Blanketing/rugging horses is a topic which sparks much debate, primarily due to its influence on weight regulation, metabolic function and thermoregulation in the horse. Yet an often forgotten consideration is its effect on vitamin D synthesis and hence levels of this important vitamin/hormone in the horse.
Vitamin D is produced by the horse when their skin is exposed to sufficient sunlight. Rugging a horse interferes with this natural process. Whilst forages do contain some vitamin D- it is not in a readily bioavailable form for the horse to use.
Adequate Vitamin D is essential for optimal bone health and strength, immune function and modulating inflammation levels. Studies have even shown adequate vitamin D to play an important role in preventing inflammatory airway disease.
Whilst supplementation of this nutrient in a highly bioavailable form and in appropriate dosages can be crucial to make up shortfalls in the horse, naturally exposing our horses to the sun in the first instance is a free and logical step to take to help optimise their health.
Camilla Whishaw is a highly regarded, experienced horsewoman and naturopath, helping to holistically treat and manage a broad range of equine health conditions and injuries, with a passion for mare and stallion fertility.
As a world-renowned practitioner, presenter, author, and consultant in the field of Equine Naturopathy, Camilla shares her knowledge through keynote presentations, interviews, lectures, panel sessions, and workshop training.