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 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: Is there any relationship between a horse with poor quality feet and its body condition?
By Dave Billotte
A: A horse’s foot quality is typically a reflection of body condition. So if your horse has really poor body condition, it may be reflected in poor foot quality.
As a farrier, I try to categorize hoof and body condition concerns into one of three categories:
1 The first category is the horse’s body condition.
2 The second category deals with the fact that maybe there is a genetic predisposition. This may be due to the breed or particular genetics within the breed that leads to poor foot quality.
3 The last category is where the owner has done everything right and the horse still has poor quality feet.
Let’s say a horse is in good body condition and there doesn’t seem to be any real genetic predispositions for poor quality feet. Yet the mare still has poor quality front feet.
To address this situation, I encourage my clients to feed a well-balanced nutritional diet. Maybe add a supplement that includes plenty of methionine and zinc. If the horse is still struggling with poor feet, I’d suggest adding a specific protein source that would contain a high level of really digestible proteins, such as an easily digestible whey protein concentrate.
With a horse that has limited performance potential, a really good quality foot certainly helps. And once I’ve got that good quality foot, it’s important to make sure all the other nutritional things are done right.
Dave Billotte and his family operate Little B Ranch and Horseshoeing at Frenchville, Pa., where he shoes, trains, breeds and raises Quarter Horses. He also works with the Pennwoods company on equine nutrition concerns. Dave and his family also participate in cowboy mounted shooting where he has reached the highest competition level in the sport.
Click here to read part 1 of the Jan. 15, 2020 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Is there any relationship between a horse with poor quality feet and its body condition? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.