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Putting Their Best Foot Forward: Supplements and Equine Hoof Care

My Dad used to say “if you can feel your feet, you must be miserable.” Imagine what it must be like for a 1000 lb. horse with a rider to have sore feet! Poor hoof quality is a common complaint of working and sport horse owners. In a perfect environment, with dry, abrasive ground, horse’s hooves stay hard and naturally filed smooth. But rarely do horses live in the perfect world. Folk remedies for weak hooves have been around for years, but research shows they don’t work. So what’s a horse owner to do?

There are some vitamins and minerals which research has shown to be effective in the improvement of the condition of hoof material and hair coat. Chief among these is the water-soluble vitamin biotin. Mammals are incapable of producing biotin themselves; it must be obtained in the diet, or absorbed from intestinal bacteria which produce it. Studies have shown that when horses are supplemented with 15-20 mg per day of biotin, hoof horn becomes more resilient, less prone to cracking and splitting, and has more measureable tensile strength. Biotin is also effective in horses with chronic laminitis.

In addition to biotin, the amino acid methionine is a valuable addition to the horse’s diet. Methionine is an essential amino acid, meaning that the horse’s body can’t produce it on its own. This dietary ingredient plays a role in the bonds which give hoof material resiliency and strength. Some of this amino acid is converted by the horse into cystine. Both methionine and cystine contain sulfur, an essential component in the formation of keratin, the substance which makes hooves hard.

Also necessary for proper hoof and hair health is zinc. Some zinc is present in hay and grains, but at levels insufficient to meet recommended levels for good health. Horses eating only whole grains or forage need additional zinc in their diets. The addition of zinc has been shown to increase hoof wall density and overall growth. Zinc also contributes to a healthy hair coat.

Omega 3 fatty acids are instrumental in maintaining hooves and hair. Omega 3 fats have many additional benefits, such as joint health, building muscle, fertility, and immune support. Omega 6’s also play a role in immunity and the ability to recover from injury. Sources for Omega fatty acids include flaxseed and soybean meal.

These components are considered to be the ideal combination to ensure optimum hoof health. They are also beneficial for hair coat and overall horse well being. When using a supplement containing these ingredients to improve hooves, expect to wait seven months to one year to see results. It takes a while to see improvement because the hoof grows out fresh from the coronary at a rate of around one-third to one-half inch per month.

Lakeland Feeds Hoof and Hair Supplement provides all of these essential ingredients, as well as vitamin E, lysine, copper, lecithin, and threonine, all in the proper balance for the optimum benefit. Hoof and Hair Supplement is also high in yeast, which assists the horse in digesting and absorbing the available nutrients. With its delicious apple flavor, and convenient three to six ounce serving size, this supplement is a perfect addition to your horse’s daily diet. We’ve all heard the saying “no hoof, no horse.” With Lakeland Brand Hoof and Hair Supplement, you know your horse is getting the best possible nutrition, to help put their best foot forward!