Everyone has one: a horse or pony that seems to live on air alone; one that eats mostly hay (and not very good hay at that), is restricted from grazing, and gets little to no grain. Micro-Phase offers the perfect solution by providing the vitamins and trace minerals necessary to support good health in a tasty, low-calorie pellet.
Managing a horse with metabolic syndrome can be particularly challenging. You can trust Micro-Phase to provide the nutrients your horse needs without the starch and sugar that cause insulin spikes. Micro-Phase contains a safe level of protein, plus natural vitamins and chelated minerals that are readily digestible.
Micro-Phase is also excellent for horses that need extra nutrition on top of their regular concentrate meal, like lactating mares, hard-working performance horses, and seniors.
When might horses and ponies need additional vitamin and trace mineral supplementation?
When mostly hay is fed
Diets composed entirely of forage are often the healthiest for the horse’s digestive tract. However, forages, particularly dried forms such as hay and hay cubes, do not contain all of the vitamins and trace minerals necessary for optimal health. In fact, levels of vitamins and minerals in forage decrease significantly during harvesting and storage. Micro-Phase contains a complete complement of essential vitamins and minerals.
When unfortified grains are fed
Unfortified grains like oats, fed as the main grain meal, will not provide adequate vitamins and trace minerals. Micro-Phase’s blend of ingredients can be used to effectively balance a diet consisting of plain grains.
When you can’t feed the recommended amount of grain because of calorie or starch and sugar restrictions
Horses and ponies on low-grain diets may not eat enough of a fortified feed to fulfill their vitamin and mineral needs. Most commercial feeds are formulated to be fed at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds per day. If you can’t feed that amount you are cheating your horse or pony out of some of the nutrients they need to remain healthy. Adding Micro-Phase to the diet ensures that you are providing the correct amounts of vitamins and trace minerals to support his/her needs. All this, without adding unwanted calories to the diet.
When natural vitamin E is not readily available in the diet
Grass is your horse’s best source of vitamin E. The vitamin E content of dried forages such as hay and hay cubes is severely diminished, with such forages losing more than 75% of their vitamin content upon harvesting and storage. Therefore, vitamin E supplementation is most critical for horses that are restricted from grazing and are fed diets composed largely of preserved forages. Current research shows that the natural vitamin E found in Micro-Phase is two to three times more potent than the synthetic E found in other feeds and supplements.
What horses and ponies are at the greatest risk for vitamin and trace mineral deficiencies?
Easy keepers eating low-grain diets or those on restricted pasture
Horses and ponies in light work consuming all-forage diets
Horses and ponies fed unfortified grains
Horses and ponies on restricted diets due to obesity issues
Older horses and ponies that are unable to digest and absorb nutrients efficiently
My horse eats some grain, but not as much as the manufacturer recommends. Is he still getting the nutrition he needs?
If you are not feeding the recommended amount of a certain feed, your horse may not be getting all the nourishment he or she needs. Fortified concentrates contain appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals, when fed at the recommended levels, but some ponies and horses become overweight when fed these calorie-rich concentrates (textured or pelleted feeds). When owners cut back to reduce the energy they are feeding, they also cut back on the vitamins and trace minerals their horse or pony is getting. If concentrates are not fed at recommended levels, the addition of a supplement like Micro-Phase can fill in the gaps and help to satisfy the horses’ or ponies’ vitamin and trace mineral requirements, without adding the extra unwanted calories to a ration.
How is additional supplementation beneficial to horses and ponies consuming all-forage diets?
Diets composed entirely of forage are often the healthiest for the horse’s digestive tract. However, forages, particularly dried forms such as hay, do not contain all of the vitamins and trace minerals necessary for optimal health. In fact, levels of vitamins and minerals in forage decrease significantly during harvesting and storage. Micro-Phase contains a complete complement of essential vitamins and minerals.
Is supplementation appropriate for horses and ponies that receive plain grains or under fortified-diets?
Yes. Oat is a common horse feed, but oats alone do not contain sufficient levels of minerals and vitamins for some classes of horses, such as hard-working performance horses, seniors, yearlings, and broodmares in late gestation or those nursing foals. Oats alone, or fortified concentrates “cut” with oats, may not meet a horse’s vitamin and trace mineral requirements. With the addition of a complete vitamin and trace mineral supplement like Micro-Phase, horses are assured proper vitamin and mineral fortification.
In what form does Micro-Phase come?
Micro-Phase is an alfalfa-based pelleted supplement. It is fed at the rate of 2 to 4 ounces per day. It can be fed alone or mixed with a little feed. It is very palatable and is readily eaten.
Exactly what vitamins and minerals are offered in Micro-Phase?
Fifteen vitamins and minerals are found in Micro-Phase: calcium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, natural vitamin E, thiamine, choline, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. Micro-Phase also contains the probiotics in the form of yeast that support a healthy GI tract and optimal nutrient absorption.
Micro-Phase contains natural vitamin E. Why is natural vitamin E important?
The vitamin E content of dried forages such as hay and hay cubes is severely diminished, with such forages losing more than 75% of their vitamin content upon harvesting and storage. Therefore, vitamin E supplementation is most critical for horses that are confined to stalls and fed diets composed largely of preserved forages, e.g., racehorses, show horses, sale horses, easy keepers, and convalescing horses). Current research shows that the natural vitamin E found in Micro-Phase is two to three times more potent than the synthetic E found in many other supplements.
Are the nutrients in Micro-Phase easily digested by horses and ponies?
Yes. Many of the minerals in Micro-Phase are chelated, which means they have been chemically bound to certain organic compounds that shield the mineral from external influences during digestion and support intestinal absorption. Added yeast cultures help to maintain digestive tract health, which also supports optimal nutrient absorption.
Can I feed Micro-Phase to a horse with metabolic syndrome?
Yes. Micro-Phase vitamin and mineral supplement safely meets the nutrient requirements of horses challenged by insulin dysregulation and Cushing’s disease (PPID). It is packed with nutrients, but low in sugar and starch (NSC 11%, ESC 2.9%). The amount of protein in Micro-Phase is within the recommended level for metabolic horses (14%). Feed 2 to 4 ounces per day along with the low-sugar forage of your choice.
Micro-Phase is recommended for:
Easy keepers eating little to no fortified feed
Easy keepers on restricted grazing routines
Horses and ponies challenged by metabolic syndrome
Horses and ponies in light work consuming all-forage diets
Horses and ponies fed plain grains or unfortified feeds
Horses and ponies on restricted diets due to obesity issues
Senior horses or ponies that need a little extra nourishment
Horses and ponies of any age or stage that would benefit from additional vitamins and trace minerals, including broodmares in late gestation or nursing, yearlings, hard-working performance horses, or horses with special needs
Which horses will benefit from additional vitamins and why?
Horses that are training and competing vigorously
Hard-working horses require higher levels of many vitamins, especially those vitamins that serve as antioxidants (E, C, and beta carotene, a source of vitamin A). Antioxidants counter the effects of oxidative stress caused by heavy work. For many of these horses, pasture time is limited due to heavy competition schedules and other management concerns, decreasing access to natural vitamins.
Horses with limited access to fresh green grass and/or those eating poor-quality hay
Vitamins quickly lose potency once grass is cut and cured for hay, and they tend to continue to degrade over time when stored. For example, there is a 9.5% loss of vitamin A activity in hay every month. The level of vitamin E in hay drops 70% within the first week of being cut. Horses maintained on hay or processed fiber sources are prime targets for deficiencies.
Horses in high-stress situations, such as frequent travel and relocation
Additional vitamins are needed to support a vigorous immune system and counter the effects of digestive tract stress that accompanies traveling. New environmental conditions, changes in diet, and off-schedule feedings often disturb the delicate balance in the hindgut and inhibit the synthesis of necessary vitamins.
Yearlings and two-year-olds
Vitamins play an important role in the rapid bone and muscular growth seen in young horses. They also support the immune system and play an integral role in the proper energy metabolism that fuels growth. Young, growing horses may require higher levels of vitamins than mature horses.
Last trimester pregnant or lactating mares and breeding stallions
Mares in late pregnancy and lactation are literally eating for two. Nature will deplete a mare’s resources to meet the needs of her fetus or foal, so adequate supplementation is necessary to protect both the mare and her foal. Stallions on a demanding breeding schedule will need additional vitamins to support adequate energy and fertility levels.
Horses recovering from an illness, surgery or traumatic injury
Additional vitamins are needed to support healing of tissue and bones. Possible digestive tract disruptions can reduce the amount of vitamins synthesized by good bugs (microbial population) in the hindgut.
Horses receiving long-term antibiotic therapy
Antibiotics can disrupt the population of good bugs in the hindgut, which synthesize vitamin K and the B vitamins. These vitamins may need to be replaced until the microbial population can recover.
When deciding if vitamin supplementation is right for your horse, take the time to carefully review his or her diet and lifestyle. Modern management practices often lead to the need for supplementation. Discuss your horse’s situation with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to avoid unnecessary supplementation.
Micro-Phase Guaranteed Analysis (per 4 oz):
Crude Protein (min.) 15 g
Calcium (min.) 3 g
Phosphorus (min.) 1.5 g
Copper (min.) 136 mg
Selenium (min.) 1.8 mg
Zinc (min.) 400 mg
Vitamin A (min.) 40,000 IU
Vitamin D (min.) 4,000 IU
Vitamin E (min.) 720 IU
Thiamine (min.) 24 mg
Choline (min.) 650 mg
Folic Acid (min.) 12 mg
Niacin (min.) 120 mg
Pantothenic Acid (min.) 50 mg
Riboflavin (min.) 40 mg
Vitamin B12 (min.) 120 mcg
The fat-soluble vitamins
A, D, E and K are known as the fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are absorbed in the small intestine and stored in the body, in either the liver or in fatty tissue. Horses, with the help of sunlight, can synthesize vitamin D. Green grass is an excellent natural source of vitamin E and beta carotene, which is metabolized into vitamin A. The vitamins found in fresh, green forages lose their potency when the forages are processed into hay, cubes or pellets, so horses eating little green grass may need supplementation. The good bugs in the hindgut typically synthesize enough vitamin K to meet a horse’s needs.
The water-soluble vitamins
The B-complex vitamins and vitamin C are considered water-soluble vitamins; they are not stored in the horse’s body. The B-complex vitamins are thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). All B-complex vitamins are available in fresh plant material, such as pasture, but as with fat-soluble vitamins, potency diminishes over time when fresh forage is stored as hay. The horse, with help from the good bugs in the hindgut, can synthesize a certain amount of B vitamins, but those with limited access to fresh pasture, or horses that are working hard or stressed, may need additional supplementation. In a healthy, unstressed horse, adequate amounts of vitamin C can be synthesized from glucose in a horse’s liver.
Minerals are inorganic compounds that serve both as components in body tissue and as catalysts for various body processes. Calcium and phosphorus are perhaps the most recognizable macrominerals. As with all minerals, they are vital to your horse’s well-being.
Calcium makes up 35% of your horse’s bone structure. It supports proper muscle contractions and plays a role in blood clotting.
Phosphorus makes up 14% to 17% of your horse’s bone structure. It supports energy transfer reactions and plays a role in the synthesis of certain proteins.
Calcium and phosphorus must be provided in the appropriate ratios. Diets with more phosphorus than calcium can result in decreased absorption of calcium, which can cause skeletal malformation. A calcium-to-phosphorus (Ca:P) ratio of between 1.2:1 and 2:1 is ideal. Micro-Phase contains a balanced Ca:P ratio.
Selenium works in concert with vitamin E to defend the body’s cells from damaging oxidative byproducts known as free radicals. Free radicals are released during energy production. Selenium is a component of glutathione peroxidase, a beneficial enzyme that prevents free radicals from forming. Glutathione peroxidase also destroys lipid peroxidases (non-beneficial enzymes), which damage cell membranes. Once damaged, cells no longer function properly, leaving horses susceptible to multiple health problems.
Horses use energy to fuel bodily functions and movement. The greater the demand for energy, the greater the number of free radicals produced. Your horse’s body is equipped to deal with small amounts of these oxidative byproducts, but as the demand for energy increases, so does your horse’s need for additional antioxidants to counter the onslaught of free radicals.
Hard-working horses, breeding stock, horses consuming feedstuffs low in selenium, or horses with certain muscular disorders may require supplemental selenium.
However, too much selenium can cause problems so always know how much selenium your horse is getting in his diet. Do not use multiple selenium-containing supplements without the advice of your veterinarian. Micro-Phase is safe to feed with most commercial feeds that contain selenium when both are fed at recommended levels.
The FDA guidelines for selenium are a good place to start when deciding how much selenium should be in your horse’s diet.
The Food and Drug Administration has set the daily recommended level of selenium for an “average” horse at a total of 3 mg per day. This is a very safe level of selenium consumption and well below the maximum tolerable limits. When determining if your horse’s diet contains adequate selenium, you can use this average as a good reference. Each horse is an individual and has individual needs, so it is best to work with your veterinarian or nutritionist to determine your horse’s exact requirements, which in some cases may be higher than the recommended 3 mg per day.
Copper is necessary for healthy connective tissue, cartilage, and bone. Other important functions of copper include red blood cell formation, hoof wall formation, and hair pigmentation.
Zinc plays a role in healthy hooves and coat, bone development, and reproduction.
Serving and Storage
Micro-Phase serving instructions:
1 scoop = 4 oz
Feed ½ scoop per day (2 oz) to:
• Horses at maintenance, barren mares, ponies, miniature horses
• Metabolic horses consuming high-quality grass hay
• Horses in light training
Feed ¾ scoop per day (3 oz) to:
• Yearlings, pregnant or lactating mares, stallions
• Metabolic horses consuming good quality grass hay.
• Horses in moderate training
Fed 1 scoop per day (4 oz) to:
• Foals, weanlings, lactating mares (first 3 months), pregnant mares (last trimester)
• Metabolic horses consuming a mature, low-quality grass hay.
• Horses in intense training
Micro-Phase should always be fed along with an adequate amount of forage.
Micro-Phase can be used to fill in the nutritional gaps when less than the recommended amount of a fortified concentrate is fed.
Storage and shelf life:
Store Micro-Phase in a cool, dry place and keep lid tightly closed between uses. Shelf life is 24 months from date of manufacture when stored under suitable conditions.
Available size: 30-lb (13.61 kg) bucket (240-day supply for 1 horse when fed at maintenance level of 2 oz per day)
For more information on vitamins and minerals visit our blog and explore these titles.