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.
This edition is sponsored by the W.F. Young Co. (Absorbine) of East Longmeadow, Mass.
Below you will find Part 2 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.
Q: How does nutritional balance affect hoof quality?
By Karen Davison
The need for balance seems to arise in every aspect of horse riding and ownership. Your trainer will push for a balanced ride. Your farrier will trim and shoe for a balanced hoof. And, perhaps most importantly, you want to provide your horse with the right balance of forage and feed.
But how much do your footcare clients know about the balance that is needed between nutrition and your horse’s hoof health?
Hoof quality is determined by several factors including genetics, environment and nutrition. Some horses inherit weak hooves, and that can't be changed. But proper care and nutrition can help a horse develop and maintain the best hooves that are genetically possible.
The reverse is true too: improper care and inadequate or unbalanced nutrition can lead to hoof problems in a horse that has the genes for great hooves.
Several nutrients can influence hoof growth and quality. A well-balanced diet will contain the nutritional elements needed for optimal hoof growth, but each horse is unique and different life stages, performance levels and lifestyles can affect hoof quality.
Karen Davison is an equine nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition in Shoreview, Minn.
Click here to read Part 1 of the August 15, 2017 installment: Are there any general equine nutrition guidelines in regard to hoof growth and hoof quality I can share with a new horse owner?