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 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How does the impact of an overweight horse affect hoof quality?
By Shannon Pratt-Phillips
A: It is extremely likely that excessive weight has a negative impact on overall hoof health. As an example, proper blood circulation is partly attributed to the compression and expansion of the digital cushion within the hoof.
If a horse is carrying excess weight, the digital cushion’s function may be compromised, resulting in poor blood circulation. As we know with what happened several years ago to leading Thoroughbred winner Barbaro, poor blood circulation and improper weight distribution can result in laminitis.
In addition to laminitis, excess bodyweight likely causes regular strain on the hoof wall as it expands with each step in order to absorb normal shock and concussion. This could be further strained with extensive exercise since even more force is applied as the hoof hits the ground. Over time, obesity may disrupt the integrity of the hoof wall, resulting in cracking or crumbling hooves. In addition, the extra strain on the joints is of concern, particularly for athletic horses.
Shannon Pratt-Phillips teaches and conducts research in the field of equine nutrition as a member of the North Carolina State University staff in Raleigh, N.C.
Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (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 1 of the November 1, 2015 installment: How does feeding biotin affect the development of both existing and new hoof horn?