Hoof Nutrition Intelligence 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: Won’t feeding a basic diet take care of any nutritional concerns in a horse’s hoof?

By Stephen Duren

Feeding a balanced diet that contains quality protein and the building blocks for a quality hoof is not difficult, and usually does not require concentrated hoof supplements. It’s simply basic nutrition as to whether the horse is getting an adequate amount of good, quality protein and trace minerals.

The farrier’s job is to convince the owner that this future trail horse or performance horse needs a good diet. White the horse’s feet may look good, the farrier wants to make sure the feet continue to look good. When shoes are put on or the owner starts to start to work the horse, a sound hoof is wanted that will hold up with use and wear.

If a horse has less than desirable feet, the reason the hoof wall is scruffy and cracked, brittle or chipping is probably due to poor nutrition.

Compare marginal or deteriorated feet to a horse with good feet. Show the differences and mention that the diet needs to be changed, as some of the problem may be diet-related. Horses that have been on marginal nutrition for a long time tend to have poor-quality feet.

A horse with a dynamic fresh hoof can be helped to continue with good feet by the way it’s fed, along with dai­ly hoof care. The cost to the client is greater with poor feet and the farrier’s ability to keep those shoes on is more of a challenge.

If the owner can get the horse on a proper diet, hoof quality could improve. If they feed any kind of commercial feed at the recommended levels, these feeds all have good building blocks and a balance of proper minerals.

Stephen Duren is an equine nutrition specialist with Performance Horse Nutrition of Weiser, Idaho.

Hoof Nutrition Intelligence is brought to you by W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine). 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 July 1, 2017 installment: Someone in my barn was talking about stringhalt being associated with poor pasture conditions. How does this differ from traditional stringhalt?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.