Why are Trace Minerals Good for Horses?

Trace minerals have a significantly large impact on the overall health of your horse. Feeding them in proper amounts AND ratios is key to helping your horse be as happy and healthy as possible!

What Are Trace Minerals?

Trace minerals are required by animals in small amounts, usually only milligrams per day. The most common trace minerals include: zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese, iron, iodine and selenium. The organic trace mineral complexes used in all premium Nutrena® horse feeds, including both SafeChoice® and ProForce® are absorbed into the body better than conventional trace minerals because they are chelated. Effectively meaning they are bound one-to-one with an amino acid. Better absorption means an optimal quantity is formulated into the feeds, reducing the amount of wasted minerals.

infographic representing why trace minerals are good for horses.

What Are The Benefits Of Organic Trace Minerals In Feeds?

A diet fully fortified with organic trace minerals provides the following benefits for horses:

  1. Improved hair, coat, skin and hoof quality/hoof wall integrity
  2. Formation, maintenance and repair of joint cartilage
  3. Proper muscle and bone development
  4. Increased immune response to help remove free radicals and protect cell membranes
  5. Proper fertility function including milk production and fetal development

Deficiency can result in immune depression, reproductive failure and poor hair coat. Outward signs of deficiency are difficult to spot. Organic trace minerals help give your horse a lifetime of improved performance, safety and nutrition from every feeding.

Ready to ensure your horse is getting the optimum nutrition at feeding time, every time? Find the perfect feed formulated specifically for horse’s needs with our Feed Selector Tool.

Feed Selector tool

Types of Minerals Used in Horse Feeds

In the case of minerals found in a bag of commercially prepared feed, the form of mineral used as an ingredient can be looked at.  There are a variety of types of minerals that can be used as ingredients, with varying levels of bioavailability, or ability to be absorbed by the animal, for each of them. 

  1. Inorganic trace minerals, namely oxides and sulfates, are the most common, with oxides having about half the bioavailability of sulfates, except in the case of copper and zinc.  These would be seen on a feed tag as “zinc oxide” or “copper sulfate”. 
  2. Organic* trace minerals, namely “chelates” and “complexes”, are two forms of minerals that are gaining popularity in horse feeds due to their increased digestibility. 
    1. Chelates are a mineral molecule tied to a string of general amino acids. These are seen on feed tags as “zinc amino acide chelate”.
    2. Complexes (the more bioavailable of the two) are minerals tied to a specific amino acid that is known to assist in the availability.  These are seen on feed tags as “zinc methionine complex”. 

Premium horse feeds often contain one of the two forms of organic trace minerals, as they are the more bioavailable forms. They are generally used in combination with the inorganic forms to acheive the desired level, without skyrocketing the price of the feed.

For more information on trace minerals in horse feed, visit ZinPro’s website – ZinPro is a key supplier of trace minerals in the feed industry.

*Please note that “organic” is not referencing certified organic products like you would purchase at a grocery store – instead it is a scientific reference to the chemical makeup of the mineral.

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