Monday, February 22, 2010

Horse Hoof Care – Hoof Supplements

What’s the deal on Horse Hoof Supplements? Talk to Horse Owners, Horseshoers and Veterinarians and you’ll get conflicting opinions on whether or not hoof supplements actually work.

I have been told that the lack of independent studies on Horse Supplements are due to Horse Supplement manufacturers being reluctant to fund studies on supplement effectiveness that are outside of their control. A worst case for these Supplement manufacturers would be funding a study that concludes these supplements do not work. But this reluctance does not mean supplements don’t work.

I have had two horses on Hoof Supplementation over a prolonged period.

Roy is a gelded Quarterhorse who had been ranch raised and used for arena roping. After a couple of seasons in the arena I was considering semi-retirement for him when he broke a coffin bone wing in his back right hoof. He was around 22 years old at the time. My Vet told me it would never heal and although the horse could eventually be somewhat pain free he would never again be a saddle horse. Over a 14 month period working with my horseshoer using egg bar shoes and contracting the foot slightly, and, use of Horseshoer’s Secret Hoof Supplement, Roy’s hoof was healed. X-Rays showed solid bone growth in the break and Roy is enjoying his semi-retirement. he is used as a lesson horse and for packing on short trips.

Junior is a Mexican Grade gelding, that is a horse from Mexico without known lineage. I picked him up at approximately four years old even though he appeared on have lapsed (slightly collapsed) heel bulbs on his back right hoof and very thin hoof walls. I placed him on Hoof Supplements even though there is nothing that can be down about thin hoof walls. I just wanted to give him the best chance of having the best feet possible. My shoer is always remarking about Junior’s consistent hoof growth and the hardness of his soles. What I know is that Junior is a sound horse over soft and hard ground. As an Army Range Rider, I never hestiated to take him into the remote back country. Despite his thin hoof walls he has only thrown a shoe once in the past 5 years and that was due to overstepping once when we came down a hill at a lope and stepped into some really soft sand, causing him to overstep and clip his front left shoe and pull it loose.

One of my buddies, who was finishing up his Doctorate in Ruminant Management a local University, who also has alot of experience in equine supplements as well, told me was that he was sure hoof supplementation worked to strengthen the hoof sole, although he had “no hard data” on tests. He did tell me that if I was going to put a horse on a hoof supplement to ensure that the product contained certain ingredients. Those were primarily Biotin, Methionine, Calcium, Protein, and Lysine.

We know that whatever the horse eats goes straight to his feet. If you just picked up a horse that did not get good, consistent feed, maybe evident from uneven hoof growth visible through rings around the outside hoof wall growing down from the coronet band, then you may want to consider putting that horse on Hoof Supplements. If you do, then you need to consider the fact that it takes around nine to twelve months to grow a totally new foot.

My bottom line is I think Horse Hoof Supplements can provide nutrition necessary for optimum hoof health. I don’t think they can fix conformation problems with bad feet.


  1. I've heard that hoof supplements can really make a big difference. I've had a few horses with bad feet but I never thought to use supplements. Great tips, I'll have to test them out.

  2. Bought a 10 year old thoroughbred in condition 2 of 9. Uneven growth rings top to the broken bottom of his hooves. Farrier recommended 20 mg biotin per day. Looking forward to a year from now when he has regrown his hooves. Will try to report the results. Happily the rest of him is able to improve a bit faster with good feed and supplements plus a lot of tlc.