Smarter Solutions: Hoof Health

PROBLEM: Lost shoes have you missing days of riding and training
SOLUTION: Hoof Supplements

Ever feel like you spend more time searching the field for yet another lost shoe than you do in the saddle? (Seriously, what does he do, bury them? How could it be gone?!)

Even if your horse isn’t throwing shoes left and right, if his feet are dry, cracked, “crumbly” or “shelly,” they’re not as healthy as they could be. Remember, your horse’s hooves form the foundation for everything he does, so it’s important to make sure he has the nutritional support he needs to keep them strong and healthy.

It’s What’s Inside that Counts

If your horse is receiving a complete and balanced diet, he should have all the nutrients he needs to support healthy hooves. However, whether it’s the result of genetics, type of work or other external factors, some horses need supplementation beyond their normal diet to grow healthy hooves. But with all the choices out there, it can be tough to know where to begin. That’s where we come in! We’ll give you a brief overview of the key ingredients to look for, and a quick explanation of the role they play in keeping your horse’s hooves healthy.

Biotin: A member of the B Vitamin family, Biotin is vital to the health of all connective tissue structures, including the hoof. Studies have shown that continuous dietary supplementation with Biotin for at least six to nine months improved and maintained hoof health in horses with poor quality hooves. While Biotin is critical, it’s rarely a stand- alone solution. In fact, only an estimated 2% of horses with hoof problems are suffering from a Biotin deficiency alone.

Minerals: Copper and Zinc are two minerals commonly deficient in the horse’s diet. Both play a key role in the formation and maintenance of connective tissue. Zinc is of particular importance due to its role in the formation of keratin, the structural protein that gives hooves their hardness.

Methionine: This essential amino acid contains sulfur, which is essential for the cross-linking of the fibers that give hooves their tensile strength.

Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids: These healthy fats are necessary for proper moisture maintenance and pliability of work or other external factors, some horses need supplementation beyond their normal diet to grow healthy hooves. But with all the choices out there, it can be tough to know where of the hoof structure. Look for a hoof supplement that contains Lecithin, Soy, Flax Seed or Rice Bran, to provide these beneficial fatty acids.

Hoof Supplements for a Solid Foundation

Grand Hoof Pellets

As Low As: $23.55
(178 reviews)
Glanzen 3

As Low As: $39.95
(117 reviews)
SmartHoof® Ultra Pellets

As Low As: $33.95
(230 reviews)
Farrier's Formula® Double Strength

As Low As: $23.55
(545 reviews)

Results You Can See

The average hoof only grows 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch per month, and supplements can only affect the hoof at the coronary band, where the tissue is still alive. As a result, it can take several months to see a noticeable difference in the quality of your horse’s hoof wall.

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3 comments on “Smarter Solutions: Hoof Health
  1. Dianna Whitaker says:

    My mini has been in his new location about 18 months. We never had trouble with “hard” hoofs before. My farrier actually has a hard time trimming him because his hoofs are so hard. He takes bug off, Omega 3 and D-Carb balance in smart paks. He gets a pound of carrots, 3 alfalfa cubes (soaked), 3 apple chips, 1 carrot & spice cube, 10 butterscotch flavored treats, Her majesty’s hoof w/HA, 2 pepermint candies, 2 flakes of alfalfa/grass hay, NO GRAIN, 28 y/o, has foundered before but not since starting D-Carb balance about 3-4 years ago. I think the problem started when he had thrush a year ago and farrier put formeldehyde/betadine solution on hoofs. Never had this problem before but he hasn’t had that solution on his hoofs in over 9 months and hoofs still hard as a rock. He is trimmed every 4 weeks; he grows fast. Any supplement that will make his hoofs more flexible, not so hard????

    • Susan Dossett says:

      Dianna, please go to the website http://www.equinemdsurg.com to read about healthy treats and snacks for foundered/laminitic horses. I am dealing with some laminitic mares right now and I think your little guy may be getting too much sugar! Also, a friend of mine told me about a hoof ointment called Valentines that is supposed to be excellent for hoof health. I haven’t tried it myself but it sounds like it may be the ticket for hard hooves. just google it to find on the internet. Good luck!

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Dianna, thanks for your question. First, we wanted to mention that while it’s great you aren’t feeding your mini any grain, you may want to take a look at the rest of his diet to ensure it is low in sugars/starches. Treats and carrots can contain a lot of sugar, which may be unhealthy for mini’s, especially if they are prone to founder. Secondly, we recommend speaking with your farrier about a hoof conditioner which may be appropriate. Since choosing the right conditioner depends on your environment as well as the current state of the hooves, your farrier will be able to give you the best advice as to which one is right for your mini. We’ve included a link to the hoof conditioners we carry below. Lastly you may want to consider a hoof supplement such as SmartHoof or Farrier’s Formula® Double Strength. Best of luck!

      Hoof Conditioners: http://www.smartpakequine.com/SearchResults.aspx?page=GRID&free_text=hoof%20conditioner&attribute_value_string|Store_ID=Equine

      SmartHoof: http://www.smartpakequine.com/smarthoof-pellets-7474p.aspx

      Farrier’s Formula® Double Strength: http://www.smartpakequine.com/farriers-formula-double-strength-4675p.aspx

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