Most Australian pastures do not contain enough copper, zinc, methionine or iodine to support a horse’s requirements.
Hoof supplements help horses cope with changes throughout the year – the weather, grazing and feed quality and workload.
However, they can only improve the quality of new horn growing from the coronet, so if you decide to use a hoof supplement you need to commit to using it for a number of months before you will notice a visible difference.
Keratin is the protein that makes hooves and hair and the strength of this protein depends on the amino acids and minerals it is composed of.
The strength and hardness of the hoof requires the horse to have eaten and absorbed enough amino acids, vitamins, minerals and calories to be converted into a hard form of keratin.
Most Australian pastures do not contain enough copper, zinc, methionine or iodine to support a horse’s requirements. These minerals are crucial for hoof health, coat colour and the maintenance of healthy cartilage amongst other roles.
As three of the major ingredients required for strong keratin and healthy hooves are copper, zinc and methionine (with biotin being one other), a hoof supplement with these ingredients should be considered if your horse has poor hooves
As an owner there are other environmental factors that affect your efforts to get the best out of the nutrition you provide. Some of these you can manage; correct and regular farriery, regular movement to condition and stimulate your horse’s hooves and providing suitable areas during both wet and dry weather to avoid hoof disease and manage hoof moisture.
In short, hoof health is highly reliant on a diet that meets all requirements and although many hoof problems can be a result genetic make-up and poor mechanics, it is possible, through balanced nutrition and supplementation, to promote and maintain strong, healthy hooves.
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