Grain for horses


Vitamins and minerals for horses They are the most important nutrients for these animals. Like all species, horses require a balanced supply of nutrients. These nutrients, for example, can be in the form of vitamins and minerals for horses, which are essential to be able to develop both their daily activity, and to be able to maintain all the vital functions of the organism.

Nutrients are essential components for the organism that may or may not be synthesized by the animal, but which in any case are essential. Apart from the vitamins and minerals for horses, we talk about water, energy, proteins, amino acids, digestible fiber, carbohydrates, etc.

Vitamins for horses

If we focus on the vitamins for horses, we can find in the market a lot of vitamin supplements or even injectable vitamins for horses. All these vitamins for horses have different compositions and are often used without knowledge of what they really are. That is, supplements or injectable vitamins for horses without knowing its functions, nor the real need of the horse.

This uncontrolled supply of vitamins to the horse can carry risks both by excess and by default. But we must not forget that vitamins for horses They are one of its main nutrients. Vitamins are essential for growing horses, mares and adult horses or ponies. Without them they will not be able to grow, reproduce, or work in an effective way.

Different vitamins for growing horses or older horses

The vitamin requirements of the horse will be modified depending on the age, the weight of the horse, the productive or physiological state, the stress or the disease. The vitamins for growing horses they differ from those that an older horse will need.

Vitamins are organic compounds that have traditionally been classified into two groups: water-soluble - which, as the name implies, can be water soluble (vitamin C, vitamins of group B, etc.) - and fat soluble, fat soluble (vitamins A, D, E and K) -.

In general, water-soluble vitamins are eliminated in the urine and are usually not very toxic, since they are not retained in the body. While fat soluble vitamins can be retained in body fat and are not quickly eliminated. This means for the horse that water-soluble vitamins can be eliminated without any difficulty if you eat too many. However, more care must be taken when supplementing fat-soluble vitamins to horses.

Below we describe some important vitamins for horses.

Vitamin A for horses

The vitamin A for horses It is characterized by having an important role in vision, but it is also crucial in cell differentiation, in reproduction, embryogenesis, foal birth and growth. On the other hand, this vitamin for horses intervenes in the immune response against infections.

This vitamin for horses It is not present as such in food, but is in the form of pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene, retinol) in forages for horses, especially when they are green. Once ingested they will be transformed into vitamin A by the horse. The deficiency of this vitamin in horses causes night blindness, in addition the immune response and reproduction (embryonic mortality) will be affected.

On the other hand, the excess vitamin A in horses It causes fragility of the bone, exfoliation of the epithelia and teratogenesis. The requirements for the correct maintenance of vitamin A in horses are, according to the NRC 2007: levels of 30 IU for each kg of live weight (PV), Vitamin A for growing horses 45 IU / kg of PV: in reproduction, lactation and pregnancy: 60 IU / kg of PV, vitamin A for horses that exercise 45 IU / kg of PV.

Vitamin D for horses

Vitamin D is another one of the Essential vitamins for the horse. Also called anti-rachitic vitamin, it is involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus in the body, in its intestinal absorption and renal excretion, as well as in the mobilization of calcium and phosphorus from the bone.

The vitamin D for horses It is found in plants and animals (form D2 and D3). The synthesis of this vitamin by the equines occurs in your skin after exposure to sunlight, by ultraviolet radiation.

Vitamin D deficiency in horses is manifested in bone deformations due to lack of calcium and phosphorus concentration in the bone. On the other hand, an excess of vitamin D in the equine generates soft tissue calcifications. The Vitamin D requirements in horses They depend on your exposure to sunlight. However, the NRC 2007 recommends a level of vitamin D in horses of 6.6 IU / kg of PV, but in foals it increases by 22.2-17.4-15.9-13.7 IU / kg of PV for foals of 0-6 / 7-12 / 13-18 / 12-24 months respectively.

Vitamin E for horses

The vitamin E for horses It intervenes in the immune response and their energy metabolism. It is known as "antioxidant vitamin" for its lipid protective role of cell membranes and is also a muscle protector. This vitamin for horses It has many active forms but the "alpha tocopherol" form is the most active. Fresh pastures, green forages, are a good source of vitamin E for horses, while cereals have much less.

The Vitamin E deficiencies in horses They cause problems such as white muscle disease in foals, a degenerative disease of the spine, equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM) or an equine neuronal-motor disease (NLDD). On the contrary, it has not been possible to demonstrate remarkable toxicities of this vitamin in horses.

According to NRC 2007, the following amounts are recommended when we supply this vitamin to the horse: 1 IU / kg PV in maintenance and 2 IU / kg PV in growth, reproduction, lactation and gestation. Levels of 2, 2.25 and 2.5 U.I. per Kg PV will be necessary for light, moderate and intense exercise respectively.

Vitamin K for horses

The benefits of vitamin K for horses It is its antihemorrhagic or coagulation function. Normally there are no vitamin K deficiencies in horses, but they can occur when ingested food is moldy. This vitamin K deficiency in horses It can lead to a decrease in clotting and bleeding time.

The best way to supply vitamin K for horses They are fodder: they contain more vitamin K than cereals. Blind and large intestine microorganisms are those that synthesize vitamin K for horses. At the moment, the vitamin K requirements for horses.

Thiamine for horses

Vitamin B1 or horse thiamine It is necessary for muscle contraction by intervening in the metabolism of carbohydrates used in the synthesis of ATP. We can find thiamine for horses in cereals and in greater quantity in brewer's yeast. The thiamine deficiencies in horses they can cause anorexia, lack of appetite, ataxia, muscle incoordination, tremor, weight loss etc. The toxicity of thiamine in horses has not been demonstrated. The thiamine requirements for horses, according to NRC 2007, are 0.06 mg / kg of live weight for maintenance.


Riboflavin or B12 is involved in antioxidant defense mechanisms and energy metabolism, in the use of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This vitamin for horses It is found in higher concentration in legumes such as alfalfa and in smaller quantities in cereals. It can be synthesized by blind and large intestine microorganisms.

The deficiency of this vitamin in horses has not been demonstrated, although in other species where conjunctivitis is one of the symptoms appreciated. The requirements of this vitamin for horses They are, according to NRC 2007, 0.04 mg / kg body weight for maintenance.

Niacin or nicotinic acid is a component of the enzyme system. This vitamin for horses It is involved in cell differentiation, mobilization of cellular calcium and in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Although this vitamin is present in cereal grains, its form is poorly available, but it is also found in alfalfa and soy flour with greater availability. The signs of deficiency of this vitamin in horses They have not been demonstrated, although in other species where lesions appear on the skin and digestive system. The requirements of this vitamin in horses have not been established.

Biotin acts as a co-enzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The highest concentration of biotin for horses is found in alfalfas. In medium concentrations it is contained in oats and in low corn content. It can be synthesized in small amounts by the microorganisms of the intestine.

Problems of horse hooves undergoing chronic biotin deficiencies have been evidenced, so treatments with this vitamin for horses They are recommended. The appearance of severe dermatitis in other species has been demonstrated. There are no considerations about the toxicity of this vitamin in horses. The requirements of this vitamin in horses have not been established, although supplementation to improve the integrity of the hooves has been demonstrated.

Folic acid

Folic acid is important in tissues with high growth and cell renewal. The consumption of green fodder provides better levels of this vitamin in horses, against the consumption of hay already processed. The microorganisms of the intestine can synthesize this vitamin for horses.

The appearance of anemias has been evidenced in other species, but the deficiency of this vitamin in horses has not been demonstrated. In the human species, in pregnant women, its deficiency has a lower weight of the newborn, delayed fetal growth and neuronal tube defects. It is a vitamin classified as non-toxic, but when high doses of this are used injected vitamin for horses They can cause epileptic seizures. The requirements of this vitamin in horses have not been determined.

Vitamin C for horses

Vitamin C is essential for horses. Also called ascorbic acid, it has antioxidant function and protects respiratory tissues. In part, the vitamin C for the horse It can be synthesized by your body from glucose.

The requirements and levels of deficiency and toxicity of vitamin C in horses They have not been determined. However, in post-operative, infectious, traumatic, obstructive respiratory processes, as well as in horses older than 20 years and in post-exercise raid horses, their serum levels are at lower levels than usual. For this, it can be interesting to vitamin C supplementation for horses.

More studies on vitamins in horses

To conclude, we will say that more studies are still needed to determine exactly what is the optimal level of vitamins in horses. More studies will also be needed to know exactly all the functions of vitamins in horses, since many of them are extrapolated from other species. The indicated levels of vitamins for horses are minimum requirements, but in the future we should know in greater depth the optimal levels of vitamins for horses, to obtain a better sports and reproductive performance.

Cut oats

Cut oats for horses consist only of the oatmeal and not the grain of oats. Because the grain is not incorporated into it, it is low in energy. Thanks to the oatmeal plant, cut oats contain a lot of fiber, which is good for digestion. The cut oats have been added to products such as the Hartog Lucerne-Mix mixture and the cut oats are added to the Hartog Gras-Mix mixture.

Corn is originally a subtropical crop that can now also be grown in the Netherlands through the specific crop. Corn can be fed in various forms, for example, corn, crushed corn, broken corn, sea bream or cornmeal.

Corn starch is different from other grains. The horse can digest this less well in the small intestine. The horse may develop cramping or diarrhea due to the explosive growth of "incorrect" bacteria. Whole grains of corn fit less well in the ration of horses, they are digested worse in the intestine.

A heat treatment or a special procedure makes the starch in corn easier for horses to digest. Hartog corn has undergone heat treatment and is therefore easily digestible. Corn is very rich in energy, low in protein and very poor in minerals, so it is given in combination with other fodder companies. For the fiber next to the corn breast, the Hartog Lucerne-Mix mixture can be chosen as a complement to the essential fibers, proteins and amino acids.

Corn cutting can be classified as fodder in terms of structure. The stem, the leaf and the flask are cut and saddled. Horses sometimes have to get used to the more acidic smell and taste of silage corn. Keep in mind that horse silage corn does not contain heat or mold, as it can cause cramping.

As corn contains a lot of energy, but few nutrients, it is known as a fattening. If there is more starch (this is fed in the corn), the digestion is adapted producing more enzymes that degrade the starch. Therefore, a horse must be used to feed the corn slowly. If a horse is accustomed to it, a horse that weighs 500 kg, for example of corn breast, can receive one to two kilos per day.

Barley was the main ingredient of our menu in the Middle Ages. Barley can be fed to horses in various forms, such as ground barley, crushed barley or whole barley.

Due to a higher starch content and a lower raw fiber content, barley contains more energy per kilo than oatmeal, so it is not necessary to feed it. However, the starch in barley has a different structure than that of oats and, therefore, is easier to digest. To improve digestion, it is often crushed or fed in flakes. When feeding horses whole barley, you must first soak them in warm water to make them easier to digest.

If you barley horses, limit the amount and do not give more than 400-800 grams per serving. Barley also has an unequal calcium-phosphorus ratio, as does oats, and calcium has to be supplemented, for example, with a mixture of Hartog alfalfa, for a large proportion of the ration.

Raw barley fiber is very favorable for the gastrointestinal function of the horse: it promotes a gradual transport of the digestive layer through the gastrointestinal tract. Like oats, barley has a potentiating effect on horses, only it is less explosive. Therefore, it is more suitable for endurance performance, such as dressage, endurance or conduction, in connection with slowly released energy. Hartog is a concentrated food based on barley for horses, Energy Special.

Composite food usually uses products that remain from wheat, such as wheat bran and wheat semolina. Pure wheat is not recommended for horses: it is too unilateral, because wheat consists mainly of starch. Wheat is in terms of energy content between oats and barley.

The bran is the skin of the wheat grain. Because thin particles weigh almost nothing, it is better to feed them wet or wet. Bran stimulates bowel movements in a positive way.

A disadvantageous property of pure wheat for horses is that it will coagulate or adhere when wet. This means that there is a possibility of blockage in the stomach and intestines.

A maximum of 20% wheat for horses is used in the compound feed (200 grams of wheat per kg of feed). Like all grains, wheat contains little calcium. The ratio between calcium and phosphorus is unfavorable, approximately 1: 5. But because wheat is not allowed to feed too much wheat for digestion, the calcium balance will also not be affected (unless the ration contains more other grains) .

Socializing function

Animals often create a special bond with humans, Especially the horses. Nonverbal communication between the person and the horse reinforces the emotional bond that is created: words are not necessary for perfect coordination. Emotions find space to flow and the relationship between both ends up generating a love and an understanding is often indescribable.

Physical exercise

Horse-assisted therapy involves the exercise or use of many muscles in our body. Balance, strength and dexterity (always accompanied by a person who is attentive at all times) they are fundamental and favor the mobility of the joints, specifically the abdomen, the buttocks, the twins, the arms, coming very well to strengthen the spine.

Riding itself is a very complete and recommended sport, if we also add the relaxation caused by the horse's body temperature, we will have a perfect excuse to continue knowing this discipline a little more.

«He is noble, strong, sensitive, majestic and perceptive. The horse teaches who can observe »

Improvement of self-esteem

Make people with any type of disability feel useful. Animals do not judge, do not make fun and do not criticize. Somehow, they treat humans equally and without making distinctions. In addition, they are the first to thank any gesture of affection.

Horse-assisted therapy acts as a catalyst for more complex emotions. The love and understanding that an animal can give us is sometimes much more enriching than some people can bring. Something that anyone who has lived with an animal can testify.

Increase attention span

It improves concentration and attention, something especially valuable in people with ADHD. The patient focuses on the relationship with the horse, thus increasing the space-time domain, since it promotes pre-operative thinking.

Of all ADHD patients, it is especially good for children. In this sense, training and increasing your ability to control and maintain attention is important, especially if it seems The effects achieved in horse-assisted therapy are generalized to the educational context. On the other hand, at the sensory and cognitive level increases reflexes and stability.

Relax and unwind in equal parts

It is a great exercise to free the mind from everyday stress. Many psychologists recommend it to deal with anxiety and stress problems. In the same way, it is also used in some cases of anorexia and bulimia.

It also helps to interact with other people who are outside our usual context. It improves the self-control of emotions and teaches patients to express what they feel in the right way.

Environmental function

The patient does not feel that he is in a serious or artificial place, as a consultation may result. Carrying out horse therapy allows us to be outdoors, a much more natural space where our senses have the opportunity to expand, being easier to increase the feeling of well-being.

Nature acts in a therapeutic way, offering the unique opportunity to involve the person and the animal in the same context. In addition, today it is a practice that has many followers around the world. It is a very widespread alternative thanks to its innumerable benefits at all levels, although it is true that It must always be accompanied by specialized treatment.

Recommended bibliography

Zamarra San Joaquín, M.P. (2002). Therapy assisted by pets. Well-being for the human being. Today's topics.

Barbados Sánchez, Alejandra. (2016). The efficacy of assisted therapy with animals in people with disabilities. University Institute of community integration. Salamanca.