American Farriers Journal
American Farriers Journal is the “hands-on” magazine for professional farriers, equine veterinarians and horse care product and service buyers.
A Brazil-based research team, headed by P.M. Silva, evaluated the mineral concentrations in soil and pasture and compared them with concentrations found in hoof capsules of Criollo foals across two periods of research.
Researchers observed the levels of calcium, copper and zinc in the hoof capsule during the preweaning and postweaning stages are influenced by the season and different physiographic regions. Some of the largest differences occurred based on season, with calcium and zinc higher in both hoof and pasture samples in summer and spring, respectively, yet in autumn the concentration of copper increased. The lowest minerals counts were observed in winter.
“While this study investigated the mineral concentration of hoof samples collected from pasture-raised foals south of Earth’s equator, hoof health is a concern for horse owners the world over,” says Catherine Whitehouse, a nutritionist at Kentucky Equine Research, who summarized this study. “This research emphasizes the importance of a properly balanced diet in the formation of resilient hoof tissue even at a young age.”
A good diet should offer all of the nutrients needed for healthy, strong hooves; however, sometimes equine dietary supplements are required to provide some nutrients. The “right supplement,” according to Whitehouse, is one that contains not only biotin, the nutrient most notably aligned with revamping weak hooves, but also other important nutrients: the amino acid methionine, organic zinc and iodine.
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