How To Build Strong, Healthy Horse Hooves.
With as much information on the nutritional building blocks of good hoof production and the great number of horses suffering from poor hoof growth, something is wrong. I believe in No Horse No Hoof and I will give you some information on how to build strong, healthy horse hooves.
Instead of writing about how to help your domestic horse grow good hooves, perhaps it would be better to talk about why hooves do not grow as well as we would like them to grow. Far too many times with the best of intention we work against the best interest of our horses. We buy a “Hoof Product” thinking this will take care of everything.
Many times as horse owners, we want some magic recipe or method to grow hooves thinking perhaps that the horse has a Special Hoof Stomach, we make sure the right ingredients get into this stomach and we get great hooves. We then go about our same day to day activities and when we need good hooves again we look up the secret recipe and put it back into that stomach and once again…..BAM……great hooves.
All kidding aside, the product of hooves is an end product of the whole horse doing well. If we feed too much of something the horse may become laminitic and possibly founder. If we do not feed properly the horse will have shelly, thin walls prone to cracking, splitting or chipping, thinned soled, no bars, thin and mushy digital cushions, etc…
It is not a secret, there is no magic, the RNA and DNA has not changed in the horse for thousands of years. Hannibal and Caesar rode the same horses that we ride today.
It is well documented that the horse needs in varying amounts, biotin, methionine, lysine, cysteine, zinc, magnesium, selenium, cobalt, copper, sulfur, a host of B vitamins and a few other things to grow good hooves, but the horse also needs these same items for other functions at the same time……competing priorities! All at the same time, we and our horses have competing interests.
For all the Barefoot Trimmers, Farriers and horse owners who are intent upon facilitating functional hooves, it can not happen without synergistic Nutritional Building Blocks.
Great healthy hooves start with synergistically sound nutrition, proper hoof mechanics, proper environment, plenty of movement and the steadfast purpose of Equine Stewardship…..which defined is ”the careful and responsible management of someone or something entrusted to your care”.
By Dr. Mackie Hartwig, D.C., C.V.C.P. Copyright © M.K. Hartwig, D.C., C.V.C.P. All rights Reserved
Originally published in “The Horse’s Hoof, Issue 30, Spring 2008