Keeping your horse’s toes in tip-top shape isn’t just a great way to impress handsome farriers and make your barn mates jealous, it’s an investment in your horse’s health and soundness.
Hooves are to horses as foundations are to houses—they’re the base that everything else is built upon. And just like your house’s foundation, your horse’s hooves need to be strong, solid and reliable. But you probably knew that already. What you might not know is what you can do to support healthy hoof growth.
What to Put In
If a horse constantly loses his shoes, or his hooves frequently chip and crack, most people will say he has “bad” feet. But that’s not quite fair. His hooves aren’t staying out late, cutting class and talking back. You see, they’re not “bad,” they’re actually unhealthy.
The quality of your horse’s hooves can be influenced by a number of factors, from genetics to environment to workload. But all horses have certain nutritional requirements that need to be met in order for them to maintain strong, healthy, resilient hooves.
A study by Josseck, Zenker and Geyer, published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, showed that daily supplementation of 20 mg of Biotin (a member of the B Vitamin family) resulted in significant improvement in hoof horn quality and health. Furthermore, this improved quality was maintained over three further years of observation.
Amino acids are critical to hoof health. Lysine, Methionine and Threonine are essential amino acids, which means your horse can’t make enough on his own, so he has to get them from his diet. They’re also limiting amino acids, so if your horse doesn’t get enough, it’ll compromise his ability to synthesize the protein he needs for strong connective tissues (like hoof structures).
Zinc (Zn) is a micro-mineral that plays an important role in the formation of keratin, which is the structural protein that gives hooves their hardness.
Did You Know?
Your horse’s largest organ is his dermal tissue, which makes up his skin, hair and—you guessed it—hooves! So before you slather anything on, think about his hooves as living things.
Courtesy of SmartPak