Understand Equine Diet Supplements Before Recommending Them to Hoof-Care Clients

Equine nutritionist shares his insight into what farriers should know when answering clients’ nutrition questions

Pictured Above: It’s important to be aware of a supplement’s ingredients before recommending them to a client. Although the packaging might indicate a specific purpose, a product that has more than a dozen is more of a broad-spectrum supplement.

The chances are high that a hoof-care client has asked your opinion about a hoof supplement at one time or another. But are you recommending a product that is high in quality and meets the needs of the horse?

According to a survey of 2018 Inter­na­tional Hoof-Care Summit attendees, 64% of footcare clients occasionally ask their farrier for nutritional advice, while another 31% frequently inquire.

“Your clients really listen to what you have to say, certainly about hoof and hoof health and well-being, but also about nutrition and how it may impact the hoof,” Randel Raub, senior vice president at Kentucky Equine Research, told attendees at the 2019 American Farrier’s Association Convention in Tulsa, Okla. “You are held to a higher standard, and with that standard comes a responsibility of trying to educate yourself about recommendations you might make.”

Farrier Takeaways

  • Supplements are not intended as a substitute for a well-balanced, high-quality diet.
  • Pay attention to the feed tag to evaluate a supplement’s value.
  • When assessing the safety and efficacy of a supplement, the gold standard is controlled studies in horses.

The Value of Supplements

Nutritional supplements have a value but it’s important to remember their intended purpose is to supplement the horse’s diet and they are not considered food.


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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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