Vitamin D and Rugging: An Important Consideration

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.

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