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: While nutrition is critical for growing a quality hoof, isn’t the water content of the hoof also important?
By Kate Hore Rnutr
A: By balancing the right nutritional support with effective hoof care, you can help keep horses strong and flexible regardless of the changing weather conditions.
In the warmer seasons, it’s important to consider the risk of the hoof wall drying out. Water is vital to the health of the hoof, as the horn consists of 12% to 15% water content. When the horn dries out, it is seen as crumbling, brittle and generally being in poor condition. Moreover, a dried out hoof is less able to cope with the pressures of work and may result in lost days due to unsoundness.
Fluid balance within the hoof is vital as it contributes to the hoof’s ability to absorb concussive forces from the ground. Yet it is ironic that the dry conditions that lead to hard ground also leave the hoof less able to cope with those conditions.
While numerous theories exist on how the hoof absorbs concussion, the importance of fluid balance is increasingly being evaluated. Pliability within the hoof is vital to energy absorption and soundness.
Kate Hore Rnutr is a senior animal nutritionist at Natural Animal Feeds in England.
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 September 1, 2016 installment: What role does insulin resistance have in terms of laminitis concerns?