Many manufacturers develop specialised horse supplements to cater for certain conditions, lifestyles or situations. These supplements tend to have a distinct balance of vitamins and minerals to meet specific needs, such as:
Mare and Foal Supplements
When in foal, a mare’s nutritional needs become much greater and more specific as she nears the end of her pregnancy. You may wish to feed her a balancer which is specifically designed to include the correct levels of certain minerals, namely calcium and phosphorus, which are essential during pregnancy and lactation. These minerals are also essential for foals, as it is vital that their vitamin and mineral intake is adequate whilst they are growing and developing. A good example of this type of supplement is NAF Mare, Foal and Youngstock. Available in 1.8kg and 3.6kg, it provides the correct ratio of calcium:phosphorus, alongside a broad spectrum of micronutrients essential to healthy growth and development. Also, Protexin Gut Bind, which comes in an easy to use 30ml syringe and is a two day course of probiotics, prebiotics, kaolin and pectin designed to settle a foal’s disrupted gut. Gut Bind is ideal for use on foals from day one, up to and over foal heat to alleviate any scouring problems. It is also suitable for horses of any age.
Veteran Horse Supplements
If you are looking for a balancer for a veteran on the other hand, you may be looking to give them an extra ‘spark’ and help to reduce joint stiffness. An example of a balancer designed to do this is Protexin Equine Premium Fifteen Plus, a comprehensive supplement for the older horse with additional support for gut health, the immune system and joints. Recommended for all older horses whether still active and in regular work or enjoying their retirement. Also, Science Supplements WellHorse Veteran. It contains all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements necessary to keep your older horse in tip-top condition and feeling well. It also has the added benefit of glucosamine and MSM to help maintain joint function and reduce stiffness, helping to ensure that your veteran stays active for longer. In addition, the supplement contains a probiotic which helps to maintain digestive efficiency to ensure that your older horse absorbs as many nutrients from his feed as possible; something that can become a problem as horses get older.
Laminitic Horse Supplements
Vitamin and mineral supplements can be very important for horses prone to, or suffering from, laminitis, as their feed intake will be greatly restricted, so the levels of nutrients they are absorbing will be below optimum. It has also been shown that some minerals may help to reduce the likelihood of laminitis occurring; including magnesium, vanadium and chromium. It is vital, when supplementing a laminitic horse or pony, to ensure that the supplement is suitable, as an unsuitable supplement, which may be rich in starch or sugars, can cause more harm than good. In order to ensure the supplement is suitable for your horse, you should ideally look out for the Laminitis Trust approval logo. A good example of this type of supplement is Formula 4 Feet by Equi Life. Developed by Dr Robert Eustace, director of the Laminitis Clinic and Dr David Frape, the country’s leading equine nutritionist, Formula 4 Feet was originally designed as a hoof supplement to improve hoof horn quality. However, with over 65 micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, Formula 4 Feet is also a very comprehensive feed balancer. It comes in a 7kg or a 20kg bag.
Performance/Competition Horse Supplements
It goes without saying that a feed balancer is essential for a performance horse, as they will be utilising a larger proportion of vitamins and minerals than the average happy hacker! Dressage, show jumping and event horses all require greater levels of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium as they are required for muscle contraction and nervous impulses during training and competing. They also require extra sodium and chloride, to replace the salt lost when the horse sweats. A basic balancer would be adequate for a performance horse; however there are specific supplements on the market which provide extra nutrients for these elite athletes. One such supplement is Farnam Red Cell. In liquid form, it acts as an excellent all round vitamin and mineral supplement, as well as boosting performance in competition horses due to its high iron content – definitely one of our best sellers!
All-Rounder Horse Supplements
Although it is important to address the needs of specific types of horses, most fall into the final category, which is hard to give just one name. Known as “Happy Hackers,” “Leisure Horses,” “Family Friends” and “All-Rounders,” these horses generally do a ‘bit of everything’ and tend to be easy going, even tempered and well behaved. Although not in hard work and seemingly fit and healthy, their nutritional needs are still on par with those of the specific categories of horse discussed earlier. For these all-rounders, there are several simple vitamin and mineral balancers on the market designed to provide a base level of balanced vitamins and minerals, without a focus on a specific element. A good example of this type of balancer is Global Herbs Globalvite. It contains all the vital vitamins and minerals that your leisure horse needs to stay fit and healthy, including a correctly balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus. Also worth noting is that the minerals in this balancer are chelated, or protein bound, which will help them to be absorbed more readily into the body through the wall of the intestines.
Another example of an all rounder balancer would be Protexin Equine Premium Gut Balancer, a daily probiotic supplement to help bolster natural immunity. It is ideal for horses that don't 'do' well, as well as stabled horses that compete at any level and senior/veteran horses. It helps to ensure that the gut microflora is optimised for immune system support and that nutrients are fully absorbed for maximum energy release. Containing only Protexin probiotic and Preplex prebiotic on a grass meal-based powder, Equine Premium Gut Balancer is a regular supplement to help ensure everyday good health.
A slightly more comprehensive balancer for this type of horse is NAF In The Pink Powder, which again contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals. This balancer also has the added benefit of sacchromyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast that works alongside the micro flora in the horse's digestive system, allowing your horse to digest and absorb more of the nutrients in its feed.