By: Lauren Marlborough, BSc (Hons), CESMT
Horses endure a significant level of stress to their bones and joints during stages of growth and development as well as during exercise, training, and performance. These circumstances can lead to the onset of inflammation, acute and chronic arthritis, brittle bones, and lameness issues; all-too-common occurrences in the bones and joints of horses. Luckily, nature provides the horse with an array of ingredients that assist in creating bone, supporting connective tissues, and the repair of damaged tissues as well as regulation of normal bodily functions. These ingredients are commonly referred to as minerals and vitamins.
MINERALS AS BUILDING BLOCKS
Minerals are an essential part of your horse’s dietary needs and are required for horse maturity, maintaining energy and performance, and in the prevention of health problems. There are two types of minerals; macro minerals which are required in large amounts within the horse’s body and micro minerals (also referred to as trace minerals) which are required in small amounts. Minerals compete for absorption during digestion, but too much of one mineral can result in a deficiency of another. This is why supplementation that is being done as a nutritional stopgap should provide paired minerals to ensure no inadvertent deficiencies are created. Daily nutrition requirements are based on the horse’s age, weight, and work regimen; each horse should be evaluated based on their individual needs.
CARE & PREVENTION
Regular and gentle exercise assists in the care of the horse’s joints by strengthening muscles, supporting bone structure, and nourishing the joints with circulating joint (synovial) fluid. Keeping a watchful eye on the nutritional value in your horse’s feed and forage is important in determining whether or not they require supplementation in order to sustain a strong immune system or to build and protect their bones and joints. Each horse is different when it comes to their age, weight and work regime; therefore your horse’s supplementation should be evaluated based on their individuals needs. It’s recommended that you consult with your veterinarian for guidance when adjusting your horses feed and nutrient content.
This article has been shortened, the full original piece can be found at omegaalpha.ca
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