Healthy barefoot hooves start on the inside of the horse. If your horse has poor hoof quality or balance, look at what and how they are being fed. Excessive growth can be caused by an abundance of the wrong foods creating inflammation in the hooves and an accelerated rate of growth as the hoof tries to compensate and repair itself. Only it cannot grow a healthy hoof without the right balance if key nutrients . Trace minerals, Copper, Zinc, selenium, Vitamins E & A and Biotin, amino acids Lysine and Methionine are all critical to good hoof health.
After doing extensive testing on the available forage in Southwest Washington with www.equi-analyitical.com , I have found the best supplement for hooves is www.californiatrace.com . There has not been a single sample of hay from east or west of the mountains to have adequate levels of Copper and Zinc to provide for growth of a healthy hoof !! California trace fed along with plain white salt on your choice of hay pellets with the addition of ground flaxseed or whole Chia seeds for an omega 3 fat source will improve the hoof. (The photo above is a hay sampling probe that I carry in my truck should you want to send a sample of your hay to get tested. Please tell me before the appointment if you want a hay test so I remember to bring the drill, lol)
Feeding Hay from slow feed Bags or boxes to slow down the rate of consumption so the horse never goes without an almost constant stream of fiber in it's digestive tract. Equines are trickle feeders, they have a relatively small stomach but a large cecum, their fermentation vat for all that fiber !
When the temperature drops in the winter, resist the urge to feed grain to "keep the horse warm". Feed additional hay and use water tank heaters or add warm water to encourage water consumption. The fermentation of fiber is what keeps a horse warm.Fermentation takes lots of water so the need for water goes up as the consumption of hay increases.
The water source needs to be high quality. If you filter or treat your well water for your household needs, the horse needs the water to go through the same filtering/treatment process. High Iron levels can interfere with the absorption of key minerals in the body making all the time and money spent on a feed program could be going to waist.
Restriction of fresh grazing to the early morning hours and use of a track system (often called a Paddock Paradise, a management system developed by Jamie Jackson) to encourage natural movement. Preserving the health of your available pasture for limited grazing increases the good nutrients and lessens the overall NSC% ( the measure of sugar and starch) in the grass plants. Then during the grazing season your horse will enjoy and get the benefits of healthy grass. Healthy grass is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids , vitamin E& Vitamin A .
call 360-880-3264 and talk with me about your feed management challenges and set up an appointment