Farriers' Roundtable

Q:  Is there anything that really works to promote horn growth? What’s the best way to go about it? — Nebraska farrier

A: From my past experience, as well as working with other top farriers over the years, I think there are a number of considerations that affect how well the hoof grows. Temperature, moisture, illness and fever, injury, weight bearing and exercise all have an effect. But to me, the most important is nutrition.

We know that basic malnutrition or shortage of nutrients can be one of the key factors of poor hoof growth. Certain specific nutrients can have a very high impact on how well a hoof grows.

For example, horses fed with high-phosphorus, low-calcium diets, based on high amounts of grain with relatively little hay and vitamins, can suffer calcium deficiencies which can cause poor horn growth.

Weight bearing and a well-balanced foot are also very important in maintaining proper horn growth.Taking these measures and combining them with proper hoof care can be a great recipe for sound healthy hooves.

—Nick Hannan, Houston, Texas

A: Not being a veterinarian, I may not be the best person to provide the definitive answer to this question but based on my experience, there are three influences to growing quality hoof — heredity, nutrition and exercise.

Nick Hannan

Nick Hannan

Heredity is out of our control, as we have to deal with it after the fact. So, to grow good hoof horn you must have two things — nutrition and exercise.

I have…

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