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 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: How will biotin impact the production of new vs. existing hoof horn with my two mares?

By Joe D. Pagan, PhD

A: Biotin only improves the growth of new hoof horn, not existing horn, so its effectiveness depends on reliable administration at recommended levels. Because of this, several weeks may elapse before a noticeable difference exists in new hoof growth appearing near the coronary band.

In fact, more than a year may pass before an entirely new hoof is grown. It should also be noted that some horses respond more positively to biotin supplementation than others.

As the quality of nutrition increases, so will hoof quality. As new growth appears, well-defined ridges, known as growth rings, may appear on the hoof walls. These ripples usually reflect a significant change in the health or well-being of the horse.

It is commonplace for growth rings to develop on the hooves of horses that have experienced shifts in their nutritional status. For instance, some horses will develop these rings each year wen being turned out on spring grass. The formation of high-quality hoof tissue above the growth rings is an encouraging sign.

Most well-fed horses grow serviceably sound hooves. Like other body tissues, hooves can be compromised by inadequate nutrition. With regular farrier care, a diet that meets a horse’s nutritional requirements will usually remedy any hoof problems caused by inadequate nutrition.

Joe Pagan is the founder and president of Kentucky Equine Research, an international equine nutrition research and consultation company located in Versailles, Ky., This item is taken from an American Farriers Journal article he authored on “How the Hoof Reacts to Malnutrition.”

Click here to read part 1 of the Aug. 12, 2021, installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: What’s the nutritional link between amino acids and various types of protein? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.