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: I’m a new horse owner who needs advice on feeding my mare for summer trail riding.
By Kentucky Equine Research staff
A: If you’re like many horse owners, you give your horse at least a brief time-off period in the winter, planning a busier schedule of training and riding in the spring, summer and fall months. Keeping your horse sound for this activity is partly related to taking good care of his hooves year-round. Feeding for sound equine feet, however, can’t be accomplished in a few weeks.
Sound 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 by using 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. Since hooves grow slowly, the outside of the hoof won’t show the full effect of feeding a hoof supplement for several months.
If you begin to use a hoof supplement in late spring in an effort to keep hooves healthy during the summer, you may be disappointed, although the farrier may comment on the change by late fall. For best results, use the supplement continuously in all seasons.
Kentucky Equine Research is a nutrition consulting company located in Versailles, Ky.
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Click here to read part 2 of the July 1, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Can you cite a research trial that indicates the amount of biotin needed to maintain quality hooves?