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 1 of the latest question and answer installment that you can share with your footcare clients.

Q: How important is the quality of feed with horses compared to other species of livestock?

By Arthur Edison Cullison, PhD

In the Feeds and Feeding textbook published in 1992, I pointed out the quality of feed for horses is more important than when feeding other species of livestock.

For example, beef cattle are able through rumen fermentation to breakdown many ration components, both physically as well as physiologically, before they are passed on through the small intestine for further digestion and absorption.

On the other hand, a horse’s feed must pass through the small intestine and be subjected to small intestinal digestion and absorption before it can enter the caecum and large intestine where it is subjected to the bacterial fermentation process.

As a result, cattle can often eat and thrive on feeds that should not be fed to horses. When poor quality feed is fed to a horse, it may lead to colic concerns, which is often the result of improper feeding.

Arthur Edison Cullison was a University of Florida animal nutritionist and the author of the Feeds and Feeding textbook, which was published in 1982.


Click here to read Part 2 of the January 1, 2018 installment: Can you explain how cold-induced laminitis might have an impact on my horses?

Click here to read more installments of Hoof Nutrition Intelligence.