Horse Nutrition

It all started with the Best Guess mineral mix. The Best Guess mix came about when a number of hoof care practitioners requested it on behalf of horse owners who were not able to test their pasture or hay.

The Best Guess mineral mix was formulated to supply what most horses are deficient in, based on thousands of pasture and hay tests in Australia and overseas. 

Equi Horse (formerly known as Hoof Rescue) was designed for horses that need additional magnesium and Equi Horse +Se (formerly known as Hoof Rescue +Se) has magnesium and selenium.

All the mixes contain premium mineral sources based on the peer-reviewed scientific studies used for the guidelines in the NRC 2007 Nutrient Requirements for Horses and Dr Eleanor Kellon's VMD recommendations.

All the mineral mixes contain significant levels of copper and zinc and a small amount of iodine. All are NOT the smorgasbord of nutrients that come in the 'everything but the kitchen sink' type of mineral mix products on the market, yet contain very little of what is really needed.

On a high pasture/hay diet, many of these nutrients are unnecessary and simply make expensive manure.

More is not better

There is NO added iron or manganese which are harmful in excess. If it doesn't help (poor coat appearance, compromised immune system, poor hoof quality), then ideally it's would be better to have the pasture/hay tested to see what the copper to zinc ratio is and that will tell us what amounts of copper and zinc are needed to optimise it (and the other nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium).

The ideal ratio is 1:3 for the whole intake, copper to zinc - not just one product

There are two sizes available for each mineral mix.

Best Guess: To reduce postage costs, and to make the feeding rate easy, a quantity of salt has to be added to the mix as a 'filler' so that the standard feeding rate is 1 metric tablespoon (small size Best Guess mix). If there wasn't a filler like salt, the size of the feeding rate would be very small and challenging for some people.

For the Equi Horse, Equi Horse +Se and HoofXtra Hoof mix, the magnesium oxide does the same job as the salt and provides magnesium too. So no need to add salt to these mixes, they are ready to go as is.

The additional salt recommendation (2 tablespoons for an untested situation, more in hot weather) is there regardless of whether you add salt to a mix (Best Guess) or not.

Most horses are sodium or chloride deficient and the amount added *per day* to the Best Guess mix is quite small

Which mineral mix?

We generally recommend Equi Horse +Se (formerly known as Hoof Rescue +Se). Grass and hay grown on acidic to neutral soils are known to be deficient in selenium. Soil conditions, especially pH influence plant uptake of selenium. 

Equi Horse +Se has a very conservative amount of selenium, 1 mg per day for the standard feeding rate, 1 metric tablespoon. If you are already supplementing selenium then  Equi Horse (formerly known as Hoof Rescue) mix may be more appropriate. Both mixes contain magnesium.

If your horse or horses are not likely to be magnesium deficient or not displaying magnesium deficient symptoms, We would then suggest the Best Guess mineral mix. All the mixes contain significant amounts of copper and zinc and some iodine.

If a horse is insulin resistant (IR)/elevated insulin (gut incretins), then the HoofXtra vitamin and mineral mix (formerly known as Laminitis Rescue) can be helpful. 

Best Guess is ideal if you do need to increase the level of copper and zinc without the other nutrients: magnesium, selenium and so forth.

You will notice that there are not a huge range of nutrients as it's simply unnecessary, more information below.

If you are concerned about overdoing selenium for your horse, this article explains what the upper toxic limit is: 
Selenium Paranoia

"The chemical form of selenium in soil is largely controlled by the redox potential and soil pH. Selenate is the major form present in well aerated alkaline soils: whereas, selenite predominates in acid and neutral soils.

The selenite form, however, is adsorbed to clays and hydrous Fe oxides and is generally unavailable for plant uptake."
Mayland HF, Gough LP and Stewart KC. Selenium mobility in soils and its absorption, translocation, and metabolism in plants

If you have a muscle building/topline or hoof quality (shelly) hoof issues, I have Equine Amino with the essential amino acids recommended by Dr Eleanor Kellon VMD.

I chose not to make a product that contains minerals AND amino acids as not all horses need additional supplementation and the products that are a combination of both either have poor levels of minerals or too low levels of amino acids.

If your horse is on high-quality protein intake (pasture improved grasses, actively growing) it's far less likely you need additional amino acids. Protein/amino acids are the most expensive nutrient to supplement.

The only way to really know what nutrients need to be supplemented is to look at the whole intake and do the job properly, based on data. It's a bit of an effort at first but pays off handsomely in the long run.

The easiest and best way to know what your horse's intake is deficient in, or what is excessive and out of balance, is to test what your horses eat. It's not an exact science but the best approach we have in terms of accuracy. Labs like Equi-Analytical can test the bulk of the diet, whether that be pasture or hay.

For small amounts of hay,  use estimates though if you are a data addict.  It's worth knowing this.  Once tested then, if a feed product or supplement is required, it's chosen on the basis of correcting the deficiencies/imbalances in the bulk of the intake.

It's a paradigm shift for many people, rather than looking at the products available for what is the most persuasive for helping horses without knowing what the nutrient levels are in the rest of the diet, choose what to feed and supplement on the basis of what they are already getting.

Plenty of companies will tell you what your horse or horses need but this is misleading advertising. They can't possibly know without data (and know what to do with the data.

If you are feeding hay or a significant amount of supplementary feed, I would also recommend 100 g freshly ground linseeds for omega-3 fatty acids and 1000 IU vitamin E.

When adding the minerals and salt to a feed I find it easier to add the minerals to the soak water and mixing well so that when the beet pulp/soybean hulls/lupin hulls or similar have absorbed the water, with a good final mix, the minerals 'disappear'.

How To Prepare Horse Feed Correctly: