Which mineral mix?
A lot of companies are persuasive with making a horse owner think they need to buy a mineral/vitamin product that has everything in it. Many nutritionists including Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD disagree. The better approach is feeding what horses are most likely to need. If your horse is on a high fibre intake which means not crazy high amounts of grain, then these mixes are ideal. Ideal forage is either grass or hay, can be chaff (cut up hay) or silage if you can’t get quality hay. Rather than being an all singing, all dancing smorgasbord of nutrients (kitchen sink) in tiny amounts per serve, these mixes target what is most likely too low in the intake, using premium mineral sources backed by research, and in quantities that make a difference.
Equi Horse +Se (formerly known as Hoof Rescue +Se) is generally recommended for most situations. Equi Horse +Se contains copper, zinc, iodine, some calcium and phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. Selenium is important for many horses. Grass and hay grown on acidic to neutral soils are known to be deficient in selenium. Soil conditions, especially pH influence plant uptake of selenium. Equi Horse +Se has a very conservative amount of selenium, 1 mg per day for the standard feeding rate. If you are already supplementing sufficient selenium then Equi Horse (formerly known as Hoof Rescue) mix may be more appropriate. The only difference between Equi Horse and Equi Horse +Se is that Equi Horse doesn’t have selenium.
If your horse is not likely to be magnesium or selenium deficient, then Best Guess mix is the choice. All the mixes contain significant amounts of copper and zinc and some iodine.
If you would like to feed your horse additional biotin, HoofXtra vitamin and mineral mix (formerly known as Laminitis Rescue) is the one. This mix was formulated with insulin resistant (IR)/EMS horses in mind to support a low sugar + starch intake. If you would like to feed additional biotin on it’s own, Biotin can also be purchased on it’s own.
Best Guess mix in addition to one of the above mixes is ideal if you do need to increase the level of copper and zinc without the other nutrients: magnesium, selenium and so forth being increased.
You will notice that there are not a huge range of nutrients as it’s simply unnecessary. Would you like to read more?
Why are Balanced Equine mineral mixes NOT the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ type?
If you are concerned about overdoing selenium for your horse, Dr Kellon’s article on Selenium Paranoia is very helpful, explains what the upper toxic limit is. See link below.
Quote from Chapter E: Selenium mobility in soils and its absorption, translocation, and metabolism in plants
“The chemical form of selenium in soil is largely controlled by the redox potential and soil pH. Selenate is the maior form present in well aerated alkaline soils: whereas. selenite predominates in acid and neutral soils. The selenite form however is adsorbed to clays and hydrous Fe oxides and is generally unavailable for plant uptake.”
If you have a muscle building/topline or hoof quality (shelly) hoof issues, consider Equine Amino with the essential amino acids recommended by Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD. Or you may prefer the amino acid Methionine on it’s own. I chose not to make a product that contains minerals AND amino acids as not ALL horses need additional supplementation of minerals AND amino acids. There are many examples of products that are a combination of both, they either have poor levels of minerals or too low levels of amino acids. If your horse is on a high quality protein intake (pasture improved grasses, actively growing) it’s far less likely you need additional amino acids.
Only way to really know what nutrients need to be supplemented is to look at the whole intake and do the job properly, based on data. It’s a bit of an effort at first but pays off handsomely in the long run. The easiest and best way to know what your horse’s intake is deficient in, or what is excessive and out of balance, is to test what your horses eat. It’s not an exact science but the best approach we have in terms of accuracy. Labs like Equi-Analytical can test the bulk of the diet, whether that be pasture or hay. For small amounts of hay I use estimates though I am a data addict. For my own horses, I always test, I like to know. Then, if a feed product or supplement is required, it’s chosen on the basis of correcting the deficiencies/imbalances in the bulk of the intake. It’s a paradigm shift for many people, rather than looking at the products available for what is the most persuasive for helping horses without knowing what the nutrient levels are in the rest of the diet, choose what to feed and supplement on the basis of what they are already getting.
Plenty of companies will tell you what your horse or horses need but this is misleading advertising. They can’t possibly know without data (and know what to do with the data. To learn how to balance mineral ratios for horses, consider enrolling in Dr Kellon’s NRCPlus course.
If you are feeding hay or significant amount of supplementary feed, I would also recommend 100 g freshly ground linseeds for omega-3 fatty acids and 1000 IU vitamin E, may need more for a higher workload. Vitamin E needs to have fat/oil with it. Read more about vitamin E (near bottom of page).
When adding the minerals and salt to a feed I find it easier to add the minerals to the soak water and mixing well so that when the beet pulp/soybean hulls/lupin hulls or whatever you are feeding hasave absorbed the water, with a good final mix, the minerals ‘disappear’. Always feed a wet feed to prevent choke and minimise dust, less chance of respiratory issues. This video demonstrates one way of adding minerals and salt to a feed.
Links may change over time. If a link doesn’t work, search the title in your search engine.
Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD Selenium Paranoia
Mayland HF, Gough LP and Stewart KC. (1991) Chapter E: Selenium mobility in soils and its absorption, translocation, and metabolism in plants