Mineral Nutrition and the Equine Athlete

These micronutrients found in forage, feeds, and supplements help support the athletic horse’s health.
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Mineral Nutrition and the Equine Athlete
Most minerals in the equine diet are provided by good quality forage and fortified grain concentrates. | Photo: iStock

Minerals make up a small but important part the equine diet. These micronutrients, which are found in forage, feeds, and supplements, help support the athletic horse’s bone growth, bodily functions, and hoof and coat health, and having a proper balance of minerals can support performance.

Brian Nielsen, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAN, professor of exercise physiology in Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Science, presented about the importance of minerals role in the equine diet at the University of Maryland’s Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ 2016 Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference, held March 23-24, in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Most minerals in the equine diet are provided by good quality forage and fortified grain concentrates. Supplements offer additional minerals, but too many minerals in a horse’s diet can be detrimental. This is because minerals interact with each other and can compete for absorption in the small intestine, and too much of one could prevent the proper absorption of another

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Nettie Liburt, MS, PhD, PAS, is an equine nutritionist based on Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she studied equine exercise physiology and nutrition. Liburt is a member of the Equine Science Society.

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