Nutrition plays role in hoof health
Several new movies have been released for the holiday season and you can now go to the theater to see Happy Feet 2.
The title makes me wonder, do our horses have happy feet? What can we do to ensure that their feet (hooves) are healthy and functional?
One important consideration is your horse’s nutrition. What goes in the mouth certainly affects the feet. Hubbard Life horse feeds contain organic (chelated) trace minerals, which specifically target good hoof condition, general health, immunity and growth.
Biotin is also part of the vitamin package in Hubbard Life horse feeds. Biotin has received more attention in terms of hoof growth than any other nutrient. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that is generally produced by bacterial growth in the horse’s hindgut in sufficient amounts to meet nutritional needs. But some horses appear to benefit from supplemental biotin. Studies have shown increased hoof growth and improved hoof quality (less cracking) in horses supplemented with biotin.
You can learn more about these Hubbard Life products designed by our equine nutritionists at www.HubbardLife.com.
Making sure the shoe fits
Maintaining your horse’s hooves may not be your favorite way to spend time in the company of your horse, but it’s an important part of keeping your horse healthy.
Hooves, like our toenails, have to be trimmed back or their growth makes them frail and uneven, causing large pieces to break off. If your horse’s hooves break, split or grow unevenly, they can cause your horse to become lame.
When people wear shoes that don’t fit properly, their balance and spinal health become compromised. Proper hoof care for horses is as important as wearing properly fitting shoes is for humans.
Hooves grow about a quarter inch each month and need trimming to stay even and to prevent breakage. A good practice is to schedule trimming by a farrier every six weeks.
If you need help finding a farrier, the American Farriers Association can point you to a certified, experienced practitioner. Their website is www.americanfarriers.org.
A farrier can educate owners on proper hoof care. A farrier should watch your horse walk before they begin their work each time to see how the hoof makes contact with the ground. Also, check for signs of imbalance when the horse is standing still.
A farrier will remove the shoes, trim the hooves and replace the shoes. Shoes won’t keep your horse’s hooves from growing, so a regular schedule needs to be maintained, whether your horses wear shoes or go barefoot.
Winter hoof care
During winter, you will most likely ride your horses less, which makes it a perfect time to care for their hooves. A good way to begin winter hoof care is to pull the horse’s shoes to give the hooves some time to thicken, to permit for heel expansion and to increase the circulation within the hoof capsule. However, evaluate the terrain where the horse is kept and the overall health of the hooves before removing the shoes.
You can learn more about caring for your horse’s hooves by visiting the website www.horses-and-horse-information.com.
As always, Hubbard Life nutritionists are eager to help you with your horse’s nutrition and health needs.
Posted on 11/30/2011 by Amy Brown | Category: Equine
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