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Old 06-10-2010, 12:57 PM  
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ontario
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Do horses need supplements?

Hi everyone -

I have boarded my horses for the past 2 years but just recently purchased a property with 97 acres. There is quite a bit of land for our horses to graze and hay fields that the farmer next door manages, so I'm not too concerned about keeping them fed (and yes, I will manage their intake. I guess my question is:

Where we board now, they are outside 24/7 (unless the weather is really bad) and have access to grazing pasture and good quality hay all the time. Salt/Mineral blocks are also available at all times, as well as water. They are all easy keeper QH and Paints, all under 10 years old and have never had any major problems. Knowing this, is it necessary to give them additional supplements?

Our neighbour next door (owns Hackney and Warmbloods) insists that horses have to have supplements for them to get the necessary vitamins and minerals. I figure if they are fine without them, no point giving it to them - any advice?
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:02 PM  
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I will tell you, I am a firm believer in "if its not broke dont fix it," now...there are always exceptions to that. For instance, if you're doing endurance riding you want to make sure your horse is getting ample electrolytes, etc, or if you have a performance horse you may want to consider feeding joint supplements to maintain health and soundness, it depends on the type and duration of the work you are doing. But I really havent ever given supplements, the only one of mine that gets them now is my 25 year old gelding who is on a senior combination supplement for overall health. It is simply my opinion that the people who load their horses up with a million and one supplements, different feed regimens, etc...they are the ones who have the health problems with their horses. As long as your horse is getting high quality roughage, grain and water...you should be fine.

I'm sure many other people have different views, this is just my two cents and its seemed to work for me thus far
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:30 PM  
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I would make sure they had access to a salt block at all times, but if you are not doing major showing/riding, I think the grass would be fine. Hay in the winter.
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:35 PM  
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I also think that if it's not broke, don't fix it...and that the horse will let you know if they need anything extra, by their energy level, and condition of their coat/feet/mane/muscle mass/fat.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:05 PM  
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I think that as long as you're not doing hard riding your horses should be fine. I would give them full access to a mineral block but that is it. Fresh pasture is really all a horse needs unless he has health issues, is working a lot, or is a senior who is having trouble keeping weight on.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:00 PM  
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I agree with the above posters on the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"

That said, my little pony mare told me she wasn't happy with her mineral intake and she started eating poop early spring. I started her on Equalizer and bam, total difference. She was perkier and happier and stopped eating poop! She had a salt/mineral block too but clearly she needed a little bit more.

Bring your horses home, give them all they had at the last place, and watch them. If you notice odd behaviours and things that could be explained by a horse whose nutritional and mineral needs are not being met... then augment the diet. Until then, , don't fix it.
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Old 06-10-2010, 05:59 PM  
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ours are out on 50 acres (we dont proivide hay- they dont eat it anyway- and we dont moniter their intake- we just make sure they are fat ) and provide ample clean water (2 water troughs and they have a stream to go play/drink out of too) plus alot of salt AND mineral blocks.
i think i have 6 salt and mineral blocks out. 3 of each. sometimes a horse just wants salt... sometimes they want the minerals. both get eaten and they pick which they want.
Now in the winter i do add mineral salt to their feed since someitmes horses wont drink enough when its cold even though the tanks are heated. and some horses in the winter get supplements. the harder keepers and the old horses who need joint supplements (when outside all the time they do better then when in a stall) is what comes to mind.

so- if they arent taking supplements now and they are good, chances are they will be fine at the new place. you can always get your pasture grass- hay tested for quality too.
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:46 PM  
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Most horses do fine without 'supplements'. The one thing I do recommend is having loose salt and loose mineral available. I have known several horses that don't like the blocks(especially during winter!) and won't consume them. If you have high quality hay and pasture, you probably don't even need grain!
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