Hoof Supplements: Feeding The Feet

Fed in the recommended amounts, the vast majority of hoof supplements will do no harm to your horse, but beware of feeding higher levels than suggested on the label, or doubling up with multiple supplements.

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Hoof supplements are big business. It only takes a cursory glance around any tack shop or feed store to realize that they’re everywhere. They’ve got catchy names and labels, and lists of ingredients as long as your arm, all purported to help your horse grow tougher, shinier, more durable hooves.

Poor hoof quality is a complaint common to the owners of many types of sport horses, with Thoroughbreds likely being the worst offenders. And we all know the adage, "no hoof, no horse." So, it’s natural that we look to nutrition to address our horse’s pedal infirmities. But what do we really know about how nutrients translate into hoof horn?

Some of the feed ingredients promoted as hoof strengtheners do, in fact, have some dependable research behind them; others are based only on folklore or a manufacturer’s assertions. Let’s have a look at where your money is best spent

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Written by:

Karen Briggs is the author of six books, including the recently updated Understanding Equine Nutrition as well as Understanding The Pony, both published by Eclipse Press. She’s written a few thousand articles on subjects ranging from guttural pouch infections to how to compost your manure. She is also a Canadian certified riding coach, an equine nutritionist, and works in media relations for the harness racing industry. She lives with her band of off-the-track Thoroughbreds on a farm near Guelph, Ontario, and dabbles in eventing.

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