The Clydesdale is a heavy draft horse originating from Lanarkshire in Scotland. A powerful horse dating back to the early 19th century, it was bred for agricultural and mining work. At maturity, the Clydesdale weighs up to 998 Kilogram. A yearling has completed about 60 per cent of its growth; another 20 per cent of growth will take place before it is 24 months old. It is important that a horse this age receives the vitamins it needs for growth.
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Vitamin A, part of the fat-soluble group, must be part of a Clydesdale's diet. Vitamin A contributes to vision, immunity, red blood-cell production, growth and development, particularly bone growth. Good natural sources include carrots and green, fresh grass.
A 1,200-pound Clydesdale yearling, which is slightly bigger than other breeds, requires about 24,000 international units (IU) of vitamin A every day. Three carrots contain that amount.
Vitamin D, crucial to proper growth, aids absorption and transportation of calcium and phosphorus, two minerals necessary for growth and development. Because vitamin D is synthesised on the skin by sunlight, horses such as Clydesdales with thick hair may not get enough. Sun-cured forage contains the vitamin but its levels in dried hay decrease over time. Adding a fish-oil supplement in accordance with manufacturers' instructions will ensure adequate levels. An overdose of vitamin D can cause calcium deposits in soft tissue.
A Clydesdale yearling needs about 10,650 international units daily.
Vitamin E is essential for growth, muscle development and function, oxygen transport and red blood cells. An important antioxidant, it is useful for the immune system. A deficiency can result in muscle loss and lack of coordination.
A 1,200-pound Clydesdale yearling needs about 1,050 international units daily. Natural sources include fresh grass and wheatgerm; vitamin E is also present in sunflower oil.
Other vitamins necessary for overall health include fat-soluble vitamin K, essential for blood clotting. According to Karen Briggs, author of "Understanding Equine Nutrition: Vitamin Function," no ideal level of vitamin K has been established, but access to pasture or quality hay provides adequate amounts.
Water-soluble vitamins C and the B group can be synthesised within the body. Deficiency is rare in horses because adequate levels are available in their food.
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- Government Of Alberta Agriculture And Rural Development: Feeding Young Horses For Sound Growth
- Clydesdale Breeders Of The USA: History Of The Breed
- "Understanding Equine Nutrition: Vitamin Function"; Karen Briggs: 2008
- "Nutrition Of The Weanling And Yearling Horse"; Marcia Hathaway: 2007
- Oregon State University: Micronutrient Information Center; Vitamin A
- Office Of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A and Carotenoids