Some of my horses have cracks in their hooves. I feed alfalfa and grass hay twice a day and they also receive ADM Patriot 12% once daily. My horses are off duty all winter meaning I do not ride at all in the winter. What are they lacking nutritionally assuming this is a nutrition issue? Thank You. Kelly
Dear Kelly,It’s hard to know what your horses may be lacking nutritionally without additional information such as how much hay and grain you’re feeding as well as your horses’ age, weight and workload. And since horses are individuals with different genetics, even if you meet or exceed the NRC’s daily nutrient requirements in all categories yours may still require more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and/or fatty acids to build and maintain healthy feet.
Studies have shown that continuous dietary supplementation with biotin at a daily dose of 10 to 30mg for not less than six to nine months improves and maintains hoof horn quality in horses with less than optimum quality hoof 1.2. In horses that do not respond to biotin alone, other nutrients such as the limiting amino acids Lysine and Methionine, minerals such as Zinc and Copper, and Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids may provide additional nutritional support.
Finally, don’t forget about the importance of regular hoof care by a qualified professional, daily turnout, controlled exercise, and a clean, moisture-managed environment.
- Vet Rec. 1984 Dec 22-29;115(25-26):642-5. Clinical observations on the response of equine hoof defects to dietary supplementation with biotin. Comben N, Clark RJ, Sutherland DJ.
- Equine Vet J. 1995 May;27(3):175-82.Hoof horn abnormalities in Lipizzaner horses and the effect of dietary biotin on macroscopic aspects of hoof horn quality. Josseck H, Zenker W, Geyer H. Institute of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Zürich, Switzerland.