Hoof Nutrition Intelligence 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: Why do so many horses seem to be overweight and overfed?

By J. Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS, and Scott Gravlee, DVM, CNS, Life Data Labs

A: The best balanced natural diet for a horse is grass hay and/or pasture, along with feeding whole oats when needed to maintain body weight. While the horse’s daily requirements of individual nutrients can change due to confinement and their tasks, grass hay and/or pasture can be improved with the correct diet fortification.

As an example, the amino acid lysine is among several nutrients that are present in less than ideal amounts in hay and pasture grasses. Amino acids combine to form the building blocks for protein.

With low levels of dietary lysine, the other amino acids in the diet are less likely to be efficiently utilized in the building of tissue proteins. Supplementation of lysine can improve the utilization of other dietary amino acids by providing this “weak link” amino acid. As a result, a horse’s grass hay and pasture diet is better balanced and therefore more efficient when lysine is supplemented.

Frank Gravlee and Scott Gravlee are veterinarians and equine nutrition consultants at Life Data Labs, Inc. in Cherokee, Ala.

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Click here to read part 2 of the Sept. 1, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Is there any correlation between a vitamin B deficiency and poor hoof quality?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.