“If we are feeding the correct hard-feed for size and work shouldn’t that be enough in the way of minerals or do we need to supplement more?
I have always been wary of adding extra minerals so as not to "overdose".
Resources such as the NRC Nutrient Requirements of Horses tell you the levels of minerals that horses require on a daily basis to stay healthy.
Nutrient requirements have been calculated for horses of different weights, work-load, growth and breeding status.
These basic requirements are met by feeding Premium or, even better Premium MVA (because it contains the amino acids), and once you have the dose rate for the weight of your horse you feed the same amount every day regardless.
So are you going to be over-dosing some minerals by also feeding GrazeEzy and/or AlleviateC/SOS?
These products have evolved out of the need to address a vast array of issues that our modern-day horse keeping practices have given rise to.
Issues that plague horses even though they are fed according to the scientific recommendations in the Nutrient Requirements of Horses.
Issues that plague horses even though their diet has been checked via a computer programme.
Issues that plagued us all our riding life UNTIL the penny dropped and over the years since we have gained a greater understanding of how minerals work inside the body and how they affect the horses metabolism.
If your horse has any of the signs listed on the Health Checklist on the Home Page of our calmhealthyhorses.com website then that is your indication that he needs them. If he needs them then you are not over-dosing.
Once the horse is completely back to normal you can drop the doses. Averagely you need less over dry spells and more when it rains. There are no set dose rates for these because you will learn how to ‘go by how they ARE’. ‘Observe, Remember and Compare’ for each particular horse.
For these horses with issues we are trying to help their metabolism go back to a place where they can balance their own minerals via a process called ‘homeostasis’.
Grass-Affected horses have temporarily lost this ability.
So it is not just about AMOUNTS GOING IN, The fate of the minerals, no matter how well ‘balanced’ by any nutritionist or computer program, very much depends on the physiological state of the horse at the time of consumption.
All the figures are thrown out of kilter by a multitude of factors, for example the presence of mineral ‘robbers’ such as the ‘phytates’ in grains, oxalates in certain grasses, nitrates under certain climatic conditions.
The goal of the Calm Healthy Horses feeding recommendations is to make it easy for your horse to balance his minerals all on his own. This is what a normal horse is doing without any help from us. A ‘Grass Affected’ horse is that way because there is something wrong with his self-regulating mechanisms.
Just as a good mechanic can tell by the symptoms what is going wrong with your car, we have learned over the last 12 years what has gone wrong with the horse’s physiology to produce the various ‘Grass Affected’ symptoms.
If you are not sure what is going on with your horse:
1. Go to the Calm Healthy Horses Checklist here and fill it out
2. If you are unsure what to feed, have a look here:
3. Visit the calmhealthyhorses.com website
PIC: Here is an example of a beautiful horse who despite being very well fed, still had multiple ‘issues’ which included head-flicking and movement abnormalities