Winter Horse Supplements? Winter seems to always come up fast and horses need more supplements at this time than any other time. Here in North America our winters can be long and very cold! This can be a bit challenging on our horses. We supply our horses with hay for nearly 6-7 months of the year so that means no fresh pasture, less sunshine especially when horse’s are blanketed so the horse will need to have certain supplements in abundance to make it through the winter well especially for older horses or those with health conditions. So what kind of supplements need to be given? I like to first start with the ones that are either low in hay or that go down quickly in our hay bales with each passing week. For the average 1000 lb horse what supplements do you need to give for the winter:
- B Complex -Vitamins – I like to give about a 100 mg daily.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – 2 TBS of Flax Seed Oil a day or minimum of 2 TBS of freshly ground flax seeds. You can use Chia seeds as well in same quantity. For some horses I give 1-2 cups a day of flax seeds easily.
- Vitamin E – 800 IU per day. I usually give more but this is only for horses that are on my supplement protocol or no supplements at all as some feed bags already contain Vitamin E so I want to check how much first!
- Vitamin D3 – instead of supplementing I like to make sure horses are out in the sun with no blankets from 10 am to 2 pm at least. If horses are always blanketed or stuck inside for long periods I like to make sure I give them at least 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily. But again check to see what is already in your feed. Certain Vitamins that are fat soluble like Vitamin A, D, E, K can not be peed out so you can give too much and create toxicities. When in doubt ask! 🙂
Winters can be hard on horses and nutrients are lost in hay the longer it sits in the loft. Giving horses what they need to get through happy and healthy is important.
Best thing to do is to test your hay and test your horse’s hair (to see what is actually being absorbed) and come up with a proper diet plan that isn’t guessing. This way you give your horse exactly what they need and not under or over do it. Safer way to go!