Just as it can be a good choice for you to take vitamin supplements in order to improve your health, the same can be true for your horse. Some of the vitamins that you want to make sure your horse has in its diet include:
- Vitamin A: Necessary for vision, cell growth, proper muscle function and mucous membrane healthy. Found in fresh pasture and hay. An 1,000-pound horse needs approximately 15,000 IU per day. Vitamin A supplements are rarely necessary for horses, but may be needed if your horse lacks access to a pasture or good, green hay.
- B Vitamins: Necessary for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Produced by the bacteria that live in the large intestine as well as in good-quality pasture and hay. Most horses do not require supplements, but they may be needed if your horse has poor-quality hooves. In this case, 20 mg per day of biotin may be helpful. B vitamins may also help to calm a nervous horse.
- Vitamin C: Helps to protect body cells and the formation of collagen. Synthesized from glucose by the horse’s liver. Supplements generally are not needed, but older horses may respond better to vaccinations if they receive a daily supplement of 20g of vitamin C.
- Vitamin D: Assists with absorbing calcium from the small intestine, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and joints. Produced naturally by the horse’s body when exposed to sunlight. An 1,100-pound horse needs approximately 3,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
These are just a few examples of the vitamins that your horse needs to be healthy. To learn more, contact your veterinarian.