All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body use fats and protein. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver and they also help the nervous system function properly.
Vitamins are a class of nutrients that are required in small amounts by the horse. Vitamins can be divided into two types; fat soluble and water soluble. B Vitamins are water soluble so therefore are not stored in the fat and can be more safely added to a horse’s diet without risk of toxicity. Vitamins that are water soluble are excreted from the body on a daily basis in the urine.
Biotin is a member of the B-complex group of vitamins and is most known for supporting nutrients for a healthy skin, coat and hoof.
Biotin is a vitamin that must be obtained either through the diet or via the absorption of Biotin that is synthesized by intestinal bacteria.
Where Does My Horse Get Biotin?
The best place for your horse to get Biotin is pasture but good quality forage can also provide your horse with Biotin. Horses derive most of their Biotin requirement from the fermentation of forages by the microbial population in the hindgut.
Grains such as oat, barley, and soybean meal only provide moderate concentrations of Biotin and the lowest levels are found in corn. Because of this some formulated feeds usually add Biotin but it is typically less than 1 mg per day on an as feed basis.
There are also numerous supplements on the market that contain high levels of Biotin. These supplements are intended to improve the horse’s hair coat or hoof condition.
Wow! There are a lot of topics in horse nutrition that begin with the letter “B“. And those topics have a LOT of information! Before we get into nutrients, toxins or any other nutrition topic, I would like to begin with a tool for you to use in determining your horse’s health. A way to help you see if your nutrition program is on the right track. With that in mind we will start the letter B with Body Condition Scoring.