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 do I regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the horse’s diet?
By Aubri Hostetter, Excel Equine
Calcium and phosphorus work together to aid in the development and strengthening of bones, as well as muscle function. The correct calcium to phosphorus ratio should be no less than 1:1. The ideal ratio is 2:1 and certainly no more than 4:1.
While it is rare, horses with a calcium deficiency can show lameness, weak bones and low-quality growth and performance. A phosphorus deficiency can show up as muscle weakness and trembling.
Too much of both of these minerals can also cause problems. Over supplementation of other minerals, such as copper and zinc, can also negatively affect the horse and impact how other minerals are absorbed.
Most horses eating quality forage and a commercial grain mix should not require any supplementation. While grass hay alone is often not an adequate calcium source for broodmares and foals, a mixture of legume and grass hay is ideal for lactating mares, foals or horses in heavy competition.
Aubri Hostetter is an equine nutrition specialist with Excel Equine in Louisville, Ky.
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 May 15, 2017 installment: I’m concerned about turning our horses out on lush spring grass.