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: I know adequate amounts of water are essential for horse health, but does water have an impact on hoof strength and function?

By David Hood, PhD, and Connie Larson, PhD

A: Adequate water is essential for cellular functions and proliferation within the hoof to provide adequate tissue hydration. Adequate water intake is also needed to maintain dermal blood flow in the hoof, which delivers nutrients to the foot and subsequent movement across the basement membrane to the epidermal cells that are responsible for hoof growth.

Adequate amounts of moisture must also be maintained in the hoof to support the physical properties that are responsible for foot strength, elasticity and function.

A typical horse requires 1 ½ to 2 quarts of water for each pound of hay that is consumed daily. This amount of water correlates to dry matter intake, losses due to sweating, exercise, lactation, health, diet changes or ambient temperatures.

David Hood is an international authority on equine podiatry and operates the Hoof Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Clinic in Bryan, Texas. Connie Larson is an equine nutritionist with Zinpro Corp. in Eden Prairie, Minn. This material first appeared in “Building the Equine Hoof,” a 48-page book authored by these two scientists and published by Zinpro.

Click here to read part 1 of the Dec. 16, 2021, installment of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence: Could nutrition be involved with the joint concerns I’m having with my barrel horse? Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.