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 should I involve my farrier with the nutrition of my horses?
By Kathleen Crandell, PhD
Your farrier may be able to offer valuable healthcare advice on topics that extend beyond shoeing and soundness, including risky shifts in bodyweight, according to a recent study conducted in England.
One of the greatest concerns regarding chronic obesity is the increased risk for laminitis in affected horses. As we know, laminitis is a painful condition of the hooves that threatens both short- and long-term soundness, as well as life expectancy in certain cases.
Because farriers generally interact with horses numerous times during the year, these British researchers believe hoof-care professionals have the ability to play a collaborative role in partnering with owners and veterinarians to “make every contact count in helping to prevent laminitis.” Farriers are capable and often willing to discuss other aspects of a horse’s care, including appropriate body condition. The researchers found many horse owners acknowledge an inability to accurately assess their horse’s body condition.
Other studies support this:
1. Among 700 equine-property owners in New Jersey, 45% did not seek professional advice with regard to their horse’s nutrition. An additional 15% reported having no dietary plan at all.
2. An online survey of over 1,300 leisure horse owners in the United Kingdom identified both veterinarians and farriers as the most common source of information regarding health and nutrition.
3. About 70% of horse owners in The Netherlands sought information from their farrier regarding horse care and health issues, representing the second most important source of information after their veterinarian.
In no way did the researchers insinuate that farriers should replace your veterinarians. They simply pointed out the value in using a healthcare team.
Equine nutritionists also play an integral role in management, providing insight regarding under- and overnutrition issues and ensuring that your horse’s diet is appropriate and balanced.
Kathleen Crandell, PhD, is an equine nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, Ky.
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 Oct. 15, 2018 installment: Is feeding sulfur essential for maintaining hoof quality?