Proper hoof care is vital to the well-being of a horse and, as horse hooves are continuously growing at a rate of 6-10mm per month, a horse’s hooves will often reflect their overall health. Factors such as nutrition, farrier care, environmental conditions, exercise and genetics can all affect hoof growth and quality.
Horses can suffer from slow-growing hooves or hoof problems which can include crumbly white horn, brittle hooves, and hoof cracks, these conditions normally require specialist farrier attention. However, a balanced diet and specific supplementation can help to support hoof growth and strength long-term, keeping hooves in optimal condition.
Hoof aid is a liquid supplement formulation which contains a combination of nutrients including biotin, zinc and methionine, which help to maximise hoof quality.
Biotin is one of the most well-known hoof supplement ingredients but has many important functions across the body. Biotin is a B vitamin and its role in hoof strength is related to its function in cell growth and division. Several scientific studies support the use of biotin at rates of 15-20mg per horse per day to improve hoof strength and quality.1
Zinc is commonly found in hoof supplements, as it is essential to hoof strength. Zinc is a mineral necessary for the production of keratin, a strong protein which makes up the majority of the hoof and gives it the ability to withstand loading. Low blood zinc levels have been associated with poor hoof horn quality.2
Methionine is one of the essential amino acids required by horses that cannot be made by the body and must be taken in through dietary sources. In hoof growth, methionine is converted to cysteine, and research has shown that there is a direct correlation between the amount of cysteine contained in a hoof and the hardness of that hoof.3
When using hoof supplements, it is important to be aware that improvement in hoof quality may take four to six months to become evident, as supplementation will only benefit new hoof growth. It is therefore recommended that supplementation should continue for at least one year, and longer where necessary, for the supplement to have maximal benefits to the hooves. Hoof Aid is suitable for daily use to encourage and maintain healthy hoof growth. Environmental conditions should be factored into your decision to use a hoof supplement and for how long to use it, if your horses live in an area that is susceptible to weather conditions then they may be more likely to have hoof problems and continual use of a hoof supplement would be recommended.
Optimum hoof health in horses can normally be achieved by the combination of good horse husbandry, appropriate nutrition, and routine farrier attention.
Read more about hoof supplements.