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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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How much is too much?

Hi. I was glad to see this site! I recently read your advice to Gail (a mini owner) about her horses nutritional needs. I was looking for an answer to my question. "How much is too much when it comes to copper?"

I own 4 horses. A quarter horse (2 yrs old), paint (7 y.o.), pintabian-cob cross (8 y.o), and a thoroughbred-percheron cross (long yearling). They are fed a grass-alfalfa mix, sweet feed with supplementation (probiotin,etc), and they have free access to salt blocks. I love them all dearly and want the absolute best for them! So...

I recently bought them a molasses lick (all-purpose lick) with no copper added so it was safe for sheep. They love it! Maybe a little too much. They're 50lb. tubs and our horses have them cleaned out in about 4-5 days. I would like to continue buying them but they get expensive at that rate.

However, there is a lick for half the price with all the same ingredients except it has copper in it (I believe the lick is intended for cattle). Would I be over-doing it? Does copper or any other minerals become toxic in large amounts? If so, at what amount does it become unhealthy?


Where are you from? Glenwood, MN

How did you locate this forum? typed in nutritional questions

Re: How much is too much?

Hello Kelly,

The best advice I can give you is to not replace the molasses lick. You are right to be concerned about them eating it too fast. This lick is designed for sheep, not horses. This amount of sugar is harmful and depending on other factors, even dangerous. Horses’ digestive systems are not designed for a large amount of carbohydrates, which includes grain and sugars.

They do need salt, however, and I recommend that you provide a plain, iodized salt lick. Then, you can get a good multiple vitamin/mineral supplement that will have the correct proportion of all minerals.

Thanks for writing!

All the best,

Dr. Getty