NPC Just Vitamin E
What is Vitamin E and When Does a Horse Need It?
Normally horses will provide themselves with all the vitamins they need if they have a good basic diet (even if its pasture only) and access to daylight etc and they can create vitamins within themselves and also store vitamins. However, Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is an essential vitamin – meaning that the horse has to ingest it daily and its source is green feed – i.e. good quality pasture. Therefore it is possible that levels can become low at times and so unlike other vitamins, at these times horses will need supplementation of this vitamin. The need to supplement Vitamin E will occur firstly when the green feed intake is reduced – typically when on winter pasture, or wet trampled pastures, or drought conditions. Also a need to supplement applies when horses may be deliberately restricted from pasture in the spring in order to keep the hype of spring grass affecting the behaviour. A shortfall can also occur when a horse is a poor or restless grazer, and particularly when a horses is stabled and is not being given fresh green fodder such as fresh lucerne chaff (which is a good source of this vitamin). It is important to note that storage of green fodder will also reduce the availability of Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant. It protects muscle cells and blood vessels against the toxic waste products of cell metabolism know as free radicals. It also protects the red blood cells.