About Balanced Equine products
It all started with the Best Guess mineral mix. The Best Guess mix came about when a number of hoof care practitioners requested it on behalf of horse owners who were not able to test their pasture or hay so in 2011 Best Guess was born. Prior to this, I had recommended that horse owners find a mineral product with the highest copper and zinc levels but no added iron or manganese and it was impossible, let alone finding one with premium mineral sources. The Best Guess mineral mix was formulated to supply what most horses are deficient in, based on thousands of pasture and hay tests in Australia and overseas and using the mineral sources that are supported by research in horses.
Equi Horse (formerly known as Hoof Rescue) was designed for horses that also need additional magnesium. Essentially Best Guess with the addition of magnesium. Many horses need some additional magnesium, either due to too little in the intake or the calcium to magnesium ratio is too high.
Equi Horse +Se (formerly known as Hoof Rescue +Se) is essentially Best Guess with magnesium and selenium. It’s not unusual for horses to be too low in selenium, especially if the grass or hay is grown in acidic soil, the most common type. More information on the Equi Horse +Se page.
All the mixes contain premium mineral sources based on the peer reviewed scientific studies used for the guidelines in the NRC 2007 Nutrient Requirements for Horses and Dr Eleanor Kellon’s VMD recommendations. All the mineral mixes contain significant levels of copper and zinc and a small amount of iodine. All are NOT the smorgasbord of nutrients that come in the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type of mineral mix products on the market, yet contain very little of what is really needed. On a high pasture/hay diet, many of these nutrients are unnecessary and simply make expensive manure. If you are looking for a product that contains everything your horse needs, picture green grass.
More is not better
There is NO added iron or manganese which are harmful in excess. If it doesn’t help (poor coat appearance, compromised immune system, poor hoof quality), then ideally it would be better to have your forage tested for nutrient levels. Forage is either pasture or hay, to see what the nutrient levels are and in particular, the copper to zinc ratio. Other nutrients include protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and manganese.
Ideal ratio is 1:3 for copper to zinc for the WHOLE intake – not just one product or portion.
There are two sizes for each mineral mix, more information in the shop area.
Best Guess: To reduce postage costs, and to make the feeding rate easy, a quantity of salt can be added to the mix so that the feeding rate is 1 metric tablespoon. If something like salt wasn’t added, the size of the feeding rate would be very small and challenging for some people. For the Equi Horse mix, Equi Horse +Se mix and HoofXtra mix, there is no need to add salt to the mixes, they are ready to go. The additional salt recommendation (2 tablespoons for an untested situation, more in hot weather) is there regardless of whether you add salt to a mix (Best Guess) or not. Most horses are sodium or chloride deficient and the amount added *per day* to the Best Guess mix is quite small.
The importance of feeding salt: Feed Salt
*Standard* feeding rate
The *standard* recommended feeding rate is not based on bodyweight per se, what counts is the total amount of iron (or manganese) in the whole intake, particularly the forage. I am suggesting for horses with a bodyweight greater than say 300 kg to trial the standard recommended amount of 1 metric tablespoon (20 ml volume) as this may be sufficient. If iron (or manganese) is very high, a horse may well need higher levels of copper and zinc to deal with the high iron issue. I have had a lot of horse owners trial 1.5 tablespoons of Equi Horse +Se/HoofXtra/Equi Horse mix for example to get the results they were after. Some have had to go to 2 tablespoons or higher. Fortunately many find the 1 tablespoon does the trick, it’s all an educated estimate without data for the forage. Another potential issue is whether the copper and zinc ratio in the intake is well out of balance, a different ratio in the mix would be required. If higher amounts of copper and zinc are needed my Best Guess mix is ideal for adding more copper and zinc without having to raise the other nutrients unnecessarily.
When feed companies list RDI (recommended daily intake) they don’t take into account mineral interactions.
RDI = rock bottom amount to prevent a nutrient deficiency being expressed.
Also known as the NRC amount (National Research Council which publishes the Nutrient Requirements of Horses).
It matters as iron overload has the potential to cause coat bleaching, poor hoof quality and poor immune system responses, either from too much iron (or indirectly too much manganese).
Read about how minerals can fade a horse’s coat and mane and tail:
Minerals and coat bleaching