All About Feed Supplements
Feed supplements are a powerful way to boost your horse’s health from the inside out.
Even with plenty of grazing and a high quality feed, there are some nutrients that can be missing from your horse’s diet. If your horse is athletic, a senior, or suffers from a chronic condition, you can use supplements to support their unique needs.
Talk to your veterinarian before adding a feed supplement to your horse’s diet, especially if they are showing symptoms that may be indicative of an undiagnosed health issue.
How Can Feed Supplements Help My Horse?
If you are feeding a premium feed, you may not need to give your horse any supplements, though they may still benefit from one. Most complete feeds contain all of the vitamins and minerals the average horse needs. Before starting a supplement, make sure to check the ingredients and nutrient profile against your horse’s existing diet to avoid redundancy.
Horses with specific health needs can often benefit from a dietary supplement. If your horse is prone to colic, a digestive support supplement can provide probiotics that help break down food in the hindgut.
Just about any horse can benefit from a supplement that provides omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids boost immunity, strengthen hooves, help relieve many types of inflammation, including inflammation due to injury, asthma, itchy skin and coat dryness. In foals and yearlings, omega-3s can also help aid in mental development for a fast-learning horse that’s easier to train.
For young, healthy horses, Grizzy Omega Aid and Missing Link Wellblend Skin & Coat Formula are good options.
Athletic horses and senior horses can benefit from a joint supplement to help relieve inflammation and stiffness, whether it’s from arthritis, injury, or repetitive movement.
A joint support supplement may contain omega-3 fatty acids and/or glucosamine chondroitin and MSM. You can use multiple joint formulas or use just one product that contains multiple joint aids. If using multiple products, make sure to slowly introduce them to your horse’s diet, rather than all at once, to avoid adverse effects like gastric upset.
How To Give Your Horse A Feed Supplement
Feed supplements usually come as a powder, pellet, or liquid that you can add to grain feed or give directly. Giving supplements during meals also makes it easier for you to remember to make them a part of your daily horse care routine.
When you first give your horse a new feed supplement, you may want to give them just half of their recommended serving for 2-3 weeks. This can help make it easier for your horse’s digestive system adjust to the new, unfamiliar ingredients.
However, some supplements are meant to be fed in a higher amount during the initial period. Follow the guidelines on the container, or talk to your veterinarian before proceeding. Watch your horse closely for any signs of gastric upset, allergic reaction, or side effects.
Consult your veterinarian if you need help choosing a supplement, need to use multiple supplements or in conjunction with a prescription medication, or if your horse does not show signs of improvement.