Nutrition for Healthy Hooves – ColiHOOF
Whatever your horse does – from piaffing to hacking – healthy hooves are pivotal to their health and performance and the old saying ‘no hoof, no horse’ is 100% true. Hoof health and quality is dependent on balanced nutrition, so providing your horse’s hooves with the right nutrients is essential to maintain optimum health, strength, and performance, alongside the right care. Lisa Elliott, MSc – Equine Nutrition Solutions explains what your horse’s hooves need to be healthy, what helps to keep them healthy, and how you can help provide the best nutrition to support strong, well-functioning and healthier hooves throughout their life.
Which nutrients support healthy hooves?
Energy and Protein are the two most limiting nutrients for hoof health and growth and if they are not supplied sufficiently hoof quality will be poor. Ensuring the diet provides the right energy balance is, therefore, essential to maintain hoof integrity.
Protein is vital for healthy hoof formation all year round.Hooves are made up of protein and keratin, a specialised sulphur rich protein which is the same protein responsible for our own hair and nails. Amino acids provide the building blocks for proteins so it’s important to ensure the diet provides these.
There are 10 essential amino acids (including the 3 major limiting amino acids, Lysine, methionine, and threonine), which horses are unable to make themselves and need to be supplied as part of a fully balanced diet. The presence of Lysine is essential for hoof health and structure and Methionine in particular is a key part of strong hoof formation because it provides a source of sulphur, which is essential for producing keratin. Methionine can also be used to produce the sulphur rich amino acid cysteine, which along with cystine is also vital in hoof horn formation.
Biotin and the microbiome
Biotin is one of the most well-known nutrients when it comes to good hoof health. This sulphur rich B Vitamin is a vital for the production of Keratin for strong, healthy hoof horn and has a key role in tissue growth and maintenance. Biotin and other key B Vitamins for hoof health are actually produced through fermentation of forage by the microbes in your horse’s hindgut.
Ensuring your horses hindgut microbes are happy and healthy will help them produce all the essential B vitamins your horse needs. A compromised microbe population won’t be able to do this, so it’s important to ensure they are supported through the right nutrition.
Research has shown that providing around 20mg of Biotin daily can help hooves to strengthen and grow but to be fully effective it needs to be provided with other nutrients such as methionine and zinc.
Vitamins and Minerals
There are a number of vitamins and minerals with vital roles within hoof health and formation. Essential minerals include zinc, copper, manganese, sulphur and calcium which all have a structural role within the hoof wall and support cell function and proliferation for optimum hoof growth. Vitamins A, E, C, and the B vitamin niacin are also important for hoof health and integrity.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Fats play a pivotal role because they retain the natural moisture and pliability of the hoof wall, resist the absorption of water from the environment and prevent bacteria and fungi from entering the hoof horn. Fats contain both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, but horses need a higher level of Omega 3 fatty acids for optimum health. Omega 3 fatty acids have numerous benefits associated with their anti-inflammatory properties and help support strong, well growing hooves.
Supplying Hoof Boosting Nutrition with ColiHOOF
A diet including ad-lib forage and appropriate energy levels can provide many of the key essential hoof nutrients. However, factors such as forage quality, forage type, soil type, season, age, lifestyle, and that all horses are individuals may mean that certain micronutrients can fall short of the levels needed for optimum hoof health.
Although an ad-lib forage diet is ideal to promote optimum hoof health, sometimes forage alone will not provide the right levels of energy or ‘calories’ to promote optimal hood growth and health. Horses who are poor doers and harder working horses and ponies will often need to be fed higher energy levels to achieve the correct balance. Coligone Fibre Cubes can be fed daily to supply additional energy as needed to support healthy, strong hooves. ExSelenium Oil can also be fed for horses who struggle more with their condition to ensure they are receiving sufficient energy levels from their diet.
Essential amino acids which are vital for hoof heath and structure can often be lacking in UK forage, particularly lysine. You can help ensure you are supplying good levels of essential hoof boosting amino acids with ColiHOOF which contains a range of essential amino acids, to support strong healthy hooves.
ColiHOOF, Coligone Powder and Liquid contain generous levels of key pro and pre-biotics to support and nurture hindgut microbes and help maintain a healthy, balanced hindgut. A healthy microbiome will help maximise Biotin production through improved fibre fermentation, along with other key B vitamins. B vitamins will help support immunity which is important to help prevent infection and disease and support recovery from conditions like laminitis.
Ensuring your horse’s diet provides vitamins and minerals essential to hoof health is important to help build and grow healthier hooves. However, much of the forage fed to horses in the UK is often produced from one grass species (mono-cultured) which means that even if fed ad-lib, it cannot supply the full range of these vital micronutrients. MultiVit Pro supplies a range of key vitamins and minerals, including potent antioxidants like vitamin E, alongside copper and zinc and can be fed daily to supply essential hoof boosting nutrients to support optimum hoof health and strength. Additionally, Coligone Powder and Liquid are packed with hoof benefitting calcium to help maximise hoof structure and strength from the inside out.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for hoof structure and health and fresh grass is a great source, However, when horses have restricted access to grass or during winter when they are fed predominately preserved forage, Omega 3 fatty acids can be lacking in the diet which could have an impact on the health of their hooves. Feeding ExSelenium Oil daily will help provide an ideal balance of Omega Fatty Acids (3, 6 and 9 ) and help provide Omega 3 at the right levels to support improved hoof integrity and prevent disease. ColiHOOF contains massive levels of ExSelenium Oil, with its targeted vitamin E and Seleium support.
Please click or copy and paste the link for more info on Coligone products, including price and ordering: https://www.hbradshaws.co.uk/coligone-product-range/
If you have any questions about creating the best diet for your horse and keeping your horse healthy through the right nutrition, please contact Coligone – 0333 0503785/07986 183616 or email@example.com.