There amount of different hoof supplements out there in the market today probably rivals the amount of different brands of cereal that you could buy in the super market….the choices are endless! So does this mean that your horse definitely has hoof problems and you should definitely be buying at least one of these products? No…it does not. Does the staggering selection of cheerios to fruit loops to raisin bran cause you to want to buy only cereal for breakfast? Of course not. Just because there are many hoof supplements on the market does not mean that you should absolutely have your horse on one. There are some precautions however to take note of when managing your horse’s feeding program in regards to hoof health.
First, feeding products high in Phosphorus, like rice bran, can inhibit the absorption of calcium. Rice bran is known to have an inverted Calcium to Phosphorus ratio. Low Calcium levels have often been associated with poor hoof health. Be careful of this if you are giving your horse a rice bran supplement. Use fortified rice bran if you are feeding this to your horse for an extended period of time. Also, avoid feeding too much grain at one time. Laminitis often can result from undigested starch getting into the large intestine, thus causing toxins to be released into the body that causes inflammation of the Laminae. In addition, select feeds that are supplemented with Zinc. This mineral is linked with optimal hoof health. Your horse can be deficient in Zinc if it is not receiving adequate amounts from its nutritional program. Often times if your horse is getting only forage or basic cereal grains, it could be missing out on Zinc.
Despite the best nutrition, your horse might be genetically predisposed to hoof problems. When problems are related to the breeding, there is often little you can do about that, except implement necessary management techniques. Just remember that some hoof supplements can help you, but there is no point in jumping to the conclusion that your horse automatically needs a hoof supplement simply because there are so many out there in the market. Take basic precautions when selecting a feed for your horse and make sure to work with your farrier on how often he needs to be trimmed…after that, then see if a hoof supplement is necessary.