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Nutritional Requirements of Horses - Part 6

In this multi-part series, we talk about the Nutritional Requirements of Horses including Energy, Proteins, Vitamins, Macro Minerals and Micro Minerals.

 Part 6 – MIcro Minerals

Micro minerals are needed in a diet in very small quantities.  They include the following minerals sometimes known as trace minerals:

Copper – a mineral that is involved in blood and bone production and skin pigmentation.  Copper is related to the absorption of iron, zinc and other trace minerals.  Recent studies have show that feeds that contain supplemental copper levels when fed to pregnant mares have shown a reduction of OCD (osteochondrosis) in foals.  Copper also helps red blood cells carry adequate oxygen.

Iron – a mineral that is very important for transportation of oxygen by red blood cells.  Deficiencies are not common but too much iron can cause other minerals not be absorbed by the body.

Zinc – important for skeletal development, reproduction and also strengthening of the immune system.  Horses that are fed only forages may have marginal levels of zinc.  Zinc is very important for foals and young growing horses.

Selenium – associated with normal immune and muscle functions.  Selenium is generally deficient in British Columbia therefore fortified feeds and supplements formulated and produced for British Columbia are generally fortified with adequate levels of selenium to compensate for any lack in the forage.  The latest research has shown that horses can benefit with increased absorption of organic forms of selenium over cheaper forms like Sodium Selenite.  

Contact your local feed dealer for questions regarding supplementation of feed and fortified feeds and work with their nutritionist experts to find the right feed for your horse.