View Full Version : Essential Supplements?
08-16-2008, 05:37 PM
What do you consider *musts* (if any) with regard to supplements, vitamins, etc?
For us, we have an 11yo ASB mare, lightly shown in pleasure classes, no unusual health requirements, no cribbing or any other vices, relatively calm in the stall (weaves occasionally when something disturbs her world, lol), nice coat, nice feet.
Thanks for your opinions/suggestions!
08-16-2008, 06:03 PM
I don't think there is such a thing as a "must" with supplements. They're called "supplements" for a reason; they supplement something that is lacking in the diet/health of the horse.
If the horse is fed a good diet that provides the basic vitamin/minerals, has good feet, good coat, no lameness issues, no specific health issues; then they don't need any supplements.
08-16-2008, 11:48 PM
I found this on the Full Circle Dressage farm's website:
THE WHY NOTS OF SUPPLEMENTS ...
... Often, we are asked about feeding dietary supplements to our horses at Full Circle.
Our answer always is that we feed very, very few supplements, do not accept free supplements in exchange for endorsements, and ignore recommendations based on hearsay and superstition.
Now, in the March 2008 edition of The Horse magazine, we find information in an article that supports our opinion. It addresses the use of biotin, "the popular nutritional supplement administered to horses to promote and maintain the growth of healthy hooves and coats" and is written by Stacey Oke, DVM, MSC.
In addition to addressing current biotin research, Dr, Oke quotes veterinarian Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, Dipl ACVIM: "Nutritional supplements are not necessarily manufactured with the same degree of quality control as pharmaceutical drugs."
"As a result," Dr. Oke continues, "Nutritional supplements can be contaminated with other nutritional supplements during the manufacturing process, or raw ingredients can be contaminated with harmful compounds such as heavy metals, herbicides, and pesticides. While no known harmful interactions between biotin or any drugs have been found, there is no reason to believe any supplement ... is universally safe.
According to a recent article written by equine extension specialist & Rutgers assistant professor Carey Williams, PhD and quoted by Dr. Oke, "Adverse events associated with herbal supplementation are an under-recognized and potentially serious problem in the equine industry."
According to Williams: "These days it is easy to oversupplement your horse. Tack catalogs and supplement companies have hundreds of products available for every type of problem or ailment. Horse owners need to be careful when supplementing with more than one product. Some vitamins and minerals can be problematic -- and potentially toxic -- if administered doses exceed the recommended daily amount."
In this day when it is impossible to find grain or hay that has not been exposed to herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, the take home message for us is: be extremely cautious when supplementing horses. Often nothing is enough.
08-17-2008, 10:08 AM
Thanks so much!
08-20-2008, 04:51 PM
If you are worried about your horse's nutrition here is a list of what a performance horse needs:
For the most bang for your buck you could have your horse's hair analyzed to find out what hes not getting enough of, too much, any toxins in his body, etc and you can also have your feed, hay and pasture analyzed as well: http://equusresearchlab.com/html/lab_services.html
Hair analysis is $150 and the feed analysis is $60 so the prices aren't that bad to make sure you aren't spending money on the wrong food and other horse nutritional stuff.
08-20-2008, 06:02 PM
I will preface this by saying that if you want to see the proof of anyones program, look at their stock. Pretty simple. And yes, I have been to Full Circle Farm....
I use Accel on all of my horses, across the board. They also get fresh ground flax, twice per day. In addition, I use magnesium, Diamond V yeast, and Gro N' Win on all of the horses.
For special issues, I use MSM, Joint Saver, Ultimate Finish, Chromium, U2, and a few other goodies.
Currently, I feed beet pulp and Blue Seals Vintage Performance LS as the mainstays.
I want them to look exceptional, and feel even better, and that takes paying attention, and fine tuning things. The stuff that comes out of the bag is meant forthe average horse. I don't consider mine to be average!:wub:
08-20-2008, 07:38 PM
I like to add black oil sunflower seeds and beet pulp to their regular diet of grain (mainly rolled oats plus a little mixed horse feed low in mollasses) and good grass hay. They also get seasonal fruits and veggies from the garden (carrots, apples, pears) and as much hand picked grass or hand grazing as we have time to do.
My horse only seems to want beet pulp (soaked in hot water) in the cold months. I think it is a good source of roughage when fresh grass is not available. In the winter they laso get a little cracked corn.
08-20-2008, 08:03 PM
I agree with Amanda 100%.I don't give my horses ANY supplements without doing a CBC Profile on my horses first.I do a CBC every six months on my horses... and so long as everything is even or well within range across the board,there is no need to give supplements.People waste hundreds of dollars every year on basic supplements that are simply not needed.Without proper bloodwork you have no idea what you are supplementing for,and you can also be supplementing for the wrong thing or over supplementing something else which can cause problems in the long.Its always a good idea to have blood work done at least twice a year and consult with your Vet if He/She feels that a supplement is needed.
08-20-2008, 08:31 PM
Please share with me how your horses hoof quality and growth, coat quality, metabolic levels, immune system response, joint condition, and general health can be determined by a CBC, because, darlin', I ain't gettin' it.
If I want to know what my horses white cell count is, amongst other challenging things, I'll go for a CBC...but then, I am looking for disease at that point, aren't I?:ninja:
08-20-2008, 10:01 PM
A visual and physical examination by a Vet along with bloodwork can determine the overall general health of horse. :001_rolleyes:
08-21-2008, 06:04 AM
I'm sorry- I missed the physical exams in your first post. :blink:
It is wonderful that you have a program that works for you!
08-21-2008, 08:53 AM
I'm sure this will sound ridiculous to many, but I am being serious; you asked for ESSENTIAL supplements, so I would start with:
free choice salt, regular worming, and the finest pasture.
then more free exercise is good.
Beyond that depends on the indvidual and what deficiencies exist in your area. If horses are colicing, have leg and hoof issues, temperament problems, general ouchiness you should be looking for holes.
08-21-2008, 09:22 AM
I've said this on another thread, but I'll guess I'll say it again here. Supplements are not always necessary. They are to fill in the the missing points in a horse's nutrition. Some horses get no supplements whatsoever and are just fine. My paint mare lives in the pasture and gets fed only enough grain to add just enough substance behind her Strongid C 2X and Equitrol (fly control). I've shown several horses who's only addition to feed was dewormer. I know I'm just repeating what some people have said or are thinking, but it's true. Supplements fill holes in the diet. A horse only needs them if your vet determines that there is something missing in their system.
That said, I stand by my Strongid C. It was recommended to me by my vet and that is what I give my mare.
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