Skip to content

Other Resources

Ep. 069: The Consequences of Ignoring Vitamins & Minerals for Horses

Co-hosts Dr. Tania Cubitt and Katy Starr discuss the function of the most important vitamins and minerals for horses, along with how they’re absorbed and how they interact with each other.

Episode Notes

On this episode, co-hosts Dr. Tania Cubitt and Katy Starr discuss the most important vitamins and minerals for horses including:

  • Vitamin and mineral functions and how they are absorbed in the horse’s body
  • Which vitamins and mineral interact with each other and how they can become imbalanced, even if horses are fed their required amount
  • How vitamins and minerals are measured

This is an extra deep dive into what can happen to horses if we feed too much or not enough of any particular vitamin and mineral and why certain ones are essential.


Have a topic idea or feedback to share? We want to connect with you! Email


** For EVERY episode download on the Beyond the Barn podcast from October 1 through October 31, 2023, Standlee will donate $1 to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation to support breast cancer patients in making memories with their families**

Share, share, SHARE! Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbors to download this episode on Apple, Spotify or Google Podcasts apps. Help us take part in making a DIFFERENCE!




  • *Views and opinions expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Standlee Premium Products, LLC.*

Katy Starr (00:00:01):

Hi, I'm Katy.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:00:01):

And I'm Dr. Cubitt. We're going Beyond the Barn. Come join us on this journey as we bust equine and livestock nutrition myths, and interview some of the most intriguing experts in the country. We'll go behind the scenes of how premium Western quality forage is grown and brought to your favorite farm and ranch retail store. We're so glad you're here.


Katy Starr (00:00:24):

Welcome back to another episode of Beyond the Barn. And Dr. Cubitt, it is so great to have you back with us today.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:00:36):

I'm glad to be back.


Katy Starr (00:00:38):

So today we're going to be talking about vitamins and minerals for horses. Now we have done an episode in the past about deficiencies that kind of surround those things, but today we're going to get a little bit we're going to dive deeper into, you know, the function of them and just how they work together in the body and things like that, and the needs of the horses. So we're going to dive deeper into itin today's discussion. Before we do get started, I do want to say that any of the topics that we cover on the Beyond the Barn podcast are more generalized and not specific to any individual horse or any specific situation. So be sure to always work with your veterinarian and nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your horse's feed program. Or you can always feel free to reach out to us directly and talk with Dr. Cubitt or Dr. Duren on any specifics that you'd like to know. And just to kind of another disclaimer, I guess for today's conversation. So we're not going to be talking about all vitamins and minerals that exist, just the ones that tend to be a little bit more difficult to balance in the horse's body, but then also have a greater significant impact on the horse themselves. And we're also not advocating that you go out and mix and match, you know, vitamins and minerals individually for your horse. And so just take this conversation into account as you're kind of trying to figure out some things for your own horses. And this will be a really great conversation today. Okay, so Dr. Cubitt, can you talk with us about what, just to kind of get us started and prepped for today's conversation, what are the six essential nutrients for horses?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:02:23):

So essential nutrients for horses, we're looking at carbs, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals and water. And we don't really think about water as a nutrient per se, but your horse will die very quickly if they don't have enough water. So water is absolutely critical.


Katy Starr (00:02:40):

So let's talk a little bit about parts of the digestive system. Can you talk about the horse's stomach and what its function is?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:02:50):

Absolutely. So you know, before we get to the stomach, we have the horses using their teeth to grind food, mix that food with saliva, that combination of grinding and mixing is mastication and they're going to swallow it down into, so down the esophagus, into the stomach, in the stomach, it's mixed with acid. Now in a healthy normal horse, that acid has a pH of about a four. And if I just kind of orient you to pH, pH of seven is water, pH of one is really, really acidic. And then all the way up on the other end of the scale is basic like ammonia or bleach. So what we want is the pH to be around a four so slightly acidic. And that is going to continue then to break down those food particles, break down that fat so that it can be absorbed later on in the digestive system. And that is the primary function of the stomach. Now the stomach isn't very big in a horse. So the contents, we don't want to feed a large meal to a horse because number one, the horse's stomach isn't very big and the rate of passage of the stomach can be. So how fast it takes food from coming out of the esophagus, dropping into the stomach, being mixed with that acid and then going out the small intestine, that can be as short as 15 minutes. So there's not a lot of time in there for digestion to occur.


Katy Starr (00:04:16):

Okay. And then so going from the stomach then to the small intestine, what is the digestive function of the small intestine?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:04:25):

So the small intestine then is about 70 feet in length. And it's like a small garden hose if you laid it out on the ground. And we go away now from acidic digestion to enzymatic digestion. So remember that enzymatic digestion because those enzymes in order to function utilize several of the minerals that we're going to talk about later. But enzymes then will come in and continue to break down those food particles. For example, starch. The enzyme that breaks down starch is amylase. It's the reason why in horses, if you're feeding cereal grains to horses, you need to make sure that they are processed so the corn is cracked or ground or steam flaked. Same with the barley. So that we call it in research, prececal digestibility, we want to make sure that those cereal grains are digested before the hindgut before the next part of the digestive system, which is the cecum. And they're actually enzymatically digested here in the small intestine and absorbed. We have some of our carbohydrates, our sugars and starches, some protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals absorbed and broken down by those enzymes and absorbed here in the small intestine.


Katy Starr (00:05:40):

Excellent. Okay. And then going into the large intestine, what is the function of that?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:05:44):

So then the large intestine or what we call the hindgut of the horse, starts with the cecum. Which if you google the horse's digestive system, you'll see that the cecum is like a blind sack, it's a balloon and the entry and exit point is the same place. And then we go into the large colon and then the small colon. All of this hindgut of the horse is made up of trillions of different live organisms, yeast, virus, fungi, live microbes. And they make up the microbiome. And so this microbiome in the hindgut of the horse, all these different regions results in fermentation. So in order to continue breaking down those food particles and primarily the fiber that your horse eats, it's fermentation. So these bugs are going to ferment breakdown using fermentation, that fiber and then absorb nutrients like volatile fatty acids, which then will get broken down into energy components.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:06:42):

Those microbes also create metabolites or substances that are used by the animal. One of those that we are all very familiar with is B vitamins. So we won't talk a lot about B vitamins today because if your horse's gut is healthy, those bugs will make all the B vitamins that they need. So they're not considered essential. When you talk about essential nutrients, it's a nutrient that the horse can't make in their body. The bugs can't make it or they can't create it by a process in the body. They must consume it in the diet. So there are essential amino acids for example. The horse must consume them in the diet, they can't make them in their body. 


Katy Starr (00:07:28):

Perfect. And so now, I mean now that you've kind of given us this background and picture of the digestive system, the function of it and everything, let's get into minerals. So what exactly is a mineral including microminerals and macrominerals?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:07:46):

Yep. Simple thing. A mineral is dirt. It comes from the earth's crust, naturally occurring solid inorganic substance, right? So dirt. And when, so we think, oh gosh, well if you've listened to any of our other podcasts, you know that horses should not really eat dirt and won't choose to eat dirt unless they're bored or it tastes good. So minerals in the wild or in nature would be absorbed up through the plant's roots and be in the plant material, the leaves and stems and then the horse eats those leaves and stems and that's how they're meant to absorb those minerals. So me telling you that minerals are all dirt doesn't mean your horse should eat dirt. It means they should eat plants that contain those minerals or be fed a mineral that is mimicking the way they would see it in the plant. Now we kind of break down all the minerals into two different categories, either macrominerals or microminerals. And the descriptor really is what it is. The macrominerals you need in slightly higher quantities than the microminerals, needed in much smaller quantities. It doesn't mean that macrominerals are more important than micro minerals, it just means you don't need as much of them to have that benefit in the horse. Minerals in general, just like vitamins, are all needed in much smaller quantity than something like fiber or carbohydrates. It doesn't mean they're less important, it just means you need them in smaller quantities.


Katy Starr (00:09:20):

Excellent. And then how about vitamins? Fat-soluble versus water-soluble and what that encompasses?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:09:27):

Same thing. So vitamins come in two categories. Really water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. And really that's just how they're absorbed or stored in the body. So we'll start with water-soluble vitamins because we've already touched on them as in the B vitamins. So water-soluble vitamins, they're not stored in the body because the body continually makes them. So B vitamins for example, if the horse is healthy and the microbiome is working, byproduct of them breaking down that fiber is that they create water-soluble vitamins or B vitamins and they're constantly absorbed. So in the digestive system, there's lots of water-soluble vitamin receptors because we're constantly absorbing, we're not storing them anywhere, we're just constantly absorbing using what we need, constantly absorbing and using what we need every day. Fat-soluble vitamins on the other hand are typically the ones we know the most about are vitamin A and vitamin E, a little bit vitamin K, but vitamin A and vitamin E, they are stored in the horse's fat.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:10:33):

And when you think about where they come from, that makes all the sense. Vitamin A and vitamin E come from fresh green grass. If you think about fresh green grass in the wild is seasonal, right? In the spring we have lots, in the summer drops off a little bit, in the fall up again, in the winter drops off again. So the requirement for vitamin A and vitamin E doesn't change throughout the year. So the horse needs to be able to absorb when it's in abundance, store it somewhere so that in the summer and in the winter they can tap into those stores and utilize them. And then when it's an in abundance again in the spring and fall, they refill their tank. So in the gut there are less fat-soluble vitamin receptors because we can absorb it.At times when it's in plenty of supply in the diet. But then we just need to draw on it from the fat stores. So a horse that is really thin, struggles to store a lot of fat-soluble vitamins. Horses that don't get access to fresh green grass don't store a lot of vitamin A and vitamin E. So we have to supplement that in the diet in a lot of horses that don't get access to fresh green pasture.


Katy Starr (00:11:48):

Okay, that's very interesting. How are vitamins and minerals measured?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:11:54):

Oh, now this is a good one and this is where it gets very, very confusing for a lot of people. Mainly when you want to compare between products. So you have product A and product B and one writes, let's say calcium in milligrams per kilogram on one label and the other one writes it in ppm And I get questions, well number one, we're in America, I don't know what a kilogram is, I'm from Australia, so obviously I know what a kilogram is, but I don't know what a kilogram is and what on earth is ppms, parts per million? I don't even know how to convert that. Here's a simple trick and we will post this on our Facebook page because this is really good information. Parts per million is exactly the same as milligrams per kilogram. So if you see 16 ppms that is also 16 milligrams per kilogram and you say, well I don't, I don't do anything in kilograms and I don't feed in kilograms, there are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:13:00):

And I had to learn that as soon as I came here. First thing I learned 2.2 pounds in a kilogram and that Americans use peanut butter and everything. But that's a side note . So there's two point, so if you divide that milligrams per kilogram by 2.2, you can have milligrams per pound. Okay, now we're starting to get more into my realm. There are also 16 ounces in a pound. So we divide that milligrams per pound by 16 and now you've got milligrams per ounce. Some of your other minerals will be measured in percentages. This is another total cheat. I just use Google. I literally type into Google 2% of two ounces, maybe that's the feeding rate of the product. I'm using 2% of two ounces in milligrams, 1,133 milligrams. And then I don't have to worry about pressing the wrong button. Now if you, if you're great at math and you want to Google converting percentages and I'm working it all out, you can do that. It's not hard, but I just use Google because it's so easy.


Katy Starr (00:14:06):



Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:14:06):

So as I said, that's a lot of information. We'll post it, right Katy?


Katy Starr (00:14:11):

Yeah. But that was really great and really helpful. And like we've talked about before too, if people have questions when they work with us, with Standlee and everything and they're kind of putting together a diet, like they can reach out to us and reach out to be able to work with you or Dr. Duren to kind of help them if they do have some questions about this. But I think that was really great information, very helpful.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:14:34):

Absolutely. Yeah, that's the one I I use all the time.


Katy Starr (00:14:37):

Excellent. How do we know that horses are absorbing adequate levels of vitamins and minerals? Are there any tests that can measure for that or do we need to rely on what we're offering them and what they're consuming?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:14:52):

So blood tests are not a great representation for testing minerals in the body. Calcium is the prime example of why not. Horses are smart in some respects I guess. And so where's calcium primarily used? Primarily used in bones and teeth, right? But for some reason they want their blood to look like there's always enough calcium in it. And in order to do that, if they're not absorbing or being fed enough calcium, they will literally suck it out of their own bones to make the blood look like there's enough calcium. So you can do all the blood tests you want, the calcium will look fine, but their bones are brittle and falling apart because they're sucking it out of their bones. Other minerals are the same, it's just not, blood is not a great representation. I always think about blood is like a super, it's the highway, it's the road system and the organs like the heart, the lungs, the nerves, that's the shops right in our road system.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:15:52):

And you can't judge how much business a store is getting by how many cars are on the road. What if they're not stopping, what if they're just driving around? So I don't like to do blood tests to evaluate nutrient status. I also don't like to do hair tests. Numerous research studies have shown that hair testing is not reliable to adequately show what is the nutrient status of my horse right now. Maybe what it was three months ago, but not right now. You know, heavy metals is another thing. You can test for heavy metals or drugs in hair samples, but you can't test for calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper. It's not reliable in a hair sample. And I think, you know, as we get into some of the minerals, you'll see copper for example, is responsible for the, the melanin, the black pigmentation. And one research study literally showed that black horses had higher copper. Well no, they're just, it's a hair color issue.


Katy Starr (00:16:59):



Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:17:00):

I know there's some people out there that love their hair tests or they love to do blood tests and I know we really want to know, but muscle or biopsy.


Katy Starr (00:17:09):

So then as a nutritionist, I guess what is the, I guess the best route then for that? Is it just then just making sure that you're offering what you are and that the fact that they are consuming it? How do you best judge that?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:17:23):

Exactly, number one, if time and money are no issue, then I'm going to make sure I test all my hay. I need to know what my basis is. Or I'm buying a hay product that has already been tested. So I'm buying a branded hay product, for lack of a better word. So I know what my basis is, I know what they're getting out of that. And then I'm going to compliment that with a ration balance or a vitamin or supplement or a feed that is going to then give me the balance of what I know a horse needs on paper. Okay, so if the horse is getting plenty of calcium in the diet, but we're still seeing some calcium deficiency symptoms, then I'm going to actually look at, okay, is there something else in the diet or in their environment that might be blocking their absorption or the uptake of that calcium? And calcium's an easy one to pick on because there is a specific grass, Johnson's grass or other grasses that can produce oxalates and those oxalates will actually block the uptake of phosphorus and calcium. Excess phosphorus will also block the uptake of calcium. So I'm going to make sure that my diet is balanced for the horse that I am working with.


Katy Starr (00:18:43):



Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:18:43):

And then if we’re still seeing issues, now we're going to do a little detective work and work out what might be causing that. If nothing in the diet is causing it and we're still having an issue, then we know we might be running blood work. But it's not to look at calcium in the blood, it's to look at other factors that might be causing the malabsorption. One of the worst-case scenarios is this thing called malabsorption syndrome, where you actually have a deterioration or sometimes a genetic defect in the gut where they're just not able to absorb nutrients. So it allows us then to start to look in different areas. We're not looking for those nutrients in the bloodstream, but we're looking at what might be causing them not to be absorbed.


Katy Starr (00:19:32):

Excellent. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. And I know that we're obviously going to talk specifically about certain vitamins and minerals in just a few minutes, but what vitamins and minerals naturally occur in the horse's body and which ones do we need to make sure are provided in the horse's diet, which I guess is essential, right?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:19:53):

Well, I mean primarily B vitamins are the ones, they're water-soluble vitamins, they're the ones that the bacteria make in the hindgut and there's lots of them, 12-13 B vitamins. So that's primarily, all the rest, whilst you may not need to actively supply them in a bucket supplement or a ration balancer because maybe they're really prevalent in pasture for example, or hay, like manganese is usually pretty high in the soil and pretty high in the pastures and can be easily absorbed. Phosphorus used to be that way that phosphorus was pretty high in pastures. But now that we've, especially out here on the east coast where you can't put phosphorus in fertilizers, now we've seen phosphorus go down in our hays and pastures.


Katy Starr (00:20:44):

Oh, okay. And how is this impacted by mineral interactions? You kind of briefly touched on this, but what minerals can tie up other minerals even if there is an adequate amount of a particular mineral that a horse is consuming?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:21:03):

Again, we'll post this one in the show notes, but there is a, if I describe it to you, it's like a round ball that if you stuck rubber bands all over it, you've seen those before. When you just make a ball of rubber bands and they're going all different directions or it's like a spiderweb and on the ends the different minerals. So let me, I'm looking at it right now and if I read copper, copper can interact with cadmium, it can interact with molybdenum, it can interact with zinc, it can interact with sulfur and phosphorus and iron. So too much of any one of those that I just said can interact with the uptake of copper, too much copper can interact or not enough copper can also interact with those. Literally looking at this thing, it looks like a spider web. So there's so much interaction, which is why it's, you know, we have these kind of checks and balances. Calcium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. They go together, they need to be in certain levels, that kind of thing.


Katy Starr (00:22:08):

Right. And ratios and stuff. So and then another common one is the calcium and phosphorus.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:22:16):

Calcium to phosphorus. That's the one that everyone learns first. You know, I've done a lot with growing horses and bone strength and cartilage development. So zinc and copper for anybody who has, you know, ever bred animals, whether it be horses or dogs, knows that zinc and copper is also important. But calcium and phosphorus is the one, you learn that early, early on.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:22:36):

And the ideal ratio is two to one, two parts calcium to one part phosphorus. Now in an adult horse you can go as high as five to one and befine and you can go as low as one to one and be fine. In the young growing horse though, it's more important to really stick to that two to one, three to one ratio of calcium to phosphorus. You never, ever, ever, the only thing you really don't ever want, you wouldn't want to see 10 to one calcium to phosphorus and you never want more phosphorus than calcium. That is always a no-no.


Katy Starr (00:23:12):

And what does that impact specifically for those younger horses if that ratio gets too far off?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:23:18):

So excess calcium and excess phosphorus, so excess way, way high calcium can block the uptake of phosphorus and way, way and just a little bit high phosphorus over calcium will really block the uptake of calcium. So in the young growing horse, what are they doing? Developing strong bones. Calcium and phosphorus are both used primarily in bone strength. So you will significantly impair bone health by that ratio being out of balance in a young growing horse.


Katy Starr (00:23:49):

Okay, perfect. What would you say is the most common vitamin or mineral deficiency that you see in horses?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:23:58):

Oh hmm. I would probably say vitamin E. Vitamin E, natural vitamin E is at least on the east coast, very low in horses because it comes from fresh green grass and most horses just don't have access to fresh green grass in enough time and quantity to support their vitamin E requirements. The other thing is even if we give our horses plenty of access to pasture for plenty of time, that still usually only gets them the maintenance level of vitamin E. About 2000 IUs a day. Most of our horses are exercising horses need more like four or even 6,000 IUs of vitamin E or if they have some kind of muscle damage or metabolic issues, we want those higher numbers. So I think that vitamin E is probably the one that I see as the most deficient. Selenium, I think everybody knows that selenium is deficient in soils and so everybody, whilst selenium could potentially be deficient, everybody is very aware of selenium, so they're all supplementing. So if you were to ask me which one do I find sometimes to be toxic, it's selenium only because people do such a great job of trying to overcome the deficiency that they go the other way.


Katy Starr (00:25:18):

Okay, perfect.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:25:21):

I feel like I'm overwhelming you with all of my answers here. .


Katy Starr (00:25:24):

No, because I, that was the next question I was going to ask you anyway, so it was perfect. But let's go ahead and start breaking down some of these specific ones. Calcium.So you've, you've talked a little bit about calcium, but talk about obviously the function of it and how it's absorbed in the horse's body.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:25:41):

Yeah, yeah. You know calcium, 99% of it is found in the teeth and bones, equine bones about 35% calcium. But there are other places that calcium is used that people don't think about that often. Muscle contraction, nerve impulses, the membrane around a cell that holds it together stops it from falling apart. Blood clotting, enzyme regulation, these are all other areas that calcium functions. The common sources of calcium in the diet would be calcium carbonate, which is limestone. When we're putting additional in, there is a novel source of calcium that some companies are using now called calcite, which is a marine derived version, actually it's mined out of the ocean fossilized red algae. And the main difference between calcium carbonate and that calcite is the physical form. They're both inorganic, but one looks like a solid rock and the other one looks like honeycomb. Calcite looks like honeycomb. So there's significantly more surface area for absorption. When you look at feed stuffs and where do these, where does calcium come from? Number one, alfalfa of course. And most of your cereal grains are actually really low in minerals period. Beet pulp is the other one that has a relatively decent amount of calcium in it.


Katy Starr (00:27:07):

Excellent. Okay. So if we're looking then at sources that we could potentially feed our horse that has calcium that we need to get more calcium, those would be some good ones to kind of look for then?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:27:21):

Absolutely. If I balance a diet and I've got my hay and I've got a ration balancer, let's say the horse isn't doing a lot of exercise and he is got a ration balancer and I'm still a little low on calcium, I'm going to use a bit of beet pulp or alfalfa to bump up that calcium content. Absolutely.


Katy Starr (00:27:40):

Excellent. Okay. And obviously you did touch on the calcium to phosphorus ratio and ranges and everything.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:27:48):



Katy Starr (00:27:49):

Can you speak to which is worse, having a higher phosphorus to calcium ratio or vice versa?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:27:56):

Yeah, that's the absolute worst. That's the worst across the board out of any ratio. Having more phosphorus than calcium is a nightmare for any horse.


Katy Starr (00:28:06):

Excellent. Okay. And then you did talk about young horses, right? Young growing horses with their growing bones, how important it is for them. But are there any other types of horses that might need to have more calcium than others? Aside from the young growing horses?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:28:22):

Young growing horses, but I have also therapeutically used higher amounts of calcium and good, readily available like the calcite type of calcium in horses that have had a bone injury or senior horses.


Katy Starr (00:28:37):

Okay. Excellent. Okay. And then what can happen if there is an excess or deficiency? Well, I guess we probably know what deficiency of calcium in the horse's diet can do. Brittle bones and things like that. Excess of calcium in the diet. What would we see in a horse?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:28:55):

Excess in calcium is really going to work just like phosphorus and it would block the uptake of phosphorus. So then we just kind of make that calcium to phosphorus...


Katy Starr (00:29:07):

So basically that's going to show us whatever a phosphorus deficiency is? That's what we're going to see with too much calcium.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:29:11):

Yes. Exactly, and in Australia it's pretty common that because there are a lot of grasses that carry those oxalates. So we go back to deficiency and those soft bones, there's a disorder that we call Big Head. I mean it's got a fancy name but Big Head. And if you imagine the nasal bones on the front of the horse's head, they will become really spongy, because remember I said that the horse is really good, they'll suck calcium out of their bones to make sure the blood looks even. And that's the first place that they suck it out of. And then those bones become really big and puffy and spongy and we call it Big Head.


Katy Starr (00:29:53):

Yeah. Okay. Let's move on to phosphorous. So what is the function of it and how is it absorbed in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:30:01):

Oh, again, phosphorus really important in the skeleton and energy metabolism, you wouldn't think of that. It's not that if you give your horse extra phosphorus, it's going to make him hot or hyper, but it's in, you know, those energy pathways. So when you absorb glucose or you eat food and you break it down and it gets broken down into fats and carbohydrates and it get absorbed in order for then that, that now goes into an energy pathway and phosphorus is part of that. So we have energy enzymes, oxalates just like in the pastures can block phosphorus, weak bones, excess calcium, like I mentioned can make it worse. We havelow phosphorus. So yeah, really bone strength.


Katy Starr (00:30:53):

Excellent. Okay. And then what types of feed or forage can we find phosphorus in and if we need to, you know, end up supplementing the horse's diet, what can we look for? What are some options that we could possibly consider with that?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:31:07):

So phosphorus is actually pretty high in your brans and I don't love to feed wheat bran to horses, but occasionally I will if it's available and I need to bump up the phosphorus content. Rice bran also pretty high in phosphorus. Everything else is, you know, kind of mediocre. I'd say oats, again, relatively high, barley and in phosphorus. But when you bring oats or barley into the diet, you're also bringing extra calories versus rice bran, not as many calories. So rice bran or wheat bran are usually two that I'll use to bump up the phosphorus if I need to. If my diet with commercial grain or ration balancer isn't doing it, most of your forages will have a really nice calcium to phosphorus ratio, but your grains are usually inverted.


Katy Starr (00:31:59):

Okay. And then are there any certain types of horses that might need to have more phosphorus than others?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:32:06):

Not that I can think of. 


Katy Starr (00:32:10):

Just kind of general. Okay, we kind of touched on this a little bit. If there is an excess of phosphorus, it's going to have those, you know, results of a deficiency of calcium, it's


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:32:21):

Going to block the uptake of calcium. Yep.


Katy Starr (00:32:22):

Excellent. And we'll have the next one. Copper. What is the function of it and how is copper absorbed in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:32:30):

So connective tissue, cartilage, ligaments, those things really important for copper. Mobilization of iron, so if we think about oxygen carrying capacity in the blood of performance horses, energy production. And then I mentioned earlier that dark pigment, melanin. So in your darker horses a lot of your coat conditioning darkening supplements will have high levels of copper. Deficiency, our developmental orthopedic disease, those growth disorders that connective tissue cartilage is a part of in Friesians, I think there is this because you're, there's a genetic disposition problem with this aortic rupture in those horses. And that is something to do with copper deficiency, chronic anemia because if we don't have enough copper then we can't mobilize iron. And remember iron is what gives your oxygen carrying capacity. So we would have anemia and then loss of hair pigment. Excess, which is pretty uncommon. You can cause liver damage with too much copper in the diet.


Katy Starr (00:33:40):

Okay, excellent. And we already talked about, you know, the interactions copper interacts with a lot of different minerals. And then the relation between copper and zinc. Can you speak to maybe some of the different feeds or forages that we can find copper in? If we are looking for something that we need to increase the level of copper in the diet?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:34:03):

It's kind of a hard one. Molasses is relatively high in copper, flax as well. But really most of your grains are low in copper and most of your hays are also even the best quality hay are going to be low in copper, zinc and selenium. So that's a hard one. You really need to rely on a balanced vitamin and mineral supplement that's got adequate copper in it and using sources of copper that are not those inorganic rock type minerals but chelated or organic minerals which are much more bioavailable.


Katy Starr (00:34:36):

Are there any certain types of horses that might need to have more copper than others?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:34:42):

Young growing horses, if you look at the diets of young growing horses, anything that you're trying to fix, hoof quality, or even hair quality. Those supplements would have higher levels of copper.


Katy Starr (00:34:57):

Okay. And you touched on deficiencies of copper already.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:35:03):



Katy Starr (00:35:03):

But is it, is it even one that it probably would be hard to have an excess of copper in the diet?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:35:07):

Yeah, it's not that easy.


Katy Starr (00:35:09):

What would we see if there was?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:35:10):

The liver issues really.


Katy Starr (00:35:12):

Okay, and then how about zinc? What is the function of it in the body and how is it absorbed in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:35:21):

Zinc is part of more than a hundred different enzymes. Like zinc is really, really important. Zinc is really important for immune function. If you think about any of the kind of immune supplements that we take like airborne, we all think that, oh, I'm taking a really high amount of vitamin C, but it's really the really high amount of zinc. It's really important for that intestinal tissue health that feeds that intestinal tissue. And you remember 70% of your immune system comes from your gut. So zinc really critical for immune function. Low concentrations in blood, milk, lungs, brain, again not great to measure it in the in the blood.


Katy Starr (00:36:04):

Okay. Right. And then are there any certain types of feed or forage that we can find zinc in or what are some options for being able to...


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:36:16):

Zinc's another one I would prefer that we not try and like mix a diet. Ooh, my horse needs more zinc so I'm going to put more wheat midds or more rice brand or rolled oats in it. This is one that you really want to use chelated or organic sources and rely on your vitamin and mineral supplement. But deficiencies in zinc, poor hair coat and hoof quality, hair loss, reduced immune function, remember I said it's so important for immune system. And then growth problems in foals. Excess again, probably not that common but lameness, stiff gait and blocks the uptake of copper.


Katy Starr (00:36:54):

Okay. Are there any particular horses that do need to have more zinc than others?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:37:01):

Young growing horses because of that zinc, copper relationship. Okay. And older horses or even horses that have some gut health issues because we are trying to support that intestinal lining. 


Katy Starr (00:37:15):

Okay, interesting. Okay, very good. And then selenium, what is the function of it and how is it used in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:37:22):

Oh well selenium is the one that I mentioned. Everybody's aware that selenium is deficient in soils in most parts of the country. So people know that they should be supplementing with it. It's a powerful antioxidant. So if we think about oxidation is really just cell death or aging. So put an apple in front of you and time lapse, watch it rot, that's oxidative stress or aging. Selenium, vitamin E, these are powerful antioxidants. So they slow down that aging or cell death process. We know that it is important for muscle health, immune function, regulating thyroid hormones. It's pretty low in soils and therefore in forages across the country. In the soil it's inorganic, it's at sodium selenite or selenate. One research study did show that actually mares supplemented with organic selenium did have higher milk content. Don't look at milk as being very high in minerals at all. We, the foal will use their liver stores to get minerals in the first three months of life. But feeding mares that organic form of selenium will actually bump up the selenium content in mares' milk. And that's really important because we know that foals are really born with no immune system and they're building it, but, and so their, you know, that selenium's really important.


Katy Starr (00:38:57):

Excellent. So since it tends to be in most areas of the country not in a lot of pasture grasses, forages and things like that, what would you look at like a good ration balancer or something like that to be able to balance the selenium or where would you, where would you be able to look for that?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:39:19):

Yeah, if you're using a ration balancer or a commercial feed and you're feeding it according to the directions, you're going to get enough selenium in your diet and you want to look in the, in the ingredients list for selenium yeast, that is how we write organic selenium, not sodium selenite. Some of the deficiencies that you'll notice in your horse are muscle soreness, reduced immune function, reduced fertility, sometimes muscle issues, muscle tying-up. But the other one that I have actually witnessed myself, and this you'll see in excess and deficiency, is right around the coronet band. You'll start to see the horses bleeding out there and that can lead to a complete sloughing off of the hoof capsule. The other thing is the, they get hypersensitive to sunlight and so the white areas, especially on their nose, they will sunburn more easily than others. I don't know all of the plants. So it's good to know if you live in a drier climate, there are some plants that we call accumulator plants and there are some that will accumulate selenium. So if your horse was to eat that, then maybe they would get too much selenium in the diet. But if you live in a more dry, drought area, you might talk to your local extension office, whether you have any of those types of plants in your area.


Katy Starr (00:40:48):

Right. Yeah, definitely lean on those extension offices. They are really a valuable source of information for your specific area. They're experts I guess in the area of plants and all of that stuff. One thing that I want to mention, I know we've talked about this a little bit on other podcast episodes, but when we're talking about, you know, using some sort of either ration balancer or concentrate, you know, to fulfill some of these additional nutritional needs, to remember that it's not like you just, you know, pick and choose the amount that you're feeding of that when they put the information on the bag of what your horse will be getting, it's based off of if you are feeding the exact amount that they recommend in the feeding directions.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:41:36):

It's so important to feed to the feeding directions. And if you feel like, oh well it's product X and it's really meant for a performance horse, but you've got a, a senior horse, but he really likes it, so I feed it to him and I'm meant to feed five pounds a day, but I only feed one. You're only getting one fifth of the amount of vitamins and minerals you need.


Katy Starr (00:41:56):

Right. So there again, you're not hitting everything that you need to. I just want to make sure everybody remembers that point. And then are there any particular horses that might need to have more selenium than others?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:42:12):

Breeding horses and then horses with poor immune function.


Katy Starr (00:42:17):

Okay. And manganese, what is its function and how is it absorbed?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:42:23):

Manganese this, yeah, this one, it's all, it's pretty high in your forages, so it's very rarely deficient, very rarely toxic. If you get a lot of it, it will block the uptake of phosphorus, but that's pretty rare. Bone abnormalities, poor growth bowed legs in deficiency. But again, that's pretty rare.


Katy Starr (00:42:46):

And what is the function of it actually in the body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:42:49):

Well, you've all probably heard of chondroitin sulfate, which is something we see in a joint supplement all the time. Manganese is part of the process that creates chondroitin sulfate. Cartilage formation, reproductive function, fetal development, skin and hoof immune function. Manganese is important for all of these enzyme creation, carbohydrate and fat metabolism also utilize manganese.


Katy Starr (00:43:17):

Okay, excellent. And are there any particular horses that might need to have more manganese than others?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:43:25):

There are some supplements for young growing horses, particularly those that have some growth issues that will have high doses of manganese. Not that those horses are deficient in manganese, but just that we know adding extra can support some of that development growth.


Katy Starr (00:43:40):

Okay, perfect. And you had mentioned that it's pretty easy for a horse to get out of what they naturally eat.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:43:47):

Pastures and forages. Yeah.


Katy Starr (00:43:49):

Excellent. Okay. Onto, what is the function of iodine and how is it absorbed in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:43:57):

Iodine. Mostly found in the thyroid makes the two most common thyroid hormones, T3and T4, which then affects cardiovascular system, muscular system, nervous system, respiratory system. Now not that iodine is hard to find in the diet because I usually recommend a plain white iodizedsalt for horses and that will supplement all they need. But I, the main reason I wanted to talk about iodine was the fact that it can have really detrimental effects if you have too much and there's an ingredient that are, is in some supplements or feeds that I really don't like to feed at all andthat is seaweed. Kelp meal in particular coming out of the ocean can be very high, also very varying in iodine content. So I really don't like to see anything with too much iodine in it.


Katy Starr (00:45:00):

And so what types of, obviously seaweed, but what types of feed or forage if we're needing to include it in the diet is this again something that is more of a ration balancer type of concentrate balance?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:45:14):

Iodized salt. Some feeds will have iodine in, but just plain white iodized salt.


Katy Starr (00:45:22):

That would be the best. Perfect. And are there any types of horses that need iodine more than others?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:45:29):

Not more than others, no.


Katy Starr (00:45:30):

Average. And excess of iodine. You talked about how some of those ones with the seaweed could....


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:45:41):

Oh, the one time I've seen it firsthand was in Japan and the horses had late term abortion that was unexplained, and we worked out that they had goiters and yeah, it was too much iodine.


Katy Starr (00:45:54):

So they had had too much of it in the diet? And then a deficiency?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:45:57):

The problem is it's the same. Deficiency and excess look the same. Similar symptoms.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:46:04):

And magnesium. What is its function and how is it absorbed?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:46:08):

Super popular right now. Super popular. Everybody likes magnesium. 60% found in the skeleton, 30% in the muscle enzyme regulation, muscle contraction helps to regulate calcium in the muscle. It’s absorbed in the small and large intestine, as are the previous that we've described.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:46:28):

But the problem with magnesium is, you see deficiency in magnesium, which again is pretty rare, nervousness, muscle tremors in coordination. So from that, folks have taken that, okay, well maybe my horse is deficient in magnesium and that's why he's nervous and has a bad behavior, so I'll feed him copious amounts of magnesium to overcome that deficiency and it'll calm him down. It's actually, like I said, pretty rare for horses to be deficient in magnesium. But we do know that adding extra magnesium to the diet can have a calming effect. But the research that showed that magnesium could have a calming effect showed the quantity that you had to feed was also enough excess that it would block the uptake of calcium and phosphorus. So you’ve got to be careful.


Katy Starr (00:47:23):

Oh yeah, that's probably a fine line to balance there. Okay. Interesting.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:47:28):

Yeah. And there's so many different types of magnesium. Some magnesium, like the magnesium you see in Epsom salts, for example, very poorly absorbed can have a laxative effect. Oh yeah. So you've got to be careful.


Katy Starr (00:47:40):

Okay. So if you are needing to supply some magnesium..


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:47:49):

Magnesium citrate in the horse is the best. And look for a supplement or a feed that's higher in magnesium if you need to, but don't just do it on your own, it's not a great idea.


Katy Starr (00:48:04):

Okay. And what is the function of potassium and how is that absorbed in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:48:11):

Oh, potassium's another electrolyte. So putting in electrolyte supplement gets sweated out, used in muscle function, 75% found in the muscle, about 5% in the skeleton, 5% in the blood and skin and in the gut it's depleted first from the muscle. Right. And it's just like sodium and chloride. As your horse exercises more and sweats more, their requirement for potassium and sodium and chloride increases. It's not like every day my horse has a set potassium requirement. It's going to be dependent on the external environment. We know that your forages, especially alfalfa, some of your oil seeds can be pretty high in potassium. Cereal grains are generally low in potassium. We know that pastures can be high in potassium because it, but it's diluted with so much water, so much moisture content that we don't worry. So there are some horses, there's a particular genetic disorder in a line of quarter horses called HYPP, Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:49:22):

And these horses need to have less than 1.2% of potassium in the diet. And we don't worry about pasture because it's so diluted with moisture. But what that issue is, if is potassium being an electrolyte. So if you think about how muscles contract and release, this is very, very simplified, but it's kind of like opening and closing a gate, right? And you open a gate, and your electrical impulse goes out and causes muscles to move. And when you close the gate, you turn off that electrical impulse and we stop the muscle. But horses with HYPP, it's like the gate is just left slightly open and we have that potassium leaking out of the cell and causing constant tiny muscle fasciculations or muscle contractions. Worst case scenario that can lead to heart failure. But those horses, we definitely want to have a low potassium diet. Where does potassium come from? Well, it's high in alfalfa. Molasses can be pretty high in potassium, beet pulp that's got molasses still on it. These can all be pretty high in potassium. That being said, I have gotten away with feeding some horses alfalfa, but it's just the way we do it. We feed small meals more frequently. But really if your horse has a disorder like HYPP, you should be working closely with your veterinarian or nutritionist to develop a diet that works for them.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:50:50):

And every horse is slightly different in how bad that genetic disorder is shown in the body. So what worked for your friend's horse that had HYPP might not work for yours. So just be careful taking advice from others that aren't experts on that.


Katy Starr (00:51:05):

Right. And just doing a basic like this is how you fix it kind of thing, that's a really great point. And you said that's a disease that impacts quarter horses?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:51:20):

Correct. There's one line of quarter horses that came from the Impressive bloodline and he was bred to have really big muscles and do very well in the halter horse world and he passed that down.


Katy Starr (00:51:33):

Interesting. Okay. Moving into the vitamins, what is the function of vitamin A and how is it absorbed in the horse's body?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:51:41):

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. So remember we're eating it in the pasture at times of abundance and we're storing it in the fat for times when there isn't pasture availability. It's really important for vision, reproduction, embryo development, immune function. It's very high in immature pasture, just like the vitamin E though as soon as you cut that pasture and it starts to dry and that sunlight will really break down that vitamin A and vitamin E. So hay is not a good source of vitamin A in vitamin E and it's pretty low in cereal grains as well. You'll see vitamin A pretty high in reproduction, reproductive feeds or reproductive supplements.


Katy Starr (00:52:25):

Okay. And you said that earlier, I think you touched on horses that do not have access to pasture are probably going to be horses that are going to need to have more access to vitamin A than horses per se, that are, they have like 24/7 access to pasture when the weather permits.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:52:46):



Katy Starr (00:52:47):

And is there, does vitamin A at any point, can it block vitamin E?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:52:56):

No, it's the other way around. If you feed too much vitamin E, if you go above 10,000 IUs of vitamin E for long periods, you can block the uptake of vitamin A.


Katy Starr (00:53:07):

And did we talk about excess or deficiencies for vitamin A? Did we touch on that?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:53:14):

Deficiencies, eye issues, impaired growth in foals, poor reproductive function, sometimes some hind leg paralysis if it's really bad. And excesses, fragile bones, overgrowth of bone, malformed fetus. So you know, it's kind of like impaired growth or too much growth depending on deficiency or excess.


Katy Starr (00:53:38):

Excellent. Okay. And then the other big vitamin, vitamin E, what is its function and how is that absorbed?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:53:45):

Vitamin E, just like selenium is a powerful antioxidant. So slows down that cell death. Really important for muscle function, immune function, high amounts in pasture, very low amounts incereal grain. But I would say pretty much every part of the body can use vitamin E because our whole body goes through stress and oxidative stress. If you have low vitamin E, depressed immune function, tying-up is the umbrella term for lots of different muscle disorders. I didn't mention it earlier, but foals that are deficient in vitamin E or selenium can have this white muscle disease. And literally if you look at it under a microscope, normal muscle is nice and red just like a steak would be, what if this muscle has white muscle disease? It looks like chicken breast, it's devoid of color, but again that's pretty rare. But I have a lot of people that will feed a lot of protein when they're trying to put a nice top line and muscle on the top of the horse. If you're feeding, most horses get plenty of protein and plenty of good quality protein in their diet. So if we've got some muscle wasting or some uneven muscle development, I'll usually lean on vitamin E to correct that.


Katy Starr (00:55:01):

Okay, excellent. And can we talk then, just very briefly, you've mentioned vitamin B, that's very easily made in the horse's body, so it's not frequent that you would need to supplement your horse with that. But can we talk a little bit about like sodium chloride, sulfur, iron, cobalt, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin C, what do we see with those specific vitamins and minerals? Since we're not going to talk specifically about them.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:55:34):

Now, I'm going to talk specifically about them. I mean, vitamin C just like in people is really important for immune function, but we don't need to supplement. Vitamin D, you would need to supplement if your horse, let's say your horse was on stall rest, on layup and didn't get out and wasn't getting sunlight, you were getting, we're converting vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight. What other ones did you talk about? You talked about a bunch of other ones. You went so fast.


Katy Starr (00:56:01):

Sodium chloride.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:56:04):

Sodium and chloride, sodium and chloride. Your salt. They are required based on just like potassium. If your horse is sweating a lot or the, it's very hot, external temperature, then their requirement goes up. It's not like selenium that every day you need the exact same amount that changes based on environmental conditions or how much you're exercising.


Katy Starr (00:56:26):

Okay. Excellent. And then like sulfur, iron, cobalt.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:56:31):

Oh iron. Again, it's really for blood oxygen carrying capacity. But we know that the horse gets plenty of iron in their diet, whether getting it at, we get iron from green leafy vegetables and whether they're eating pasture or they're eating hay, they get plenty of iron. Iron is also attached to a lot of other minerals. So maybe your limestone, there's a lot of iron just attached to that that we can't kick off. So iron is not an issue in the diet. We don't worry about having too much. I don't even look at cobalt per se, as something that has huge importance. I'd have to look it up. I don't know exactly what cobalt does in the horse.


Katy Starr (00:57:13):

Right. And so the ones that we spoke, like we talked about before, the ones that we spoke kind of more in depth today, those are the ones that have the most significant impact on the horse. And also they just, they can't produce it themselves and it's not readily available and they need to be able to have something given to them, supplied to them so they can meet those nutrient needs in their body.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:57:39):

Yeah, that's right. Mm-hmm.


Katy Starr (00:57:41):

So we talked about a lot today. What would you say are your key takeaways that you would like to leave listeners with from today's discussion about vitamins and minerals?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:57:53):

I mean, I think a key takeaway is even your best quality hay and of course Standlee, we have premium Western forage. Even the best quality hay is going to be deficient in zinc, copper, and selenium at a minimum. Okay. So make sure that really the only nutrient you can see in your animal is calories. You can see if they have enough calories in the diet because they have nice body condition. That's the only thing you can see. We're not going to see a lot of severe toxicities or deficiencies in most horses to the point that their hair is falling out or their feet are falling off. But minor deficiencies. And I would say that deficiencies are probably more common would be, well the horse's hair coat just isn't great, or his immune function isn't great, or his hoof quality isn't great. And so working with your nutritionist or your local feed supplier to make sure that your diet is balanced.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (00:58:50):

What I don't want people to do is to go home, get a hay test. Ooh look, copper is low in my hay test. I'm going to go out and buy copper and I'm put in a little tub and I'm going to let my horse eat it, or I'm going to buy zinc and I'm going to let my horse eat it. Some minerals actually just taste better than others. It doesn't mean they have a higher requirement. It just tasted better. Ice cream tastes better than broccoli or brussels sprouts, doesn't mean because I eat more ice cream that I need more ice cream in my diet, if you get my drift. So make sure that we're, you know, we're starting with that hay test and we are knowing where we need to fill in the gaps. And then working with a feed or a supplement that are going to compliment that and not trying to do it on our own, like mix and match on our own.


Katy Starr (00:59:38):

Excellent. And what I would like to do, we're going to try a new small little segment. We sometimes get emails in from listeners having questions about what they're feeding their horses. And so one that we wanted to talk about today, Sara wrote in on behalf of her horses, Remington and Kota, and she wanted us to talk a little bit more about horses that have access to unlimited grass.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (01:00:07):



Dr. Tania Cubitt (01:00:07):

So what she said is, you know, we talk a lot about how much hay and concentrate to feed, but would love if we could discuss feeding when they also have 24/7 access to grass. So she said she lives in Virginia, which Dr. Cubitt also is in Virginia.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (01:00:24):

Yeah, I live in Virginia too.


Katy Starr (01:00:26):

And she has an off the track thoroughbred that she struggles to keep weight on. So she says she's had him since he was seven, he's been on 24/7 turnout field board. He's so happy with this arrangement, but is curious about how much hay she should be supplementing in if she also has that unlimited access to the good grass. And she knows the grass intake is not something, well, she had mentioned it's not measurable, but Dr. Cubitt, you can touch on this, but if he has access to it, do we still need to be feeding 20% of their body weight in hay or can that be lower?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (01:01:00):



Katy Starr (01:01:00):

Actually she did put 20%, but yes, we should say it should say 2%. I think that was just , a typo there. So yeah.


Dr. Tania Cubitt (01:01:11):

I would say I know, she mentioned that she's always struggled to keep weight on this horse. If we took that out and said, okay, the horse maintains his weight very beautifully on ad-lib, grass pasture, and she's gone by the rule of thumb, her horse has two acres and he, it's more than 70% good quality plant material and it's six inches tall, then he'll get all of the fiber that he requires, all of that dry matter from 24 hour access. And so he wouldn't need to have any additional hay. She does, however, mention thathe's hard to maintain weight on. So the first thing I would do is, okay, maybe looking at bumping up the calorie content of the pasture or the fiber that you're giving him. So adding in some alfalfa, for example. Or he maybe just needs a commercial concentrate that's higher in calories, higher in fiber, and in super fibers that are really digestible and fat. So there's multiple different avenues and I'd love to be able to chat with her. The one thing that the times of the year that the horse would need to be supplemented with additional hay would definitely be over, probably starting now, going through the winter and into the beginning of spring, because we know that the pastures will go dormant and stop growing. And we don't want to kill the pastures by having them eaten down over the wintertime. So good land stewardship would be to supply hay, and in the middle of winter, he's probably eating 2% of his body weight and hay and just having a nibble on the dormant grass. So with a horse that has 24 hour access to pasture, again, the first thing I ask all the time is maintaining body weight or not. Can we bump up his body weight if he's a little thin by just improving, like adding alfalfa or does he need a commercial concentrate? And if he's maintaining his body weight, well then that horse for most of the year probably just needs a ration balancer. But then seasonally, when that pasture goes away, that's when he would need that hay.


Katy Starr (01:03:25):

Right. And you know, just knowing that, of course we don't always know all the details of all these questions all the time, so we have no idea if he's being ridden or how much he's being ridden or any, any of that kind of, if there's any other ailments correct, that could be an issue. So just with the information given, I think that was, that was kind of a great way to put that all together.


Katy Starr (01:03:48):

We're wrapping up this episode, but I do want to remind our listeners that our previous episode, episode 68, has been a very, very well received and phenomenal episode featuring Brooke Clay Taylor, who was a mom who had, she was given a breast cancer triple negative breast cancer diagnosis the day that she had a baby, which is wild. But she told her story in episode 68.


Katy Starr (01:04:14):

So if you haven't listened yet, please go download that because for every episode downloaded on the Beyond the Barn podcast, from October 1st through October 31st of this year, 2023, Standlee is going to be donating $1 to the Rural Gone Urban Foundation Love Bombs grant program, which supports strong women doing brave things. So please download that. It's called “Defying All Odds Against Breast Cancer with Brooke Clay Taylor.” And you can download on Apple, Spotify, or Google podcast to learn more. Be sure to share it with your friends as well. And Dr. Cubitt, I also wanted to mention a few episodes back. Remember when we did the fun little game where we asked you how many years you've lived in the United States?


Dr. Tania Cubitt (01:05:03):



Katy Starr (01:05:03):

We did have a winner of that and the winner who wrote in, and we selected one of 10 people that had responded randomly. Donna Meyer was our winner, and so she has received some free Standlee product coupons. And so Donna, we want to thank you for being a listener of the podcast and playing along with us. And with that listeners, if you have any other topic ideas that you would like to share with us, please feel free to reach out at And until next time, Dr. Cubitt, we'll catch you later. Thanks so much.


Katy Starr (01:05:45):

Thanks for listening to The Beyond the Barn podcast by Standlee Forage. We'd love for you to share our podcast with your favorite people and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite listening platform. Until next time, keep your cinch tight and don't forget to turn off the water.


If you enjoy the Beyond the Barn Podcast, please consider taking a minute to rate and review the podcast on these popular platforms.