4 Ingredients to Look for When Choosing a Supplement for Your Horse

Balancing your horse's diet? Look for these four vitamins and minerals when choosing a supplement for your horse.

Help your horse look and feel their best with these vitamins and minerals

All horses need the same essential nutrients—energy to fuel body functions, protein to build and repair body tissues and produce enzymes and hormones, and certain vitamins and minerals to keep them feeling their best—but making sense of an ingredient label can be overwhelming! Figuring out what vitamins and minerals are a priority for your horse doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are four essential vitamins and minerals to look for when choosing a supplement for your horse. 

Vitamin E

You’ve heard of vitamin E, a plant-derived antioxidant, often touted as a “youthening” agent in human products. What you may not realize is it may be harder for your horse to get enough of this crucial vitamin than you think.

As your horse breaks down food to use as energy for necessary life functions (a process called oxidation), his body creates free radicals, or compounds that can damage cells if left unchecked. Without adequate reserves of natural antioxidants, horses in work may suffer increased muscle soreness or stiffness after exercise as well as prolonged recovery times. This may lead to poor performance—exactly the opposite of what we hope for in the show ring!

This is where vitamin E comes in. Your horse needs vitamin E in sufficient amounts to sustain normal muscle function and help ward off muscle problems. While vitamin E is abundant in lush forage, most working horses don’t have ample access to it. Even if your horse is field-kept, pasture quality varies considerably by location, season and other factors. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, vitamin E activity is even more unstable in hay, which means supplementing your horse’s daily ration with vitamin E may be necessary to maintain his overall health and performance. If you suspect that your horse has a vitamin E deficiency, your veterinarian can check with a relatively inexpensive blood test and advise you of any dietary changes you should make. 

Copper and Zinc

Copper and zinc aren’t included as commonly in supplements, but many equine diets are low to deficient in both minerals. Copper is essential to bone and hoof formation and plays a key role in connective tissue formation, synthesizing the pigment melanin and mobilizing iron stores. Zinc, which is part of more than 100 different enzymes in your horse’s body, is key to the formation and maintenance of skin, hair, hoof horn and connective tissue. Zinc is also involved in immunity and wound healing. Both copper and zinc are involved in one of the body’s important antioxidant enzyme systems. Consider these two minerals when you are balancing your horse’s diet, and if necessary, consider adding a supplement that contains them. 


Probably best known for its role in calming supplements, magnesium is a mineral important for muscle contraction and nervous-signal transmission. It is considered an electrolyte, or one of the electrically charged minerals necessary to maintain fluid balance, normal nerve impulse transmission and healthy circulatory and muscle function. Every time your horse sweats, in addition to losing large amounts of salt (sodium), he also loses potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium—all important to the electrochemical processes of the equine body. If your horse is working up a sweat—especially during the summer months—you’ll want to make sure he’s receiving an appropriate amount of magnesium.

Learn about more important vitamins and minerals here! 

Making sure your horse has the vitamins and minerals he needs to feel his best doesn’t have to be complicated. Red Cell Vitamin-Iron-Mineral Supplement provides nutrients that help maintain normal blood cell health, cardiovascular function, energy and performance demands. It comes in both liquid and pelleted versions, making it easy to feed both on the road and at home. 

Ready to add a supplement? Talk to your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to see how a vitamin and/or mineral supplement can help your horse.

Red Cell has been helping horses look and feel their best for 50 years!  In honor of this milestone, Red Cell is celebrating its loyal horse owners by offering a special giveaway.  ENTER for your chance to WIN almost $1,000 in prizes!

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First Prize Winners

 TEN First Prize Winners will each receive a 1-year supply of Red Cell supplement (for one horse).

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