Minerals for a Healthy Horse

horse-mineral-mixFormula 4 Feet mentions 6 must-have nutrients for a healthy horse. This includes protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins and minerals. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the minerals and which ones are a must in an equine’s daily diet.

Minerals are needed by the body in very small amounts to trigger the thousands of chemical reactions necessary to maintain good health and bodily functions. Many of these chemical reactions are linked, with one triggering another. If there is a missing or deficient mineral anywhere in the chain, this process may break down, with potentially devastating health effects.

Classified as either microminerals or macrominerals, horses need them for the reasons mentioned above.

Microminerals, also known as trace elements, include chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc. They are categorized as such because the horse only needs small doses of them per day, often in milligrams or even less.

Macrominerals on the other hand are major elements that must be present in larger quantities. This includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, chlorine, potassium, sodium and sulfur.

Horses need calcium for the same purpose that humans do. It’s meant to nourish and take part in the growth, development and repair of teeth, bones, joints and ligaments. Phosphorous, like calcium, is another macromineral that must come in abundance. Apart from also contributing to bone health, it also improves equine digestion, hormonal balance, energy extraction, protein formation, cellular repair, optimized chemical reactions and proper nutrient utilization. Magnesium, the last of the trio, is necessary for the transportation of calcium and phosphorous throughout the body.

In order to promote balance in cellular fluids, acid/base levels and muscular activity as well as aid in the elimination of waste and toxic substances, chlorine is also a necessary ingredient in the equine diet. Potassium on the other hand enhances muscle strength, helps conduct electricity within the body, regulates metabolism, and balances water distribution in cells.

Another necessary macromineral says Formula 4 Feet is sodium which aids in normalizing fluid levels, so horses don’t become dehydrated, blood volume and blood pressure. It helps our muscles contract and is needed to send nerve impulse throughout the body. Lastly, there’s sulfur which regulates the function of several organs and makes us 0.15% of an average horse’s total body weight. It is essential for the development of bones, cartilage, tendons and the healthy growth of the mane.


Formula 4 Feet: An Insider’s View on Laminitis

horse laminitis hoofKnown in the equine world as the most pervasive crippling disease, laminitis continues to inflict horses of all breed, age and gender. It’s a struggle to cure and a huge responsibility to avoid. Today, we’re getting an insider view from experts via Formula 4 Feet.

Laminitis is described as a painful inflammatory condition of the laminae, the tissues that bond the hoof wall to the pedal bone in the hooves. In its development, the pedal bone weakens and causes it to spin and position towards the sole. At its worst, it can drop and fall through it causing intense pain, incapacity and even death.

The disease is caused by various factors and sometimes a combination of them. These include but are not limited to infections and illnesses (e.g. colic or diarrhea), concussion from riding on rough and hard terrain and/or surfaces, Cushings disease, abnormal insulin levels, high sugar and/or starch diet, excessive weight gain or obesity, excessive grass and grain intake, physical stress, weight bearing and injuries.

Treatment for laminitis will need the help of a veterinarian as each case is unique with varying causative agents and each horse is likely to be of a different physical state than the others. Moreover, lateral and dorsopalmar radiographs and other exams will have to be performed to assess the gravity of the situation.

Since it’s a multi-factorial ailment, the causes that lead to must immediately be removed for instance high sugar and starch feeds. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed on top of a mandatory week long stall rest. Shoeing, trimming and picking the hooves are still to be done but will require utmost caution and special care.

Of course, nutrition has to be at its best to encourage healing from within. Meals however need to be supervised and picked to ensure that they do not eat more of what shouldn’t be and less of what should be. Best practices for meal portions and schedules are still to be upheld.

But like anything else, laminitis is still best prevented rather than cured says Formula 4 Feet. Some of the things that owners and caretakers can do includes the provision of vet approved supplements and care products, lesser load to minimize weight bearing, avoidance of hard-packed dirt or rocky terrain, maintenance of clean and dry stables, weight management, proper and adequate diet, regular hoof care (e.g. trimming and picking) as well as proper and correct shoeing.