Your horse’s hooves take on a lot throughout the day, and it is important that you keep them well-cared for especially for shod horses. Even though you are able to provide a balanced diet for your foal, you will still need to provide a hoof supplement for horses to ensure that your horse’s feet remains healthy and its hooves without cracks and chips.
Which horse hoof supplement will provide the most benefit for your horse?
There will be more than one horse hoof supplement available in any tack shop or an equestrian supply store. Supplements help horses grow tougher, shinier, and healthier hooves. However, finding the best hoof supplement may not be an easy job at all since there are just too many options that will keep you checking label after label to compare to finally decide which supplement to go with.
Promoting Healthy Horse Hooves
Brittle, chipping, or cracking nails are common hoove problems. An inadequate diet (one with insufficient vitamins, proteins, and energy) can easily cause your foal’s hooves to become dry and brittle. It can also result to slow-growing hooves, even a difficulty of holding its shoe. There are other possible factors that can cause these unappealing looks on your foal’s hooves, however. Genetics for one can play a vital role in the total physical features of your horse, including its hooves. Training, daily activities, as well as the quality of diet that your foal enjoys can affect the quality of its hooves.
To make sure that your horse will keep your horse’s feet in proper shape, you will need to provide your horse proper diet regularly.
A scheduled regular hoof trimming is also necessary. If you keep your barefoot horse to go too long in between trims, chances are your horse’s hooves will allow undue stretching that can cause the white line (the layer of hoof wall that connects the outer wall to the sole and live tissues of the hoof) to crumble.
However, frequent use of products that contain harsh chemicals, such as shampoo, coat cleaners, hoof dressings, and polishes can also cause your foal’s toe nails to become dry, crack, and split.
Using hoof sealants is also advisable when there are visible damage on your foal’s hooves. This will help prevent further damage on its hooves and also make it easier for any damage to heal.
Healthy Hooves From the Inside Out
Making sure that your horse gets regular adequate exercise can help stimulate the blood flow in your horse’s body. This also promotes hoof growth.
The outer layers of your horse’s hoof wall are made resistant to moisture and drying with its hooves’ natural fats and waxes. They create a protective layer for the hoof-wall cells. Majority of its fat content comes from cholesterol sulfate and then from free fatty acids.
Your foal can easily produce all the cholesterol that it requires to keep its hooves looking healthy. However, some of the fatty acids that it requires come from the food that it consumes. Foals that lives on good pasture are assured of getting ample amounts of these fatty acids. Those that lives on hay and processed grains will need supplements as this diet may be rich in omega-6 fatty acids but is extremely low in omega-3 fatty acid content.
Protein is the most abundant nutrient found in horse’s feet. About 90% of your horse’s hoof wall contains protein. Protein deficiency can affect the quality of your foal’s hooves.
Other nutrients that are essential to maintaining healthy hooves are as follows: biotin, vitamin A, E and D, nicotinic, pantothenic acid, folic acid and a host of minerals, such as calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, iodine, cobalt and selenium.
Hoof Supplements for Your Horse
Some of the best hoof supplements for horses are as follows:
- Farrier’s Formula. Farrier’s Formula is considered as one of the best-known and effective hoof supplements as it contains a high level of methionine, other amino acids, biotin and zinc, copper, iodine and cobalt.
- Select’s Nu-Hoof Maximizer. Just like Farrier’s Formula, Select’s Nu-Hoof Maximizer provides those essential nutrients, as well as folic acid, higher lysine, and riboflavin in a 40% protein base.
Other products provide limited nutrients and will go well when combined with other supplements.
The best thing to do when deciding which supplement to buy for your horse is to consult a veterinarian for a more professional recommendation. If ever you decide to offer a new supplement to your horse, you have to give up to about 6 months to see any change in the structure or the total appearance of your horse’s hooves.