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 the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: After 3 months of not riding over the winter, how do I get the hooves of my horses back in shape for summer work?
By Kentucky Equine Research staff
A: Keeping a horse sound for summer activity is partly related to taking good care of his hooves year-round. It’s because feeding for sound equine feet can’t be accomplished in a few weeks.
Good overall nutrition is the cornerstone of healthy hooves. Base the horse’s diet on high-quality forage, adding a fortified concentrate ration as needed to meet the energy demands of exercise. If the horse doesn’t need the calories in a grain-based feed, provide vitamins and minerals with a ration balancer pellet or a similar supplement.
The nutrients needed for hoof growth — usually biotin, methionine and others — are often contained in a horse’s normal diet, but adding a hoof supplement ensures that the horse has sufficient material to maximize the development of strong hoof tissue.
Hooves grow slowly and the outside of the hoof won’t show the full effect of a hoof supplement for several months. If you begin to use a hoof supplement in late spring in an effort to keep a horse’s hooves healthy during the summer, you may be disappointed, although the farrier may comment on the favorable hoof change by late fall.
Kentucky Equine Research is a nutrition consulting company 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®.