Favorite vitamin/mineral ration balancer (ie California Trace) USA?
I'm looking into completely revamping my feeding program. My horses are on 24/7 pasture and get added local grass hay as needed in the winter. They are currently on Nutrena Empower Balance and maintain weight and hoof quality fine, but I'm still having skin issues with my Arab. I got my pasture and hay tested this year and we're quite high in iron, which means we really need to add in copper and zinc to try to get more of those absorbed. New horse coming in is recommended to be on alfalfa pellets with oil plus vitamin E and other "vitamins and minerals added as needed." She is a yearling draft, so quite growing, but prone to PSSM. I am in north Texas, we're generally fine on Selenium.
I'm looking at switching my entire herd of easy keepers over to the new diet with adjustment in ratios and volumes as needed. I've looked into California Trace, California Trace Plus, and Arizona Copper. It looks like California Trace probably isn't going to be hitting the marks for us in Vitamin E (if we were getting none from grass or hay), but the Plus and ACC look to have it covered well, and the alfalfa pellets may kick us over the edge too. Plus and Arizona Copper seem to be about equal in price per day for a 1000 lb horse with the normal California Trace running nearly half the cost. Has anyone noticed a benefit of one over the other (pro biotics, pre biotics, yeast, and stuff like that does vary from one to the other). Is there another major mix out there that you've had luck with? Would we be better off having a custom mix made? Do I still need to worry about the essential amino acids beyond lysine, or are those generally covered with any forage (I did not get the protein breakdown on my pasture analysis)?
I currently add loose salt on top of their feed and don't mind having a little mix-n-match from different bags, but I'd also rather not be sorting through 8 bags to get one or two scoops of each per horse per feeding. So a single concentrate would be preferable to individual supplements unless it's a huge price difference or necessary adjustment for my individual horse/pasture. I also may be persuaded into chopped alfalfa or cubes as an alternative to pellets. I don't really know how the nutrition varies with the extent of processing. I also may consider a mixed alfalfa/timothy. But the bulk of their forage should be grass just from pasture/hay regardless of the base to the "meals." I will likely be soaking any of the options.