Hoof Supplements vs Hoof Topicals

It’s rained on and off here outside Chicago for a while now. Due to standing in water, our horse’s hooves got soft. Our vet told us to give him Farrier’s Formula supplements, which we did. The horse trainer said supplements don’t work, touch up the hooves with a topical. Who’s right–and how can the answers be so different? Thank you. Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,

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They’re both right! Your veterinarian is addressing the issue from the inside out with ingredients like biotin, methionine, zinc, fatty acids and others that have been shown to improve the growth rate and hardness of hooves. Meanwhile your trainer is addressing the issue from the outside in, advising you to apply a barrier against excess moisture with a hoof sealant. For best success, I recommend you do both, as oral hoof supplements only affect the quality of new growth so it can take months to see an improvement. A topical hoof product will start to protect your horse’s feet right away. Now you just have to ask your farrier what he thinks!

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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6 comments on “Hoof Supplements vs Hoof Topicals
  1. Michelle Kincaid says:

    I’m very glad that this question was posted. I am in the Chicagoland area and have been contemplating which one to go with. Thank you!

  2. rhonda says:

    I have used Farriers Formula on my horse for a year and I have had great success with it.

  3. Nicole says:

    Glad the answer is both. It’s what my trainer and farrier both recomended. I’ve been doing that for a couple years now whenever I get a new horse with bad hooves I give the full strength of the suppliment but I cheat a little and only give half the suppliment once their hooves are in great shape. Never had to go back to full strength on any of my horses and the farriers always comment on them halving good hooves. I also feed other suppliments and some have a few of the same ingredients so thet may be a factor.

  4. Christine says:

    I’m glad to hear the answer as well! My former farrier said that oral supplements don’t really help because ingredients were used for all over the body, not just the horse. Duh. Haha, but I agree that it has to be both. I take supplements for my own fingernails and hair, and I can see a big difference, so why wouldn’t my horses. Great topic.

  5. James Norris says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. The hoof supplements seem to actually help the horses I have seen, but it depends on brand and the time of year. Keep up the great posts.

  6. Lisa Durham says:

    I’m happy to hear the reply as well! My former barrier said that oral supplements don’t really help because ingredient were used for all over the body, not just the horse, but I agree that it has to be both.

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