Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is a twice-a-month web segment that is designed to add to the education of footcare professionals when it comes to effectively feeding the hoof. The goal of this web-exclusive feature is to zero in on specific areas of hoof nutrition and avoid broad-based articles that simply look at the overall equine feeding situation.
Below you will find Part 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How much hoof growth can I expect to see in a month’s time with my horses?
By Karen Briggs
The rate and quality of hoof growth varies, just as it does in human fingernails. Although humans no longer need our “claws” for survival, horses depend on their hooves, so there’s considerable evolutionary advantage in having good feet.
The hoof wall of a normal adult horse grows at a rate of approximately 0.24-0.4 inches per month At the toe, it takes 9-12 months for hoof horn to grow down from the coronet to the ground surface; at the quarters, 6-8 months; and at the shorter heels, 4-5 months.
Because the distance from the coronet to the ground is shorter at the heels than at the toe, heel horn at the ground surface is always younger than toe horn. As a result, it has more elasticity and contains more moisture.
Hoof growth is considerably faster in young horses than in adults. The foot of a nursing foal, for example, grows at a rate of about 0.6 inches per month. As the horse matures, the rate slows; yearling feet grow at a rate of about 0.48 inches per month.
Karen Briggs is a Canadian equine nutritionist, riding instructor, and has managed farms and riding schools in her career.
Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine).
Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.
Click here to read Part 2 of the Sept. 15, 2018 installment: How important is nutrition when it comes to hoof quality?