06 Jan 2022

Supplementing Trace Minerals for a Healthy Horse Diet


Trace minerals, also known as microminerals, are essential minerals that the body needs in small amounts. Like humans, horses need trace minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, zinc, iodine, cobalt, and selenium, to avoid deficiencies in their performance and wellbeing. Horses that experience trace mineral deficiencies can experience symptoms in the long term, such as problems with coat condition, hoof quality, and digestion. Insufficient amounts of trace minerals can also impact a horse’s athletic performance.

Trace mineral supplements can be part of a healthy equine diet. Learn more about important trace elements essential in equine nutrition and where to find the best supplements for your horse:

Trace Minerals for Optimal Equine Nutrition


Zinc is an essential trace mineral that horses need to support the proper function of proteins and enzymes. Horses that do not get enough zinc in their diet can exhibit reduced growth rates, skin abnormalities, and inappetence, among other problems. Zinc must be properly balanced with another important trace mineral, copper, for the health and wellbeing of growing and mature horses.


Copper is among one of the most vital trace elements for horses. It is a critical mineral in many metabolic pathways and is necessary for healthy bone formation, pigment formation, elastin formation, reproduction, hematopoiesis, and immune system function. The proper zinc to copper ratio is between 4:1 and 3:1. Too much copper intake can reduce the absorption and utilization of other key trace minerals, like iron and selenium.


Iron is an essential trace mineral for the functioning of myoglobin and hemoglobin, proteins responsible for carrying oxygen through the body. Iron deficiencies are fairly rare in horses due to the amount of iron found in water, forage, and feeds. Most horses require 500 mg of iron each day for optimal health.


Selenium is a component of glutathione peroxidase, which acts as an antioxidant. This trace mineral is essential for the functioning of enzymes that produce thyroid hormones. A deficiency of selenium can weaken the immune system and cause the gradual degeneration of muscle and nervous tissue. Horses that consume a forage-only diet can greatly benefit from selenium supplements.


Manganese is another essential trace mineral crucial for the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. It also plays a key role in the synthesis of chondroitin sulfate in cartilage. When a horse has a manganese deficiency, it can cause abnormal cartilage growth, while an excess amount of manganese in a horse’s diet can cause interference with phosphorus absorption. The ideal daily requirement of manganese for horses is 400mg.


Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12 and is essential for the microbial synthesis of vitamin B12 in a horse’s gut. This rich dark blue-colored element promotes red blood cell formation. A horse also requires the regular replenishment of cobalt to aid in vitamin B12 synthesis, allowing vitamin B12 to perform its role in energy metabolism. Horses should consume at least 0.5 mg of cobalt each day.


Horses require iodine in their diet for the production of hormones in the thyroid that are responsible for regulating metabolism. An iodine deficiency or toxicity can present as an enlargement of the thyroid gland, also referred to as hypothyroidism or goiter. The average horse requires 4 mg of iodine daily.

Supplement with Elite Equine Rosehip Powder

Finding all of these essential trace minerals separately can be difficult and time-consuming. Elite Equine makes it easy to provide your horse with vital trace minerals for a healthy and complete diet. Elite Equine Rosehip powder contains most of these trace minerals in a convenient, 100 percent organic supplement. Just mix the rosehip supplement with your horse’s food once daily and watch your horse thrive.