I have Miniature Horses ranging in age from 2 to 16 years old. One mare that I intend to breed next year requires low-starch feed. What is a safe way to provide vitamins and minerals to Miniature Horses?
There are two options that would be appropriate for Miniature Horses, micronutrient supplements and ration balancers.
Micronutrient supplements are designed for easy-keepers to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals missing in forage. Micro-Max, a supplement formulated by Kentucky Equine Research (KER), contains natural-source vitamins and chelated minerals that are readily absorbed. Micro-Max pellet is designed to be fed to Miniatures at 15-30 g per day (depending upon size). This product is a sound option for any mature, idle horses that also have access to good-quality hay. Micro-Max would be appropriate for your barren mare until she reaches late pregnancy and lactation. In Australia, look for Gold Pellet.
Growing horses, pregnant mares, lactating mares, and performance horses all benefit from a ration balancer pellet that provides added protein, vitamins, and minerals. Balancer pellets are designed to be fed at 1-2 lb (0.45-0.9 kg) for an average horse. Miniature Horses, however, would have their nutrient needs met with only 1/4-1/2 lb (0.11-0.23 kg) per day.
Additionally, I recommend supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids for benefits in reproductive and metabolic health. EO•3 fish oil contains DHA and EPA, omega-3s that are the most efficiently utilized by the horse. EO-3 is designed to be top-dressed on feed at 15-30 ml daily.
Feeding Miniature Horses offers some challenges, especially in terms of downsizing recommended feeding rates. Should you have a question about feeding rates, contact a KER nutrition advisor.
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