Some notes about our products:
Protein: we do not consider these products to be protein supplements – however they do contain 13% protein.
Trace Minerals: copper, zinc, magnesium, cobalt are essential for hoof growth and quality, skeletal development and hind gut health. These are available as organic and inorganic and research indicates that providing these from various sources improves the horses’s ability to meet his needs through diet. Our organic (chelated, complexed) source is Availa-4 by Zinpro. Formula 2 pellets contain larger levels of copper/zinc & manganese which research again has indicated to be a tool to reduce the occurrence of OCD in foals when fed to mares in late pregnancy. These pellets can be fed to all horses.
Yeast Culture: This is not “brewers yeast” which horses have been fed over the years – for its “left-over” nutritive value only. Working as a pre-biotic, it “feeds” the beneficial bacteria in the hind gut of the horse where digestion takes place, amongst other attributes. When you first start using a product which contains yeast culture, you should be aware of your horses weight. Because it enhances the fermentation/digestion of fibre, you may have to cut back on the amounts of grain and hay you are feeding.
On a very positive note, this attribute contributes, as our customers report, to the well being of geriatric horses, poor doers, and in one very touching case we were told of, to the recovery of some SPCA-seized starved horses.
In our area, in the ‘80’s, “Dr. Reed’s” was, if not the first, then one of the first, containing yeast culture in an equine supplement. We were using it and were sold on its benefits long before it became the popular additive of today. It made a remarkable difference to the quality of our horses hooves!
Selenium: An essential micro-mineral which in some areas of the world is adequately available in dietary ingredients. Certainly, in the Pacific northwest and on the prairies, our natural sources, except for certain specific geographic areas, are deficient. Supplementation is recommended – a lot of recent attention has horse people very nervous.
Consider that in previous years, inorganic sodium selenite has been the most available source for boosting selenium levels in feeds & supplements. With great respect for cautioning its use, it must also be recognized that many horses have achieved good testable levels of selenium and experienced good health, without approaching toxicity, even when ingesting considerably higher levels than NRC recommends. We tested these levels over the years with horses within Dr. Reed’s practice area – Victoria to Campbell River and Powell River, as did a colleague of ours in Central BC. Two of our own geldings were on Dr. Reed’s for over 20 years, since their birth. Sodium selenite is not as quickly available to the horse in times of need, as is the more recently developed organic selenium, but it does contribute, should be respected, but not feared. It is exciting to now have more and more horse-specific research upon which to draw. In the past, research dollars were concentrated on food-producing animals.
Using organic selenium (aka: selenium enhanced yeast; selenium yeast, Sel-Plex) removes the fear of toxicity and, because of the way the body handles it, makes the mineral more quickly available in times of stress. Cost is a factor so, when added to feeds/supplements, it will be seen often as a percentage of the total selenium in a formulation. Of course its inclusion in that formulation will also decrease the concerns of toxicity of the rest of the total selenium.
We are advised that current research confirms the inclusion of both organic and inorganic selenium in our supplements is beneficial.
Vitamin E: together with selenium, as an antioxidant, plays a major role in cellular function and health. See a January 2018 issue of Canadian Horse Journal for a complete discussion of the current understanding of it’s importance. (Nutritionist Shelagh Niblock author).
VitaminB’s: yes, the horse does manufacture these in the hind gut, but it’s our opinion that a good complete mineral should contain supplemental sources for immediate availability for stressed horses or those with a compromised intake. One of these days our request for adding Biotin to our products is expected to receive CFIA approval!
Salt: you must feed salt in addition.
Calcium & Phosphorus: not all such supplements contain these macro minerals. These minerals are provided together in a ratio intended to assure that calcium is not pulled from elsewhere in the body (eg bones). Their primary purpose is for bone health/development. Phosphorus, unfortunately, is bitter; this is softened in “Dr. Reed’s” by the addition of a little molasses and flavoring. If your feeding plan is a minimal grain/no grain diet be sure of the ratio of Ca:P – especially if you are feeding alfalfa. Our ratio is 1.3:1 which allows for some added Ca from forage. NRC suggests 1.66:1. A high Ca would require grain to balance.