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.

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 body weight influence the need for minerals for good hoof growth and quality?

By Kathleen Crandell, PhD

The German Society of Nutrition Physiology recently updated its guidelines regarding daily intake of macrominerals, such as calcium, in horses.

The society’s guidelines, which hadn’t been updated since 1994, clearly indicate that macromineral intake should be based on metabolic body size rather than body weight, resulting in lower recommended intakes of many minerals.

To confirm the hypothesis that decreased macromineral intake would improve utilization of trace minerals such as copper, zinc and selenium, one research group conducted an experiment. In that study, ponies were offered hay-based diets with one of the following:

  1. A mineral supplement to achieve high macromineral levels.
  2. A supplement to provide a reduced macromineral content.
  3. No mineral supplement.

Contrary to the hypothesis, this study did not identify any negative effects of excessive macromineral levels on trace mineral metabolism. However, this study did note that the macromineral level of the hay itself already surpassed the new recommendations by the Society of Nutrition Physiology and that micronutrients still needed to be supplemented.

If you are not sure if your horse’s hay provides adequate nutrients or what minerals your horse needs, contact a nutrition advisor to avoid over supplementing. Excess mineral intake can be detrimental to horses and the environment.

Kathleen Crandell, PhD, is an equine nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research in Versailles, Ky.


Click here to read Part 1 of the December 1, 2017 installment: What’s really critical when it comes to effectively feeding for hoof quality and growth?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.