fed fortified feeds or do not receive proper amounts of fortified feed is poor hoof condition. Proper amounts of iodine and zinc are required for hoof growth and quality. Take a look at a hoof supplement container and you will see there are high levels of these minerals included. "I'm convinced horse owners feed these hoof supplements to meet nutrient deficiencies and improve hoof condition," believes Adams. "It would be much less expensive to provide a good feed at the proper amount."

Other examples of mineral deficiencies that result in health and/or performance issues include:

  • Calcium - Weakened bones, lameness and lengthening of facial bones in adult horses
  • Phosphorus - Rickets, OCD lesions in growing horses, soft bones (osteomalacia) in mature horses
  • Magnesium - Nervousness,  muscle tremors, lack of coordination with eventual collapse

Are you unsure if your horse is receiving the proper amount of minerals in his feed ration? Use the Legends® MicroSteed Ration Wizard at www.microstead.com/legends to ensure the proper mineral fortification is in your horse's diet.


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