Help for Hooves – FAQ’s that we hope you find useful on getting good feet
One of two assertions about horses with poor hooves has to be correct and that is that either there are elements of the horses nutrition that are deficient or out of balance or that the horse is not metabolising the nutrients it’s being fed. There is also one other certainty and that is even if one or other of the reasons are successfully addressed it will take time to fix things. It’s time which is most often the real bug bear instead of getting on with things, competing and enjoying riding very little can be attempted and what’s even worse is waiting for months only to find that the hooves have not really improved, even when good money has been spent.
So what do we know?
Well except for obvious neglect, surprisingly few horses with poor feet are under-fed to such an extent as to cause both poor growth and poor elasticity and horn durability. It is far more likely that it will be one or the other i.e. slow growth or soft/brittle horn which suggests that the metabolism is getting it ‘nearly right’ but not quite. This is where TENDERFOOT 80 helps as it is very comprehensive the following salient questions and answer may help with queries.
Q. I’m told that we are feeding a balanced diet but hooves on two of our horses are brittle and flaky with no shine.
A. A balanced diet usually refers to Calcium: Phosphorus: Magnesium these can be correct but the nutrition can still be wanting, so TENDERFOOT 80 could still make a difference. If however you are certain that it refers to all major and trace elements and most importantly amino-acid balance then the reason for poor hooves is poor nutrient utilisation so feed L94 and then an everyday level of A24 for two months and observe changes.
Q. My Farrier says hoof growth is poor and is complaining that there is little fresh growth of horn to nail into.
A. Do not stint on good quality roughage when not grazing and feed TENDERFOOT 80 FOR AT LEAST 3 MONTHS OR LONGER. The hoof is virtually all protein and although the horse can switch some of the amino-acids around it cannot synthesise from nothing and at least two amino-acids have to be in the diet, the first limiting is Lysine which means that regardless of how rich the diet is in other nutrients if there is insufficient Lysine it will retard growth.
The second limiting amino-acid is Methionine which is not only important in its own right for the structure of the hoof but the horse can synthesise Cysteine from Methionine. About a quarter of the protein in the hoof is made up of Cysteine; this is what smells when you put a piece of hoof on the bonfire. Now with adequate Methionine the horse can make Cysteine but it has been found that it does the job very much better and more efficiently if some Cysteine is fed directly in the diet. TENDERFOOT 80 not only contains excellent levels of Lysine and Methionine but also Cysteine and Vitamin E which is integral to the recycling of Cysteine in the body.
Q. I’ve been told that if I feed Biotin my horse’s hoof quality will improve, is that correct?
A. Feeding extra Biotin does seem to help Keratin formation and weak hooves which tend to crumble at the lower edges. It is well worth feeding to Horses with thin soled hooves & with low heels that are unwilling to move over rough ground and test the ground as they walk. However advisedly feed Biotin within a formula that caters for other important criteria such as TENDERFOOT 80. Hoof growth appears unaffected by feeding extra Biotin but it does appear that it can help resolve some long standing foot weakness problems especially when fed in conjunction with other cuticle critical nutrients.
Q. I am intending to take off my horse’s shoes and go barefoot, should I change to feeding TENDERFOOT 80?
A. If you are taking the shoes off because the state of the hooves make shoeing difficult then start feeding TENDERFOOT 80 straight away and keep feeding it until you have strong durable barefoot hooves. If the hooves are already healthy and strong then changing to EQUINOURISH a natural diet balancer will suffice. Both formulae provide valuable silicic acid that provides elasticity of connective tissue & control absorption of calcium – both are two fundamentals for the hoof withstanding shock that is dispersed in the hoof as opposed to it travelling up towards the shoulder as is the case with an iron shoe. The available silica is provided in TENDERFOOT 80 by the inclusion of a world famous Dolomite and in EQUINOURISH by processed algae. There is a better chance of a smooth transition into barefoot with TENDERFOOT 80 or EQUINOURISH than without them.
Q. How long can I expect it will take to re-mineralise my horse’s hooves so they can be shining and strong?
A. Bang your fingernail and you know how long it takes for the mark to finally grow out. What is most important is that what starts to show from below the coronary band is healthy and strong. It can take nine months to a year, long enough to wait any rate but to find that nine months has gone by and nothing has improved..! Last September an owner was finally able to say that her hunter’s hooves were as she and her Farrier wanted them but was not exactly praiseworthy about the fact that it had taken TENDERFOOT 80 all of ten months to finally get them that way but was gracious enough to give ground when reminded of the fact that up to the time she had started feeding TENDERFOOT 80 the horse had had awful hoof quality and had spent nearly half its life being fed a well advertised proprietary foot supplement.
Q. I’ve been told I must feed more calcium to my horse with cracked hooves which is the best way of doing this.
A. Calcium is undoubtedly important but when feeding, it is critical that it is fed in combination with other minerals mainly Phosphorus, Magnesium, Silicon etc. in the right ratio. It is the whole that is crucial not the individual element. Chalk is full of Calcium which is soft; Marble is full of calcium which is hard it is the mix that makes the difference. In TENDERFOOT 80 there is the right level of available calcium mixed in ratio with 26 other minerals.
Trinity Consultants recommendations:
Feed TENDERFOOT 80 for a period of not less than 3 months when undertaking a ‘hoof programme’.
Then follow on with either TENDERFOOT 80 as an everyday mineral/vitamin/amino-acid formulation or swap to EQUINOURISH.
Keep on top of pulses and bouts of inflammation in the feet at times of change or worming. Such occurrences cause pain, disturb growth & ultimately delay progress so feed P45 or L94 either as a daily preventative or as a ten day course.