How Nutrition Affects the Horses' Hoof

Equine feet will reflect diertary deficiencies and excesses in their outward appearance

Pictured Above: An imbalance of vitamin A causes flaky, shelly hoof walls and poor tubule structure appearing to be hair growth from the hoof wall. All Photos: Life Data Labs

Farrier Takeaways

  • A balanced diet for the horse consists of an assortment of nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. These nutrients may be supplied through forage, grain and supplements.
  • Nutrients must be balanced according to a horse’s age, sex, body condition score and occupation. Over- and under-supplementing nutrients can negatively affect a horse’s hoof growth and quality, but also the overall health of the horse.
  • Life Data Labs offers free blood testing to horse owners as part of its research to study the relationship between nutrition and horse health.

From hoof quality to athletic ability, good nutrition influences every aspect of a horse’s health. Nutritional imbalances result when a horse is fed too little or too much of a nutrient. Quality forage and grain should provide the bulk of a horse’s nutritional needs, but supplements also may be needed to balance a horse’s ration.

Many horse owners specifically choose to feed supplements with the goal of improving the quality of a horse’s hooves but they might not always know the appropriate quantity of a supplement to feed. Over-supplementation and under-supplementation of nutrients can negatively affect a horse’s hoof growth and quality, as well as the overall health of the horse. Throughout the course of regularly scheduled trimming visits, a farrier might notice some of the symptoms indicative of…

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Allison rehnborg

Allison Armstrong Rehnborg

Allison Armstrong Rehnborg is a free­lance writer and pho­tog­­ra­pher from Nashville, Tenn. She has been pub­lished by several equine titles.

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