Supplements are not necessary when a horse has good feet, access to nutrient rich grass, feed, and hay. However we all understand that we all don’t live in a perfect world, so some supplementation may be necessary.
Many horses can use a hoof supplements especially in the dog days of summer. When summer comes around, horses typically have an increase in their work loads. Further considerations are: Heat stress( a lot of nutrients are lost in perspiration) an increased frequency of baths, very wet or very dry turn outs, and stomping from flies, all these variables degrade horn quality.
Hoof supplements can be helpful! The down sides are that they can be expensive and take time to work. Typically it will take several months before you see a change. That’s why in certain cases I recommend that you keep your horse supplemented. To mitigate the expense of the supplements you can buy in bulk or get only the nutrients that you need (more on that later). Something to consider is; that once the horse is on the maintenance dose, it becomes more economical.
Believe it or not, hoof supplements can save you money and aggravation, here’s how:
- You will not have to call your Farrier as much for lost shoes.
- You won’t have the considerable expense of glue on shoes, or acrylic rebuilds.
- You won’t have to go through the process of scheduling, and waiting for the Farrier to put the shoe(s) back on with the potential of missing an event you want to be a part of.
Now, which supplements?
I wish I could tell you; but I can’t because there are so many different nutritional variants, due to locals, and choices of feed.
As a first step you can try a foot supplement such as: Farrier’s Formula, Horseshoers Secret, GrandHoof, and Smart Pak just to name a few in an ever increasing line of products. There are so many products on the market these days, that it’s almost a full time job keeping up with it.
Sometimes horseowners try these supplements and they get lucky. In these situations supplements make a big difference and solve their problem(s). Sometimes these supplements make a negligible difference.
For those who get negligible results in supplementation, they need to go deeper by getting an analysis done.
- Take samples of your hay and grass. Send them in for testing to www.equi-analytical.com> (read the directions for sampling on that site).
- Join the Yahoo group EquineCushings, read the introductory information and then ask the group for help.
You might be disappointed with the results when you find that the analysis finds the overall nutrition to be good. However, the small deficiencies that the analysis points to might make all the difference for your horse.
So now its time to make your custom nutrient program here are some links to sites for ordering what you want:
- Uckele Health and Nutrition
- Gateway Products has many single ingredient products available
- Horse Tech
Some horse owners after going through these steps, are finding that they can help their horses for only 20 to thirty cents a day. And they get the added benefit of overall good health