Is it possible to over supplement? Are there any harmful side effects when feeding supplements?
– Nancy V., Carthage, NC
By over supplement, I assume you mean overlap nutrients, which is possible to do if you don’t take into account what your horse is already getting from his diet and don’t read the labels on the supplements you choose for him. For example, if you’re feeding your horse a full serving of fortified grain, he probably doesn’t also need a full serving of a complete multi-vitamin/min- eral supplement. You would most likely be overlapping nutrients like Selenium, Iron and Iodine, which have a relatively small window between too little and too much.
On the other hand, someone who feeds their horse four or five carefully selected supplements may not be overlapping at all. Consider these choices:
Each of these products contains specific ingredients designed to address specific needs. As such, there’s very little overlap. The point is: do your best to provide your horse with a complete and balanced diet primarily consisting of good quality forage (hay or pasture), make up any deficiencies or imbalances with a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, then address specific problems with other products as needed.
[Ed. note: Originally printed in the May 2010 issue of Salt Block Gazette]