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Vitamin/Mineral supplement...please help me!

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  • Vitamin/Mineral supplement...please help me!

    Hello. I live in the middle of PA and have 5 growing warmbloods. They're turned out on 8-10 acres of grass but we haven't had rain here so it is not tall yet and so its not really doing that much for them. They also have constant access to last years first cutting hay which is good quality but it is first cutting so you know how that goes. They're fed Triple Crown Growth. But because they're in good weight, they don't get very much of it...only about a pound twice a day for most of them and they're rather big/tall guys. They look healthy and happy but I am wondering if they could be missing anything from their diets by way of vitamins and minerals?
    I know I should have my hay tested but I won't do that at this time because we will soon be cutting new hay and that reading will change drastically. Last year was terrible in my area for hay...the worst ever for us, I believe.
    Is there a product that would be good to add that would ensure they get a good balance of needed vit/min without being through the roof on cost? I don't want anything fancy with extra joint supplements added or the like. But I do want to ensure these guys get the proper balance of nutrition. What about the fact that they seem to be thriving? Knock wood, I have had no OCD or the like here. Maybe I shouldn't supplement at all? Thoughts?

  • #2
    If you aren't feeding the recommended amount of the Growth, then yes, they are missing out. I would look at TC 30% or TC Lite as you don't have to feed as much to get the recommended vit/min amounts.


    • #3
      What RobinL says with the qualifying statement of "Likely, if you are not feeding the recommended..........missing out". You would have to run to numbers or use a program such as FeedXL to eval what is lacking.

      If TC is your preference shoot them an email, I am sure they would be more than happy to discuss better feeding options to fit the special needs of your horses.


      • #4
        Definitely switch to TC 30 at the appropriate amount for their age. For example, if they are yearlings, you're probably in the 2-3lb range. But if they are 3, then 1lb is enough.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • Original Poster

          Thanks guys! You're most helpful!


          • #6
            If they don't need the extra protein that's in a product like a ration balancer, there are many good supplements that contain just vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. I use Uckele's Sport Horse Grass pellets for this same purpose, and SmartPak makes a few.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              I really like Horse Tech's High Point. No added junk, and you feed very little.


              • #8
                I am a fan of the Equi-Shine vitamin and mineral supplement - everyone here seems to eat it up~!


                • #9
                  Another vote for Horse Tech's High Point. I feed the one that supplements grass hay which is pretty much all my ponies get. I worked it out on Feed XL last year and it was the best choice for me, both from the standpoint of providing what they need and cost-wise as well.

                  Originally posted by QHF View Post
                  I really like Horse Tech's High Point. No added junk, and you feed very little.


                  • #10
                    You might want to talk to your vet, urgently. Each time we've had growing youngsters here, the vets have been adamant about giving them a good-quality grass hay only, and an absolute minimum of any kind of concentrate. They ordered me not to use any kind of vitamin/mineral supplement, and gave me the most dire warnings about anything marketed to engender "growth."

                    The primary reason cited was that growing too quickly, especially in the heavier breeds, all too often leads to osteochondritis-dessicans (hope I spelled that right--usually abb. OCD).

                    We had one big, foundation-bred QH filly who came in from far sparser picking in western Montana; a long weanling who started getting growth-plate inflammation (mild lameness, knees turning out) just from our pasture alone! The vet-mandated cure was to keep her in a dry lot with decidedly uninteresting first-cut, stemmy hay!

                    Be really, really careful with this . . . less is way better, and "nutritionism" (the vitamin thing) is more marketing than a hard science.


                    • #11
                      That makes no sense, but definitely comes too often from vets even who don't understand what causes growth problems.

                      IF you have good quality grass hay, high in nutrition, then from a nutritional standpoint, yes, it might be all a growing horse needs.

                      You can't know that without testing it - not by smelling it, not by looking at it, ONLY by testing.

                      But what about the high metabolism youngster who is far too thin on hay alone, even good quality? Is he supposed to just stay skinny skinny all in the name of not causing problems?

                      You're going to cause problems just as easily, if not moreso, from feeding poor quality forage. Stemmy forage is not the answer - there's little nutrition in that.

                      Growth problems are FAR more commonly caused by either too many calories, or unbalanced nutrition.

                      Less is NOT more when you're reducing the nutritional aspect of the diet below that is needed to grow that horse properly.
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                      • #12
                        swampYankee, we know better than this now.

                        Young horses need adequate quality protein and the right balance of minerals and vitamins for optimum growth. That does not mean accelerated or fast growth at all, just optimum.

                        Lack of *nutrition* will cause all sorts of issues, including physitis, and other bone issues as well as potential neurological issues.
                        Last edited by EqTrainer; Apr. 23, 2012, 09:35 PM.
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • #13
                          Any good practitioner in any field that involves living things knows better than to use the words "always" and "never" except in TRULY remarkable circumstances.

                          The stemmiest, crappiest looking first cutting hay I ever bought was the highest in NSC of all the samples I've ever pulled.

                          I'd rather have a youngster lean, shiny and growing steadily with a few vitamins and knowing what was in the hay than to play Russian roulette with just giving it crummy-looking hay because the conventional wisdom suggests (or used to) that this is how you grow a young horse.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            I didn't say the hay was "crummy." I said it was stemmy first-cut. The point was to reduce her calories by getting her off very rich, high-protein & sweet spring pasture for a few months until the epiphysitis went away. It worked just fine for her; but she was not a high-metabolism TB.

                            You may well have found another solution, equally good; my advice came, and still does, from an extremely well thought of mixed-discipline equine practice in the very high-end tri-state metro area. I think they know what they're doing. And, most importantly, it worked and without costing a dime, so you'll forgive me I hope if I stand by it.

                            The "best" solution, "always" conditional, is the one that works for you--but it's not necessarily always the most expensive, most intensely medicalized or glossily marketed.

                            Experiences vary; no need for disrespect because yours differ.


                            • #15
                              You said "each time we've had youngsters", and "with my filly that had epiphysitis". The latter would definitely call for a different nutritional plan than whatever had been in place before a problem cropped up. But nutrition of growing horses is not a one size fits all proposition. AFAIK vitamin and minerals excesses are not the problem with OCD and epiphysitis, but rather too many calories, genetic predisposition, rate of growth and perhaps a bunch of other things. Even, IIRC, vitamin deficiency (D?) and mineral deficiencies may play a role. Ergo, a vitamin/mineral supplement, as the OP was asking about, could very well be a minimal-risk/probable-benefit proposition.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • #16
                                Stemmy hay usually is pretty "cruddy" since the bulk of the nutrition is in the leaves.

                                It also may be sky high in sugars, as DW said. 1st cutting might be something that was cut with cold nights and warm days, which causes that situation.

                                DW, excess can indeed play a role If it's in excess but balanced in excess, that may, I'd guess, be less likely, but "excess" too easily means also unbalanced, like...too much calcium because of too much alfalfa fed, for example. So I think it depends what 'excess" means

                                Don't know about OCD - I know there's a proven link between a copper deficiency and the development of OCD lesions, though I don't know if I've read anything about excesses.
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                • #17
                                  Also, that " very rich, high-protein & sweet spring pasture" was much less likely to be high protein (which doesn't cause growth problems anyway, btw ) than it was to be sky high in sugars, which is KNOWN to cause growth problems.

                                  Taking them off "rich" pasture and putting them on "stemmy first cutting hay" is not necessarily the right and answer.
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                  • #18
                                    If you go back and read my original post, my advice to the person making the initial query was NOT that she should do what we wound up doing.

                                    It was that she should consult her equine veterinarian BEFORE supplementing growing warmblood youngsters.

                                    Obviously, I have no way of knowing conditions "on the ground" where she is--but her vet does. I stand by that advice.

                                    "Some folks look for answers, others look for fights. . . "


                                    • #19
                                      We realize you didn't tell the OP what to do, other than consult her vet.

                                      However, your posts made several things very clear - many *vets* still have no idea what causes growth problems, as evidenced by what your own vet was so very adamant about.

                                      More vets than not know nothing about nutrition, or have learned the wrong things. It's an old, old myth that just will not die that protein causes growth problems. I can't remember the name of the vet who initially put that out there based on some study, but he pretty quickly retracted it and has bemoaned the fact that it's STILL out there. "bad news travels faster than good" really does apply here.

                                      A vet being ADAMANT about forage only and no concentrates just makes me cringe. You yourself said at the end of your post that "less is way better, and "nutritionism" (the vitamin thing) is more marketing than a hard science." and that's just not true.
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                      • #20
                                        Question "Reality."

                                        Don't even get me started; or this thread could go on for 900 pages and 12 years!

                                        If you knew how little human doctors know about nutrition, it would make your hair stand on end. This isn't something I made up; I sail with a doctor who's told me exactly what he was taught, and how little of it, at Yale! He freely admitted, off the record of course, that most of it was wrong. I've gotten the same admission from many others, after a few drinks of course.

                                        The truth is, the cat's about to get out of the bag that about 95% of the advice we've been given by all the major medical and government organizations for the last 30 years is completely, utterly, 180-degrees-off dead WRONG and has brought us this charming epidemic of metabolic syndrome and all the fun that comes with it. That advice (low saturated fat, high-carb) was based to begin with on incomplete science, poor science and willfully misrepresented science--and still is. Meta-analyses have proven compellingly that knowledge we had in the 1860's, subsequently forgotten for socio-political reasons, was much "healthier" than today's. I refer you to www.garytaubes.com if you wish to read more. If you're bummed that your breeches are getting tight, read it for sure!

                                        On the equine end, I'll be the first to admit that for most people it's getting harder and harder to approximate "nature;" it's sad that land use intensity in most economically viable areas has left less and less opportunity for most people to keep their horses outside. At the same time, intensity of farming even hay to produce maximum yields often leads to decreased nutritional content, hence the market for high-powered feeds and supplementation.

                                        The problem I see, however, is that the marketing of anything and everything to throw in a horse's feed-bin has far, far outstripped any conclusive knowledge on the subject that's accessible to the non-scientifically-educated amateur owner. Every catalog that comes in the door contains between 60 and 100 pages of "supplements"--most of which are unproven, some of which can cause harm. Unfortunately, we live today in a highly medicalized society (which did not exist until 1980, BTW) where it is increasingly considered normative to be under doctors' care from cradle to grave in the absence of disease; and the first thing most people reach for is a "pill" or other chemical quick-fix. It has become the conventional wisdom. People want to believe the "experts" someone else bought and paid for. If you knew how little hard evidence exists you'd just die.

                                        Catching up fast are the feed companies, constantly refining what I call "designer" mixes for every conceiveable class of horse; yet read the labels, and most times the Guaranteed Analysis barely varies. It's all glossy magazine ads and full-color printed feed bags. The stuff actually inside, if they'll list the ingredients at all, becomes more questionable every day, considering the endocrine-disruption and nutrient blocking qualities of anything made from soybeans. There is a reason horses "don't keep like they used to." Soybean oil, basically an Omega 6 and free-radical soup cracked from the beans with petrochemicals, is in almost every processed feed on the market. Anyone else questioning why it seems like 2/3 of the horses on the East Coast are now eating "Pop Rocks?" Nah! This stuff doesn't exist in nature, let alone in a horse's or human's diet.

                                        "Vitamins" were a late 19th century discovery. We know about a few of them, and a few minerals too. We only now are beginning to realize how they are even absorbed and metabolized. Taking those calcium pills with the 1% milk, eh? How's that working out for ya? There are likely thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of similar substances yet to be identified. This is why the best advice for man and beast is still to eat whole, unaltered, naturally-grown foods. For horses, this means good hay or pasture.

                                        "Practitioners" are going to use what's in their tool box. For an MD or DMV, that tool box is primarily chemical, so they're going to approach most problems from the standpoint of chemistry. For a chiropractor, it's mechanical; for an acupuncturist, energetic, for a farrier, it's shoes. Most of these professionals have been taught to "do something," all the time, very thoroughly; it's also how they make a living. The occasional wisdom of "Not doing" or "do less than CAN be done" is something you'll seldom hear from any of them.

                                        Now me, I run a farm blessed with a lot of acreage, so I reach first for a "management" solution. We have a mix of TB's and WB's, youngsters and ancients and everything in between. For us, 24/7 turnout, unlimited clean water, free-choice high quality hay all winter, and absolutely minimal "grain" leaves us utilizing the chem-lab rather seldom. That my vets, the majority of whom are recent products of Cornell, find this situation optimal speaks to me of the quality of their education and experience, not its lack.

                                        Your mileage may differ; but for those who can turn off the Babel of noises in all our heads these days, you may just find that "less is more." Now how subversive is THAT!