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Minerals in Horse Feed

A balanced mineral program that includes both macro (required in larger amounts) and trace (required in smaller amounts) minerals is essential in the formation and repair of structural tissues, and for healthy skin hair and hooves. Excesses or deficiencies of one mineral can cause imbalances in others, so it is critical to evaluate the overall feeding program before adding supplements.

Horses need minerals on a daily basis for these functions:


  • Bone and tooth formation
  • Muscle contraction
  • Combined with protein, calcium helps produce strong hooves


  • Bone composition


  • Collagen and elastin formation
  • Collagen synthesis and maintenance: bone, ligaments and tendons
  • Enzyme function: hoof wall


  • Early bone development
  • Cell repair and division: hoof wall
  • Epithelial tissue integrity: skin, hair and hooves
  • Involved in protein metabolism of the skin, coat and hooves
  • Hooves are one of the first sites to show zinc deficiency


  • Bone and cartilage formation
  • Chondroitin formation

Imbalances in key minerals can lead to a variety of issues:

Phosphorus Imbalance:

  • Inadequate phosphorus or poor calcium-to-phosphorus ratios can lead to brittle hooves or tender feet

Copper Imbalance:

  • Bone and joint disease
  • Tendon and ligament problems

Zinc Imbalance:

  • Abnormal skin and hooves

Manganese Imbalance:

  • Abnormal bone and joint development
  • Abnormalities in skin, hair and hooves
  • Impaired ability to make or repair joint cartilage