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: Do the ridges seen in a horse’s hooves have anything to do with proper nutrition?

From American Farriers Journal

A: Nikki Wahl-Seto says ridges in the feet change with every major nutritional change. It can even be a change in location or grazing in a different place. Sometimes there’s not been a big enough change to produce a ridge on the hoof, but a farrier can still tell when there is more quality growth.

The nutritionist and equine representative for Standard Process, a Palmyra, Wis., food supplement company with a veterinary line of products, says that when owners switched to a better-quality feed with better-quality protein, farriers are the first to notice.

Feed quantity is also important, as the horse world is all too familiar with the problems with overweight horses struggling with laminitis.

Wahl-Seto says owners are often confused about proper serving sizes, which can create an adverse effect on the horse’s vitamin and mineral levels. When owners of an overweight, regularly exercised horse decrease the amount of feed, the horse may not get the proper amount of protein and minerals.

On the other hand, an owner with a heavily worked horse may need to increase the amount of feed and give the horse extra calories to meet the mineral and vitamin requirements, leading to unneeded weight and risking mineral toxicity.

If a farrier suspects a nutrition-related foot or general issue, he says they have a responsibility to inform the owner and advise them to contact a nutritionist or veterinarian.

From “Balanced Diet Leads to Healthy Hooves,” an article that appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of American Farriers Journal.

Click here to read part 2 of the April. 15, 2021 installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: What steps can I take to deal with my overweight horse? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.