Is it Possible to Over-Supplement?

Is it Possible to Over-Supplement?

Feeding a balanced diet to your horse, as all horse and pony owners will know, is vitally important. Providing the correct amount of nutrients to meet the needs of your horse helps them stay healthy, grow, reproduce and work. The basis of every equine diet should be forage, with protein and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) added where forage is not meeting requirements. Broodmares, youngstock and hardworking horses in particular may struggle with their nutrient levels, so it is important that these types of horses are getting enough of the essential nutrients in their diet.

There are many situations in which targeted supplements may benefit horses by enhancing performance, supporting work recovery and for those returning to health after illness. There are also many different typles of supplements which range from electrolytes to joint mobility. As there are so many that may benefit a horse, some horse owners will ask which are safe to feed together, for example, can you feed a joint and respiratory supplement at the same time? Are they safe to feed together?

It is difficult to know whether you are feeding a safe level of extra nutrients, or if there is a risk of overdoing it. The most important question to ask is if you are exceeding the safe level of any one nutrient or ingredient, as some minerals and vitamins can exceed maximum intake if they are supplemented and provided in feed. Extra care must be taken with any ingredients that have maximum intakes:

  • Selenium - recommended daily amount is 3mg, but even 10mg is safe depending on the horse's size.
  • Iodine - recommended daily amount is 3.5mg, but this increases for pregnant mares.
  • Vitamin D - recommended daily amount is 800 - 1000 iu.

There are also some herbs where high intakes can become counterproductive - look out for warning labels on containers and always feed the recommended dose. If you feel that you need to feed a higher dose for a large or very hardworking horse, consult your vet. Similarly, if you're unsure about feeding any supplements in conjunction, give us a call and one of our helpful staff will advise you. Our supplements are formulated so that they can be safely fed with most daily feeds, providing safe but effective levels of nutrients to support a horse's needs.

So - whilst it is crucial to avoid exceeding recommended levels of some ingredients/micronutrients, there are many occasions where multiple supplements are needed. We are always happy to advise on which combinations are safe, and will enhance health or performance in your horse or pony.