Horse bones 101
Density, strength, and repair are key factors for healthy horse bones. If your horse isn't able to source the nutrients needed for healthy bones from its diet, it may be at risk of developing problems down the track.
The challenge of maintaining horse bones
The natural benefits of green grass for horses can never be underestimated. Whilst elements such as sugars may be problematic, the high levels of Vitamin K1 in green grass provide the catalyst for Osteocalcin in horse bones to retain and improve density and overall health.
When grass quality or abundance is diminished or where horses are removed from pasture, the lack of natural Vitamin K1 and K2 can hinder bone quality and reduce density within 1-2 weeks.
Lower density in horse bones increases the potential for fractures and other injuries as well as impacting performance, longevity and importantly the xray quality of young horses being prepared for sale or export.
The secret to horse bone health
Quinaquanone® is the active ingredient in Bonafide®. Quinaquanone® is a patented, bio available form of Vitamin K1 and K2 which effectively mimics the natural benefits of horses grazing quality green grass. Horses fed Bonafide® have shown improved bone density and xrays and lower rates of shin soreness in 2yo racehorses.
Horses that may benefit from Bonafide®
Benefits of Bonafide®
How is Bonafide® successful at protecting the density of horse bones?
Bonafide® provides the horse with bioavailable forms of K1 and K2. These vitamins have a critical effect on the function of osteocalcin, the horse bone protein that binds the mineral and protein in bone together. Without sufficient Vitamin K, the binding process is incomplete and low density or defective bone and cartilage are produced. Think of Vitamin K as being like the mortar for a strong brick wall.
Strong horse bones and the young racehorse
It sounds simple enough - strong bones make for a robust horse. But what are some of the real world outcomes of poor bone density? For young horses, low bone density has been linked to Developmental Orthopaedic Disease (DOD) and Osteochondritis dissecans (OCDs) in yearlings, as well as DMD (shin soreness) in 2 year olds. It’s essential that the density of horse bones is supported in the diet.
Pasture can’t always provide horses with Vitamins K1 and K2
Naturally, pasture does contain bioavailable forms of Vitamins K1 and K2. The problem lies in the stability of pasture through the seasons. Factors such as UV light, wilting and “wintering off” all contribute to a loss in valuable vitamin content.
Horses without access to high quality pasture risk being deficient in Vitamin K. This leads to a reduction in bone density and strength. For the high performance horse, such a risk is not to be overlooked. Why? Because horses removed from Vitamin K rich pasture and brought into a stable/yard environment have demonstrated a reduction in bone density within 7-10 days.
What activities place strain on horse bone density?
Picture a horse at liberty in the paddock. It may gallop, slide to a stop, leap, and turn. All of these athletic manoeuvres place strain on the skeletal system. When you add equestrian sport into the mix, there is significantly more demand on the body. Over time, strains on horse bones can lead to a range of skeletal disorders and, in some events, bone strain can have an immediate, irreparable effect. Put simply, we need to feed the bones!
Bonafide® helps fortify your horse’s bones for maximum longevity, both in the paddock and under saddle. And it’s not just for racehorses or growing horses. Bonafide® is ideal for any horse that doesn’t have constant access to lush green pasture. In fact, Bonafide® has proven so beneficial, that Mitavite® and Hygain® have used it to fortify other pre-mixes.
Bonafide® and young racehorses -The trial.
Bonafide® supplemented two year olds showed a marked increase in horse bone density during trials. In the trial, 26 two year old thoroughbred racehorses were divided into two groups. One group received 7mg of Bonafide® Vitamin K formulation each day in their feed for six months. The “Control” group received an apparently identical powder containing no natural Vitamin K.
Digital radiographs of the left third metacarpal bone and an adjacent aluminium step wedge were taken at various intervals. The radiographic density of the bone and the step wedge were measured and RBAE (radiographic bone aluminium equivalence) calculated.
At each subsequent measurement the RBAE for each horse was compared to its initial RBAE and the percentage change recorded.
How to feed Bonafide®
Recommended rates as below per day with food.
|Horses stabled or with diminished access to pasture||10g per 500kg bodyweight per day.|
|Foals & Weanlings||10g per 200kg bodyweight per day.|
|Yearlings & 2 year olds||10g per 400kg bodyweight per day.|
|Pregnant & Lactating Mares||10g per 500kg bodyweight per day.|
(Large end level scoop holds 10g; small end level scoop holds 3g.)
You can purchase Bonafide® - Bone Formula for Horses as a standalone supplement in a 1.2kg pouch (up to 120 doses), 3kg bucket and a 12kg bulk bucket. It is available from stock feed stores and online.
Need help with your horse’s vitamins and minerals?
High performance horses need a powerful support team. Hygain’s nutrition team is in your corner! We welcome you to get in touch for personalised advice.
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