Monday, October 31, 2011

FAVORITE PRODUCTS: "California Trace" mineral supplement

This is what California Trace does for Obie, who is shown
here in his unbathed, unbrushed, au naturel state!


Many horse owners are overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a mineral supplement for their horses. Some wonder if their horses really need a supplement at all, while others buy several and throw them all into their horse's feed, figuring that if some is good, more must be better. What should a responsible owner really do?

If you are feeding mainly forage (hay and/or pasture), which is truly best for the vast majority of horses, it is more than likely that you do need some kind of mineral supplement. This is because most hays and grass are deficient in several or more key minerals. Depending on your area, these may include copper, zinc, selenium, or calcium. The flip side of this is that many hays contain excessive amounts of other minerals -- most notably iron -- and these can potentially interfere with the body's ability to use the already short supply of copper, zinc, etc. Some equine nutritionists believe that "iron overload" is a serious issue that should be of concern when looking into supplementation. This may be even more critical if your horse has a metabolic disorder like insulin resistance or Cushing's.

Unfortunately, almost all commercially available supplements contain additional iron -- the last thing your horse needs in most cases. This is why I was so excited to discover California Trace, a mineral supplement that was specifically designed to balance the common mineral deficiencies in hays grown in Northern California, where I live. Sally Hugg, who makes this product, has an abiding passion for the rather labyrinthine area of equine mineral requirements, and I for one am grateful that she does, because she has created a great product -- with no added iron.  Finally, a mineral supplement that has the key stuff my horses need, including vitamins A and E, without the stuff they already have too much of -- hallelujah!

I am also thankful that this product is quite reasonably priced, and it comes in a variety of sizes to suit your herd -- larger sizes are even more economical. An added bonus is that most horses find California Trace palatable, even though it does not contain sugar, molasses, or other things my insulin resistant gang shouldn't have. Three of my four will eat it right out of my hand -- the one that won't is known to be especially finicky.

Now, if you don't happen to live in this area, chances are that you can also use California Trace, as many other areas have similar mineral deficiency/overload profiles to ours. The only exception would be if you live in an area with high selenium. Selenium is critical for horse health, but it can be extremely dangerous if the horse gets too much of it. While selenium is deficient in many areas, it is adequate or even excessive in others. If your hay comes from a heavy selenium pocket, you would want to avoid adding any extra into your horse's diet.

To find out more about this terrific supplement, visit www.californiatrace.com .