Although your horse may be looking and feeling great on a diet of grass alone, he is almost certainly not receiving all the vital nutrients he requires. Spring and summer grass can provide sufficient energy and protein for horses in light to medium work but in many cases key minerals such as copper, manganese and zinc will be lacking.

These essential minerals are required for bone function, haemoglobin and enzyme formation and energy metabolism – to list but a few – and will need to be supplemented, even in spring and summer.

Terms such as bioplex, proteinated or chelated minerals are fashionable at the moment, but what exactly do these terms mean and more importantly, how will feeding them benefit your horse?

A “bioplex mineral” is an individual mineral molecule, such as zinc, copper or manganese, which has been chemically combined with an organic compound, typically an amino acid.

Research has shown that this process renders the minerals more biologically active than standard inorganic minerals. In addition, these organic molecules are between 20-75% more available to the horse. This is because horses digest and absorb the majority of amino acids and simple sugars from their small intestines. As amino acids are absorbed very well, the attached mineral can be easily and efficiently transported across the gut lining.

Secondly, the horse naturally bonds the majority of minerals in its diet to proteins prior to and during digestion. By providing the minerals already bound to a specifically selected protein the efficiency of the absorption process will be increased.

Furthermore, research has demonstrated that when bioplex minerals are fed in conjunction with the inorganic form of the mineral (as a certain percentage of the total diet) the utilisation and efficacy of the bioplex mineral is maximised.

Benefits of including bioplex minerals in the diet of your horse include:

  • Increased resistance to stress and disease
  • Improved soundness
  • Improved coat and hair condition
Dodson & Horrell has been involved with the development and study of bioplex minerals for several years and bioplex minerals are included in all Dodson & Horrell feeds.

For further information and friendly feeding advice call the Dodson & Horrell Feed Helpline (tel: 0870 442 3322) Normal national call rates apply, or visit: www.dodsonandhorrell.com