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 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: My farrier says one of my horses has hoof horn that is brittle and easily chipped or split. How can I correct this situation?
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff
When faced with poor-quality hooves, the first thing to consider in evaluating your feeding program is total energy intake. Meeting the horse’s energy requirements may be the most important step in improving hoof growth and integrity for horses kept in any climate.
A horse with a negative energy balance will utilize protein in the diet or body in order to meet the energy needs for maintenance or growth. This may create a secondary protein or amino acid deficiency.
Research has shown hoof wall growth was 50% greater in growing ponies having a positive energy balance compared with ponies on restricted diets and a reduced body growth rate.
Recent research has shown that increasing the dietary intake of fat has little effect on hoof growth or strength. However, fat can still be a valuable addition to the diet for maintaining positive energy balance.
Aside from energy, a well-balanced diet will provide nutrients that the horse requires for overall health and well-being, which help fuel sound hoof growth.
The hoof wall is about 93% protein on a dry matter basis. High-quality dietary protein will supply a horse with the amino acids that researchers have theorized are essential for hoof growth.
Kentucky Equine Research is located 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 1 of the Feb. 1, 2019 installment: Does sulphur play a critical role in developing high quality hooves?