Vitamin B

Vitamin B has many components, so I have broken them down into numerous pages. To read about...

...check out their respective pages.

This page contains information on B6, B12, and pantothenic acid, which are the remaining B vitamins of importance to the horse.

Unfortunately, very little information is known regarding the dietary requirements of these three B vitamins. It appears that all three of them are synthesized in the digestive tract of the horse.

Vitamin B6

B6 is a part of most of the enzymes that aid in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. As such, it is a very important B vitamin.

However, B6 is found in high quantities in most of the feeds that the typical horse eats. As a result, there has never been a reported deficiency in horses.

There has also never been a reported toxicity in horses.

Not surprisingly, no one has established a dietary intake level for horses either.

Vitamin B12

B12 is involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, as well as protein synthesis. It is also involved in a number of enzyme systems that transfer methyl groups and synthesize purines and pyrimidines (components of DNA and RNA).

B12 is not available in plant matter, but instead, it is synthesized by the microorganisms in the horse's digestive tract. Synthesis of B12 is one of the reasons that the cecum is so important to horses. This process by the microorganisms requires cobalt, one of the trace minerals.

Thankfully for horse owners like you and me, neither B12 deficiency or toxicity has ever been reported in horses. It appears that the horse is able to synthesize all the B12 he needs, so there is also no dietary requirement listed for B12.

Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid is found numerous places in the body. It is part of co-enzyme A, which is a very important complex that is a crucial part in metabolic pathways involving:

  • carbohydrates
  • fats
  • lipids
  • neurotransmitters
  • steroid hormones
  • porphyrins (very important molecules in the body)
  • hemoglobin

So pretty much anything your horse's body does is going to involve pantothenic acid to some degree.

Creating new blood cells? Yes, its involved.

Walking across the pasture to you? Yes.

Digesting that hay he just ate? You guessed it...its involved.

Since is such an important molecule, it is reassuring to know that pantothenic acid is found in significant quantities in most parts of your horse's diet.

Even more reassuring is that despite no set dietary requirement for horses, no deficiency or toxicity has ever been reported in horses, even in growing ponies.


Because of their importance throughout your horse's body, it is reassuring to know that B6, B12, and pantothenic acid are all easily accessible to your horse through his diet or synthesis in his body.

I hope this look at these components of vitamin B have helped you more fully understand their function.


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