Thursday, March 14, 2013

Iron: An Important Trace Mineral in Equine Diets - Full Article

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 21, 2013

Horses need calcium, phosphorus, and a number of other minerals in their diets. Trace minerals are those that are required in smaller amounts than the major minerals. Though the quantities are not large, these trace minerals play vital roles in the health and development of horses. Many minerals are supplied in forage (grass and hay) or grain products, and others may be added in supplements that supply one or more specific nutrients. In order to get the best performance from their horses,
owners and trainers may begin by adding one or two nutritional supplements, including others from time to time as they hear of new products and the athletic successes they seem to guarantee. In some cases, high levels of some minerals are not only unnecessary, but can actually be harmful to the horse.

Iron is usually, at least from the standpoint of the layman, the first trace mineral that is considered in terms of supplementation. A survey conducted at a California race track indicated that a large majority of trainers had their horses on some type of iron supplement. This concern with iron stems from the well-known function of iron as part of the heme molecule. This is but one of the important functions of iron, but is the basis of the interest in iron for the performance horse...

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