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: How does a feed’s protein level relate to both hoof quality and overall equine nutrition?

By Lynn Taylor, PhD

A: From a nutrition standpoint, the most important nutritional items for horses are protein content and the quality of the diet. Quality means the protein source has good amino acids and for hoof health that includes any amino acid containing sulfur.

While many plant-based proteins, such as soybean meal, have excellent amino acid profiles, not all feeds or hay are up to snuff when it comes to providing the essential amino acid profiles. Even horses with good hoof quality, which means normal growth and good wall strength, need to be fed quality protein at an acceptable level. 

Most adult horses don’t need more than 10-11% protein overall, but the amino acid make-up of that protein is critical. 

Lynn Taylor is a professor at equine science at Centenary University in Hackettstown, N.J., with a background in equine nutrition.

Click here to read part 2 of the Dec. 9, 2021, installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: How important are trace minerals for improving hoof quality? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.