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: One of my horses has shelly hooves. Can this be a nutritional concern?
By Karen Briggs
A: Yes, An inadequate diet eventually will make itself felt through the horse’s body. When this occurs, the horse will usually have a dull coat, poor muscle tone, no energy and hoof growth will be slower than normal. This will result in splitting and cracking of the hoof and difficulty holding a shoe.
Provide an undernourished horse with a complete and balanced diet and all of these conditions will probably correct themselves. As a result, the horse will grow better hoof horn and produce it faster because his body is being supplied with the necessary raw materials.
However, sometimes horses grow shelly and crumbly hooves even when they have an adequate diet. To some extent, genetics can be blamed. While many horse owners have been busy selecting for qualities like speed, fancy movement or jumping ability, they’ve neglected to specifically breed for good feet as certain bloodlines consistently exhibit poor hoof quality. It’s also possible that we don’t yet fully understand which nutrients contribute to quality hoof growth, so a horse’s diet may not be as correct as it appears.
Karen Briggs is an equine nutritionist in Everett, Ontario, is a riding instructor and has managed farms and riding schools in her career.
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 2 of the October 1, 2016 installment: How important is protein in growing quality hooves?