Nurturing Healthy Growth

by Staff Writer

Maintaining impeccable hoof health for your horse goes beyond merely impressing dashing farriers and sparking envy among your fellow equestrians. It’s an investment in your horse’s overall well-being and fitness.

Hooves serve as a horse’s foundational support, much like a house relies on its base. Just as a sturdy house foundation is essential, your horse’s hooves should be robust, reliable, and resilient. While this might be familiar territory, you might be less versed in how to foster healthy hoof growth.

When a horse frequently loses shoes or experiences recurrent chipping and cracking in its hooves, the common label of “bad” feet is thrown around. However, this label doesn’t quite capture the reality. Hooves aren’t misbehaving, skipping classes, or being defiant. Rather, they are in an unhealthy state.

Hoof quality can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, environment, and workload. Regardless of these factors, all horses have specific nutritional requirements that must be met to maintain sturdy, strong, and durable hooves.

Research conducted by Josseck, Zenker, and Geyer, as published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, unveiled that administering a daily supplement of 20 mg of Biotin (a member of the B Vitamin family) led to significant enhancements in hoof horn quality and health. Remarkably, this elevated quality persisted over three subsequent years of observation.

Amino acids play a pivotal role in hoof health. Essential amino acids like Lysine, Methionine, and Threonine are paramount, as horses cannot generate sufficient amounts independently and must obtain them from their diet. These amino acids are also “limiting” in nature, meaning that their insufficient intake can compromise the horse’s ability to synthesize the proteins essential for strong connective tissues, including hoof structures.

Micro-minerals like Zinc (Zn) hold a crucial role in the formulation of keratin, the structural protein responsible for the hooves’ hardness.

Did You Know?

Your horse’s largest organ is its dermal tissue, encompassing skin, hair, and yes, hooves! Consequently, before applying any substances, it’s vital to regard hooves as living entities deserving of thoughtful consideration.