- Best Trait = Excellent ingredients at meaningful amounts
- Worst Trait = Above average cost for a vitamin-mineral product
Consider this product if…
- You would like to provide a trace mineral supplement over a ration balancer because you know that your forage is providing plenty of protein.
- You have an overweight/obese horse or generally easy keeper and do not need to add calories into their diet.
- You want to provide one simple, well rounded vitamin-mineral product to keep the diet simple.
Why Review this Product?
No matter where you are in the United States, it is very rare, if not completely impossible, to find hay or pasture that meets all of the vitamin and mineral needs of horses. This is especially true for the essential trace minerals selenium, zinc and copper. *Note that there are places in the U.S. with high levels of selenium and selenium accumulating plants. Therefore, it is paramount that horse owners provide sources of these trace minerals in some form; fortified feeds, ration balancers, pelleted supplements, loose/granular supplements, or lick tubs. Of these forms, the pelleted or granular vitamin-mineral supplement is probably the most common. The Cal Trace, Vermont Blend, MVP Mega-Cell and Platinum Performance Equine are all good examples of this category. Let’s compare their advantages and disadvantages.
The Actual Review in 5 Parts
Company Information & Communication
There isn’t much company information on the Cal Trace website, but a representative was responsive to my questions via email. They appear to have an affiliation with Dr. Kellon’s ECIR Group which attracts horse owners with special needs horses including obesity.
Directions for use say to use 2 scoops (4 ounces) for a 1,000 pound horse. They do not distinguish between level of work, life stages, or disciplines. We can only assume that they have balanced this product for the standard performance type QH and TB mix around 1,000 lb horse in moderate work (4-5 days per week with canter/lope). As you know by now, I really like to see more detailed feeding directions, so I can only give this product 2 stars in this area.
*Note that his product is not designed for free-choice feeding.
The base of this product is a yeast culture as rice bran-that’s a great start! The limiting amino acids lysine, threonine, and methionine are added which I appreciate, but we’ll have to take a look at the levels of each in the guaranteed analysis section. I also like that this product has organic minerals, selenium yeast and biotin added. The vitamin E source, however, is the synthetic version. Finally, it’s a personal irritation, but the “no iron added” annoys me- I have a lot to say about that, but no time here. I give Cal Trace Plus 4.5 stars for the ingredients list.
The guaranteed analysis for a 4 ounce daily serving shows a robust vitamin-mineral with somewhat meaningful amounts of amino acids- 10 g Lysine, 3.5 g Methionine, and 5 g Threonine- more than most vitamin-mineral products but not as much as ration balancers. The Zn:Cu ration is a bit off (I like to see more 4:1 rather than 2.5:1). There are healthy doses of selenium (2mg) and Vitamin E (1950 IU) in this daily dose. Lookin’ good, Cal Trace!
A 10 pound (160 oz) bag of Cal Trace Plus costs $72 on their home website. Shipping is free which means that this 40 days supply will cost you $1.80 per day. This isn’t horrible, but it’s high compared to ration balancers. One of the many reasons that I prefer ration balancers over these sorts of trace mineral products is that you get so much more for so much less in a ration balancer.
Cal Trace Plus gets a 3.5 FeedFLIP rating due to the surprising high cost and poor feeding directions. However, this product has an excellent ingredients list and guaranteed analysis, so if you meet the criteria above in “Consider this product if…”, then by all means feed away!