According to the Equine Nutrition papers written, presented and accepted by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, yes, horse’s do require supplementation. Quality and quantity are the crucial factors. Horses require over 50 nutrients in an optimum diet. 14 different Vitamins, 15 Minerals and 22 Amino Acids are essential.
Protein is the essential part of the horse’s diet and protein is but chains of Amino Acids. When a horse ingests protein, the Amino Acid chain is broken up in the digestive tract by enzymes and acids and is then individually absorbed through the wall of the intestines. It is then divided via the bloodstream to the sites they are most needed for growth and repair of tissues. If insufficient quantities of the 4 essential Amino Acids ( Lysine, Methionine, Tryptophan & Threonine) are not present, the horse’s body will have great difficulty using any of the other Amino Acids. Therefore Amino Acids acts as a chain reaction.
Vitamins are tiny organic compounds with huge health and well being benefits for your horse. Vitamins have the power to promote and regulate virtually all the body’s normal functions. Vitamins A,D,E & K can be stored to a degree in the body, whilst Vitamin C and the B vitamins, not used relatively quickly, tend to be excreted. Vitamin A and E can not be produced in the horse’s body and have to be ingested through their diet. There is very little if any scientific proof of vitamin excesses in horses.
Minerals are essential for body structure and maintaining the body’s acid base. The balanced amount of all minerals in the diet is what is most important. Adding separate minerals rather than a balanced ratio stands a high probability of being more harmful than beneficial.
It is common knowledge that through soil and water deterioration, raw products are more often nutrient lacking, than not. Against the background of costly breeding, stud, veterinary, livery cost and the ever increasing demand for performance, it stands to reason that along with a good diet, a balanced and complete Vitamin, Mineral and Amino Acid supplement regime, has become a necessary cost effective investment for our horses.