This month we focus on one of the most important vitamins in your horse’s diet – Vitamin E, which is added throughout the Castle Horse Feeds Range with good reason.
What is Vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a common term applied to the substance tocopherol and is most recognised for its role in cells and tissues as a powerful antioxidant. It is a true ‘hero’ vitamin, selflessly sacrificing itself to prevent damage to your horse’s body from free radicals, which are released through normal metabolism and exercise processes. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which allows it to incorporate itself into cell membranes and protect them against oxidative damage from free radicals.
Vitamin E is, however, not made within the body and, therefore, must be completely provided in the horse’s diet.
Dietary Sources of Vitamin E for Horses
The best source of Vitamin E is fresh grass, but levels begin to decline the moment this forage is cut for hay. Therefore, any horse on restricted grazing or without constant access to grass, receiving instead higher levels of preserved forage, will need additional vitamin E in their diet. Horses in higher levels of work, whose free radical output is higher, will also have an increased requirement for Vitamin E.
Most horses with some access to grass, alongside a fully fortified Castle feed, at the recommended rate, should be receiving suitable levels of vitamin E. Horses on hay only, with no access to grass, would benefit most from Smart Balance, due to its optimum levels of Vitamin E. For horses in harder work on just hay, again Smart Balance as the base of the diet, fed alongside an appropriate energy source is ideal. Alternatively, a fully fortified feed appropriate to a harder workload, such as our Smart Zero Range fed at the recommended levels, should easily met Vitamin E needs.
The Benefits of Vitamin E for Horses
- A powerful antioxidant – protecting cells and tissues against free radical damage
- An important contributor to immune function
- Supports and maintains cell and tissue health and integrity – including cardiac and skeletal muscles
- Helps keep a horse’s muscles, nerves and all body systems to function smoothly
- Supports and helps maintain normal reproductive function and fertility in mares and stallions
- Supports normal muscle development in young, growing horses
At Castle we embrace essential ingredients that offer superior nutrition for your horse. We, therefore, include Vitamin E throughout the entire range of our feeds, to support optimum health and performance.