Foals grow very quickly and demand a nutrient rich diet to support this growth. The mare’s lactation peaks at about 2 months, by 4 months she is providing about 50% of the foal’s nutritional requirements, and by 6 months only 30% as production quantity and quality of the milk decreases. – Jack Grogan, CN
It is important through the initial weaning process to introduce a well balanced diet with a high strength vitamin and mineral formula to support the foal’s nutritional requirements during high growth periods, as this will help ensure healthy growth patterns. The key word here is balance as too much too quickly can cause too-rapid growth spurts that could develop into serious developmental issues for the youngster, like OCD.
“Osteochondrosis (OCD) is the failure of the bone to develop strong cross-linkage of collagen fibers (which affects the cartilage) and is most commonly caused by poor nutrition, mechanical trauma, and rapid growth, with nutrition being the most important. Lesions caused by OCD can result in serious lameness and might show only when the horse is stressed. According to research done by Colorado State University, 55.9% of the horses presented to them with OCD were less than a year old. Increasing specific trace mineral complexes during the accelerated growth period of weanlings is especially helpful in building a firm foundation, and continuing nutritional support as bone development and density increases for yearlings is very effective.” Jack Grogan, CN
Key ingredients to support healthy growth:
- Vitamins A, D and E – support bone health, calcium metabolism and reduce oxidative stress.
- B Vitamins (B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4, B-5, B-6, B-12, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline) – These vitamins support the basic metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They also support stress response and recovery, supply important nutrition for the developing nervous system, including the brain, as well as reduce oxidative stresses.
- Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Iron, Silicon, Cobalt, Iodine and Selenium – play important roles in the development and protection of the bones, joints, and connective tissues
- Calcium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus – play crucial roles in bone development, formation and maturation and take up together about forty percent of the bone density
- Bioactive Whey, Hydrolyzed Collagen proteins,Lysine, Proline, Isoleucine, Alanine, and Glycine. These work synergistically to support protein synthesis, improve collagen formation, and supply structural proteins for optimal skeletal density
- Glucosamine HCL, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Hyaluronic Acid further contribute to a healthy bone protein matrix, as well as supporting the associated joints, tendons, ligaments, and joint buffer tissues.