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The question about hoof supplements and helping the hoof grow faster is interesting. The primary objective for feeding a hoof supplement should be to influence integrity of the internal and external tissues in the foot that are critical for optimum function.
If a horse has an injury or exhibits signs of a cracked or weakened hoof wall, then the question of feeding a supplement to increase hoof growth rate is likely more of an issue.
The hoof wall grows at a rate of 1/4 to 2/5 inches per month in the typical adult horse. The time required to replace the entire hoof wall from the coronary band down to the toe is 9 to 12 months. Hoof wall replacement at the quarter requires 6 to 8 months and for the heels it takes 4 to 5 months.
When a hoof supplement is being fed, it is important to recognize that there is a considerable amount of time that the product must be fed to see a response. Other non-nutritional factors to consider include genetics, age, season and environment.
The decision-making process to feed a supplement should start with an evaluation of the current diet. The horse requires balanced intake of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and water.
For example, an evaluation of different protein levels in the diet did not change the hoof-growth rate in young ponies. However, the study did show that total dietary intake affected hoof growth. Ponies on restricted dietary intakes had lower…