Is your horse get­ting enough vi­ta­min E?

EQUUS - - Equus -

An equine diet based solely on hay may be lack­ing in this es­sen­tial nu­tri­ent.

The key word there is “al- most.” One nu­tri­ent that hay may not pro­vide in suf­fi­cient quan­tity is vi­ta­min E. This es­sen­tial nu­tri­ent is present in fresh pas­ture but be­gins to de­grade as soon as grass and legume plants are har­vested. And the longer the hay is stored be­fore it is con­sumed, the more of its vi­ta­min E is lost. So for horses whose for­age comes pri­mar­ily from hay, with lit­tle or no graz­ing, vi­ta­min E de­fi­ciency is a pos­si­bil­ity. And it’s even more likely for horses who are in train­ing with lim­ited turnout be­cause ex­er­tion in­creases the need for this valu­able an­tiox­i­dant. Vi­ta­min E re­quire­ments are also higher for ag­ing horses, those who are ill and those with cer­tain health is­sues. Vi­ta­min E helps keep a horse’s mus­cles, nerves and all his in­ter­nal work­ings func­tion­ing smoothly. And if he’s not get- ting it nat­u­rally in a green pas­ture, then you’ll need to find a way to add it to his diet. Here’s a look at what vi­ta­min E does and what you can do to make sure your horse gets enough--- but not too much.

By Heather Smith Thomas

An equine diet based solely on hay may be lack­ing in this es­sen­tial nu­tri­ent.

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