Last month Ashley Neely, nutritional advisor at Bluegrass Horse Feed, began discussing some of the microminerals found within your horses’ diet. These small but mighty minerals are essential for your horse’s health and normal bodily functions. Lets’ take a closer look at the remaining three microminerals, Copper, Cobalt, and Manganese.
Copper is regarded as one of the most important microminerals in the diet, it is essential for enzyme function involved in the synthesis and maintenance of elastic tissue. Copper is also required for the mobilization of iron stores, preservation of mitochondria, and skeletal development.
The incidence of Developmental Orthopaedic Diseases (DOD) has been related to copper levels within both the mare and foals’ diet. A Study conducted in New Zealand found that pregnant mares supplemented with copper had reduced incidence of DOD in foals compared to no supplementation or supplementation to the foal and not the mare. During the last trimester of pregnancy, the foal will begin to lay down liver stores of minerals such as copper, zinc, iron, and magnesium to be utilized during the first few months of life as milk has inadequate sources of these minerals.
Feeding a fortified feed specifically for breeding stock at the recommended feeding levels, will help to provide adequate levels of copper. A 600kg horse at maintenance will require 112.5mg per day according to KER guidelines and this will increase to 180mg per day for a 600kg horse during last trimester of pregnancy.
It is important to consider the whole diet, deficiencies in copper can occur due to interactions from other minerals such as zinc or molybdenum which interfere with copper absorption. Soil and forage analysis is recommended to help with identifying possible negative impacts upon copper levels in your horses’ diet, contact a nutritional advisor or Bluegrass representative to find out more.
Cobalt has had some bad press for elevated levels identified in racehorses thought to have performance-enhancing properties. Cobalt is a vital micromineral as it supports microbial fermentation to help with the production of vitamin B12 for propionate production for energy, for metabolic pathways, and for the production of glucose by the liver.
Cobalt is naturally found inadequate levels in grass and hay and so only minute amounts are required within fortified feeds.
The last micromineral is manganese, it is required by the body for bone formation and energy transformation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Similar to cobalt, there are sufficient amounts of manganese in forage, along with a fortified feed at the recommended feeding levels the increased demands for manganese will be met for the performance horse.
It can be a little confusing and sometimes overwhelming when working out if each micro and macro mineral requirement is met by your horses’ diet. Interactions from other nutrients can impact upon the absorption and utilization of others. Soil and forage analysis is a great source of information to assist when formulating your horses’ diet. Remember to read up and feed at the manufacture's recommended feeding guidelines best suited for your horses’ workload and size. Contact the Bluegrass Horse Feed nutritional helpline for advice or complete the diet request form on the website to receive a tailored diet plan.
Pagan, J. 2015. Microminerals for Horses : Copper. Equinews. [Online]. Available From: https://ker.com/equinews/microminerals-horses-copper/?highlight=copper