I frequently come across sites for the natural health care for horses, which advocate dolomite as a healthy calcium supplement. It isn’t and can cause untold damage.
Natural calcium for horses doesn’t come from a laboratory or in a mineral form. Dolomite can be a naturally occurring substance in the soil, or it can be synthetic, made in a laboratory. Either way, it is not a healthy supplement for anyone.
Dolomite consists of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Different suppliers will vary slightly in their content, but roughly the proportion is 55 to 60% calcium carbonate to 40 – 45% magnesium carbonate. This almost 1 : 1 ratio is far too high a proportion. Magnesium is needed in much smaller proportions to calcium.
Both calcium and magnesium are required by horses to build strong and healthy bones, as well as to maintain proper function of every cell in the body. But so too are the other macro minerals, all the trace elements, all the vitamins, all the amino acids, and more.
Not only that, but all these nutrients interdepend on each other. For example bones also need phosphorus, silica, vitamin A and D, as well as sodium and potassium, along with many others.
Nutrition is complicated. Man has merely scratched the surface of what good nutrition is. And a lot of the research comes from companies heavily invested in you buying their product, so it cannot be considered impartial.
Nature, on the other hand, has had eons of experience in which to perfect the art of nutrition. And it goes something like this. A mineral rich soil produces heathy plants. Horses who graze on the resulting complexity and variety of healthy plants, are healthy themselves.
So how can you reproduce this easily? Spreading the dolomite on the ground as a fertiliser is likely to make for more healthy grazing. Naturally occurring calcium rich soil are known to make for the healthiest plants and so the healthiest animals who graze on them.
Dolomite, along with other mineral supplements, cannot be digested. At best, it will pass through as a waste product. At worst, it will hang up in parts of the body where it shouldn’t be. Later, if not earlier, joint problems can occur, as can problems with the kidneys.
If you want to supplement your horses feed, ensure you do so with a plant based food. Horses evolved to get all their nutrition from plants. And from a variety of plants. Their grazing should contain up to 80 other species of plant. Not all of these will be eaten by the horse, but all will enhance the soil.
For example, patterson’s curse/salvation jane is considered a weed in Western Australia and there is much pesticide spraying done to control it. However, it is a long rooted plant. It can reach minerals deeper in the soil than can grass. As an annual plant, it dies at the end of winter, allowing the minerals to seep into the (depleted and infertile) top soils, thus providing a natural fertiliser for the grass in the next season.
Nature just doesn’t get things wrong. It’s man’s interpretation of nature that doesn’t understand the bigger picture.
When you give a horse a plant based supplement, any excess is easily excreted. And all the nutrition is in a balanced form, for easy digestion and utilisation.
Two excellent plant based whole food nutritional supplements which contain natural calcium for horses (or anyone) are kelp (not the garden variety which may be fortified) and blue green algae. Both can also help in these uncertain times of radiation poisoning from the air or sea. Algae helps to expel unwanted toxin build up (including radiation). Both keep your horse healthy so more resistant to health problems. Make sure you get the best wildcrafted or certified organic algae, with no heavy metal or pesticide contamination.