Mineral Supplementation in Horses

Recently, the German Society of Nutrition Physiology updated its guidelines regarding daily intake of macrominerals, such as calcium, in horses.

“The society’s guidelines, which hadn’t been updated since 1994, clearly indicate that macromineral intake should be based on metabolic body size rather than body weight, resulting in lower recommended intakes of many minerals,†explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist and advisor for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

To confirm the hypothesis that decreased macromineral intake would improve utilization of trace minerals such as copper, zinc, and selenium, one research group* conducted an experiment. In that study, ponies were offered hay-based diets with (1) a mineral supplement to achieve high macromineral levels, (2) a supplement to provide a reduced macromineral content, or (3) no mineral supplement.

“Contrary to the hypothesis, this study did not identify any negative effects of excessive macromineral levels on trace mineral metabolism,†summarized Crandell.

However, this study did note that the macromineral level of the hay itself already surpassed the new recommendations by the Society of Nutrition Physiology and that micronutrients still needed to be supplemented.

Not sure if your horse’s hay provides adequate nutrients or what minerals your horse needs? Contact a KER nutrition advisor today to avoid oversupplementing.

“Excess mineral intake can be detrimental to horses and the environment,†Crandell added.

When a dietary upgrade is warranted, KER offers high-quality supplementation in the form of Micro-Max. Australians should look for Gold Pellet.

*Neustädter, L.T., J. Kamphues, and C. Ratert. Influences of different dietary contents of macrominerals on the availability of trace elements in horses. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition (Berl). In press.