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Horse Digest
The dark
color of your
mane, and tail
color. This is
often attributed
to exposure to
red tips on dark
manes and dark coats, particularly noticeable in
bays and black horses, may be due to a copper
deficiency. Fortunately, this is easy to fix. But it
requires knowing the levels of copper and zinc
in the entire diet. Copper and zinc need to be
balanced. Too much of one can interfere with the
uptake of the other. The ideal copper to zinc ratio
is 1:3. To bring your horse's diet within this level,
you must evaluate everything you are feeding,
including hay, pasture, feeds, and supplements.
The most common mineral imbalance found in
hay is too much iron combined with low zinc and
copper levels. A high iron concentration can
interfere with both zinc and copper absorption,
making already low levels of these minerals even
less available to your horse. Strive for no more
than 8 times more iron than zinc. The "rusting"
of your horse's hair and mane may be the tip
of the iceberg. Zinc and copper are involved in
many important bodily functions including red
blood cell health, metabolic enzymes, immune
function, and the overall health of tendons,
ligaments, hooves, and bones. Go deeper than
the surface protect your horse's overall health
by assessing the mineral content of the entire
Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally
respected equine nutritionist available for private
consultations and speaking engagements.
Trained and educated in animal nutrition, she
is independent of pharmaceutical company
influence. She considers nutrition first for
the prevention and treatment of disease and
disorders, before turning to medical intervention
and the use of medications. Dr. Getty is the
Contributing Nutrition Editor for the Horse
Journal, and her comprehensive reference book,
Feed Your Horse Like a Horse, is offered for
purchase through her website and at Amazon.
com, sign up for her informative--and free--
monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought, read
articles, search her nutrition forum, enroll in
upcoming teleseminars and purchase previously
recorded events. Contact Dr. Getty directly at
in person this April 12 & 13 at Equine Affaire in
Columbus, OH, where she will be presenting four
seminars. The whole Equine Affaire runs from
April 11-14.
Dr. Getty's Advice:
Rusty Coat? Is a Copper Deficiency
the Culprit?
by Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.