Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, is an essential component of equine diets. It helps maintain normal neurological function by limiting the damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. The best natural source of vitamin E for horses is lush green pastures, which are often luxuries for facilities in places like California that have been affected by drought conditions. Horses that do not have access to green grass are often deficient in vitamin E, which makes them vulnerable to certain types of neuromuscular diseases. Since vitamin E is so important to equine health, the UC Davis Center for Equine Health has invested in irrigating two of our ten-acre pastures and one of our five-acre pastures for the resident teaching herd horses. The horses love being out in the pastures with their herdmates and are happy, healthy, and getting plenty of vitamin E in their diets!
The irrigated pastures are made possible thanks to donations to the Teaching Herd Fund, which supports daily and specialized care for the almost 200 teaching herd horses. These horses provide valuable hands-on learning opportunities to undergraduates, veterinary students, residents and graduate students.
The welfare of all horses depends on continuous advancement in equine health. Through educational and research efforts, the Center for Equine Health is dedicated to providing new information and improved diagnostic and therapeutic options to benefit horses.
If you would like to help support these exceptional horses, please give to the Center for Equine Health Teaching Herd Fund. For more information about the role of vitamin E in horse health, along with how to test your horse’s vitamin E levels and provide supplementation if necessary, please see our Fall 2018 Horse Report.