Equine Nutrition

Why Vitamin A is Important to Horses

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Horse facts as told by a Shetland pony.

 Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, tells why horses need VITAMIN A.

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Vitamin A helps horses maintain good vision, especially at night.  Horses need it for healthy skin and strong muscles.  Lack of Vitamin A in equines can create problems such as a dull, scruffy coat, poor night vision (horses have much sharper night vision than people do) and severe anemia.

Toxic amounts of this vitamin can cause decreased blood clotting, poor skin quality and bone abnormalities.

Because microbes in the horse’s small intestine need beta-carotene to produce vitamin A, good sources include hay, grass and carrots.

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Equine Advice: The Importance of Vitamin E

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Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about why vitamin E is essential to horses.  Like all Shetlands, she is always watching, listening and eating. 

Horses use vitamin E in many different ways.  Vitamin E enhances horses’ immune systems and helps maintain normal cell function.  In addition, vitamin E helps horses with the absorption of vitamin A and works as an antioxidant to prevent damage to cells.

Horses obtain vitamin E from green pasture and vitamin supplements.

Lack of sufficient vitamin E creates many ill effects in the horse, including muscle wasting, decreased immunity and slowed growing in foals.

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Equine Advice: Macro Minerals

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Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about the 7 macro-minerals required by the horse.  Like all Shetlands, she is always watching, listening and learning.

Horses require seven different macro-minerals to stay healthy.  These are calcium, chloride, sodium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.

Each one helps the horse in a different way.  Calcium is a partner with phosphorus.  Horses need calcium for strong, healthy bones.  Calcium also helps horses with temperature regulation.

Chloride: sodium and chloride go together to form sodium chloride, or salt.  Salt is critical in the process of sweating and is essential for proper electrolyte balance.

Sodium:  see chloride; the two work together.

Sulfur is  a building block of several amino acids and B-complex vitamins which aid the horse with strong hoof walls.

The mineral that is important in regulating osmotic pressure in cells and carbohydrate metabolism is potassium.  It also helps with maintaining the acid-base balances of cells.

The partner to calcium is phosphorus.  Together, they do great things and are important for strong bones and needed to metabolize and use energy.

Magnesium is important for good bone health and is involved in enzyme function.

These minerals work together for a healthy, happy horse.  This is why it is always important to feed horses a complete, well balanced diet.

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Equine Advice: Nutrients: How Much?

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Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about the nutrients horses need and how much they need.  Like all shetlands, she is always watching, listening and learning. 

Water: the average equine needs 5-10 gallons per day.

Protein: should be 8 to 15% of a horse’s daily diet.

Minerals: 2 – 3% of a horse’s diet.

Vitamins: 1% of a horse’s dietary needs.

Energy:  Energy is not actually a nutrient.  However, there are many energy-producing nutrients including carbohydrates, fat, starch, sugar and fiber.  These should make up 80-90% of a horse’s daily nutrition.

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Equine Advice: How Much Feed Per Day

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Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about how much of his body weight a horse needs in food per day.  Like all shetlands, she is always watching, listening and eating.

The average equine needs a total of 2% of his body weight in food per day.  Ideally, half of that (1%) should be in forage (hay or grass).  Grain should be no more than 40% of a horse’s daily feed.

Ponies, however, think they should be fed 100% of their body weight in food per day.

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Equine Advice

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Gypsy, the Equine Encyclopedia, has something to say about the most important nutrient to the horse.  Like all shetlands, she is always watching, learning and listening.

The Equine’s most needed nutrient is obvious.  Water!  Water is needed by all horses(Equus Caballus).  Some othere essential nutrients are energyproteinvitamins and minerals.

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