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 important is feeding a balanced diet when it comes to good hoof health?
By Dr. Jim Ward
The most important step of good hoof health is feeding a balanced diet. This includes a high-quality feed and hay best suited to your horse’s age and level of activity. Based on forage intake and levels they are being fed, you should select a concentrate that would be balanced with forage for the intended use. In most cases, that means buying a feed that is balanced for performance horses.
Maintain the hay-to-grain ratio somewhere around 50-50, depending on the amount of use. For safety’s sake, we like to see horses eating more roughage than grain.
Purchase a feed designed for your horse and don’t change the feed ration once you get it home. This can offset the balance of nutrients and minerals in the feed.
One of the most serious errors occurs when people do not buy a commercial horse feed that is prepared scientifically for the class of horses they’re dealing with. Instead, they’ll try to fabricate their own diet. Without having other nutrients tied to that, they either come up with a deficient diet or, in most cases, an unbalanced diet.
This item is condensed from a recent article on hoof nutrition in the American Quarter Horse Journal. Dr. Jim Ward, a 1965 graduate of Texas A&M University, is an equine management consultant for Cargill Inc, a position he has held since 2000. He is a member of the Cargill product development team and the Cargill equine enterprise team. He serves in a consultative and management role at Center Ranch, a cutting horse and cattle ranch located in Centerville, Texas.
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 January 1, 2017 installment: Do horses need to be fed differently during cold winter weather?