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Forage-Balanced Mineral Solutions

- the nutrient foundation of any diet

Just like any good building needs a strong foundation, a horse’s health is the same – a foundation built on balanced, key essential nutrients, for a strong, healthy horse, as well as strong, robust hooves.

Here's a mind-boggling statistic - 50 years ago, carrots had 75% more magnesium than today

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15637215

Just one example of how our soil nutrient levels have significantly depleted over the years due to industrial agriculture (see the UK Soil Observatory website). The problem is compounded - whether horse or human, we get less minerals from our food than we used to, due to chemicals like glyphosate sprayed on agri-crops, with our ultra-processed diets, pharmaceutical drugs, and inflammatory lifestyles depleting our bodies of the minerals we can get.

Us humans are armed with the knowledge to select an appropriate vit/min supplement off the shelf for ourselves, alongside upgrading our diet accordingly to add back the missing nutrients into our bodies. Our horses, however, rely entirely on us to get it right for them. This is why we need a balanced mineral solution to help provide our horses with an effective nutritional foundation.

Let's put it into perspective. Imagine randomly removing 50% of the nuts and bolts from your car, then trying to drive it. How far do you think you’d get? Some might just about rattle and roll, but imagine the stress on your car engine. Chances are, you wouldn’t risk even putting the key in the ignition.

In our human world, if we’re eating the standard western C.R.A.P. diet (not me being rude - it stands for Carbs, Refined, Artificial, and Processed), health nuts report that our own machinery is missing a staggering 80% of our essential nuts and bolts. Just as our car won’t function properly, neither will our body, which is why such a high percentage of the western human race is so sick.

Put simply, we need all of the essential components for the body to work properly. And not unsurprisingly, it's the same for our horses.

FACT - Our UK grasslands are deficient in many of the essential minerals, and way too high in others, namely calcium, iodine, iron and manganese.

FACT - Changes in the chemistry of grass cause changes in the chemistry of the horse, with many chronic health issues being due to unbalanced micronutrients.

FACT - Most alleged 'behavioural; issues will resolve by feeding minerals balanced to our known UK forage deficiencies, which balance the horse's chemistry.

And then there's the feedbowl:

FACT - Micronutrient deficiencies are guaranteed since the advent of mass agriculture, because mass-produced food is synonymous with low micronutrient food.

Along with hay, water and salt, the right mineral supply is the nutrient foundation of the diet, and in the perfect world, how we supplement our horses should be adapted to the mineral content of their regular forage and their feedbowl content. However, unless we grow our own hay or know the source of our hay's supply, there's no sense in having the mineral content of each hay bale analysed, as the values can swing from day to day, depending on the weather, the environment, and changes in the soil values. For example, hay grown on sandy or moorland soils will usually have significantly lower mineral content than hay from other soil types.

That said, there are certain standard values for mineral supply, and our EquiVita/VitaComplete mineral balancer matches the recognised standard nutrient deficiencies in our UK grasslands and forage.

Introducing EquiVita/VitaComplete

Our EquiVita range is milled for us by Premier Nutrition, who are committed to manufacturing safe, compliant feed independently audited by, and certified to, UFAS, FEMAS, BETA NOPS, and ISO 22000, so you can be confident in the product you receive.

  • A carefully balanced multi-mineral nutrient solution specific to our UK grasslands.
  • Balanced to the NRC guidelines based on known UK forage deficiencies, which means it provides the correct ratios of the deficient minerals and micronutrients to balance the equine dietary requirements.
  • No fillers whatsoever, just the composition your horse needs to balance the diet, and none of what it doesn't (calcium, iodine, iron, manganese) based on the known UK forage deficiencies as per the NRC guidelines, and measured to the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance - set based on preventing deficiency) to nutritionally balance the diet.
  • Includes as standard: * Lysine * Magnesium * Phosphorous * Copper * Zinc * Methionine * Selenium * Vitamin E *, and all in their natural forms, not synthetic. See why we don't use synthetic minerals on our Blog Post here: Minerals, and it's All-Change - New data on synthetic chelated v. natural sulphates

3 Ranges

  • Our standard EquiVita range is ideal for all-round maintenance.
  • EquiVita 'A' range - wth 10g daily added Spirulina, one of the highest protein-rich foods in the plant kingdom. It supports metabolism, muscle building, and an excellent gut mycotoxin-binder and deacidifier, useful if feeding haylage.
  • VitaComplete - combines our EquiVita range with 100g daily micronised linseed, and 10g daily certified organic and unrefined salt as a convenient 3-in-1.

The Mineral/Hoof Connection

This is Maisie and her front hooves. We got involved with Maisie following the winter of 2017/18 where she'd been abandoned and needed serious support to get healthy again. We were very much involved in her refeeding programme, and her owner kindly allowed us to do a Case Study on her on the website.

One of the most positive areas of improvement was her hooves 😉 You can see the profound changes in her hoof/pastern angle, with the new, stronger hoof capsule taking shape above the very obvious old hoof, all engineered by our EquiVita balanced minerals.

As her new, tighter hoof capsule grew down it naturally shortened her toe to where it should be. This allows the whole hoof to be more supportive of the pedal bone and limb.

New to minerals?

For new starters on minerals, I always suggest to start with our 1kg trial bag – any new-to-minerals horse will tell you that minerals are notoriously unpalatable, so it’s best to start with a pinch in the feedbowl and work your way up, unless you want ‘the look’ where they think you’re trying to poison them. Took me 2-weeks to get our Carmen on the full measure, but then she’s a meticulous TB Diva, whereas my three natives gobbled it down without batting an eye. However, for fussy eaters, 2-weeks is generally the average time reported back from clients who have to take it slowly.

Our winter grasslands are also deficient in the important Essential Fatty Acids, the Omegas 3 & 6, as is hay, so it’s worth considering adding Linseed (micronised) which mimics the omega ratios found in growing spring/summer grass. Personally it’s a staple in my feedroom and find it wonderful for condition, coat shine, joint comfort and itchy skin, to name a few. It’s also a gut superstar, especially for our colicy-risk horses, as it’s high mucilage content coats and soothes the GI tract wall and the food bolus for ease of transit. See our Linseed product page for the full details on when - and how much - to feed, as this is all very dependent on how much grass turnout or how much hay there is in your horse's diet: https://equinatural.co.uk/p/linseed-micronised.

Finally, a quick word on salt

It's essential to feed salt in the diet for so many important reasons; apart from keeping body fluids in balance and providing essential natural electrolytes which play a key role in normal nerve/muscle/kidney function and blood sodium levels, sodium is also needed to balance potassium levels, both in grass and in the body, and especially in hot weather.

Sodium and chloride (salt) are the major electrolytes lost in sweat, followed by potassium, so we need to feed around 20-25g salt daily to cover a baseline requirement. If you prefer to feed an electrolyte supplement, make sure this amount of salt is included in the composition.

Salt also encourages drinking water; obvious for summer hydration but for winter too - horses drink far less water in winter so we need to help encourage them to do so. It really is a no-brainer to add a quality salt into the feedbowl.

However ... the problem with blending salt into a mineral/vitamin mix is that salt attracts moisture - it's a natural dessicant (drying agent) so the risk is that it will denature much of the composition. This means that a mineral mix blended with fine salt may lose its essential structure, but also shorten the shelf-life.

We therefore don't include salt in our EquiVita range.

This is one reason why I prefer to add in coarse salt nibs; the other is that my connie, Murphy, hates the taste of salt so I have to sneak it in via coarse salt so there's no overwhelming taste of salt for him.

We sell beautiful unrefined, unpolluted, coarse sea salt, certified by the Soil Association, available in bulk at seriously good prices compared to the supermarkets, in our Online Shop/Individual Items/Salts page. Add a generous heaped tablespoon of salt into the feedbowl, double if in hard work or sweating.

That said, we do include our certified coarse salt in our VitaComplete range, because when combined with the oil content from the linseed, there's much less of a risk of the dessicating effect over the time that the product takes to be used up.

Click on the links below for more info, and any questions, don't hesitate to contact us on mail@equinatural.co.uk