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 do I make sure my horse is getting the proper nourishment for developing healthy hooves?
By Sean Elliott, Grand Valley, Ontario, farrier
A: If you go to the doctor and your fingernails are in a bad state, nutrition is the first thing they are going to address. I’m not a nutritionist, but certainly recommend working with an equine nutritionist to look at your overall feeding program.
I’m a big fan of keeping a horse’s diet simple with good quality hay, clean water and a ration balancer while not supplementing blindly. Avoid picking supplements that make claims to improve hoof quality as they may not give you the results you are looking for.
Horse people tend to spend excessively on additives with the greatest intentions. However, there may be more than one thing the horse is deficient in and therefore it can’t always absorb what you are aiming to provide with a supplement.
Having your hay tested gives a much clearer picture on how to balance a horse’s diet. Bloodwork can also help you determine any nutritional deficiencies.
Each horse needs to be treated as an individual and the nutritionist is an important part of your horse’s health care team.
Sean Elliott is a Canadian farrier located in Grand Valley, Ontario
Click here to read part 2 of the Oct. 15, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: How do I keep my pony from coming down with laminitis this fall?