Horse Energy Supplements Uncovered

Grey horse and rider - sometimes you may need a horse energy supplement

Horse supplements are a great way to get extra nutrition into your horse’s diet. Not all horses get the right nutrition they need from their daily feed and supplementing can be a great way to build upon any deficiencies.

There are many different types of horse supplements available on the market and one of the most common to use is calming supplements. These are generally used for horses who are highly strung, hot-blooded, or have a nervous disposition.

However, many horses are the complete polar opposite and require a little extra energy boost. This is where energy supplements could come in very handy.

Let’s take a closer look at energy supplements, how they work, and why you may want to consider them for your equine friend.

What are Horse Energy Supplements?

Horse energy supplements do exactly what they say on the tin. They can be a great addition for horses who do not receive the right amount of energy in their diets. One of the most obvious symptoms of low energy levels is lethargy. Horses can appear sluggish and uninterested in daily activities particularly being exercised.

One of the best ways to combat this is through supplementing. This can give your horse a real ‘pick me up’ and you should notice the difference in a relatively short space of time. Often horses are lacking in energy from their daily diet and an energy supplement can be a great way to fill that gap.

Why Would My Horse Need An Energy Supplement?

There are many reasons why your horse may benefit from an energy supplement. It is very clear to see when a horse requires a much-needed energy boost. You will most likely notice this whilst you are in the saddle however it can also become apparent when handling. Many horses that are low on energy will appear lethargic and will show signs of fatigue.

Negative Energy Imbalance

More often than not this id due to an energy deficiency, meaning they are not receiving enough through their diet. This is known as a negative energy balance which quite simply means they are using up much more energy than they are receiving from their diet. A supplement in your horse’s feed can be very effective in rectifying this imbalance.

Low Glucose Levels

Many horses suffer from low glucose levels which can be highly responsible for low energy levels. Horses can become very lethargic if their glucose levels are too low and can show signs of fatigue as well as reduced performance. This is not ideal for performance horses in particular and an energy supplement may be a necessary addition to their diet.

Health Conditions

Many health conditions would contribute to a lack of energy in your horse. In this instance, it isn’t that your horse is not receiving enough energy in their diet, but more to do with the amount their body can absorb. For instance, horses with intestinal parasites are not able to absorb the nutrients sufficiently.

This also applies to horses who have reduced digestive function. Upping the energy levels with a supplement can be a great way to combat lethargy and signs of fatigue. It is, however, fair to say that if your horse is suffering from any of the health conditions above it is a wise idea to get these ailments treated first and foremost.

What Ingredients are used in Horse Energy Supplements?

There are many different types of horse supplements available on the market and the ingredients vary greatly. There are lots of potential combinations of ingredients that can work very well to give your horse that much needed boost. Let’s take a closer look at two of the most common ingredients used in these types of supplements and how likely they are to work for your horse.

Iron

Iron is one of the most commonly used ingredients in horse energy supplements. Sometimes it will be shown on the label as ‘Ferrric’ or ‘Ferrous’. It is responsible for carrying oxygen by red blood cells and plays many other roles such as immune function and metabolism support.

It is most often used in human medicine for people that are anaemic or have low energy levels. However, there is very little research that has been carried out on iron supplements and its ability to affect energy levels in horses.

Iron deficiency and anaemia are very rare in horses and although there are numerous products on the market that claim to be effective, too much iron in your horse’s diet could have negative effects. Your horse cannot excrete excess iron, so feeding too much iron in their diet could increase free radical damage and cause infections.

Based on research, we would advise against using iron to increase energy levels in horses.

B Vitamins

There are many different variations of B Vitamins and you will regularly find horse energy supplements to contain B12 in particular. It is common for those suffering from fatigue, anaemia, and very low energy levels to have a B vitamin deficiency.

There is, once again, very little research that has been carried out on the effectiveness of using B Vitamins in Supplements in horses. The information on toxic levels is also unclear. This is concerning since so many supplements contain high levels of this vitamin.

It is possible that B vitamins could have some effect on the energy levels of horses as it does in human health and it is also possible for your horse to have a B vitamin deficiency. We don’t feel enough research has been carried out at this point to conclude B Vitamins will boost energy levels.

There are many other ingredients used in horse energy supplements such as simple sugars (glucose), Honey, Complex Carbohydrates, Ginseng, and Creatine. Once again, research is limited and we do not think these will be any more effective than B Vitamins and Iron.

How Do You Use Horse Energy Supplements?

Horse energy supplements are most often used as a combination with your horse’s regular feed. Powder is the most common type and can be easily mixed into your horse’s feed without any hassle. Liquid form is also pretty common. It does, however, tend to really coat the feed which can be a problem for fussy eaters.

Many owners choose to use a paste through a syringe. Horse’s that tend to throw their food around the stable often do not receive the full amount of feed. In turn, this means they will not be getting the full dosage of supplements. By syringing the paste directly into your horse’s mouth, you can be sure they are receiving the full dose.

Most horse energy supplements can be taken daily including syringing. It’s true to say types of ingredients and quantities vary brand to brand. It is always a wise idea to read the dosage instructions carefully. This will ensure you are not supplementing too much or too little.

Are There Alternatives To Horse Energy Supplements?

Since such little research has been carried out about energy supplements for horses you may be a little concerned about using these. Some owners look for alternative natural options instead. Luckily there are many natural solutions available to you which are less risky.

All horses react in different ways to ingredients. With natural products, they will either work or won’t work for boosting your horse’s energy. At least you can be sure these ingredients are safe and are not likely to have negative side effects. Let’s take a look at some of the common natural supplements used to help with boosting energy:

Ginkgo

Ginkgo

Ginkgo is a natural herb and there is some scientific research to suggest it could help improve energy levels. It also helps to improve blood flow and circulation which can energize.

Nettle

Nettle

Nettles can provide vitamin c in the diet and a safe amount of iron which aids to strengthen the circulatory system. It can also help in the functioning of the kidneys and liver which is known to cause sluggish type behaviour.

Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen can be a great way to increase stamina and energy levels in horses. It is a natural ingredient that has been used in human medicine for thousands of years. Bee Pollen helps horses to improve food intake including all the nutrients that are sometimes not absorbed. This in turn helps to increase energy levels.

Flax Seed Oil

Flax Seed Oil

Flax Seed is used pretty regularly in horse feeds anyway, but adding extra can successfully reduce the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles. This is particularly great for performance horses or those in heavy work.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there isn’t enough research carried out at this point to confirm horse energy supplements to be effective. In particular, the types of ingredients used in these products such as Iron and B Vitamins. These do not show enough evidence yet to suggest these would work well for lethargy.

There are many natural energy inducing ingredients that you can try to use as a good alternative to regular energy supplements. Most of these natural ingredients have been used for years and have proven to be very effective. There is also less risk of an overdose and any side effects. It is always best to go down the natural route first before trying out stronger medication.


Discover more from Everything Horse Magazine

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

Related posts