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 important is total energy intake in maintaining quality hooves?
By Kentucky Equine Research staff
A: When faced with poor-quality hooves, the first thing to consider when evaluating a feed program is total energy intake. Meeting energy requirements may be the first and most important step in ensuring hoof growth and integrity for horses kept in any climate. A horse in negative energy balance will utilize protein in the diet or body to make up energy needs for maintenance or growth. This may create a secondary protein or amino acid deficiency.
Research has shown that hoof wall growth was 50% greater in growing ponies that were in a positive energy balance than in ponies on restricted diets with reduced body growth rate.
It is a common observation that when horses gain weight on lush spring grass, they also grow hoof faster. Recent research has shown that increasing the dietary intake of fat has little effect on hoof growth rate or strength, but fat can be a valuable addition to the diet in the role of maintaining positive energy balance.
Kentucky Equine Research is a nutrition consulting company located in Versailles, Ky.
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Click here to read part 2 of the March 15, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Are domesticated horses fed better than wild horses that roam the open range?