Proper nutrition is important to a horse's hoof health. The health of the hooves of horses is often the best indication of nutritional deficiencies, excesses or imbalances. Supplements are used to achieve proper nutrition. Finding that supplement balance can be a challenge, And while supplement deficiency so are the dangers of overusing supplements in a horse's diet.
For example, an excess or deficiency of vitamin A can lead to poor hoof quality and encourages the invasion of microorganisms into the hoof wall. This creates a hoof-defect pattern where the outer hoof wall flakes off. There is often the appearance of hair growing from the hoof wall.
Vitamin A deficiency is difficult to produce in horses other than young ones or those who receive no pasture for an extended period of time.
In the spring of the year, green pasture grazing provides carotene. The horse’s body converts carotene to vitamin A. It is healthier for the horse to receive the natural building blocks for vitamin A (carotene) through this green pasture grazing, rather than being fed the purified chemical vitamin A.
In the absence of green pasture grazing, the proper level of vitamin A supplement should be provided if the horse is fed hay that is deficient in carotene. Hay lacking sufficient carotene is often indicated by a lack of green color.
Vitamin A supplementation should not exceed 10,000 units per day. Horse owners should also take care to make sure that a horse is not receiving an excess of vitamin A through extra supplementation and treats such as carrots.
The key is providing nutrients in the correct ratio and amounts without unknowingly placing a burden on the horse with over supplementation.
Feeding a balanced supplement backed by research and years of proven effectiveness and avoiding other supplements with duplicate nutrients can lead to a healthier and much happier horse.