Which mineral supplement does my horse need?

Various mineral supplements

Why do horses need a vitamin and mineral supplement?

Horses are extremely frugal animals that can even manage with little feed. Nevertheless, the basic feed hay does not always provide sufficient nutrients. The reason lies in the overuse and overfertilisation of meadows and pastures and the resulting depletion of nutrients in the soil. It is true that high-quality hay provides the horse with enough energy to cover its maintenance needs and, depending on the amount of feed, also its performance needs. Nevertheless, the horse may lack important minerals that it needs to maintain various bodily functions. Especially copper, zinc and selenium are „in short supply“ in hay and must be included in the feed plan. A good vits and mins supplement for horses fills the nutrient gaps that the basic feed brings with it.

mineral supplements

In some phases of life, horses have an increased nutritional requirement. For example, during hard work, gestation and lactation, growth and old age, as well as metabolic problems such as sweet itch or laminitis. Metabolic imbalances may be provoked by nutrient deficiencies. To cover the gaps in the horse’s nutritional balance, high-quality vits and mins are crucial for its health. In the acute case of a nutrient deficiency, even targeted trace element preparations are recommended as a cure.

The amount of basic feed plays an important role in the nutrient supply. Good doers in particular, which are not given a lot of feed and are given less than 1.5 kilograms of hard feed, often have to struggle with a mineral deficiency. Since the horse cannot produce trace and bulk elements itself, they must be supplied to it.

Vits and mins supplement ingredients should always fit into the total feed plan. Before feeding your horse high doses of minerals, check the quantities of bulk and trace elements supplied, which are covered by the basic feed and hard feed. You can have a veterinarian or laboratory examine which nutrients your horse is lacking by taking blood or hair samples.

Which nutrients should be included in a vitamin and mineral supplement?

Micro-nutrients and vitamins perform many important functions in the horse’s body. At the same time, they do not function side by side, but determine the absorption or even the inhibition of each other. Therefore, before giving a vits and mins suppelement, you should know which nutrient gaps your horse cannot cover with the basic feed and how they interact with each other.

The essential bulk elements are needed by the horse in larger quantities. They include calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, chlorine and sulphur. Together they are responsible for the stability of the skeleton, the teeth and the development of the muscles. In horse feeding, great importance is attached to the calcium-phosphorus ratio, as they account for up to 70% of the total mineral content and must therefore be ingested in quantity through the feed. Both substances are primarily stored in the bones. The optimal ratio between both quantitative elements should be between 1:1 and 3:1 in order not to provoke a de-mineralisation of the bones. If the ratio shifts and the amount of phosphorus supplied exceeds the calcium supply, calcium mobilisation from the bones is promoted. In order to avoid this, a sufficient amount of calcium must always be guaranteed via the feed, which is usually guaranteed through the administration of hay (at least 1.5 kilograms per 100 kilograms of horse weight) in accordance with requirements. If the amount of roughage given is below the recommended values, this must be taken into account in the vits and mins feed plan.

Original Landmühle Selenium +

The trace elements, on the other hand, are only needed by the horse in small quantities, but they are nevertheless essential for a healthy metabolism. The vital trace elements include zinc, iron, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium and cobalt. Many of the trace elements cannot be absorbed by the horse through powder and roughage. They must therefore be supplied in hard feed form. Nevertheless, great caution is advised here: An oversupply of trace elements can have a toxic effect on the horse. Therefore, they must not be added mindlessly, but only if they are not actually already absorbed through the roughage and hard feed.

As with the trace elements, the interaction between the elements must be taken into account. No element acts on its own, but is dependent on another – they favour, hinder or inhibit each other.

Special attention in the supply of trace elements is paid to the zinc content. This can only be satisfied in the rarest of cases, even with hay feeding that meets the needs. For this reason, a basic zinc supply through a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement must be considered.

Original Landmühle Zinc +

Especially horses with a tendency to metabolic disorders and skin problems, such as Icelandic horses imported directly from the island, have an increased zinc requirement. They quickly slip into a zinc deficiency with visible symptoms (dandruff, itching, sweet itch). The absorption of zinc can be inhibited by the phytic acid contained in grains, which is why grain-free feeding should be considered for horses with increased zinc requirements.

Not all vitamin and mineral supplements are the same – What you need to know about vits and mins

There are two crucial things to consider in vits and mins administration: bioavailability and the actual requirements.

A vitamin and mineral supplement should always be given as required, as an oversupply can have harmful consequences. At the same time, European soils no longer provide sufficient nutrients, so that native horse feeding with only hay and grain for mineral supply is no longer sufficient. Even horses in no work can no longer cover their nutritional needs with basic feed alone.

Be careful with calcium and phosphorus:

The bulk elements calcium and phosphorus are sufficiently present in hay, while other bulk and trace elements come up short.

One kilogram of dry hay contains between 3.5 and 5.5 grams of calcium. The horse has a daily requirement of about 25 to 35 grams per day. For example, a 600kg horse receives a total of 31.5g of calcium per day from its 9kg of hay. The calcium requirement is therefore sufficiently covered by feeding hay according to the horse’s needs.

However, many vitamin and mineral supplements contain high amounts of calcium, which can lead to an oversupply in the horse and thus block other essential elements. This can further exacerbate deficiencies. For example, too much calcium prevents the absorption of iron or inhibits the absorption of magnesium and zinc. A critical look at the ingredients is therefore imperative.

The bioavailability of the minerals provides information about how well they are available to the horse for absorption. Bulk and trace elements are either organic or inorganic in nature. If the feed is burned, the ingredients of an organic nature evaporate, while the elements of an inorganic nature remain. This is also called crude ash and is declared on the feed.


Inorganic compounds have a very high density with a small molecular size and are usually processed in large quantities. They are also cheaper to produce. However, these inorganic compounds cannot be absorbed and processed as well by the horse. In practical terms, this means that not all vitamin and mineral supplements declared as such necessarily contain high-quality, readily available nutrients. Inorganic compounds include all substances with the endings -oxide, -chloride, -phosphate, -sulphate. For example, magnesium is processed as magnesium oxide or zinc as zinc sulphate.

The higher the crude ash content in a feed, the lower the proportion of organic compounds. Organic compounds are large, voluminous molecules that are easier for the organism to utilise. Substances ending with -chelate, -oxalate, -citrate belong to the organic compounds. For example, zinc occurs organically as zinc chelate. Organic compounds are more expensive to produce and therefore raise the price of feed.

So when choosing the right vitamin and mineral supplement, it can make sense to have a balance of both compounds. It is the mix that makes vits and mins valuable. For example, to compensate for a zinc deficiency, vits and mins supplements should contain both zinc chelate and zinc sulphate. If the horse has an acute zinc deficiency, concentrated zinc as zinc chelate can be used.

Another important point for good vitamin and mineral supplements for horses is that it is free of flavourings and sweeteners. Although these offer the horse a better taste, they have a negative effect on the metabolism. Furthermore, vits and mins that have processed glucose, soy and wheat in large quantities should be avoided. This is especially important for allergy sufferers.

If your horse has already developed symptoms that can be traced back to a nutrient deficiency (degrading muscles, dandruff, itching, etc.) the nutrient deficiency has already existed for a longer period of time. It is now necessary to adjust the feed plan as quickly as possible.

In order to prevent profound deficiencies from developing in the first place, you should regularly check the feed plan and adjust it if necessary. Always seek the advice of an expert before doing so.

Vitamin and mineral supplements for horses with particular needs

Vits and mins for old horses

After a certain age, the metabolism of a horse changes in such a way that the feed conversion decreases. The senior can no longer absorb the nutrients so easily. As a result, the horse loses substance. Other characteristics of ageing horses are a decline in musculature, often associated with a lowering of the back and prominent withers; stubbly hairs around the eyes, mouth and on the forehead; shedding becomes more difficult and often long winter coat remains even in the summer season.

Ensure a highly digestible energy and protein supply and increase the amount of protein by 10-20% to be able to delay muscle deterioration, at least for some time. Many small portions throughout the day help the ageing horse to digest the feed better. Soaking the feed can make it easier for horses with dental problems to eat.

For mineral supply, a comprehensive supply of nutrients is important for senior horses. Especially the need for zinc and selenium, as well as vitamins A, E and B increases.

Our tip: The Original Landmühle Balancer Senior Premium contains zinc, selenium and manganese in organic form, making them easily available to the horse. Essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine help the horse maintain its muscles and prevent them from deteriorating prematurely. At the same time, make sure your older horse gets enough turnout to be able to utilise the minerals and vitamins supplied.

Original Landmühle Balancer Senior Premium

Vits and mins for overweight horses

Obesity and fat accumulation can cause massive metabolic problems in horses. Above all, a huge neck caused by a bulging fat is an indicator of insulin resistance. In this case, the body no longer reacts adequately to the release of insulin, so the sugar ingested is not metabolised but stored as fat. The blood sugar level rises steadily, which eventually leads to a complete metabolic breakdown and turns into equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) or laminitis.

The Body Condition Score shows you how you can determine a overweight horse. Among other things, this is important for determining a feeding regime that is appropriate to the horse’s needs.

In the weight loss process, exercise and feed go hand in hand. High-quality roughage in combination with a vitamin and mineral supplement is sufficient for the horse. Despite the workload, hard feed is not necessary – it would only add more kilos.

Original Landmühle Digestive Herbs

To support the weight loss process with minerals, you should also use a vits and mins supplement with high-quality zinc, manganese, copper and selenium compounds. In addition, B vitamins can support the regulation of the sugar levels. These are generally produced by the intestinal bacteria themselves. Herbs such as fennel, aniseed, caraway and coriander are suitable for providing them with sufficient nourishment.

Our tip: Support your horse in losing weight with the Original Landmühle Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Premium and, as additional feed, the Original Landmühle Digestive Herbs. This way you ensure a full mineral supply and nourish the intestinal bacteria, which in turn produce B vitamins necessary for the sugar levels.

Vits and mins for ponies, cobs and special breeds

Frugal ponies, cobs and special breeds can manage with meagre pastures and little feed and still achieve high performance. At the same time, the low feed intake causes nutrient deficiencies.

In European regions, ponies and cobs are oversupplied with energy through lush meadows or ad-lib hay. The energy surplus is partly converted into fat through lack of exercise.


Excess fat is not uncommon in robust breeds, but it is a serious problem: EMS, laminitis and cardiovascular diseases can be the result. At the same time, the horse can suffer from nutrient deficiencies despite its plump figure. If the horse then has to lose weight again, the liver can be overloaded by the release of the fat reserves and the metabolism can also slip as a result. A diet must be supported with minerals so that there are no serious health consequences for the horse.

Our tip: For ponies, cobs and other special breeds, we recommend the Original Landmühle Metabolism Premium Vitamin and Mineral Supplement, which provides mineral support for horses that have a high zinc requirement and often struggle with laminitis, EMS and Cushing’s disease. Zinc and biotin occur in organic form and are therefore very readily available to the horses.

Vits and mins for horses on box rest

If the horse has to box rest due to an injury, standing for a long time can have a positive effect on the recuperation of the actual injury. However, the long period of standing has a negative effect on the rest of the body. Especially the joints, bones and muscles suffer from the lack of movement. The muscles are only slightly used, which leads to a loss of calcium in the bones. This leads to bone decalcification.

Original Landmühle Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Premium

The calcium requirement is already covered by the roughage. Therefore, calcium-containing vits and mins supplements should be urgently avoided. If the horse were to absorb even more calcium than it already does, important trace elements can be blocked and even urinary stones can form.

Much more important is the supply of zinc, manganese and copper. Zinc is an important helper in wound healing, as zinc is lost via the escaping wound water, especially in open wounds. Manganese and copper are essential elements in the regeneration of connective tissue and bones, which is particularly beneficial after tendon injuries.

Box rest can put the active horse under stress and also cause muscle tension. Magnesium is an important component for a healthy muscle metabolism and also has a positive effect on the nervous system.

Our tip: With the Original Landmühle Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Premium your horse is optimally supplied with biotin, zinc, selenium, magnesium and vitamin E for muscle metabolism during box rest. In addition, we recommend the herbal mixture Original Landmühle Devil’s Claw. The herb has an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect. It is therefore ideal for box rest due to injury.

Attention: Do not feed Devil’s Claw to horses with stomach ulcers!

If your horse needs extra nerve nutrition, Original Landmühle Nerves Premium is recommended. This is equipped with high-quality magnesium compounds and contains vitamins A, E, B12 and C, which ensure relaxed muscles in particularly nervous and stressed horses.

Devil’s claw