This might be an unpopular opinion, but feed tags are not boring; they actually have quite a bit of information to share!
Get the full story from these five factors to ensure that your horse is receiving the best nutrition possible.
1. The guaranteed analysis
The guaranteed analysis tells you what is guaranteed in the bag. This is important for maintaining consistency.
Ingredient prices and fluctuations due to the weather, the season and other variables can easily change the composition of a bag of feed.
Since rapid diet changes are not ideal for equine gut health, feed companies guarantee that specific levels of certain nutrients, such as protein, fiber, and fat, will be included in each bag.
2. The ingredient list
The second piece to this puzzle involves reading the entire ingredient list on the feed tag.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Organic vs. inorganic trace minerals
- Organic vs. inorganic selenium
- Any bonus ingredients, such as added probiotics for horses
3. Organic trace minerals
Minerals are the backbone of the horse’s body, making up every organ, tissue and cell. They play a role in every single body system, from the development of the skeleton and muscles to nervous system functioning and hair and hoof health.
Organic trace minerals (e.g., zinc, copper, cobalt and manganese) are both absorbed at higher levels and are more easily utilized by the horse because they are presented in a form that mimics the form in which minerals are found in nature.
On the feed tag, organic minerals will be listed as the mineral name, followed by the word “proteinate,” “methionine” or “amino acid complex.”
Inorganic minerals will be listed as the mineral name followed by the word “oxide” or “sulfate.” For instance, the ingredient “zinc oxide” is an inorganic version, which is both cheaper and less conducive for optimal horse health and performance.
Read the feed tag to check the feed’s trace mineral status. Ideally, choose a feed that contains 100% organic zinc, copper, cobalt, and manganese.
4. Organic selenium
Selenium is also considered a trace mineral, and in horses, it is especially noteworthy because too much selenium — or too little — can be detrimental and even fatal.
Selenium is a highly important mineral in the antioxidant pathway, which is why it is crucial for recovery, endurance and metabolism.
Inorganic selenium is easy to spot on feed tags and will be listed as “sodium selenite.”
Organic selenium, on the other hand, will be listed as “selenium yeast.”
Be careful: Some feeds use a mix of both types of selenium. Choose feeds and supplements that contain only 100% selenium yeast for best results.
5. Gut health ingredients
Your final task is to check for any bonuses.
One example is added pre- and probiotics for horses.
Look on the ingredient list for “yeast culture,” “hydrolyzed yeast,” “dried brewer’s yeast,” or any specific strain of probiotic bacteria.
Lifeforce Elite Performance is specially formulated with the highest-quality ingredients, including 100% organic trace minerals, 100% organic selenium, pre- and probiotics and more to support your horse’s complete wellness.
Check out Lifeforce by Alltech Elite Performance here, and follow Alltech on social media, @lifeforcehorse and @alltechinc, for more tips on keeping your performance horse healthy and happy!