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 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: What are the major nutrients that horses need in developing and growing quality hooves?

By Donald Kapper

A: As long as a horses’ diet is properly balanced, they have no digestive upsets and their immune response is good, the following list of nutrients are found inside the horse’s hoof. They are shown here in the order that they are found, from most to least.

Whenever a hoof quality problem arises and you think it may be nutrition induced, your footcare clients should begin evaluating number one and then work your way down to number 10.

A deficiency in any of these top 10 nutrients can cause a weakening of the hoof structure and can affect the quality and strength of the hoof wall:

  • Protein and amino acids (94%)
  • Fat and oils (3%)
  • Sulfur
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Carotene (vitamin A)
  • Alpha-Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • Biotin

Donald Kapper is the retired director of nutrition and technical services with the Progressive Nutrition and Veterinary Care team at Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). Absorbine

Like many significant achievements, Absorbine® grew out of humble beginnings—and through the tenacity of someone willing to question the status quo. In this case, it was a young woman in late 19th-century Massachusetts: Mary Ida Young. Her husband, Wilbur Fenelon Young, was an enterprising piano deliveryman who relied on the couple’s team of horses to make deliveries throughout the Northeast. Inspired by Mary Ida and Wilbur’s vision, Absorbine® has continued to add innovative products throughout the years — products used every day by horse owners around the world. Which is why, since 1892, we’ve been The Horse World’s Most Trusted Name®.

Click here to read Part 2 of the October 15, 2015 installment: I’ve heard some horse owners say they don’t feed bran. What’s the reason?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.