Horse Supplements - The truth behind the label

Horse Supplements - The truth behind the label

We can all read the label on the back of a product, but do we really know what it means?

Is the amount of an ingredient – or indeed even its presence an indicator of how “good” that product may be.

The information presented on the label may be far from the whole picture and here is a quick guide as to why.

Stability of Ingredients

Not something you would think you have to consider but you do – and quite honestly how you would compare them is something I can not be sure of.

The more stable the compounds are then normally the more expensive they are as ingredients.

For instance Vitamin C can exist in several forms as an ingredient, some are 50% of the cost – but they are still Vitamin C and still labelled as such.

Fatty Acids – these easily oxidate and become rancid. They must be stablisied with natural anti-oxidants. Again a process that adds cost.

There can be quite a cost implication between high and low quality variants.

Absorption and Availability

Again simply looking at the presence of say Magnesium will not really tell you much.

In the following forms we have very different absorption.

  • Gluconate – 57%
  • Citrate – 50%
  • Lactate – 48%
  • Oxide – 35%

Take Iron. Used in blood products.

In its simplest form, Iron Oxide it has around a 12% absorption factor in horses.

In a chelated form (incorporated with Amino Acids) that can be in fact more than 100%!

However, chelation is not the ultimate answer as chelated ingredients cause oxidation within the product affecting the stability.

And so onto the Cavalor technology of Intellibond – a new development in the making of trace elements more accessible to the horses system.

IntelliBond minerals are made up of stable, covalent bonds within a large crystal matrix structure that not only improves bioavailability, but leads to reduced reactivity in a premix or food mixture. This reduced reactivity improves the stability of vitamins, enzymes, fats and other sensitive ingredients while assuring the mineral avoids wasteful, antagonistic interactions within either the feed mixture or the gastrointestinal tract.

This takes the whole “Chelation” process a step further – providing the same levels of absorption but with no oxidation reaction.

Again, not something you would necessarily see from a label – but something you would notice on the price of a product.

Natural or Synthetic Vitamins

First point here is that the body does not notice the difference.

The benefits of using synthetic vitamins are

  • They are pure
  • They are stable
  • They have a high bioavailability
  • They maintain constant active levels
  • They are easier to mix
  • They are EU approved

Therefore the use of “natural” vitamins are really only psychological for the humans!

Herbal Ingredients

A biggie!

Lots of products use ground herbs. They are inconsistent in their analysis and quickly loose their efficacy.

The next step up from this is to use standardised extracts of herbal products.

The next step up from this is to use essential oils extracted from those herbs.

As you would expect, Cavalor chooses the more expensive options every time.

Remember – Herbal does not mean Dope Free.

The actual dose the horse gets.

Here is a quick example of some common products.

When you compare the products below and just look at the label content of biotin per Kg of the product you would be wrong in assuming that the highest figure correlates in any way with the amount the horse actually consumes. Quite wrong in fact.

Product Biotin dose / day Biotin product / Kg % relationship
Cavalor Hoof Aid Special 75 mg (highest) 500 mg 15%
Farriers Formula 20 mg 118 mg 16.9%
NAF Profeet 23 mg 713 mg 3%
Hoof First 40 mg 1600 mg (highest) 2.5%


No particular comment on the efficacy of any manufacturers product - just a glimpse at how the top line figure does not always translate into what your horse is actually getting. You would think - if Biotin content was the deciding factor - that you would choose the Hoof First product and discard the Farriers Formula. In fact Farriers Formula has the highest % daily dose as a function of the biotin it contains and the Hoof First is the lowest.

So Why do we think Cavalor better?

A very valid question as their products are generally at the top of the price range.

For us it’s simple. The most research and development goes into products that just work.

They are more expensive because they generally use more expensive ingredients and better combinations of ingredients.

In addition ALL their products are Jockey Club and FEI legal.

This is based on actual blood and urine testing of horses at the normal, x2 and x3 dosage.

There is no need to read the small print – everything is FEI legal.

However, you will not see any indication of this on the packaging, or fancy logos – because quite simply the FEI does not endorse or approve products.

All the products are safe to use in combination with each other – so you can be sure that your breathing product and your hoof product are not going to cause an imbalance in your horse.

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