The quality of many of the grains used in feeds many times leaves a lot to be desired. The horse people have suffered this lack of quality for many years but recently the quality has been improving because horse owners have become aware of the difference in the quality of feed.
Buying feed is like buying many other things, you have to read the label, and most of all, know what you are looking for. A good balanced feed should contain:
The B Complex vitamins are many different vitamins; such as Thiamine, Niacin, Folacin, Panthothenic Acid, Riboflavin and a few others. Like many of the other vitamins, of the little that is in the hay and grain, much of it is lost in the curing, milling and storage. Therefore it is essential to supplement most of the B vitamins to the horse's feed. The best known source is brewers yeast.
Vitamin E is one of the most talked about of the vitamins and has been proven to have a lot of effect on many things in life and health. It has been proven many times that it is definitely associated with an animal's reproduction ability, like increasing the conception rate of mares and lack of vitamin E can and has caused many mares to abort. The potency of a stallion can be greatly increased by sufficient amounts of the vitamin. I know from my own experience with my stallion, especially if you are breeding quite heavy, that feeding extra vitamin E three months before breeding season eliminates several mares for return breedings.
The main natural source of vitamin D is the ultra-violate rays of the sun and sometimes we run a little short of sun here in the northwest, so that makes it more important than ever to supply adequate vitamin D. Sun cured hay does supply some, but the best source is fish oils and irradiated yeast. Shortage of D can cause rickets, weak bones, teeth, and retarded growth. If pregnant mares are short of the vitamin, the foals may be born weak, possibly with rickets or malformed.
The most important vitamins and minerals for the health and maintenance of horses are A-D-B-E-K, calcium, phosphorous, salt, and many trace minerals. Many of the trace minerals are available in salt.
Vitamin A is the most important to the health of your horse. It is essential to the digestive, respiratory, reproductive, and nervous systems and also to sight, skin, hoof growth, appetite, milk production, [and] fighting infections and disease. In other words, just about everything essential to maintain life and health.
After breeding, raising, training, and shoeing horses most of my life, I have come to the conclusion that the horse is like the American people, "well fed, but drastically undernourished."
For the past twenty-five years I have researched and experimented with feeds and feeding. Many of my observations and conclusions have been confirmed in the many articles written recently about horse nutrition in several leading magazines.
Some of you long-time customers will remember the days when we were based in Redmond, WA. My late husband, Bud Wrona, mainly operated the business then and I helped him out. He also wrote articles for the local paper, in a column titled Off the Hoof, to help educate the community on, mainly, the proper care and feeding of horses.
I don't know why, but I saved many of these articles -- kept them neatly packed in a box and stored in an out-of-the-way place. In fact, they had been so much out of the way that I had nearly forgotten about them. It was only as part of my effort to get our website built that I remembered and uncovered them.