Antioxidants play a vital role in keeping your horse healthy, but few horse owners know what it is or why every equine will benefit from being fed antioxidants through a supplement.

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which naturally occur as a result of your horse’s metabolism. Radicals are also produced by pollution, radiation, UV light — they are everywhere.

Damage caused by radicals increases as horses age, which is where antioxidants come in. They neutralise the effect radicals have on a horse’s body by giving an electron to the radical. Once this happens the antioxidant becomes defunct, thus they need to be fed on a regular basis.

Animalife’s Vetrofen Healthy is designed for daily use mixed into your horse’s feed. It harnesses the power of specific plant phytochemicals — polyphenols, flavanols and triterpenes — from natural sources to supply antioxidants.

Their other job is to limit oxidative stress on a horse’s body. Of course no living creature can survive without oxygen, but oxidation produces harmful free radicals.

Oxidation also causes muscle fatigue, in turn compromising your horse’s performance. For equines in hard work, their bodies may struggle to provide sufficient antioxidants to eliminate the free radicals being generated through exercise.

Stress and ageing also aids radical production, and so horses prone to stress, veterans, youngstock plus broodmares and stallions may lack the number of antioxidants needed to protect themselves against the radicals — another reason to supplement their diet.

However, it’s not all negative. Oxidation is a natural, essential metabolic process that enables horses to turn the protein, fats and carbohydrates they consume in food into energy.

Vitamin E, which is found in forage, supports this process. However, the level a horse consumes depends on the age and quality of the forage, hence supplementation is still necessary.

Humans are encouraged to have an array of colours on their dinner plate because different antioxidants are found in each piece of fruit and vegetable. For example lycopene is found in tomatoes — even in ketchup — while berries, grapes and currants produce proanthocyanidins.

In the wild horses have access to a broader range of herbs and grasses, thus enabling them to consume a greater range of antioxidants than what is provided by grass and forage alone. That is why feeding a balanced diet is vital.

There are many forms of antioxidants, all of which work in different ways. As a result it is advisable to feed several types of antioxidants — and Vetrofen Healthy can help. Each ingredient helps provide antioxidant support to key areas – in the joints and muscles, and to the immune system. Nutrients help support the equine inflammatory response mechanism, the comfort, function and flexibility of joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, and helps boost the overall wellbeing and quality of life of your horse. Don’t overlook the importance of antioxidants.