Horse Feed: The Macrominerals Required for Optimal Growth

A white horseEquine nutrition is an essential part of your animal’s optimal growth. Carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids are among the vital nutrients in your horse feed. One of the crucial and often forgotten nutrients is minerals.

Minerals refer to inorganic substances, which your horse needs in small amounts but still play a significant role in their bodies. Minerals in horse feed are essential for acid-base balance, energy transfer and enzyme functions. Macrominerals are required in higher amounts compared to microminerals. Here are the macrominerals you should look out for when buying your horse feed in NZ.

Calcium and Phosphorous

These two minerals work synergistically. They are responsible for the bone growth of your horse and are extremely important in pregnant and lactating horses. The recommended phosphorous: calcium level for all horses is 1:1 though this ratio might change with special requirements. An 1100-pound horse needs 30 to 40 grams of calcium daily regardless of its activity level.


This is crucial for maintaining a proper fluid balance in a horse’s body. The daily required sodium intake for horses in dry feed is 1.6 to 1.8 grams of sodium/kg. Significant amounts of sodium are lost in sweat, and hence workhorses in hot conditions might need extra sodium intake.


This is an essential mineral for muscle contraction, the relay of nerve impulses and energy metabolism. About 15 milligrams of magnesium/kg body weight of the horse is the recommended daily intake. Optimal magnesium intake for your horse is crucial since too much might be a laxative while deficiency might contribute to nerve excitation.

Meanwhile, potassium is essential for maintaining an electrolyte balance, relaying nerve impulses and muscle contraction in your horse. The recommended daily intake for an 1100-pound horse is 25 to 35 grams. Potassium like sodium is lost in sweat, and hence higher amounts might be required for workhorses in hot areas. The key microminerals you should consider in your horse feed include copper, cobalt, iodine, zinc, selenium and iron.