I haven't been in here in awhile, but I thought this would be interesting to see if other people have encountered this. I am by no means a big breeder and have only bred three horses, number four on the way. I think I've done a pretty good job as I got my first one to GP dressage.
Anyway, I had to start all over three years ago and bought a fabulous Swedish mare who was 8 and greenbroke for riding. But, she was so fabulous, I bred her. She is a dark bay,but her coat always changed color, and after I bred her it was almost buckskin brown and rough. Her mane and tail were a bit brittle, too. I fed her all the usual stuff and she seemed fine. My vet, who is an old friend and a fabulous repro. person, if a bit over paranoid, kept bugging me about her coat. She insisted on doing a blood panel, which came back low in vitamin E and selenium, but she she wasn't happy with that. She insisted on doing a check for vitamin A, which even her associate had never heard of doing on horses. It's so rarely done, it has to be sent to a special lab. It came back massively low.
At this time, it was spring, the hay was not great, and all of the horses at the barn were eating their own poop and rubbing tails. (I won't even get into fighting with barn owners about feeding.) The barn owner coincidentally had a mare due the same day as mine, the next spring.
Even my vet did not know what to do. I looked all over the internet and it was hard to find anything on vitamin A deficiency. Mostly it was overdosing on it, as it is a fact soluble vitamin. I finally got some information on it that is particularly important to mares. Quality of hay tends to drop in winter and spring, when the hay is older, and broodmares and weanlings become deficient and should be supplemented.
I always fed my mare a regular supplement, but since this, I got people vitamin A and fed her the pills, about 50,000 AU a day. Initially I gave her about 150,000 when she was deficient. After supplementing her with A, within weeks her coat was shiny and back to gorgeous. I kept her on it all through the baby and weaning, and since she is now pregnant again, and still supplementing her.
Very interestingly, I heard the barn owner's mare (I moved barns) had a her foal, which died. She though my vet friend was too much into doing extra tests. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not.
Had anyone ever looked into this? I talked to someone who did a lot of breeding and sent her the info. but no one I know has. It sure seems to be something that a breeder should look into.
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