Taking care of any animal is an adventure, and requires careful and considerate care. There is something quite magical about looking after a horse, a majestic creature that has been a symbol of strength for centuries. Equestrian care has many facets beyond simply stocking up on horse feed.
It is important to remember that no two horses are the same. Typically a horse will get all that it needs from quality hay and fresh water, as well as plenty of exercise. The need for supplements arises when a horse has a particular issue for which supplements can be valuable offsets.
Whether or not a horse requires supplements depends entirely on how old and how active they are. A mare is likely to need supplements to deal with the stress of pregnancy and lactation. Additionally, older horses whose digestive systems are no longer as efficient as they were in their younger days may require supplements for their diet to remain healthy.
All horses require a balanced daily ratio of minerals, water, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. If they do not get enough of each of these then it could lead to serious health problems. It is therefore important to keep track of what your horse is eating and whether any areas need additional amounts.
With all of this in mind, it is also crucial to remember balance. An easy misconception among horse owners is that if a little is good then a lot must be better. This can result in horses being fed to excess and even overfed on individual nutrients.
There is a risk of toxicity and overloading a horse if too much of one supplement is given. Too much Vitamin A, for example, can interfere with bone development, hinder growth and cause skin conditions.
Always consult your vet when considering whether your horse needs supplements.