Tips & Tricks for Healthy Hooves

 

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Hooves

Crumbly hooves, painful soles and dry feet are problems that many horses just ‘walk around’ with. The quality, shape and conformation of the hoof is largely something they are born with. How do you ensure that your horse’s hooves stay healthy? With the right stable management, a farrier who knows their job, and the right diet. Read these top tips to find out all about the three building blocks for healthy hooves. Healthy hooves, happy horse.  

1. Stable management, the perfect basis

  • Sufficient movement. Movement stimulates the function of the hoof mechanism and ensures good blood flow to the hoof.

  • Healthy weight. Overweight horses place much more load on their hooves than horses at a healthy weight.

  • Good stable hygiene. Ammonia is produced in a dirty stable when your horse’s urine mixes with the bedding you have used. Ammonia makes the hoof softer, and therefore weaker. Manure and urine affect the quality of the hoof and encourage thrush. To avoid thrush, we recommend keeping the stable as clean and dry as possible.

Do you still have problems with thrush? Use Dry Feet daily until the thrush has completely gone.

2. The farrier: your partner in crime

Ensure that your horse sees the farrier regularly. They will shoe or trim the hooves as necessary, preventing them from starting to split or crumble. They can also rectify natural weak spots, for example to slightly improve posture or provide extra support.

3. A balanced diet: often underestimated, but absolutely vital

Hooves grow slowly – around 1 centimetre per month. You can significantly improve the quality of hoof growth with a balanced diet and any necessary supplements. Protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and trace elements are all key nutrients for hooves. Does your feed contain all those, in the right quantities? If it does, you don’t need to feed supplements. If your horse does not get them, or does not get enough, the best answer is to feed a supplement.

//DID YOU KNOW THAT A HORSES
HOOF IS 90% PROTEIN?

The most important nutrients are proteins. A hoof is made up of about 90 % protein, with keratin in the top spot. Keratin contains amino acids that have a major effect on the hoof. Sulphur-containing and essential amino acids such as cysteine and methionine ensure that the cells in the horn – the outer layer of the hoof – are connected together flexibly. However, don’t forget that your horse cannot make these acids itself and must therefore obtain them from its diet.

Vitamins are important too, especially vitamin H or biotin. Your horse needs at least 25 milligrams of biotin each day to make a difference to hoof quality. Hooves also need other vitamins. Vitamin A, for example, helps to develop horn. Vitamins E, D and K, together with various B vitamins support the metabolism and hoof development. Just adding a single nutrient such as biotin to an unbalanced diet will never give the best results.

Minerals are another group of key nutrients. Copper strengthens the outermost wall of the hoof, helps to protect the cell membranes of the cells in the hoof and forms the key protein keratin. Zinc also helps to create keratin and supports the building and repair of cells in the hoof and hoof wall. Selenium also protects the cell membranes in the hoof. However, don’t feed selenium just for the sake of it; too much selenium can cause hoof problems itself. Furthermore, an overdose is dangerous for your horse.

Does your horse have really sensitive hooves? If so, we recommend Hoof Aid Special to provide support. This supplement contains not only biotin, but also yeasts, sulphate compounds, amino acids and fatty acids. This combination of ingredients is essential to achieve the right effect.

 

// Health from the inside out:
for hooves too

Fatty acids enable your horse to build a barrier against bacterial and fungal infections, and protect their hoof horn. They also improve the resilience of their hooves. Fatty acids are found in oils and fats.

In conclusion, changes in the weather such as dry days and damp nights can also have an effect on hoof quality. During a dry summer, we see more crumbly hooves than we do in the winter. Our tip: wash hooves regularly with water. As soon as the water has soaked in, treat the hooves with our PodoGuard hoof oil. This oil helps to maintain the balance of oils in the hoof and is enriched with bayberry oil. This protects the hoof against bacteria and other harmful influences.

Wondering about Cavalor’s range of products for healthy hooves? Take a look at them all here.

Crumbly hooves, painful soles and dry feet are problems that many horses just ‘walk around’ with. The quality, shape and conformation of the hoof is largely something they are born with. How do you ensure that your horse’s hooves stay healthy? With the right stable management, a farrier who knows their job, and the right diet. Read these top tips to find out all about the three building blocks for healthy hooves. Healthy hooves, happy horse.  

  • Sufficient movement. Movement stimulates the function of the hoof mechanism and ensures good blood flow to the hoof.
  • Healthy weight. Overweight horses place much more load on their hooves than horses at a healthy weight.
  • Good stable hygiene. Ammonia is produced in a dirty stable when your horse’s urine mixes with the bedding you have used. Ammonia makes the hoof softer, and therefore weaker. Manure and urine affect the quality of the hoof and encourage thrush. To avoid thrush, we recommend keeping the stable as clean and dry as possible.

Do you still have problems with thrush? Use Dry Feet daily until the thrush has completely gone.

1. Stable management, the perfect basis

A horse’s body converts sugar (carbohydrates) into energy in several ways. Sugar consists of fructose and glucose. Fructose is broken down in the liver, whilst glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose acts as a fuel for the muscles. We know, then, that horses need sugar to have enough energy for physical activity.

Sugar in and of itself is not dangerous for horses. The presence of carbohydrates in your horse’s feed is therefore logical and natural, but too much sugar can lead to health problems. An important rule of thumb: don’t give your horse more energy than it needs.

What are sugar sources for my horse?

A major source of sugar for horses is from cereals in concentrate feeds. These are full of starches which are converted into glucose. Another sugar source in concentrate feed is molasses, which can be a source of glucose depending on how much is added (5-10%). Don’t forget that roughage also contains sugar.

The largest part of your horse’s feed ration is made up of roughage. Roughage’s sugar and starch content is something often overlooked in the attempt to design low-sugar rations. Horses actually get their basic sugar requirement from roughage.

//All horses need sugar 

Many horses don’t need any additional sugar for normal work. However, if your aim is achieving optimum athletic performance from your horse, you may need to supplement his feed with concentrates. Concentrates are an essential part of a high-performance sport horse’s diet. Feed your horse no more than 2 g of sugar and starch per kilogramme of body weight and per ration – don’t give your horse more energy than it needs.

How much sugar should my horse consume?

Most sport horses can eat a certain amount of sugar and starch – in fact, they need this energy source. Studies show that 1-2 grammes per kg of body weight and per feed ration can be easily digested in the small intestine. This means that a healthy 600 kg horse should be given a maximum of 1.2 kg sugar and starch per concentrate feed ration.

It is also worth noting that a horse can take in a relatively large amount of nutrients without this leading to problems. However, digestion takes time, so give your horse’s small intestine the time it needs to absorb all nutrients, including sugar and starch. You can ensure this by feeding your horse several small meals daily.
 

Would you like to know how much roughage/concentrate feed your horse needs based on training intensity? Then visit MyCavalor. With just a few clicks you can find out which feed ration is best for you.

When should you worry about sugar?

If your horse is healthy, there’s no need to worry. Make sure that energy intake corresponds with his energy requirement. Which horses benefit from low-sugar feed rations?
  • Horses that are often prone to gastrointestinal problems, including gastric ulcers, colic and watery stool
  • Horses with metabolic problems, such as:
    • Insulin dysregulation
    • Obesity
    • Laminitis
    • EMS
    • Muscle diseases (PSSM, RER)
Obesity and associated metabolic disorders like laminitis are primarily caused by excess sugar consumption in relation to physical activity. These horses are helped by low-sugar feeds and more exercise! 

Does your horse have sensitive hooves? Support your horse inside and out with Cavalor LaminAid and PodoSens.

Does your horse already suffer from sensitive hooves? Make sure your veterinary surgeon knows! And make adjustments to your feed and exercise plan. Feed your horse only low-energy and long-stalked roughage. First discontinue all concentrate feed and pasture grazing. Make sure your horse has a soft surface on which to stand. If possible, motivate him to move about. This will stimulate blood circulation and speed up the healing process.

Sensitive hooves may be caused by a metabolic imbalance. You can support your horse’s metabolism with Cavalor LaminAid. This feed supplement supports equine metabolism and digestion. It was specially developed to bring the body back into balance quickly. You can treat your horse’s hooves externally with Cavalor PodoSens. This soothing hoof oil provides relief and reduces pressure.

Want to know more about the right feed for your horse? At MyCavalor.com  you can easily configure your horse’s feed to meet its requirements.


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