Vitamin A is important to strengthen the immune system and rejecting viruses and other “foreign intruders” in horses of all ages. Horses with a lack of vitamin A may experience dry eye mucosa, weakened digestion and impaired vision and night blindness.
You may supply vitamin A for nervous horses experiencing rapid changes in light intensity, for example, from the indoor arena to strong sunlight.
The vitamin is also important to bone mineralization in growing animals: Foals are born with lots of cartilage structures, so calcium is necessary to build strong bones. Strong bones make a healthy horse.
Vitamin B1 breaks down carbohydrates. It is important for the nervous system to function properly. The correct amount of vitamin B1 in the body helps the horse to relax, even after being exposed to unfamiliar situations.
Vitamin B2 helps the horse to converting nutrients from fat and carbohydrates into usable energy. Lack of this vitamin causes skin and hair problems and hair loss. However, when the fat and carbohydrate levels are balanced, the digestion, liver and kidney functions are improved. It can also help to stimulate the appetite.
Vitamin B5 – also known as pantothenic acid – is a water-soluble vitamin, which is important in maintaining a healthy digestion. It helps to break down carbohydrates, fat and protein and turn them into usable energy. It has a beneficial effect on the adrenal glands, nervous system and fluid balance. At the same time it improves vitality and prevents infections by strengthening the immune system.
Last – but not least – it influences the formation of new cells, and fatty acids, corticosteroids, bile acid, cholesterol and hormones.
Vitamin B6 strengthens the hormone system, and it is important and keep the liver, heart and bones healthy. Vitamin B6 is also important for protein metabolism and absorption of the essential fatty acids as well as for the formation of a variety of neurotransmitters in the nervous system – including the ability to handle stress and strain.
When the horse converts certain amino acids, fats and carbohydrates, it needs vitamin B12, which is also included in many enzyme processes that protect the DNA. Also vitamin B12 contributes in detoxifying pollutants and it boosts the immune system as well. Lack of vitamin B12 causes dementia-like conditions. The horse may appear confused, tired and with a poor learning ability. Selenium is neccessary for the horse to absorb vitamin B12 and the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Vitamin Biotin is water-soluble and is included in various metabolic reactions – while it regulates glucose metabolism. Biotin prevents and repairs the hoof horn quality, and helps create a great skin and a good coat.
Lack of this vitamin may cause increased loss of hair and bad hooves. Biotin is a co-enzyme, which can also help the reaction of fats, carbohydrates and amino acids as well as the production of urea.
Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and this means that the horse can absorb iron much better. This vitamin also helps to repair connective tissue and therefore has great influence on the formation of tendons, joint capsules and bones. Vitamin C is also essential for the horse’s ability to handle stress: It is important because it helps to produce the hormones that the horse’s body needs during stressful situations.
Vitamin D3 has much greater impact than first assumed: We know about the vitamin’s importance for the body to absorb the necessary amount of calcium and phosphorus. The horse’s body converts sunlight into vitamin D3 – even if it is covered with fur. It also means that horses carrying cloths during the summer to prevent eczema have a significantly reduced ability to produce the vitamin themselves, and therefore need a supplement vitamin D3 all year round.
It is also likely that horses having difficulty in shedding (i.e. the skin is too thick during summer), need supplements all year round as well. The importance of vitamin D is very important, as more than 35 organ systems are depending on it: the immune system, the nervous system, bones, muscles and ligaments – and reproduction and the endocrine system as well as the ability to handle stressful situations.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and the horse needs it to build its muscles. Horses in training have very great need for vitamin E supplementation. Vitamin E is also important to hormonal sex hormone balance and a good reproductive function. At the same time it strengthens the immune system.
Unlike the B12 vitamin, which is stored in the body for years, folic acid stores may last only for a few months. Therefore, it is especially important to give extra folic acid supplements.
The horse needs folic acid for cell formation and cell division, particularly to the formation of blood cells as red blood cells divide rapidly. There is also a need for folic acid to the central nervous system and digestion system. It helps the horse to detoxify the body in relation to environmental impacts and medicine.
This type of B vitamin is important when the horse converts glucose, amino acids and fat into energy. It is also important to the digestion system and body circulation, as well as in construction of new chemical compounds.
This vitamin is able to detox/destroy stress hormones – for example after stressful situations and /or hard work.
Without vitamin K, blood coagulation is seriously impaired, and uncontrolled bleeding occurs.
Vitamin K is necessary to certain proteins. Vitamin K deficiency may cause loss of appetite and weight loss, poor condition and loss of coat.
Choline – which is a vitamin B – helps metabolizing fat and cholesterol, but it is also converted into acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is necessary to the nerve cells in the brain. It is not stored in the horse’s body, and therefore a supplement should be provided on a daily basis.
Research suggests that choline may affect both the long-term memory as the concentration significantly. Deficiency can cause and result in lack of attention, weight loss, fatty liver and can have a negative effect on the kidneys.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the horse’s body, because it is contained in the bones. Calcium deficiency in foals – a growing horse – causes lack of bone mineralization (on mineralization, see vitamin A) and crooked legs. In adult horses softening of the bones and muscular trouble may occur, which can cause paralysis.
Magnesium is the fourth most common substance in the body: one-half is contained in the bones – the other half in the muscles and other soft tissues. Magnesium plays an important role in the body’s metabolic processes, including interaction with over 300 different enzymes.
In addition, magnesium also plays an important role in transmission of nerve impulses to muscles and the heart, which causes them to contract rhythmically. Magnesium is neccessary for the horse to be able to calm down on top of work /stress. Deficiency can cause nervousness, muscle tremors and cramps.
Sodium is important for the alkaline-acid balance and the osmotic pressure of the cell membranes and tissues. That is, it is important for the fluid balance and the cooperation between the nervous system and muscles. Deficiency may result in slow eating and lack of desire to drink.
NB! Important facts about Sodium
As large amounts of sodium in feed absorb fluid from the environment – and thereby reduce the feed durability considerably – we decided to add only the amount necessary for the feed not to compromise durability. Therefore, it is important to give your horse 1 tablespoon of plain cooking salt on a daily basis, and salt licks, together with the feed in order to cover its needs.
For more information, see Salt.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral, which is found in large quantities in the body of the horse. About 85% is present in the skeleton and the muscles are also high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is present in many different systems in the body and in chemical processes, which are necessary to convert the sugars or glucose into energy.
Phosphorus is also part of cell membranes as fatty acids – in other words, the phosphorus is important to all energy transfer in the cells, and phosphorus and calcium are needed to support any increase in bone mass.
Potassium is a macro mineral – or a so-called electrolyte – which works closely with sodium to maintain cooperation between the nervous system and muscles as well as fluid balance.
Potassium is important to the function of the brain. Potassium is part of carbohydrates metabolism, fats and proteins and is important in regulating the alkaline-acid balance. It is required for normal muscle and nerve cell function, but also to the elasticity of the tendons and muscles. If the horse has muscle cramps, poor impulse conduction in the nervous system and cardiac dysrhythmia it may be due to lack of potassium.
Sulfur helps, for example, the horse to create healthy skin, hooves, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, but it also means a lot for the horse’s ability to detoxify itself. When you provide sulfur to your horse it may deal better with stressful situations and heal more quickly from the effects from different types of insect bites.
Vitamins, minerals and trace elements form the group of micro nutrients. Vitamins are molecules composed of a larger or smaller number of atoms linked to each other, cobalt is – like the minerals iron, magnesium, etc. – an element, i.e. a single atom. Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12. The horse must have cobalt added to its body in order to make folic acid and vitamin B12 function optimally – if not, it can cause anemia.
Copper is part of the enzymes that are important to iron, as iron is an essential element for blood production. Copper is also part of enzymes that regulate the production of the connective tissue elastin. Copper is important to energy metabolism, strengthens the immune system, fights infections and helps produce blood cells. Copper prevents osteochondrosis.
For more information, see Relevant links.
Iron is not only important for the horse to produce red blood cells, but also for the development of blood cells containing the hemoglobin and their ability to convert oxygen, i.e. when the horse is in motion. Deficiency symptoms are anemia and lack of energy, fatigue, dizziness and inability to learn – almost exactly like humans.
Iodine is a chemical element, a mineral that is found in the thyroid hormones. The role of the thyroid is basically to regulate the metabolism – ie to regulate the biochemical reactions that are important to the maintenance of the horse’s body cells and tissues. The gland needs iodine to function correctly. In the absence of iodine the horse’s energy level, resiliency and mental health are reduced considerably.
Manganese is an element that is referred to as a trace element. Vitamins, minerals and manganese are what we call micro nutrients. Manganese activates numerous enzymes, which accelerate the metabolism’s chemical reactions. Therefore, manganese is very important to the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat – but at the same time it protects the cells’ energy structures – mitochondria – against stress and destruction.
Selenium is an important antioxidant, which is part of the cellular protection against stress. It also serves to activate the metabolism of the hormones. Selenium is necessary for the horse’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 and the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Deficiency can cause muscle weakness, reduced mobility, difficulties in newborn foals by sucking and swallowing, difficulty breathing and poor heart function.
Denmark has selenium-poor soils- especially in the West Zealand and the Mid Jutland – and grazing horses or horses being fed hay do not always get the average selenium intake covered from roughage. That is why it is so important, that the horse’s vitamin and mineral supplements contain enough selenium – all year round.
Zinc and magnesium are included in more than 300 enzymatic processes that affect the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Zinc also has a stabilizing effect on the cells’ genes and cell membranes surrounding all body cells. Zinc affects the horse’s muscles, appetite, skin, hooves and strengthens the immune system.
Zinc supplements have also been found to have a positive effect on wound healing. Zinc deficiency results in decreased growth, dry skin, skin infections and bone disorders.
Silica also has a very positive impact. It is good for the skin, the coat and the hooves, but the horse’s digestion is also improved as silica binds and neutralizes harmful substances in the intestine. Silica is also important when the horse’s body repairs damage to the ligaments, cartilage and tendons. Horses that are fed silica supplements are more enduring.
Molybdenum is an element, i.e. a single atom. As only small amounts are necessary in the diet, it is referred to as a trace element. Vitamins, minerals and trace elements are called the micro trace elements.
Molybdenum – which is also included in vitamin B12 – is included in a number of enzymes (metalloenzymes), which are important in sulfuric acid and uric acid metabolism. Therefore, it is possible for this trace element to engage in processes relating to detoxification of environmental impacts and the horse’s ability to burn calories.
Finally, Regulator Complete® contains the organically bound minerals Cu, Zn, Mn and Se. These minerals offer great benefits to working horses, growing horses, broodmares, stallions and recovering horses.
They are easily absorbed by the horse’s body, strengthening the immune system and increasing the level of performance. Due to a strengthened immune system the presence of hoof abscesses and mud fever (which is an infection of the lower leg, caused by bacteria, fungi, mites or dermatophilus congolensis) are significantly diminished. It also increases the horse’s ability to recover, its condition and performance.
The minerals also enhance the development of the embryo/embryos and increase the number of eggs that are released into the mare’s cycle – and, therefore, they increase the foaling rate up to 20% according to US data.
Are you feeding your pregnant mares with organic minerals, the foal also has a reduced risk of developing cartilage and joint problems later – including loose bodies (OCD).
For more information, see Foderplan.dk/mineraler.
The horses are able to produce 10 amino acids, but not lysine. Therefore, this amino acid has to be added as it is rather important to fight certain viruses and to the growth of fetuses, foals and young horses. The amino acid is found within all proteins, including collagen, where it creates cross-linkages between the peptide chains.
If the horse does not have all the necessary amino acids, it cannot obtain all the vital proteins itself, and then it cannot have all of the advantages of the proteins. High feed quality means high content of lysine.